Monday, August 16, 2010

Ronald Reagan & Thomas Sowell On The Elite Left & Freedom

This is a superb video juxtaposing the views of Ronald Reagan with the left wing elite that now controls our government. The contrast is striking.

(H/T Gay Patriot)

On this same theme, Thomas Sowell, probably better than anyone, explained the fundamental fallacy at the heart of the intellectual elitism of the left in a short 2007 essay:

. . . Millions died of starvation when the economic ideas of Stalin in the Soviet Union and Mao in China were inflicted on the population living - and dying - under their iron rule. Many on the left may protest that they do not believe in the ideas or the political systems that prevailed under Hitler, Stalin or Mao. No doubt that is true.

Yet what the political left, even in democratic countries, share is the notion that knowledgeable and virtuous people like themselves have both a right and a duty to use the power of government to impose their superior knowledge and virtue on others.

They may not impose their presumptions wholesale, like the totalitarians, but retail in innumerable restrictions, ranging from economic and nanny state regulations to "hate speech" laws.

If no one has even one percent of all the knowledge in a society, then it is crucial that the other 99 percent of knowledge - scattered in tiny and individually unimpressive amounts among the population at large - be allowed the freedom to be used in working out mutual accommodations among the people themselves.

These innumerable mutual interactions are what bring the other 99 percent of knowledge into play - and generate new knowledge.

That is why free markets, judicial restraint, and reliance on decisions and traditions growing out of the experiences of the many - rather than the groupthink of the elite few - are so important.

Elites are all too prone to over-estimate the importance of the fact that they average more knowledge per person than the rest of the population - and under-estimate the fact that their total knowledge is so much less than that of the rest of the population.

Central planning, judicial activism, and the nanny state all presume vastly more knowledge than any elite have ever possessed.

The ignorance of people with Ph.D.s is still ignorance, the prejudices of educated elites are still prejudices, and for those with one percent of a society's knowledge to be dictating to those with the other 99 percent is still an absurdity.

What we see today is proof of Dr. Sowell's words. The arrogance of the intellectual elite now in power is boundless; the results of their policies catastrophic. Indeed, even the elite recognizes the latter. When their final arguments going into the midterm elections are not on their record while in power, but rather "F*ck Tea" and a claim that Social Security is solvent and under attack, it is clear to all that they are bereft of ideas and intellectually bankrupt.

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