Free-Market Science vs Government Science

Free-Market Science vs. Government Science By: George Reisman

In a free market, science originates in the minds of individual scientists, who have studied and thought about problems that interest them and who from time to time arrive at new insights, which they develop further and verify. State-sponsored science is the destroyer of science. If science is to live, government funding of science must end.

State control of science is the attempt to combine opposites. In essence, science is mind; the state is physical force. Science makes its way by means of the voluntary assent of the individual human mind to its recognition of truth. In contrast, the state and what the state sponsors makes its way by means of the use of physical force and the threat of physical force. There is no law, regulation, ruling, edict, or decree made by the state that is not backed by the threat of physical force to compel obedience to it. The state does not say to the individual do or do not do this because of its reasonableness or lack of reasonableness, and take as long as you like before coming around to our position. No. It says, do this or do not do this if you want to stay out of jail and avoid being injured or killed in resisting.

Any financial support the state may provide to science is by means of taxes collected at the point of a gun, from people who know that they will be imprisoned if they do not pay the taxes and injured or killed if they resist being imprisoned. This is a remarkable foundation for the progress of science, much like a purported construction of a laboratory by gorillas.

Thus, the starting point of state-sponsored science is the exact opposite of the starting point of actual science: it is physical force not the voluntary assent of the individual mind.

There is another important difference in starting point. Science begins in the mind of the individual scientist seeking important truth not previously identified. State-sponsored science in contrast typically begins with an already established consensus concerning the subject to be pursued. This is because the existence of a consensus increases the likelihood of being able to obtain political support for the project.

Of course, not all state-sponsored science requires an existing consensus. Stalin did not need a consensus when he decided to promote the career of the biologist Lysenko, because of the latter’s support for the theory of acquired characteristics.

This small quote, while an important point, dosen’t do the entire article justice…take a few minutes and read it all

And bookmark author’s web site George Reisman is the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1996) and is Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics.

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