Writer Andrew Wilson does a wonderful job of puncturing the big myths about the Great Depression here.

Wilson’s history is entirely accurate. All the facts he recounts have been known for many decades.

Still, nearly all American students are told that the Depression was the fault of some innate flaw in capitalism and that it took government activism to “prime the pump,” and get the economy moving again — hundreds of new statutes, regulations, and programs known as the New Deal. Why this stupendous historical misconception?

The answer is that it fits the needs of the economic meddlers who depend on voters believing that freedom doesn’t work; believing that whatever problems we have, they are due to capitalism. Therefore, they can easily be herded to the polls to vote for politicians who have great plans to protect them from the supposed terrors of economic liberty. H.L. Mencken was right on the money when he said that politics consists of constructing an endless procession of imaginary hobgoblins to keep the people clamoring for protection. The foremost of those hobgoblins is “the free market” and the leftists are heavily dependent on maintaining the deception. It’s been around for so long that many of them sincerely believe it.

The most recent manifestation of this is the ferocious insistence by Democratic party leaders that the current financial crisis was entirely due to “laissez-faire philosophy.” The Big Lie technique seems to be working. I hear people calling in on talk radio shows to proclaim that the architect of the financial cataclysm is former Senator Phil Gramm.

The fact is that government interference with the smooth, natural order of the free society is responsible for nearly all of our socio-economic ills. Those who love the power and wealth they get through our leviathan state will do just about anything to make sure that people never learn that.