Monday, August 31, 2009

Thomas Sowell: The Pattern of Failure

A coworker of mine who is a Ron Paul supporter gave me a book to read. Already 2 chapters into the book and it is blowing me away. The book is The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy by Thomas Sowell

The interesting perspective I see is that it was written in 1996 and the ideas still apply today as they did in the past. I will give you an example how we are still seeing his thoughts played out. He starts off by pointing out the elitist, government-expanding crusaders share several key elements:

The following excepts are from The Vision of the Anointed by Thomas Sowell ©1996

1. Assertion of a great danger to the whole society, a danger to which the masses of people are oblivious.

2. An urgent need for government action to avert impending catastrophe.

3. A need for government to drastically curtail the dangerous behavior of the many, in response to the prescient conclusions of the few.

4. A disdainful dismissal of arguments to the contrary as either uninformed, irresponsible, or motivated by unworthy purposes.

He also points out patterns that have developed among the anointed for dealing with repeated failures of policies based on their vision.

The "Crisis"

Some situation exists, whose negative aspects the anointed propose to eliminate. Such a situation is routinely characterized as a "crisis," even though all human situations have negative aspects, and even though evidence is seldom asked or given to show how the situation at hand is either uniquely bad or threatening to get worse. Sometimes the situation described as a "crisis" has in fact already been getting better for years.

The "Solution"
Policies to end the "crisis" are advocated by the anointed, who say that these policies will lead to beneficial result A. Critics say that these policies will lead to detrimental result Z. The anointed dismiss these latter claims as absurd and "simplistic," if not dishonest.

The Results
The policies are instituted and lead to detrimental result Z.

The Response
Those who attribute detrimental result Z to the policies instituted are dismissed as "simplistic" for ignoring the "complexities" involved, as "many factors" went into determining the outcome. The burden of proof is put on the critics to demonstrate to a certainty that these policies alone were the only possible cause of the worsening that occurred. No burden of proof whatever is put on those who had so confidently predicted improvement. Indeed, it is often asserted that things would have been even worse, were it not for the wonderful programs that mitigated the inevitable damage from other factors.

There you have it...

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