Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on October 19, 2020

in Man of System, Philosophy of Freedom

… is from page 5 of the 5th edition (1966) of Karl Popper’s 1945 book, The Open Society and Its Enemies:

Why do all these social philosophies support the revolt against civilization? And what is the secret of their popularity? Why do they attract and seduce so many intellectuals? I am inclined to think that the reason is that they give expression to a deep-felt dissatisfaction with a world which does not, and cannot, live up to our moral ideals and to our dreams of perfection.

DBx: Unlike true liberalism, most social philosophies regard society as a science project, something to be engineered into its ideal condition by a higher power. The higher power might be god, it might be history, it might be the state. Some higher power must be assumed to carry out the engineering (with the state ever-ready to lend its services to the engineering effort). In short, adherents of most social philosophies other than true liberalism believe that it makes sense to talk about social “solutions”; they do not understand that it makes sense only to talk about trade-offs.


Add a Comment    Share Share    Print    Email

Previous post:

Next post: