997. (11-29-2010) Unfortunately, the popular effect of…scientific advance has been a belief, seemingly shared by many scientists, that the range of our ignorance is steadily diminishing and that we can therefore aim at more comprehensive and deliberate control of all human activities. It is for this reason that those intoxicated by the advance of knowledge so often become the enemies of freedom. While the growth of our knowledge of nature constantly discloses new realms of ignorance, the increasing complexity of the civilization which this knowledge enables us to build presents new obstacles to the intellectual comprehension of the world around us. The more men know, the smaller the share of all that knowledge becomes that any one mind can absorb. The more civilized we become, the more relatively ignorant must each individual be of the facts on which the workings of his civilization depends. The very division of knowledge increases the necessary ignorance of the individual of most of this knowledge.
- Friedrich A. Hayek – The Constitution of Liberty, 1978
999. (11-29-2010) These innovators are always a minority. New ideas are first put into practice by one or two or very few persons, whether they be new ideas in technology, or new forms of organization, new commodities, or other novelties. These ideas may be accepted rapidly by the rest of the population. More probably they are received with scepticism [sic] and unbelief, and make their way only very slowly at first if at all. After a while the new ideas are seen to be successful, and are then accepted by increasing numbers. Thus it is often said that change is the work of an elite, or that the amount of change depends on the quality of leadership in a community. This is true enough if it implies no more than that the majority of people are not innovators, but merely imitate what others do. It is, however, somewhat misleading if it is taken to imply that some specific class or group of people get all the new ideas….Collective judgement of new ideas is so often wrong that it is arguable that progress depends on individuals being free to back their own judgment despite collective disapproval….To give a monopoly of decision to a government committee would seem to have the disadvantage of both worlds.
- W. Author Lewis – The Theory of Economic Growth, 1955