It Wasn’t Me.

It was my nose: it found another book, and dived in. This time it’s Professor Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions, which encapsulates rather perfectly many of the philosophical differences behind what we call “liberalism” and “conservatism” today.

There is, among progressives, a long and abiding belief in the perfectibility of human nature, which leads many of its adherents to always look for the best: the best in human beings, and the best in terms of reforms, to the point of “ignoring process costs,” as Dr. Sowell points out, and “letting the best be the enemy of the good.”

Whereas those who see humanity as more limited are likely to examine the process costs that accompany any potential change, and see any potential improvement in terms of what it will cost to enact. We are more likely to see Doing Good as involving trade-offs, rather than regarding it as something one does for its own sake, or something that exists in a sort of vacuum.

This was one of the titles Baldilocks made from the Sowell canon; she and I seem to be working railroad style, gobbling up the Sowell books from different directions, until we meet somewhere between the foothills and south-central to drive a golden spike into the ground in his honor.

(Cross-posted at Little Miss Attila.)

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