Man is a Miracle of Evolution (and Evolution is a Miracle of Man)
Indeed, to "escape" presupposes somewhere to escape to, and don't let anyone try to convince you it isn't possible to transcend down. Just look at the NAACP, which used to pursue clowns who slander blacks with racist bullshit, but is now reduced to slandering clowns pursued by racing bulls.
It is because there is no escape from transcendence that atheists and leftists convert their failure to transcend into a transcendent dogma for all. Nietszche, for example expresses the failure so beautifully, that it isn't difficult to appreciate the transcendent something of his prose. I don't want to say "beauty." Irony, maybe. Or sting. Or just fine insultainment.
To paraphrase someone, fascism is violent resistance to transcendence, so it necessarily devolves to power instead of truth (since truth is the Transcendental of transcendentals). This polarity -- truth/reality vs. power/ideology -- is coming up right away in Gilder's Knowledge and Power, which I can't wait to dive into more deeply (only up to page 15).
Gilder begins with an observation by Thomas Sowell, that "While market economies are often thought of as money economies, they are still more so knowledge economies.... Economic transactions are purchases and sales of knowledge."
How's that? Well, cavemen "had the same natural resources at their disposal that we have today," the difference being that we know what to do with them. So, "How could we have gone so wrong" in our thinking about the economy? Easy: "power trumps knowledge."
In short, the caveman beats the possessor of knowledge senseless and steals his property. Or else just votes for Obama. But the underlying principle is the same: power trumping knowledge.
Thus, as Gilder writes, "The war between the centrifuge of knowledge and the centripetal pull of power remains the prime conflict in all economies." By "centripetal," Gilder refers to the manner in which, in a market economy, an infinite amount of knowledge is dispersed throughout the system.
For example, as I look out my window, a gang of skilled laborers is resurfacing my pool with a colorful quartz-based substance. Later I'll be doing some of my own work here, meaning that, in the final analysis, I am exchanging my knowledge of the mind for their knowledge of swimming pools. Neither of us were forced into the exchange, and all of us will be happy with the results. Unlike, say, Obamacare, in which all are forced to participate and no one is happy.
Gilder also hints at what I'm sure will be a central theme, the manner in which knowledge enters the self-organizing system of a free economy. Clearly, it doesn't enter via braindead collectives or committees or bureaucracies. Rather, it enters via a vertical ingression into creative individuals. And in order to maximize creativity, individuals must be free. This is axiomatic.
For example, just imagine the loss of medical creativity that will be brought about by Obamacare. In point of fact, we can't imagine it (I suppose we can impotently fantasize about it), because it is unimaginable until the creative person invents or discovers it. The personal computer didn't come about because millions of people sat around thinking "gee, it sure would be great to have all human knowledge at my fingertips; or to blog -- whatever that means -- my thoughts out to the Coonosphere -- whatever that is."
Rather, creative minds had to invent the personal computer and internet, which shows how supply creates its own demand. Conversely, a caveman's demands basically revolve around bodily needs, since he can't imagine anything else. Until one of them does.
Which reminds me. Every once in awhile we'll hear the argument that, yes, the market economy was a great thing, but it has basically completed its work, and now it's time to divvy up the pie. As always, the left is not about creating wealth but distributing it, and this is just another iteration of that stale argument.
This morning, Ace Of Spades linked to this piece, which asks the questions, "What if everything we’ve come to think of as American is predicated on a freak coincidence of economic history? And what if that coincidence has run its course?" To which I might add: what if we elected a president who did everything possible to make sure it has run its course?
What a stunning lack of imagination! It reminds me of a book I read, which ironically came out on the eve of the tech revolution of the 1990s -- something about the "end of progress." It seems there's one every decade. Which proves that if the left had been successful at any point in history, progress would have been stymied then and there.
For example, FDR's deeply gnostic (in the pneumopathological sense) second bill of rights would have frozen development at 1940s levels. That is the path Great Britain took after WWII, booting out Churchill in favor of a socialist government that proceeded to nationalize most major industries. Not until Thatcher came along was the tide reversed, but I'm afraid the damage is permanent. England is no longer England.
Back to the article. The author notes the economic miracle -- and it is literally a miracle, for reasons we'll get into -- of the past 300 years:
"For all of measurable human history up until the year 1750, nothing happened that mattered. This isn’t to say history was stagnant, or that life was only grim and blank, but the well-being of average people did not perceptibly improve.... In England before the middle of the eighteenth century... the pace of progress was so slow that it took 350 years for a family to double its standard of living.... By the middle of the eighteenth century, the state of technology and the luxury and quality of life afforded the average individual were little better than they had been two millennia earlier, in ancient Rome."
Right. So at any point along the way, an individual would have been justified in saying, "look, some people have too much, while others don't have enough. Not fair. Income inequality, and all that." One such assoul was Karl Marx, who wrote his nasty diatribes right in the middle of all this unprecedented growth.
About that miracle. What is a miracle? I would suggest that a good working definition is a spontaneous vertical ingression. Gilder writes of how most economists, because they think in linear and horizontal terms, underlook "the surprises that arise from free will and human creativity. The miracles forbidden in deterministic physics are not only routine in economics; they constitute the most important economic events" (emphasis mine).
"For a miracle is simply an innovation, a sudden and bountiful addition of information into the system. Newtonian physics does not admit of new information of this kind -- desribe a system and you are done. Describe an economic system and you have described only the circumstances -- favorable or unfavorable -- for future innovation."
So, what is man but a miracle of evolution, a shocking vertical ingression of nonlocal truth and beauty into the biosphere?
Memo to leftists: there's much more to come. Unless you are successful.