The Design of Civilisation

The misleading effect of the usual approach [of focusing on and using what we know and assuming it is perfect] stands out clearly if we examine the significance of the assertion that man has created his civilisation and that therefore can also change its institutions as he pleases. This assertion would be justified only if man had deliberately created civilisation in full understanding of what he was doing or if he at least clearly knew how it was being maintained. In a sense it is true, of course, that man has made his civilisation. It is the product of his actions or, rather, of the action of a few hundred generations. This does not mean, however, that civilisation is the product of human design, or that man knows what its functioning or continued existence depends upon.

Constitution of Liberty, F A Hayek

Now I know why Popper’s epistemology is so popular amongst libertarians. There is a clear echo here.

3 Comments

  1. He is merely pointing out the lack of true control we have over things. Yes we can influence certain aspects of our own lives. But in reality if you think about your life a lot of it is entirely random.

    The fallacy of control is one of the strongest arguments against State intervention in things.

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  2. Society is a result of the independent interactions of 6bln human brains. In the UK, 60m. The State, and a few hundreds or a thousand or so brains have no chance working out what is best, what will happen or what should happen next.

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