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Tag Archives: Hubris and humility

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 112 of Virginia Postrel’s superb and still-relevant 1998 book, The Future and Its Enemies: By dispersing knowledge and control, a dynamic society takes advantage of the human quest to create and discover. Dynamism allows the world to be enriched through the decentralized, trial-and-error experiments in which we all engage when left free to do so. While reactionaries seek rules that will ban change and technocrats want rules that will control outcomes, dynamists look for...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 86-87 of University of Notre Dame philosopher James Otteson’s marvelous and hot-off-the-Cambridge-University-Press book, Seven Deadly Economic Sins (2021) (footnote deleted): In [Adam] Smith’s view, most decent people would recoil at the thought of superintending the private decisions of their fellow citizens. But not all people would recoil at the thought of it; some would embrace and even relish it. Which type are more likely to avoid such an authority, and which are...

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The Real Villains

In response to many posts here at Cafe Hayek over the past several months about Covid-19 and the deranged over-reaction to this disease, frequent Cafe commenter Patrick Barron sent to me by e-mail the following pertinent observation. I share it here with Pat’s kind permission. There is much criticism, most well deserved, of the medical community’s fear-mongering over Covid-19, the possibility of new strains, and the often-bizarre public health remedies many recommend. But the real...

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Some Covid Links

Here’s the opening paragraph of a new essay by David Stockman: We will not mince words. America is indeed suffering from a dangerous plague—a plague of misanthropic fearmongering from the likes of Dr. Fauci, the Scarf Lady and the Biden’s new CDC director, among countless others of the self-designated Virus Patrol. And here’s another slice: You can’t make up this kind of calculated mendacity, including, presumably, the off-script scripted tears. That’s especially because it’s now an...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 253-254 of Joseph Epstein’s June 2015 essay “The Conversationalist” as this essay is reprinted (and retitled as “Michael Oakeshott”) in the 2018 collection of some of Epstein’s essays titled The Ideal of Culture (brackets original to Epstein): Oakeshott’s strong antipathy was for what he terms “rationalism” in politics. Rationalism is the reign of confident reason expended on a subject that cannot readily be reasoned upon. Politics, “always so deeply veined with both the...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 87-88 of University of Notre Dame philosopher James Otteson’s excellent and hot-off-the-Cambridge-University-Press book, Seven Deadly Economic Sins (2021): An objective look at the limitation of our knowledge – how difficult is it to know whether we are making good decisions even in our own lives, let alone in those of anyone else? – reveals that in fact we are typically in no position to judge what is good for others. We do not possess the detailed, personal,...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 127 of John Mueller’s superb 1999 book, Capitalism, Democracy, & Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery: Intellectuals who consider business to be boring, mindlessly repetitive, unsatisfying, or lacking in daring, courage, and imagination have never tried to run – much less start – one. DBx: Yes. Intellectuals – those whom Deirdre McCloskey labels as members of “the clerisy” – excel at talking, as well as at imagining all sorts of alternative realities. They then mistake their...

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Quotation of the Day…

…is from page xiv of University of Notre Dame philosopher James Otteson’s excellent and hot-off-the-Cambridge-University-Press book, Seven Deadly Economic Sins (2021): But one of the primary intellectual virtues is to know the limits of one’s knowledge, and to proportion one’s beliefs (and the strength of one’s beliefs) accordingly. DBx: Indeed so. Unfortunately, this intellectual virtue is more rare than chaste prostitutes. The world swarms with people itching to use coercion to impose...

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Some Covid Links

The wisdom of Scott Atlas. A slice: The coronavirus pandemic has been a great tragedy, there can be no doubt about that. But it has also exposed profound issues in America that now threaten the very principles of freedom and order that we Americans often take for granted. First, I have been shocked at the enormous power of the government, to unilaterally decree, to simply close businesses and schools by edict, restrict personal movement, mandate behavior, and eliminate our most basic...

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 42 of the late Harvard historian Richard Pipes’s splendid 1999 volume, Property and Freedom: They [the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau] displayed just the right mixture of noble sentiment, lofty rhetoric, muddled thinking, and disregard for reality to attract those intellectuals who, like him, refused to “tolerate the world as it is.” Comments

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