On Sat, Jul 22, 2000 at 10:52:30AM -0400, Pierre Lemieux wrote:
> You are right: rational ignorance is generally associated with collective 
> choices. But the problem is somewhat larger: even if the state does not 
> have an opinion on the shape of the earth, when do people start beleiving
> Galileo?

In presence of Liberty, this is a problem that contains its own solution:
people start believing Galileo when they have to care (for instance, when
they have interest in using and developing GPS systems, etc). Until this
interest arises, they may well be so indifferent as to find the issue
irrelevant.

Some will be stupid enough to hold an opinion without reason;
some will be even more stupid so as to hold an opinion against reason.
But in a Free World, they are the first and main victims of their own
stupidity, and that is why, on the long run, their opinion will disappear:
because its own feedback. And _this_ is the principle of Responsibility,
inseparable from those of Liberty and of Property.

In any case, there is no way that governmental force will create such
interest; at least, it is incapable of explicitly managing interest of
people in fine-grained ways that would optimally help them solve their
real problems. The effect of force can be but enforcement of opinions
that are based on less information than a free society can handle,
thus of misguided opinions (in the mean case -- as always, you might
be able to show a one case that can be seen of good effect of force,
while all the detrimental side-effects are diffused and are not seen).

Oh, BTW, a mandatory adherence to the current tenets of the catholic sect
of course _is_ governmental force, even if the governmental thugs are split
into separate and sometimes rival "temporal" and "spiritual" gangs.

So the answer is the same: Galileo's problem resides in the government.
Remove the thugs, and there is no more problem.

Moreover, in a regime of freedom, the stupidity of others is an opportunity
to you: it decreases potential competition on matters that require some
particular understanding, and provides a potential of gullibility for you
to exploit. Such exploitation will finally exhaust the reserves of
stupidity (at least on that particular matter). So they think that the
earth is flat? That's an opportunity to sail west before any of them does.
So they think the end of the world is near? Offer them $1000 now,
against a debt of $100000 in 20 years. So they think a cross will protect
them from the forces of evil? Sell them crosses of all colors and dimensions!
So they are ready to believe anything? Open a new church.
The catch is: just don't let government interfere in the matter,
either by way of direct intervention, or through subtle discriminatory taxes;
for all it will do is give a subvention for crooks to grow more stupidity,
instead of letting them compete with each other without subsidies,
which results in harvesting and ultimately removing stupidity.

>> Where can I find more material about that particular problem,
>> and interesting analyses of it?
>
> [...] Bertrand Lemennicier [...] Papers section [...] at
>       http://www.uqah.uquebec.ca/lemieux.
Chouette, 'y a aussi la VF!

[ François-René ÐVB Rideau | Reflection&Cybernethics | http://fare.tunes.org ]
[  TUNES project for a Free Reflective Computing System  | http://tunes.org  ]
Tolerance is not about believing that stupid people are intelligent,
it's about letting stupid people die out of their own stupidity
rather than out of yours.

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