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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 267-268 of Brink Lindsey’s 2002 book, Against the Dead Hand:

The fundamental problem is that equating order with top-down control retains a powerful intuitive appeal.  Despite the obvious successes of unplanned markets, despite the spectacular rise of the Internet’s decentralized order, and despite the well-publicized new science of “complexity” and its study of self-organizing systems, it is still widely assumed that the only alternative to central authority is chaos….  Consequently, whenever some issue becomes a matter of public concern, there is inevitably strong pressure to impose some top-down mandate or create a new bureaucracy to manage the problem.  Meanwhile, those who resist such centralized policy responses are routinely castigated for their callous disregard of the issue.

In other words, very many people – nearly everyone on the political left, yet plenty also on the political right – remain creationists.  They continue to fail to grasp the nuances, deep meaning, and full implications of the science of spontaneous order that first flowered among scholars in 18th-century Scotland.  The still-living scholars who today are most prominent in carrying forward this spontaneous-order tradition as a scientific research project include Armen Alchian, Gary Becker, James Buchanan, Ronald Coase, Harold Demsetz, Kenneth ElzingaRichard Epstein, David Friedman, Israel Kirzner, Henry Manne, Deirdre McCloskey, Vernon SmithThomas Sowell, Gordon Tullock, Richard WagnerWalter WilliamsBruce Yandle, and Leland Yeager.

I name here only some of the ‘elders’ of this rich and revolutionary scientific tradition; I do not name all of them.  And I name none of the younger (say, below-65) scholars.  A longer list would be long indeed – but it would not be long enough, for the number of creationists continues to overwhelm.