Today in Britain there are millions living in squalor, poverty, and ignorance on drug and crime-infested council estates. These vast, barren, weed and rubbish strewn concrete monstrosities are an abomination, the worst and most depressing places imaginable to live. Of course the legislators who embarked on the grand experiment of public housing had no intention of creating hell on earth—they meant well. Yet—when one considers the leafy avenues of suburbs in America, where lawns and gardens are lovingly tended, where beautiful houses nestle amongst the trees, and shiny new cars take children to school, to the shopping mall, and to piano lessons—it is impossible to forgive those British legislators their conceit. Their grand experiment ruined millions of lives and condemned entire generations of families to misery, dependency, and craven values. It created hordes of disaffected brutes who are only too willing to riot, mug, and burgle. And public housing is just one example of countless ill-considered legislative schemes that sought to make things better—but only succeeded in making things worse.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove