Social Creationism

I really like Don Boudreaux’s post analogizing biological creationists to what he calls “Social creationists”.

Naive minds believe that social order must be created, planned, the result of intention. These minds worry that without such conscious guidance, the result will be either chaos or an order that is inferior to one that is planned and consciously crafted. In contrast, sophisticated minds understand that social order is largely “the result of human action but not of human design” – and that highly complex, productive orders that offer maximum prospect for widespread human flourishing are those that are least infected with efforts to centrally craft social order.

Social creationists are members of that species of juvenile thinkers who regard conscious, central direction by a wise and caring higher human authority as necessary for all social order – not only for the foundation, but for all, or much, of what the foundation supports.

Economic central planners are prime examples of social creationists. In their view, government must not only create and enforce law (society’s foundation), it also must plan the course of the economy (society’s superstructure) – for example, which good and services to produce, and how to produce these.

Boudreaux isn’t confusing a dispute about what actually happened in biology with one about what works best in society. He’s pointing out a similar failure by many in both realms to appreciate how successful an unguided process can be with the right processes at work.


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