The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cafe Hayek on Niger, Social Religion (or lack thereof).

The posters at Cafe Hayek read the same terrible WaPo article on Niger that I did, and they've been gathering a ton of information on the subject. You know, like a reporter normally would. You can read all about it here, here, here, and here. It's quite illuminating.

Don Boudreaux also makes a nice observation about the ways in which people view government:

Most people who understand and accept this Smith-Hayek insight become what we might call "social deists."

A social deist assumes that sovereign power is necessary to design and maintain the foundation, but not the superstructure, of society. That is, a social deist regards conscious design and maintenance of the "constitutional" level as necessary. Upon this foundation, social order grows unplanned.

Social deists are contrasted, on one hand, with "social creationists." Social creationists are members of that species of juvenile thinkers who regard conscious, central direction by a wise and caring higher human authority as necessary for all social order - not only for the foundation, but for all, or much, of what the foundation supports.

Economic central planners are prime examples of social creationists. In their view, government must not only create and enforce law (society's foundation), it also must plan the course of the economy (society's superstructure) - for example, which good and services to produce, and how to produce these.

You can read the whole thing here.


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