Yesterday, I started Thomas Sowell’s Economic Facts and Fallacies, underlining many passages, including this one:
. . . the zero-sum fallacy had kept millions of very poor people needlessly mired in poverty for generations before such notions were abandoned. That is an enormously high price to pay for an unsubstantiated assumption. Fallacies can have huge impacts.
Emphasis added. In the margin, I wrote, “Obama’s ‘stimulus’: was there evidence it would work — where have similar programs tried & succeeded?” Yes, we read economists explaining how the president’s plan was supposed to work, but they derived their explanations from Keynesian theory and not marketplace experience. They reached their conclusions on unsubstantiated assumptions. And we’re paying an enormously high price for that.
It does seem that Democrats and left-of-center pundits, not to mention intellectuals, make their cases on faith, er, theory rather than experience. A few hours after reading Sowell, I caught something on Instapundit which helped confirm that hypothesis:
JIM TYNEN: “Here’s what interests me: why do the journalists and professors so fervently believe in things they cannot possibly verify on their own? . . . Journalists who are not scientists, or professors who are not climate scientists, identify with the Knowledge Class.”
Tynen adds that “journalists and others on the low rungs of the Knowledge class defend the dogma. And of course this also goes for the dogma of Keynes, and multiculturalism, and much else.” Emphasis added.
Last Thursday, a blogger at Ace of Spades quoted White House flack Josh Earnest’s contention that the president’s American Jobs Act is “the only plan before Congress that independent analysts confirm would create jobs right away“. And just who are those independent analysts, Josh? And did they show how the president’s plan was similar to other government programs which led to job creation or did they base their conclusions on economic theory?
It seems sometimes that so much of liberal theory is just that, theory, based not on how the world works, but on how some very smart people believe it works.