Jon Sanders has documented cringe-inducing comments from Bill Nye’s recent commencement address in Lowell, Mass. Regardless of Nye’s regrettable comments about climate change, though, another brief line from his speech is worth repeating. Bloomberg Businessweek thought so as well, including the quotation on a page of notable commencement comments.
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t.”
Banal? Maybe. But that statement reminds this observer of the truth underlying Hayek’s notion of the “fatal conceit.” One can buy into the concept of central planning only when he forgets or ignores the fact that no one person, not even a group, no matter how well-trained, has enough knowledge to do more than set basic ground rules for economic activity. “Expert” opinion cannot replace the expertise of millions — or billions — of people making decisions freely, based on their own specialized knowledge.