from Sarah Hoyt, Poor Darlings:

Back in the early twentieth century, when “scientific” everything was shiny and chrome, they were “scientific” governance.  All that bs about semantics, and psychology as a hard science you find in early Heinlein books?  Yep, that was loose in society at large.  We were going to deconstruct the “machines” that were humans, and from that organize society so “scientifically” it would be a paradise.

You still find that a lot in really early science fiction, together with the righteous indignation of “smart” people who knew they were right and couldn’t understand why people weren’t listening to Marx, a smart person, who was “obviously” right.

Of course, the reason they weren’t listening to him was that the little angry ink blot, stewing in his own juices in the library, had no clue what he was talking about.  The injustices that outraged them were already naturally mitigating, by the time he was writing about them.  He didn’t know distribution from a hole in his elbow, so his economic system would always end up delivering a million baby shoes for the left foot only, and his idea that without indoctrination people would naturally have free-love and no families was one of those ideas so stupid you have to be massively smart (and taught to ignore reality) to come up with.


A great post that merits a full read.

Sarah hits a point made by Dierdre McCloskey. Grand schemes are designed to solve problems that can solve themselves. They are reviewing the play only after the first act.

These premature solutions often instigate a whole new problem(s) and response(s).

The best solution to social problems like health care for the poor is direct- buy it for them.  The attempt to custom design or influence complicated systems in a complex society with so much knowledge so widely dispersed is doomed to fail.