Friday, November 25, 2011

Quote of the day: Reasons to be Grateful, Part Three

In a world of pepper-spraying cops, genital-groping TSA agents, and a debt-to-
GDP ratio that's topped 100 percent, it's sometimes hard to find the good, but
despite the ankle weights the state keeps attaching to us, humanity keeps
running, moving ever upward…
Even as freedom retreats in some quarters, the freedoms we have left continue
to improve the lot of humanity in ways our ancestors could only dream of.  The
sad part is that we continue to weight and shackle ourselves in ways that are
slowing that progress from what it could have been...
As we pause to recognize all we are grateful for today, let's also re-commit
ourselves to the task at hand, which is to understand the degree to which free
people under the right institutions can maximize the degree of social cooperation,
peace, and prosperity made possible by the progressive extension of the division
of labor and exchange.  And let's further re-commit ourselves to taking what
we've learned and spreading it to the four corners of the Earth so that the
cornucopia so many enjoy in the West can be the reality … for all of humanity.
                           - Steve Horvitz, "On Pausing to Note the Continued Upward Climb of Humanity

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1 Comments:

Blogger Brian Scurfield said...

It is only since the Enlightenment that progress that is rapid enough to be noticed within one's lifetime and stable enough to continue over many generations has been achieved. Before that, for thousands of years, the default state of humanity was static societies where no noticeable progress took place between one's birth and one's death.

Static societies are truly awful - they resist change by using human creativity against itself to enforce conformity. They exist to perpetuate certain ideas regardless of the truth of those ideas and regardless of the harm done by those ideas to individuals.

Our dynamic society has arisen in the face of these entrenched static ideas. We are attempted something that has never been achieved before - the transistion from a fully static society to a fully dynamic society where rational ideas hold sway. All other attempted Enlightments, like the ancient Greek one, were snuffed out before they could get going. It is indeed something to be grateful of that we live at the time we do but had any one of those earlier proto-Enlightenments not been extinguished we would have reached the stars already. That we should take personally.

We today know that humanity is capable of unlimited progress - that there are no bounds to what we can achieve. Our Enlightenment can continue into infinity should we want it to. We can remake the universe from a place dominated by physical forces like gravity to one dominated by knowledge.

11/25/2011 06:32:00 pm  

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