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I have a question about James Buchanan saying: "A society is guided by its ruling philosophy - the prevailing conception of the 'good' social order. Some political-economic philosophy must be the basis for intelligent social policy."

Should I take this to mean that JB perceived each prosperous and free nation (such as the US of the 20th century) as a product of policy based upon a good political-economic philosophy?

I have argued, perhaps to the contrary, that the principal examples of prosperous free nations grew spontaneously, for reasons still dimly understood. This good growth cannot be explained principally as a consequence of conscious philosophy or policy. Sometimes good things just grow; we see the good things; then we try to explain how on Earth it happened.

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