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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from pages 267-268 of Brink Lindsey’s 2002 book, Against the Dead Hand [2]:

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 [3].  The still-living scholars who today are most prominent in carrying forward this spontaneous-order tradition as a scientific research project include Armen Alchian [4], Gary Becker [5], James Buchanan [6], Ronald Coase [7], Harold Demsetz [8], Kenneth Elzinga [9]Richard Epstein [10], David Friedman [11], Israel Kirzner [12], Henry Manne [13], Deirdre McCloskey [14], Vernon Smith [15]Thomas Sowell [16], Gordon Tullock [17], Richard Wagner [18]Walter Williams [19]Bruce Yandle [20], and Leland Yeager [21].

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.