It’s an interesting phenomenon that policy follows opinion but only with about a 20 years lag. And the first example of that of course was the reaction to the Great Depression because during the whole of the 1920s and even earlier, intellectual opinion had been shifting towards socialism — in Britain with the Fabian Society — in the United States. People don’t realize that every economic platform, every economic plank of the socialist party platform of 1928 is now part of law. So intellectual opinion was shifting toward socialism. Public opinion was not a valuable thing.
The Great Depression had the major affect it did because it made people — public opinion — accept that intellectual opinion, and say, oh we had a Great Depression because of the private enterprise system failed on us, and we need to call government to our aid. And these intellectual who were talking about having government play a larger role are really right. And so policies started to shift toward bigger and bigger government and more centralized government. But as it did so, people started getting disillusioned. And particularly, small groups of intellectuals around the world started getting disillusioned. And intellectual opinion started to shift the other way.
Let me give you a dramatic example. Ronald Reagan was preaching the same thing in 1964 when he spoke on behalf of Goldwater as he was preaching when he was elected President in 1980. He could not have been elected on that platform in 1964. He is the first President, only President in my lifetime, who was elected not because he was saying what the people wanted to hear, but because people had come around to wanting to hear what he was saying.