I was browsing my electronic commonplace book last week, reading a mix of quotes I’ve saved on technocracy when I came across the following excerpt from a 2013 Touchstone feature story by Anthony Esolen, Faith Against Faith :

Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty, just when a young official in his employ, Daniel Moynihan, was warning that out-of-wedlock births among blacks had crossed into the danger zone and was threatening the very existence of genuine community. For that brief time, Johnson and Moynihan were at cross-purposes. It doesn’t matter what the men were aware of doing. Johnson bowed to the materialist vision; he wished to use the power of a technocratic state to fix a problem viewed in technocratic terms. Moynihan was trying to peer into the human heart. The one looked confidently toward the future. The other worried that something essential from the past was being lost.

To this quote, I had attached a little note to myself that said “Know how to use this, and when” (I patted myself on the back for this piece of sound advice).  Last night I happened to be in the company of some people discussing some current social policy questions, all of them taking what would qualify as the Lyndon Johnson approach.  I was able to recall the words above almost verbatim, which was, I have to say, a lot of fun.