The Violent Stupidity of Crowds
Bill Quick

  The Truth Hurts…It Burns — Pink Flamingo Bar

  “People who are very aware that they have more knowledge than the average person are often very unaware that they do not have one-tenth of the knowledge of all of the average persons put together. In this situation, for the intelligentsia to impose their notions on ordinary people is essentially to impose ignorance on knowledge.” –Dr. Thomas Sowell

Much as I respect Dr. Sowell, this is hooey. Simply because some member of a mob posseses knowledge not held by all the members doesn’t make it any less a mob, nor any less dangerous.

If Einstein participated in a lynch mob, it would still be a lynch mob.

Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.

Comments

The Violent Stupidity of Crowds — 4 Comments

  1. I would like to see more of the context of that Sowell quote. I do not see this as relating to mobs but to markets. The elites may be smarter than everyone else participating in a free market but not smart enough to substitute their idea of a planned economy for what will naturally, albeit imperfectly, arise from the free interaction of the masses, each acting for what the rightly or wrongly perceive as their best interests.

  2. Freddie, my experience with Sowell’s writing and thinking is that he is generally very precise. If that had been his meaning here, I think he would have said so. I think this is a direct appeal to the notion of the “wisdom of crowds,” and I think that the wisdom of crowds is highly overrated. Sowell is fond of noting,

    Those who say that all cultures are equal never explain why the results of those cultures are so grossly unequal.

    Similarly, those who boost pure democracy (which is just the wisdom of crowds writ in political terms) never explain why they inevitably devolve into tyranny and suicide.

    • Those who say that all cultures are equal never explain why the results of those cultures are so grossly unequal.

      Because racism, duh.

      Similarly, those who boost pure democracy … never explain why they inevitably devolve into tyranny and suicide.

      Because greed, duh. It should go without saying that it’s capitalistic white men being greedy.