Beware the Man of System

Adam Thierer celebrates the 250th anniversary of Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments over at the Technology Liberation Front.  One of Adam’s favorite excerpts:

The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own
conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own
ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation
from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all
its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the
strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he
can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease
as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does
not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other
principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them;
but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece
has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that
which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it
. If those two
principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human
society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be
happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will
go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest
degree of disorder.

Don’t miss the TLF motto while you’re there.

Tip from Lynn Kiesling at the Knowledge Problem.

Update (11 August).  These TLF people are fishyLook at this:

There is an alternative to this elitist mentality: freedom and personal
responsibility.  Individuals should be permitted to live a life of
their own, even if they sometimes make mistakes or choices that are at odds with what elites think is best for them.[51]

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