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We Need Refuge

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:


Jason Riley rightly warns of the dangers lurking in the Progressive assumption that humans are stupid, self-destructive, hate-filled hedonists who can cohere into a productive society only if so regimented by alleged experts – ‘experts’ whose commands each puny individual must obey (“Spare Us More of the Arrogance of ‘Expertise’,” September 2). Mr. Riley also rightly quotes the great Thomas Sowell in opposition to this arrogant and deeply mistaken notion.

But my favorite line from Prof. Sowell is a different one. It’s the closing sentence of his 1980 book, Knowledge and Decisions, in which he pleads for “above all, the right of ordinary people to find elbow room for themselves and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of their ‘betters.’”*

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

* Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions (New York: Basic Books, 1980), page 383.