Hitler had a plan

By Michael Dwyer

“The moral consequences of totalitarian propaganda…are of a profound kind. The are destructive of all morals because they undermine one of the foundations of all morals, the sense of and respect for truth.” F. A. Hayek, “The Road to Serfdom.” (London, 1944 ) p.115 

Hitler had a four year plan. Stalin had several five year plans. Khrushchev had his seven year plan. Leo Varadkar has his twenty two year plan.

For those not paying attention a couple of weeks ago the government of Ireland, a liberal democracy not a totalitarian state, published its plans for Ireland 2040.

In it we find spending plans for all kinds of everything. It covers school building, the health service, trains both over and underground. It has a spatial strategy, planned regional development and an industrial blue print for the nation for the next twenty one years. With costings.

This is a state which cannot get within say seventy per cent accuracy when guesstimating the first day population of a new built secondary school. Yet now it would construct a plan for technology and markets that do not yet exist. It would plan for housing without knowing where people will want to live. It has details of production in an economy which might have a different currency in a continent which may have seen the collapse of the EU.

Of course the plan is absurd and vainglorious and pointless and just plain stupid. It will not be followed and will be a like a shredded paper serviette in at the end of Chinese banquet within a few of years. Anyone with a passing knowledge of history the market or the problem of calculation knows this.

Of course massive inefficiencies will be created, resources diverted, poverty created, wealth destroyed and innovation postponed but that is the normal function of  modern governance.

The meta story is to my mind both more depressing and more   worrying for the future health of this republic and her democracy.

The days following the grand unveiling the airwaves were filled with discussion, debate, analysis; ministers being interviewed by journalists who were then interviewed by other journalists. Yet no one laughed.

Not one politician, commentator, pundit, expert academic, or journo laughed at this most ridiculous and if pursued (highly unlikely) most potentially disastrous proposal that this nation has seen since The Economic War. This is the most risible piece of political flummery of my lifetime and I believe in the history of the State but it seems that I am the only one laughing. That is scary.







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