… is from page 19 of the 2009 Revised Edition of Thomas Sowell’s Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One :
The real question is not which policy or system would work best ideally, but which has in fact produced better results with far from ideal human beings. Even with the more modest task of evaluating different policies within a given system, the real question is not which policy sounds more plausible, or which would work best if people behaved ideally, but which policy in fact turns out to produce better results with actual people, behaving as they actually do.
DBx: As stated, the above proposition would be explicitly disputed by no one old enough to have graduated from kindergarten. In practice, however, many people – including countless individuals who boast graduate degrees – talk about policy in complete ignorance of the wisdom conveyed by Sowell in the above proposition.