Social creationism is social destruction

By Harrison Searles

The most important lesson that one can learn from any of the social sciences is that the human mind cannot comprehend all of the factors, many of them infinitesimally small, and that it is therefore impossible to design society with social engineering. 

Indeed, as F.A. Hayek said in “The Fatal Conceit,” “the curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little about what they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

However, despite how simple this may be to comprehend, both academics in their ivory towers and politicians in Washington still construct plans to design society according to their own delusions. Nevertheless, all attempts to plan society will fail just as socialism failed, due to the fact that the human mind cannot centralize all of the knowledge necessary for such plots to succeed. Just as is the case with biological evolution, social order must emerge, it cannot be planned.

There are two primary reasons why the knowledge that permeates society cannot be efficiently centralized: first, the dynamic nature of society, and second, much of that knowledge is tacit, having to do with a specific space and time, and cannot be easily learned outside of experience.

Due to the fact that society is dynamic, the knowledge that is necessary for its operation changes along with the conditions of society; the truth behind this has never been so vivid as it is today, where information can be transmitted across continents in seconds. As the conditions of society change, the human mind is in a race to keep up with its changing environment. By the time the human mind learns to manipulate something as complex as society, the flux of conditions has rendered the plan obsolete.

For instance, as we have all seen in the past decade, innovation has far outpaced regulators’ attempts to “tame” them, thus rendering attempts to plan the financial markets moot. The second reason why the planners of society do not have the knowledge to actualize their visions is that much of the necessary knowledge is tacit and therefore cannot be centralized. A basic example of such knowledge is how to ride a bicycle, it must be learned by experience and cannot be conveyed otherwise, and other examples are the mores, norms, and traditions of society.

Despite this fact, there are still many attempts to plan society according to the designs of those in power even though such attempts are bound to fail. The irony of this is while the majority of those who believe in planning human society rightly criticize those who believe in evolutionary creationism, yet they fail to see that both the biological and the social creationists fail to realize the role of spontaneous order in each discipline.

Order can be the result of evolution whether by natural selection or market calculation. Furthermore, attempts to interfere with the natural, unplanned order have so often proven devastating, whether it be the introduction of species alien to a certain environment or the central planning of production. Despite this, while one is a belief that is mocked by all, another is held by some of the most intelligent members of society.

Reason may be man’s most valuable possession, but it has its boundaries beyond which it cannot tread. One of the most important tasks for the defense of reason is protecting it against those who do not understand the necessary conditions for its use and growth. One of the most important bastions against the enemies of reason is identifying whether a system is either dynamic or static. While the former are unchanging and therefore reason can discover the knowledge necessary to manipulate them, when a system is dynamic then it must be accepted that knowledge is limited and largely negative. Both evolution and society are examples of self-regulating dynamic systems that even though we may have some knowledge of their operation (e.g. natural selection and the law of supply and demand), never will they truly be able to be comprehended by the human mind.

Attempts to bend society to the designs and whims of planners have failed miserably and innocents have always paid the price of having to see their society fall to shambles because a couple of prideful individuals in power thought that they could, by the power of their reason, change society for the better. It is high time that the influence of the social creationists be overthrown after all of the harm their doctrines have sown for they act as if they truly understand what no human mind could ever truly comprehend: human society.

Harrison Searles is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]