The best thing I learned from libertarians to date...

May 04 · 4 mins read

“Honestly, most of the stuff I find is better than the stuff I write, so why not pass it on?” — Derek Rishmawy (from the comments section of “Is Christianity Individualistic or Collectivist? “Yes” – C.S. Lewis and J. Gresham Machen”)


Here’s a summary of the best thing I learned to date from those who call themselves “libertarians”, and those who oppose tyranny and big governments:

“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” — Thomas Sowell

(I’m not sure if Thomas Sowell is a libertarian. Perhaps he is not. It’s just that his quote seems to match with what libertarians believe.)

I found that while reading an article from mises.org[1]. (Not that I understood everything from this article :laughing: but… how would you know that there are still lots of things you don’t understand if you don’t read things you don’t understand, right? :laughing:)

I first heard of this idea a few months ago from “The Deadly Isms | Episode 4: Things Dictators Don’t Know” by Matt Kibbe, which was linked to in fee.org’s “The Battle Isn’t Right vs. Left. It’s Statism vs. Individualism”.

Here are some interesting quotes from that video:

“The more men know, the smaller the percentage that any single man can know.” — Friedrich Hayek

“…this is a common mistake made by socialists and other advocates of central planning: They think that as society evolves and humans learn more it becomes easier to centralize that knowledge and use it to plan institutions. In fact, the opposite is true. While a central planner might have been able to grasp most of what was known a thousand years ago, no one today could ever hope to come close.”

“…the guy who invented Wikipedia, the pioneer, was Jimmy Wales. He got the idea from reading F.A. Hayek who saw and spent his life to this difficult, almost mysterious, sometimes even magical, observation that order comes about through liberty and not through imposition. That was his theme. And it’s a hard thing to learn: that the more you let go, the better things work.” — Jeffrey Tucker

“… top down control fails because those at the top can never have enough knowledge to coordinate the activities of millions of people, not even with all the supercomputers in the world. And even when they try, the results have been some of the worst cases of human suffering in history. The only other option is to let people plan their own lives as long as they don’t hurt people or take their stuff. Trust that these individual plans will come together into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, and that none of us knows as much as all of us.

If nothing else, this will give you comfort knowing that “it is okay to not know everything”. Yehey!!!


PS:

From a programmer’s perspective, the idea presented above seems to match what Kent Beck calls “The Implementor’s Rule” in his blog post titled “Software Design is Human Relationships: Part 3 of 3, Changers & Changers”.


[1] (Aug 18, 2020) While googling for “Bahnsen on Austrian Economics”, I found an interesting article by David Bahnsen which mentions Mises Institute’s founder, Lew Rockwell: “The Undiscerning and Dangerous Appreciation of Ron Paul”. It’s a very interesting read.