Recent political events have brought to the forefront of LAS’ mind F.A. Hayek’s pithy concept of the ‘fatal conceit.’ Hayek, of course, is remembered as the founder of the Austrian school of free-market economic theory – later carried forward by the so-called Chicago school under Milton Friedman.
The basic idea of the ‘fatal conceit’ concept – specifically applied to economics - is this: no one is smart enough to direct the exchange of resources in any economy of any appreciable scale. Not a single person ever born or who will ever be born is that smart. The market must be allowed to freely produce profit and loss signals to producers and consumers for an economy to function and grow.
When the market is replaced by the directives of a centralized command and control authority, both producers and consumers are reduced to beggars seeking favors from an omnipotent but hardly omniscient god-state run by fallible people. This dysfunctional beggar citizenry is what we have come to mock with the label ‘crony.’ We have our crony capitalists (producers), such as Buffet and Immelt, seeking favorable advantage by short-cutting the market with favors dispensed by the dispensers of gub’ment favors. But we also have crony consumers throughout the republic - such as anyone buying Obama’s latest line that the pathetic little payroll tax cut given to you out of his philanthropic instincts (a pander) is an offset to the rise in gas prices for which he has no responsibility (a lie).
Socialism in every one of its forms rejects market forces - and therefore inevitably degrades into a society broken down as 99% beggar citizenry seeking alms from 1% ruling elite. The point is proven by a simple compare and contrast of conditions in East vs. West Europe, East vs. West Germany, and East vs. West Berlin immediately after we won the Cold War. The Cold War (in Europe) was a giant social / economic experiment conducted on two groups of culturally and historically identical people living under two distinct systems. The plainly observable economic conditions on each side, when the Berlin Wall finally came down, could not have been more black and white.
This book review of Hayek’s so-called “collected works” explains the concept of the fatal conceit as the false idea "man is able to shape the world around him according to his wishes."
As I recall many of my high school classmates exclaiming from time to time ... "yeah, right!"
(Note: Before you buy the book, the last of Hayek’s career, read this more in depth review including the history of the book’s creation. LAS does not want to be responsible for consumer disappointment.)
And via the magic of the Intertubes, I have come across this excellent definition of the fatal conceit concept, as it applies to socialism in particular.
Socialism fails, unavoidably, because it is based on the flawed concept, the “fatal conceit,” that one man or one group, one cabinet of commanding officials or one central committee, or one team of planners from Harvard and Yale, can gather and understand enough information in order to reshape the world around them according to their wishes, reshape human nature, and design an economic system that can outstrip the overall and long run performance of the decentralized and basically self-ordering and spontaneous processes of the marketplace.==
Having now probably expended too many words on establishing a conceptual baseline for this humble post … for the modern blog reader, that is ... let us now return our attention to the original point of the post – recent news from the field on the topic of fatal conceit.
Let’s start with the energy policy coming from the Empty Suit Known as Barack Hussein Obama, which can only be described as a product of Andrew Klavan’s “Imagination Land.”
In one breath, the Empty Suit tells us drilling for more oil on American land won’t lower gas prices at the pump, yet in the next he tells us convincing Saudi Arabia to drill for more oil will achieve the same end. Huh? Perhaps he’s actually a super patriot with a secret strategy to get them to exhaust their reserves before we exhaust ours!
On the one hand, he derides oil as the energy of the “past”, and on the other hand lauds windmills – which have been around for centuries – as an energy of the “future.” I like Rush Limbaugh’s rule … talk to me about the energy of the future when you have something other than oil that can lift a jet airplane off the ground and keep it there. Nuclear might fit the bill … but I’m afraid it would entail too large a regulatory bureaucracy. You know, for the crash investigations.
Nuclear is a very efficient generator of electricity when kept stationary, produces zero carbon emissions in the process … and so naturally the Empty Suit’s administration insists on closing more nuclear plants. His EPA is closing coal-fired plants, too – on the grounds they produce too many carbon emissions. The alternatives they push – wind, solar, and now algae – produce not a scintilla of a percentage of the existing demand. Yet they exhort us to increase demand for plant produced electricity by driving electric cars. WTF, Barry?
Simply the Energy Policy From Imagination Land. As it can only come from BHO and his corrupt gang of progressives, faculty lounge wankers each and every one, adding up to zero days real world private sector experience.
Meanwhile, the real world relentlessly moves forward governed by the immutable laws of supply and demand …
Gas Prices rise precipitously, naturally. But that’s actually what they want – just not until *after* the election. BHO’s Secretary of Energy – Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven F. Chu - said he didn’t want lower gas prices before saying he didn’t really mean it. Look it up yourself on the Google machine. What I said.
The Consumer Price Index increases, in large part due the increase on gas prices at the pump. Then … drum roll please … something happens to really catch the Empty Suit’s attention - his approval ratings tank. (They will go lower. Mark it.)
How can this be! They’ve already worked it out in the faculty lounges! They imagine it and it will be! What is wrong with you people! Then the fatal conceit taps them on the shoulder and informs them the only possible explanation is … you’re stupid.
That’s what explains how a card-carrying member of BHO’s Information Ministry – aka the corrupt and biased Leftist media – was able to go out and give this disgracefully unreflective performance. The inflection in the voice of this pinhead John Harris – whoever the hell he is – each and every time he spews the word ‘stupid’ - makes it perfectly clear what he thinks of you. (memo to the pinhead Harris: Regarding the Muslim thing, dopey Mr. Harris, BHO technically is Muslim, according to the Islamic rule that the paternal religion determines the religion of the offspring. And note BHO’s faux Christianity makes him an ‘infidel’ in the very same Islamic code of law. Better not drop that Secret Service protection when a private citizen, Barry.)
Of course BHO himself received a telegram from the fatal conceit messenger. It instructed him to go out to a local community college to give an embarrassingly slapstick (read ‘unpresidential’) speech serving red meat to his devoted followers … ably refuted by conservative yeoman Charles Krauthammer. (Have your people call my people, Charles.)
Here’s the bottom line, kiddies. Fatal conceit will be the character flaw primarily responsible for BHO’s defeat at the polls in November. Mark it.
My dog dragged in an ancient outdoor chew toy today. I wonder if the accumulated algae could power the battery of the smart phone that snapped this photograph. For that matter … if the entire chew toy were magically converted to a giant lump of algae, and used as the power source for this laptop … how many of these words could have been produced? Not many, I’ll wager. Alright, time to remove the disgusting chew toy and see what the real world has in store next. Good night, dear reader.
You people are sooooooooooooo stoooooooopid!
Click the pic for the full story behind the fatal conceit of Obama's signature legislation.