One frequently hears comments about the "unintended consequences" of Social Reform: Public initiatives, Government programs, intended to solve one problem, but unleashing a whole series of entirely new ones. The implication is that some not reasonably foreseeable mechanism has intervened. We would suggest that what is involved--the actual dynamics--are absolutely predictable consequences of misguided analysis; obvious consequences, only overlooked because of a conceptual myopia which, while having multiple causes, renders much of the public unable to see "the forest for the trees."
The initial premise for virtually every great "Reform" of the past century was itself irretrievably flawed. This was true whether the "problem" addressed was, by nature, peculiar to each afflicted individual or actually common to a definable group. Consider, first, those which involved an attempt to solve problems inherently individual in nature, by collective action; that is, by arbitrarily classifying the individual with a particular problem as a member of a group of the afflicted, defined by the problem itself, before legislating for that "group" as a group--such as "poor people" or unwed mothers. In this approach, the Reformers, in their enthusiasm, scarcely paused to consider how a Reform might impact the intended beneficiaries, in other areas of individual interest or concern. Full of self-righteous fervor against imagined "injustice," they ignored the impact of the Reform on societal interests or concerns of a more general import. Thus it should be no mystery why, in virtually every instance, only social disaster followed.