Friday, March 24, 2017


Intellectuals continue to mistake their abilities to construct elaborate abstract models they believe  to be representative of social or economic reality.  So the self-proclaimed intellectual claims to be able to engineer society or the economy in ways that improve society or the economy.  This error is what Hayek called “the fatal conceit.”

By this, Hayek meant the hubris the "intellectuals" had believing they could assess and effectively influence the  various social and economic factors involved in the day-to-day flow in an economic society. 
But there is another aspect of this conceit, not just the belief that these divergent aspects of a complex equation can be managed but that the intellectual himself has the unique right to do so.
This arrogance is endemic among these people.  An example is METI, the messaging arm of SETI. SETI looks for extraterrestrial life; METI tries to contact them.
Imagine you and I are the members of a tribe living on the edge of a forest in pre-history. The tribe is made up of men, women and children and all are of equal rank with the exception of an elected war chief and a council of lawmakers. I decide I want to make friends with whatever tribe is nearby and I build a fire to signal whoever is out there. I am confident that my signal will bring philosophers and inventors, not cannibals and warriors. How do I have the right to do that?

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