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The Planner’s Pretense

F. A. Hayek

F. A. Hayek

Kevin Williamson writes The Unmanageable Man in The National Review.

Excerpt:

The scientific study of complex adaptive systems such as markets has taken Ludwig von Mises’s philosophical critique of central planning and developed a formidable body of knowledge that suggests a much more general and sweeping understanding of Mises’s underlying principle. Even a relatively simple economic activity — say, the cultivation and sale of wheat — is far too complex to be comprehended, anticipated, or managed by any bureaucracy, agency, or committee, no matter how intelligent and well-meaning its agents, no matter how well-equipped and incentivized they may be.

F. A. Hayek warned us against the “pretense of knowledge.” But the fact is that our public-policy debate is broadly organized around that very pretense, which is practically an article of faith.

Reality is remorselessly wearing away at the planners’ pretense. In 2008, the best and brightest in Washington, who believe themselves to be among the most intelligent and powerful men and women in the world, stood by helplessly as their ambitions were done in by the very houses in which we live, like cells turning against the body as cancer. Washington’s response was to apply to health care the same effective management it had brought to housing policy, executing its program with approximately the ineptitude that one might have expected.

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Idealism Kills

horowitz

“In retrospect it was apparent to me that most of the violence in my lifetime had been directed by utopians like myself against those who would not go along with their impossible dreams. “Idealism kills,” the philosopher Nietzsche had warned before all this bloodshed began. But nobody listened.”

“I agree with the observation more than I would like to. It is the human wish to be told lies that keeps us as primitive morally and socially as we are. But stoic realism is, after all, what being a conservative is about. It is about accepting the absolute limits that life places on human hope. One could define the viewpoint of the left as just the opposite. It is an obstinate, compulsive, destructive belief in the fantasy of change, in the hope of a human redemption.”

“I have watched my friends on the left, whose ideas created an empire of inhumanity, survive the catastrophe of their schemes and go on to unexpected triumphs by turning their backs on the ashes of their ideological defeats. Forced to witness the collapse of everything they had once dreamed of and worked to achieve, they have emerged unchastened and unchanged in pursuit of the same destructive illusions. And they have been rewarded for their misdeeds with a cultural cachet and unprecedented influence in the country most responsible for the worldwide defeat of their misguided schemes.

I cannot explain this dystopian paradox except by agreeing with my interlocutor that politics is indeed irrational; and that socialism is a wish that runs as deep as any religious faith. I do not know that the truth must necessarily remain in the shadows, as he writes. But I am persuaded that a lie grounded in human desire is too powerful for mere reason to kill.”

Excerpt From: Horowitz, David. “The Black Book of the American Left.” Encounter Books, 2013-11-04. iBooks.

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How to Change the World

Lone-Survivor-Winter-Movie-Preview-618x400

Life Lessons from Navy Seal Training  byWilliam H. McRaven in the Wall Street Journal:

Excerpt and Summary

To the graduating class of 2014, you are moments away from graduating. Moments away from beginning your journey through life. Moments away from starting to change the world—for the better.

It will not be easy.

But start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up—if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today. And what started here will indeed have changed the world, for the better.

HKO

Read and share the whole article.  Please.

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Equality Before the Law vs Material Equality

horowitz

“What makes an outlook “conservative’ is that it is rooted in an attitude about the past rather than in expectations of the future. The first principles of conservatism are propositions about human nature and the way human beings behave in a social context; about limits, and what limits make possible. This practicality, this attention to experience, to workable arrangements, explains why the conservative community can be liberal and tolerant toward its members in ways that the progressive left cannot.

In contrast to the conservative outlook, liberal and radical ideologies are about the future, about desired outcomes. The first principles of the left are the principles of politically constructing a “better world.” Throughout the modern era, the progressive future has been premised on a social contract that would make all of society’s members equal—or at least provide them with equal starting-points.”

“Post-Communist conservatism, then, begins with the principle that is written in the blood of these social experiments. “It is just not true,” as Hayek wrote in The Constitution of Liberty, “that human beings are born equal; . . . if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position; . . . [thus] the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are, therefore, not only different but in conflict with each other.” (my emphasis)

In other words, the rights historically claimed by the left are self-contradicting and self-defeating. The regime of social justice, of which the left dreams, is a regime that by its very nature must crush individual freedom. It is not a question of choosing the right (while avoiding the wrong) political means in order to achieve the desired ends. The means are contained in the ends. The leftist revolution must crush freedom in order to achieve the social justice that it seeks. It is therefore unable to achieve even that justice. This is the totalitarian circle that cannot be squared. Socialism is not bread without freedom, as some maintain; it is neither freedom nor bread. The shades of the victims, in the endless cemetery of 20th-century revolutions, cry out from their still-fresh graves: the liberated future is a destructive illusion. To heed this cry is the beginning of a conservative point of view.”

Excerpt From: Horowitz, David. “The Black Book of the American Left.” Encounter Books, 2013-11-04. iBooks.

This material may be protected by copyright.

 

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=703309153

 

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Manufactured Consensus

From Daniel Greenfield in his blog Sultan Knish,  The Left is too Smart to Fail.

Excerpts:

That is why Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize for having good intentions. His actual foreign policy mattered less than the appearance of a new transformative foreign policy based on speeches. Gore promised to be be harsher on Saddam than Bush, but no one remembers that because everyone in the bubble knows that the Iraq War was stupid… and only conservatives do stupid things.

Liberal intelligence exists on the illusion of its self-worth. The magical thinking that guides it in every other area from economics to diplomacy also convinces it that if it believes it is smart, that it will be. The impenetrable liberal consensus in every area is based on this delusion of intelligence. Every policy is right because it’s smart and it’s smart because it’s progressive and it’s progressive because smart progressives say that it is.

Progressives manufacture the consensus of their own intelligence and insist that it proves them right.