Such Knowledge Is Too Wonderful for Me

The policy agenda laid out by President Obama in last night’s State of the Union speech implies a breadth and depth of knowledge so far encompassing and in excess of human capacity that it demonstrates the hubris of Big Government solutions better than anything any conservative has ever done or said.

Imagine the level of knowledge and wisdom the Obama administration implies that it possesses in order to advocate last night’s agenda. According to his speech, the President

• Knows what’s wrong with education at the primary and secondary levels and knows how to fix it;

• Knows how much the federal government should be spending on education and how much each of the fifty states should be spending;

• Knows how much college should cost, who should go to college, how colleges should be run and curriculums developed;

• fully understands all the various factors that have contributed to our economic problems, and knows the solution;

• knows what the mix of manufacturing industries should be in our economy, knows how to stimulate such industries and make them more competitive;

• knows what the right mix of energy should be in our economy–how much it should cost, where should come from, and how it should be extracted;

• has already completely restructured the domestic automobile industry and could do the same incredible transformations for all other domestic industries;

• Understands the global flow of capital & jobs and knows specifically what policies should be implemented to maintain these flows at their optimum levels;

• Knows what skills workers will need in the future, and knows how to give them these skills;

• Knows what interest rates should be on education loans;

• Knows what future technologies we should be investing in now, knows how to transform our electrical infrastructure with smart grids;

• Knows all about broadband networks, where they’re needed, and how they will transform rural America;

• Knows how much energy is being wasted in commercial buildings all over the country, and apparently cares more about this waste than do the owners of the buildings themselves;

• Knows which homeowners should be able to refinance their homes, and at what rates;

• Understands the intricacies of the financial world, how it should work and how it should be regulated, knows how to prevent financial speculation and bubbles–esoteric knowledge that has eluded economists and social scientists for hundreds of years;

• Apparently knows how to strengthen Medicare and Social Security while also bending the entitlement cost curve;

• Knows who needs tax breaks and who does not;

• Knows how to make government smarter and more effective;

• Knows how to stabilize Afghanistan;

• And the piece de resistance: He knows how to pay for education, high tech research, military modernization, green technology and veterans benefits by raising taxes on the relative handful of very wealthy income earners.

Can any person, or any group of persons, possess the knowledge and wisdom necessary to advocate such an agenda?

Of course not. This is why conservatives trust markets rather than government. There is far more knowledge and wisdom in the collective, real-time decisions being made at any given moment by 300 million Americans in the economy than there is in any collection of government bureaucrats gathered in Washington. And it’s why the right solution for our country is for the government to largely get out of the way and let the American economy run managed by the collective wisdom of the American people making decisions in a free economy, rather than being dictated to by a relative handful of government know-it-alls who assume a level of knowledge we all know is impossible.

Conservatives trust the American people; liberals trust arrogant and dishonest government bureaucrats.