Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Thomas Sowell

Check out this bit from Thomas Sowell. Quite an intellect. Here he expresses very simply and very clearly an Idea I have been kicking around a lot lately looking for an incisive way to say it. I have made this same argument to a friend about why it is such a very bad idea to ban the incandescent bulb. In short, the argument goes like this. Each of us knows some things, but none of us know enough. A free market performs an efficient calculus on all of our knowledge and comes out with the correct answer for reasons we may not understand for years. On the other hand, self impressed social engineers think they have cut to the essence and should decide difficult questions for us all.

When it comes to direct social engineering history tells us with great certainty the results of such hubris- murder, starvation, and misery. But, hey, why should we learn from the past when we can suffer it fresh all over again. In Fact, the other most common term for the Left, is the Progressives. While I do believe in progress, it does not come about the way the Left thinks it does. It does not come about by abandoning the past, but by embracing its subtle lessons. The last great intellectual movement, the Enlightenment produced the great democracies of the West. This movement ,at its very core, makes its leap forward by safeguarding against weaknesses in human nature. It starts with the premise that governments will inevitably become corrupt and oppressive. Progress does not come about via unbridled hubris, but rather, deep humility.

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