An Analogy I have Made Many Times

I will quote from Don Boudreaux (who was in turn commenting on his own quote of the day, which happened to be from Brink Lindsey, my old college roommate).

In other words, very many people – nearly everyone on the political left, yet plenty also on the political right – remain creationists.  They continue to fail to grasp the nuances, deep meaning, and full implications of the science of spontaneous order that first flowered among scholars in 18th-century Scotland.


  1. obloodyhell:

    Interesting way to put it. It definitely throws them on their heads.

    Not that they'll learn anything from it, thanks to the Liberal Midnight Reset Button®, as it clearly violates Officially Accepted Liberal Dogma™

    The “Liberal Midnight Reset Button®” --

    a) Suppose you meet a libtard who appears reasonable. They are open and honest and fully willing to discuss, without excessive histrionics, any point of view they espouse… (yes, this is admittedly rare)
    b) Now, pick a topic dear to them, which you know they believe in but which you also know to be clearly wrongheaded, even if well-meaning.
    c) Start with their supposition, and take them, step by logical step through from their supposition, getting acquiescence at each stage: “Yeah, that follows, uh-huh…”. Show by such reasoning that the net affect of their supposition is the end result will be the exact opposite of what they purportedly support or believe in.
    d) OK, you’ve won. Now what? Wait. You’ll hear something like… “Hmmm. I’m going to have to think about that.”, and you’ll go your own separate ways.
    e) Now, a week passes, seek them out. Bring the subject of their supposition up again, subtly. You will hear them espousing the exact same notions of their original supposition unchanged, unaltered, as though the entire reasoning process you took them through in “c” never happened!

    So what happened? The Liberal Midnight Reset Button® is what happened. At some point in the ensuing day or so, after they dropped off to sleep, their tiny widdle libtard brain started to process the new information. It carefully examined the new information in relation to Officially Accepted Liberal Dogma™ (OALD), found it to be unacceptably running counter to it, and purged the new information without adding it to the libtard’s store of knowledge. BAM, conflict ended, Liberal Twitticism remains intact.

    With practice, you can even watch this thing start to kick in as you have the discussion with them. In many cases, if they learn you’re “dangerous” to their precious Officially Accepted Liberal Dogma™, they will preemptively act to terminate, redirect, or otherwise alter the conversation to avoid the necessary mental CPU cycles required to purge the non-agreeing data.

    You think I’m being facetious? Only in a sense. This process does exist and it really does act to prevent true libtards from actually learning anything new. ;) And I've seen it kick in on more than one occasion...

    I would cite to you that, if there is a single unifying factor, a quality that ALL postmodern Liberals possess, it's an unmitigated lack of capability to learn from experience -- "wisdom" or "common sense" -- If there was a "WQ" test to measure "wisdom" the way IQ tests measure intellect, then liberals would almost uniformly locate on the lower third of the bell curve.

  2. marque2:

    I always find these discussions of Genesis vs creation to be overwrought. The bible wasn't intended to be a tell all. It is suppose to give a general idea of how the world was created to folks without a scientific background, and to that end it succeeds. There are some things kinda out of order compared to the scientists version, but for a 2000+ year old document the versions are remarkably similar. Bible is written poetically hower. Good example, when God Said let there be light - (poetic) the scientists say there was a big bang. When God separated the heavens from the Earth - the scientists would say matter cooled and coalesced. It is almost the same.

  3. No name:

    Yes, I've thought this many times myself. I work in academia and the simultaneous acceptance and rejection of emergent order (depending on the context) always baffles me. I know people who can articulate evolutionary theory ad nauseum, but are essentially authoritarian socialists. At least most creationists I know cannot articulate a free-market theory of emergent order. This is one reason I am more forgiving of hard-core creationists. With them, at least, there is not such a high degree of cognitive dissonance.

  4. KD:

    That's a great quote, but the corollary to that are libertarians who think of free markets the way the god-fearing think about original sin ie. a perfect ground 0 that we should always be striving to return to. A true free market is virtually impossible. Anytime you have 2 or more people together there are going to be power imbalances and competing interests to reconcile. Allowing market forces to work is a great way to resolve those problems of course, but regulation and government are also crucial tools in the toolbox. The current libertarian/republican disinterest in considering that there is also a spectrum of bad to good with government regulation is a big problem.

    Take finance for example. The financial system is completely, 100% made up of rules and regulations. The money it's based on is a creation of rules and rules and regulations. If you strip away regulations from it as we did for decades leading to the crisis, you aren't necessarily applying the free market, you are just allowing different people (the banks) to write the rules. No points for guessing who their rules will favor.

    The answer to the point above isn't gold or complete free markets (gold just outsources money creation to holes in the ground and you've got a tough argument that life isn't much better today than it was when there was a gold standard or even before governments handled the money supply). The answer is paying attention to basic regulations like accounting controls for origination loans, or simpler rules for what banks can and can't do plus ensuring that there's always private capital in the first loss position for any banking operations.

  5. rxc:

    I think that the progressive comeback to this would be "Yes, order might eventually emerge from chaos in a free market, but there would be too much unequal suffering along the way." Progressives do not like to see anything suffer, and they especially don't like to see unequal suffering, so they try to mitigate it by imposing collective punishment on everyone in a fair way to ensure that no one feels like they are suffering any more than anyone else. And, of course, with good planning by smart people, maybe the society will move forward faster.

    I don't agree with this argument, because I think it is trumped by the second law of thermodynamics, which basically requires that you throw away some part of the energy you expend to do work. When you apply it to a society, it means that you always have to have some people at the bottom of the pile. Everyone cannot be above average, no matter how hard you try. There will always be peaks and troughs among the populace. Progressives are focused on tearing down the peaks, because they can't really raise up the toughs. They have tried, many times, but nothing seems to work.

  6. Zachriel:

    Coyote Blog: In other words, very many people – nearly everyone on the political
    left, yet plenty also on the political right – remain creationists.
    They continue to fail to grasp the nuances, deep meaning, and full
    implications of the science of spontaneous order that first flowered among scholars in 18th-century Scotland.

    Spontaneous order is a wonderful thing, but people aren't molecules, and are capable of considering things from a global perspective. With humans, ordering is not only individual, but families, tribes, cities, states, and international relationships. There's no way to escape these ordering principles, even if you wanted to. Genghis Khan will order things if you won't, because he can envision how to form the spontaneous order of migratory tribes on the steppes into a coherent whole.

    In any case, the relative success of democratic governance, which includes ordering on the individual, market, local, state, federal, international, executive, legislative, judicial, corporate, bureaucratic, property, individual rights, civic, family, neighborhood, etc., shows how these various pieces can fit together into a coherent whole.

  7. norse:

    Funny - the way I read the quote is "in the US, an overwhelming majority of the population doesn't get even 18th century science", yet the commenters so far seem to read it far differently. Could someone elaborate?

  8. obloodyhell:

    It's that they argue for evolution in nature -- that is, self-organizing biological systems from chaos, but can't grasp that happening in human systems. There has to be a guiding hand for things to "go right".

    When it comes to humans, they are all Creationists.

  9. obloodyhell:

    }}} shows how these various pieces can fit together into a coherent whole

    Well, unless you're a liberal, in which case another government bureaucracy is called for when something goes wrong. The system cannot possibly adjust to fix the problem without a Czar to take care of it.

  10. Zachriel:

    Try to address the actual argument. Humans are not molecules as they can envision global ordering. This will occur whether you like it or not, amd people have found it is better to control the process through democratic means than to allow tyrants free rein. Furthermore, ordering on various scales has multiple advantages, as shown by the relative stability and prosperity of mixed systems.

  11. bigmaq1980:

    I think the difference between the liberals and the creationists in this regard is the fact that creationists see only the end result of the evolutionary process, while the liberals only see the direct impacts of government intervention. Neither "sees" the full process, and they are each more difficult to follow and understand. Each group takes a "short cut" and largely "believes" what they are told by some "authority" of their choosing without much questioning or exploring.