sexta-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2005

Karl Popper and the social engineer

"After ripping apart conservative socialism, he then tears into the welfare socialism of social engineering, particularly that supported by Karl Popper loving rationalists, and that used by democratic socialists and conservative socialists, especially since World War I. The basic problem Herr Hoppe sees here is that the proof never ever comes in as to whether a particular social engineering measure worked out or not, which is a bit like the Chinese Premier Chou En-lai quote to Henry Kissinger, in 1972, that it was too early to tell if the French Revolution was a good thing or not.

Essentially, according to Hoppe, social engineering measures can never be falsified, which as any student of Popper will know, is something of a basic contradiction in basic Popperian ideology. Go figure.

No matter how badly a social initiative program goes wrong, the social engineer can always say that all the evidence isn’t all in yet, or that ‘The social housing program we instituted would have worked, if we had also taken measure X ? let’s institute that measure now and see if it works.’ And when measure X also fails, usually making a terrible situation infinitely worse, the answer is again either ‘All the evidence isn’t in yet’ or more likely, ‘The social housing program, with measure X, would have worked, if only we had also instituted measure Y too’. And so we go round the houses again, screwing up the lives of yet another generation before anybody dare repeat the hopeful question, ‘Did it actually work?’. Though of course, once again this question is ignored, and measure Z is instituted, to cover up the earlier failures of measures X and Y. Whereas Hoppe claims that from the basic a priori principles of Austrian thinking it can easily be discerned that, say, forcibly fixed housing rents will fail to meet the noble goals ascribed to this action. And all this without the need to experiment on anyone to find out.

I won’t say anymore, as some of my best friends are Popperites. But if you love the great anti-historicist yourself, you might want to check out this chapter on Popper, especially if you’ve ever wondered why all this anarcho-capitalist heat seems to be coming your way these days, as to the irrelevance and danger of following Popperian piecemeal engineering solutions. Let me misquote Morpheus from the first Matrix film, you know; the good one:

Have you ever had a dream, Herr Popper, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world? Piecemeal social engineering is the world that you pulled over your eyes to blind yourself from the truth. You’ve been living in a dream world, Herr Popper. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You avoid reading this chapter - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You read this chapter - you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. Your ideology was socialism all along, Herr Popper, and used as such by all your enemies. Welcome to the real world." Catallarchy July 11, 2004 Hans-Hermann Hoppe: A Unified Theory of Everything

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