August 3, 2021

THE “ROBBER BARONS” OF THE 19TH CENTURY GAVE US STEAMSHIPS AND RAILROADS; THE SPACE BARONS OF TODAY WILL GIVE US THE STARS. ‘Space Barons’ & Advantages of a Free Economy.

The Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker once quipped that “intellectuals who call themselves ‘progressive’ really hate progress.” The question is: Why? Perhaps one of the reasons for that curious attitude is not the clerisy’s opposition to progress as such, but to the means by which that progress is being achieved. Since the Enlightenment, we have become richer, healthier, better fed, longer-lived, more educated, and, as Pinker himself showed, gentler and nicer. Not only did most of that progress come about in free-enterprise countries during the free-enterprise era, but progress happened despite the constant warnings from the clerisy that free enterprise would achieve the exact opposite.

Inequality of outcome is inherent to a free economy, which tends to reward the most talented. Since talent is unequally and arbitrarily distributed, free enterprise and its resulting inequality of outcome are unpalatable to the equalitarian Left. Yet progress depends on the flourishing of the talented. That means that inequality is truly the midwife of progress. And that’s why progressives hate progress.

Well, also free markets reward talents other than lying and sucking up.

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