Dangerous: Youthful idealism not tempered with experience.

Pratt on TexasMy mother, Beth Pratt, had an excellent column this past weekend in the Lubbock A-J in which she wrote: “…What appears to be brilliant in our youth may well bring with it an entirely new set of problems or issues. Not until our youthful enthusiasm for discovery can be tempered with wisdom based on experience will we avoid or at least limit the trauma of creating monstrous unintended consequences.”

Youthful or not, most bad law, bad systems, and bad ideas are those which ignore known and well understood human behavior and adaptation.

The long dream of the progressives that a cadre of elites will be able to use science to better order our live is ridiculous because experience teaches us that humans don’t all agree on what is best for them; we have variances in our values, wants, and needs.

His ideas outran his knowledge of human behavior.

In legislating, most bad unintended consequences come when a law ignores that people adapt to changing rules very quickly. A good example is bad tax law where out of seemingly nowhere whole tax-shelter industries appear. Economics is not static because people are not static, we adapt and change constantly.

My mother wrote in her column: “In listening to the entrepreneurial Zuckerberg’s inadequate answers to some really good questions, it becomes obvious that this young man either did not do his homework or didn’t consider the serious impact of social media when abused for nefarious purposes. His ideas outran his knowledge of human behavior.”

And there we have the crux of why repeatedly most idealist movements in human history, often most hotly backed by the energy of youth, turn not just sour but murderous – the proponents outrun their knowledge of human behavior and then when people do not conform, they choose to coerce conformity to their ideal.

What do you think?...

© Pratt on Texas / Perstruo Texas, Inc.