Optimism and Despair in a World of Injustice

The infamous development economist William Easterly recently tweeted that writing about spontaneous order without citing Friedrich Hayek is now “mainstream cool,” while writing about spontaneous order and citing Hayek makes one an ideological extremist. This biting critique of intellectual discourse, a mere 140 characters long, does more than just expose the drastic ideological shortcomings of the modern Left. It highlights the endlessly interesting obstinate ignorance that collectivists of all stripes have historically displayed toward the basic theoretical and moral insights advanced by libertarians.

In a recent Freeman essay by anthropologist Mike Reid, a pattern similar to the one noticed by Easterly emerges in the actions of central planners aiming to preserve the cultural heritage of a number of ethnic groups that have been deprived of their property rights by the very governments now looking to preserve their cultures for them. Reid takes examples from India and Canada and finds that the logic of preserving a specific culture does not hold up to scrutiny.

On the policies of the government of India, Reid writes: Continue reading