An interesting quotation from A.V. Dicey‘s Law and Public Opinion in England regarding the role of the State in society.
“The beneficial effect of State intervention, especially in the form of legislation, is direct, immediate, and so to speak, visible, whilst its evil effects are gradual and indirect, and lie out of sight…Nor…do most people keep in mind that State inspectors may be incompetent, careless, or even occasionally corrupt…; few are those who realize the undeniable truth that State help kills self-help. Hence the majority of mankind must almost of necessity look with undue favor upon governmental intervention. This natural bias can be counteracted only by the existence, in a given society,…of a presumption or prejudice in favor of individual liberty, that is of laissez-faire. The mere decline, therefore of faith in self-help–and that such a decline has taken place is certain–is of itself sufficient to account for the growth of legislation tending towards socialism.”
– Taken from Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom, pp. 201.
Of course, society could not function smoothly without some form of government. Even the libertarian Milton Friedman acknowledges this on p. 199 of Capitalism and Freedom.
“The expressways crisscrossing the country, magnificent dams spanning great rivers orbiting satellites are all tributes to the capacity of government to command great resources. The school system, with all its defects and problems, with all the possibility of improvement through bringing into more effective play the forces of the market, has widened the opportunities available to American youth and contributed to the extension of freedom…Public health measures have contributed to the reduction of infectious disease. Assistance measures have relieved great suffering and distress…Law and order have been maintained…”
The point of presenting these two quotations is to demonstrate that adhering to strict theoretical construct without room for real-life complexities arising from the idiosyncrasies of various situations will often lead to sub-optimal decision-making.