Social and Economic Demolition

For decades I’ve had to contend with people who viewed my writings as unduly pessimistic. I have strived to make clear, however, that I recognize fully how much and what kinds of progress the people of the world have created, not only over the long haul, but also during the past few decades, especially in the Third World. At the same time, though, I have insisted that all of this progress rests on a fragile foundation and that nothing innovative and hardworking people bring forth is ever completely safe from the depredations of states and the politics that swirl around them.

These days I am feeling a sort of bitter vindication as I look out at the world being destroyed by states and politics. Worse, I see large groups of people who appear to have gone completely insane, afflicted by acute forms of ideological madness. As a lifelong student of ideology, I am not wholly surprised by this aspect of the social and economic demolition going on in the world. People have always been their own worst enemies, and today’s people are no exception. It is a sad scene: some of the most creative people who ever lived are now developing scientific and technological wonders; but these creative people are immersed in a sea of nitwits whose minds have risen not an inch above the level attained by their savage ancestors who lived thousands of years ago.

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Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, the University of Economics, Prague, and George Mason University. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.

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