Saturday, April 19, 2008

Intrinsicism Grounds American Airlines

Today's NYT's features a story on the FAA's grounding of American's airplanes last week. The story provides a glimpse into the capricious nature of regulation and non-objective law, and is worth reading from that standpoint alone.

But I was struck by how the FAA's whole approach and justification relies on an intrinsic view of knowledge. Specifically, these scientist-kings believe that they have unique insight into the True and the Good which they must righteously impose on airlines and passengers alike. And given that said airlines and passengers are nothing but helpless dolts, on whom the Truth fails to shine, only a political system in which the good can be forced on them is to their, and the FAA's, interest.

If, on the other hand, the FAA subscribed to an objective view of knowledge, they would realize that men can (indeed must) be convinced of the good by reason, and in such a case, the best political system would be one of freedom and free markets. For under such a system, the super-smart FAA bureaucrats could simply go out, start the absolute best airline possible, and then attract every traveler at the expense of the existing, supposedly incompetent, competitors.

That this never occurs to any FAA "expert" nor to their legion of defenders and advocates, says as much about their actual "expertise" as it does about the implicit view of knowledge necessary to champion such a widespread use of government force on innocent men.


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