Are you tired of politicians with “a plan”? I have “a jobs plan”, a “health care plan”, an “education plan”… I mean, who do they think they are? A health care “law” that is over two thousand pages long? How exactly is a citizen supposed to comply with such egregious absurdity? Has anyone ever read it?

Ironically, those of us who reject comprehensive solutions and prefer the simplicity of freedom are accused of not understanding the complexity of problems. We are admonished that “reality is far more complex than just standing for freedom.” This is paired with the idea that we “should do something” instead of standing on the side.

In fact, those of us who believe in liberty shun comprehensive solutions and economic and social engineering, not from ignorance of complexity but due to its opposite. We realize that life is a mystery and so complex that it cannot be encapsulated. Reality is so complex, so wondrous, that no central planner can capture it and address it. Every time we try, a monster is created, a system that masquerades as a solution. Planners cannot offer a better alternative to organic processes at work in the market and in civil society. Freedom has demonstrated to work and the undirected person has demonstrated to do better than the directed one. This is how countries which once lived in complete poverty were able to raise to unimaginable heights of prosperity.

The problem with universal systems is precisely that they, inadvertently, assume an expansive capacity for the human mind and for comprehensive systems and fail to recognize complexity. We, on the other hand, say that society is an organism that fosters cooperation undirected. It is so complex that the best we can do is to offer space for its functioning. Universal systems assume that society is a machine and that we need then to create the right engine, we know that we can do it. There were multiple influences in the founding of our nation, it was not only the one for freedom. As Dr. Nikolai Wenzel states, “for every libertarian Patrick Henry, there was a corporatist Alexander Hamilton.” But, in the end, it was the freedom impulse the one that triumphed and made America great.

In the end, we refrain from comprehensive solutions because we humbly accept the limits of our human powers and have seen that freedom actually works! At least it works better than central planning. Freedom is not a perfect solution because there is no such thing. Liberty provides the best incentive structure, the best opportunity to gather information, the surest road to wellness, the strongest advocate of virtue. Freedom cannot rescue one soul, and it ought not try.

Liberty is not a “hit and miss” system as some complain. If we were only “do-gooders” who want to rescue people and heal the world, there would be a case for central planning, as in effect we would be just throwing rocks at the ceiling to see which one hits the mark. But we are not! We let freedom reign and allow social life to work systemically, organically. So, our “non-intervention” is in effect intentional. Our refusal to adhere to universal solutions is intentional, as they offend freedom, our best chance for success.

 

 

Advertisements