“Hubris Universal”

From Cafe Hayek:

Scolding the late Robert McNamara for the hubris of his foreign policy is now de rigueur.  As you correctly argue, on Vietnam Mr. McNamara “didn’t assess the limits of American power” (“McNamara’s hubris holds lessons for today’s leaders,” July 7).  Like so many Really Smart People, he possessed a mindless faith in the ability of analytical genius, backed by government power, to right the world’s wrongs.

But the dangers of hubris and the limits of top-down solutions designed by geniuses don’t exist only outside of our borders; they’re just as real domestically.  If unpredictability, incalculable details, and unintended consequences threaten to make a mess of interventions abroad, surely the same stubborn aspects of reality threaten to make a mess of centralized, genius-planned interventions on the home front such as those that aim to supply universal health care and to create a “green economy.”

Donald J. Boudreaux


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