by Bill B. May

The big difference between Democrats and Republicans, between progressives and conservatives, is the progressive belief that an economy (or any other endeavor) can be planned in advance.   That’s not to say that I’m against planning but it should be recognized for what it is.   It is nothing more than the best guess as to the future given what one knows today.  That’s fine to guide your immediate future by taking this guess.   For anyone, it might be the best strategy at the time.  But we should never write a law that embraces this guess.

The problem with progressives is that they think they can know everything for all time.   And so they write a law which for the most part will exist until government is overthrown.  But the Austrian branch of economics and its prominent writers have proven that such as strategy is folly.   There is simply no way to plan an economy that will work for the future, or even today.   There is just too much knowledge for anyone to absorb to make such a plan and that knowledge changes every day.   What this says is that you can make a plan but you have to realize that it probably won’t work tomorrow or next year.   Situations change.

Even in the field of science, we will never know everything so what we believe to be true today will be overturned or modified some time in the future.  Think Einstein.

This is particularly true of the recent climate conference in Paris.   Jeffrey Tucker writes about King Canute, a ruler in Europe, a millennium ago.  The people loved him and thought he could never be wrong.   Being a humble man, he went to the seashore and asked his people to observe how he could stop the tides.   As he expected, he couldn’t.  The message is that we don’t know enough about global warming to stop any tides.  And it is folly to try, at great expense to civilization.  We might find that the sun is the culprit in what little warming we’ve had over the last century or so.   And it might also explain why there has been no warming for a couple decades.  There is just no way that the IPCC can determine the best course of action for civilization; it is too stupid even with intelligent delegates.

One of the most prominent scholars of the Austrian school of economics was Mises for which we have posted an interesting story about his  life during WWI.  But moreover, this is a story about how his theories are winning over the world’s populations.  Liberty and freedom are the yearning of human’s hearts.

Of course, Mises’ theories can’t last forever either.  Someone will come along and modify them to better explain humans and their organizations.   The key is to keep an open mind but also to question anyone who claims to have the all-time answer to any question.