28.1.17

THE TRENCHANT OBSERVATION OF THE DAY.

Samuel Hammond of the Niskanen Center contemplates classical liberalism.  Free inquiry requires rules of inquiry.
At some point, a liberal norm goes from being merely pragmatic to being an internalized value that transcends time and place. Nonetheless, emphasizing the discovered versus the invented distinction is important to avoid what F.A. Hayek called “rational constructivism,”  or the belief that the authority of liberal norms comes from an abstract theory or argument, independent of the internal recognition of society’s participants. To think otherwise gives social planners permission to redesign society in accord with pure reason, often with calamitous results.
I've been battling away at this idea for years, but never so concisely.  Plus:  "Liberal norms were discovered, not invented, through a process of social evolution. Forgetting this can lead one to overestimate our ability to redesign society, even along more libertarian dimensions."  Thus, should the fanatics get the upper hand, and a new dark age descend, the evolutionary advantages we've already discovered may still have a fighting chance to emerge again.

That said, there are still a lot of weeds for that essay to get into, and it deserves careful study.

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