Complex though it is, the iPhone is also a remarkably egalitarian device: The president of the United States uses one, as does the young Bengali immigrant who sold me my coffee this morning. But you can bet that her children do not attend schools as good as those that instruct the Obama daughters. The reason for that is politics: not liberal politics, not conservative politics, not bad politics, but politics per se.
The problem of politics is the problem of knowledge. The superiority of market processes to political processes is not in origin moral but technical. The useful knowledge in any modern society is distributed rather than centralized — and, as modern scholars of complexity studies confirm, there is no way to centralize it. Ludwig von Mises applied that insight specifically to the defects of planned economies — the famous “socialist calculation problem” — but it applies in varying degrees to all organizations and all bureaucracies, whether political, educational, religious, or corporate. Markets work for the same reason that the Internet works: They are not organizations, but disorganizations. More precisely, they are composed of countless (literally countless, blinking into and out of existence like subatomic particles) pockets of organization, their internal structures and relationships to one another in a constant state of flux.
We do not have the U.S. Steel Corporation, a tightly integrated and hierarchical operation overseen by a CEO with an omniscient command of his operation. We have lots of U.S. steel corporations, and a worldwide steel industry, and many worldwide industries making products that are substitutes for steel, from aluminum to carbon fiber to nanotubes. But we do have the U.S. Postal Service,theSocial Security Administration, and the government-school monopoly in your home town. These agencies underperform consistently when compared with such benchmarks of innovation as the software industry or the biotech industry. They fail because they attempt to substitute a single brain, or a relatively small panel of brains organized into a bureaucracy, for the collective cognitive firepower of millions or billions of people. Put simply, they attempt to manage systems that are too complex for them to understand. Complexity is humbling, but politics is immune to humility.
Which is something to keep in mind the next time somebody promises to “solve” our health-care challenges or unemployment. Washington is packed to the gills with people who believe that they have the ability to design an intelligent national health-care system, but there is not one who does — no Democrat, no Republican, no independent. The information burden is just too vast.Washington is not only full of people who do not know what they are talking about, it is full of people who do not know that they do not know what they are talking about. That is no model for social change. Your pencil and your phone are.
"Aristotle the Hun" was the name given to me more than 30 years ago when a friend noticed that in spite of my intellect I was still an Iowa farm boy.
Rev. Sam Sewell, is Director of Best Self USA, a Pastoral Psychotherapist, serves on the faculty of Naples Community Hospital as an instructor for Clinical Pastoral Education, President of the Theological Center in Naples, a member of Mensa where he serves as Gifted Youth Coordinator, a U.S. Navy Veteran, and a Member of the Association For Intelligence Officers. He is a frequent commentator on mental health and religious issues.His award winning research on family issues is published in several languages. Member of Sigma Delta Chi Honor Society
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"Though defensive violence will always be 'a sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men." - St. Augustine
"A new idea is first condemned as ridiculous, and then dismissed as trivial, until finally it becomes what everybody knows." -
"This is the real task before us: to reassert our commitment as a nation to a law higher than our own, to renew our spiritual strength. Only by building a wall of such spiritual resolve can we, as a free people, hope to protect our own heritage and make it someday the birthright of all men." --Ronald Reagan
A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." -- Edward Abbey
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." John Stuart Mill
"A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government." ~~~George Washington
"I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University." William F. Buckley, Jr.
"Conservatives are enemies of the government. Liberals are enemies of the nation because they are not enemies of the government." Aristotle the Hun
"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" Albert Einstein
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain." ANON
"That government is best which governs least." Thomas Paine
“A nation that substitutes emotion and empathy for rational thought will eventually digress into the Dark Ages,” Congressman Steve King (R-IA),
INTEGRITY: The highest courage is to dare to be ourself in the face of adversity. Choosing ethics over convenience and truth over popularity means there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
They may be more likely to go to Heaven for good intentions yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.~ C. S. Lewis
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." ANON
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