When the ruling class sets out to impose their centralized plans for the economy that don’t align with the preferences of citizens, what choices are they left with?

A prime example of this is the mandates for dramatically increasing the sales of electric vehicles. President Joe Biden and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper have both publicly declared their preferred goals of 50 percent of all new vehicle sales being electric vehicles by 2030.

The problem with these goals, however, is that the public is not aligned. As my colleague Jon Sanders wrote recently, “Market preferences, however, cannot be handed down from on high.”

Even optimistic estimates project EV sales to be only about 25 percent of new car sales by 2030, and we’ve seen major car companies suffering massive losses on their EV products, prompting some to significantly back off of their production.

Recent news reports show EV sales in North Carolina reaching only 7 percent of new car sales, a long way off from Cooper’s goal set for just six years from now.

So what choices are central planners like Cooper and Biden left with?

They either ratchet up dictatorial-like power to force compliance with their goals, or abandon their plans and admit failure.

And we all know how much politicians hate admitting failure.

Enforcing compliance may start out with political favoritism in the form of rewards for those acting in accordance with the plan – at the expense of others, of course. But soon it inevitably will turn to punitive punishments for those not in compliance with the plan.

The electric vehicle push is just one example, you can surely think of countless others that apply.

When politicians seek to plan the economy, creeping totalitarianism is inevitable.

When politicians seek to substitute their preferences and plans for the widely disbursed preferences and plans of society’s individuals, creeping totalitarianism is inevitable.  The best – and only – way to fend it off is a consistent rolling back of government intervention and a thriving free market system.