… is from page 4 of Deirdre McCloskey’s important 1990 volume, If You’re So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise:
And the tale of expert social engineering is unbelievable, really. It cannot answer the simplest folk skepticism: If You’re So Smart, why ain’t you rich?
The world is overpopulated with people each of whom seems truly to believe that he or she is blessed with special intelligence or insight about reality’s complex details – intelligence or insight that, sadly, is denied to nearly all of his or her fellow human beings. And these geniuses are so confident in their schemes that none hesitates to propose that millions of his or her fellow human beings be coerced in order to conform their actions to the genius’s Vision.
Geniuses on the right – Daniel McCarthy, Oren Cass, Marco Rubio. Geniuses on the left – Elizabeth Warren, Robert Reich, and Bernie Sanders. Geniuses everywhere. But, strangely, none has become even modestly wealthy by serving fellow human beings in the voluntary arena that is the market. What reason, I ask, is there to trust that these individuals – who would use coercion to superintend the spending of hundreds of millions of consumers and the investments of countless entrepreneurs – have even an inkling of understanding about what they talk and write, and sometimes shout, about so glibly?