Recognizing Ignorance


My files are so voluminous that I cannot put my hands on the transcript of the interview at the moment to offer more details. For that I will apologize. However, the insight was so consequential that it has never left the background of my thinking.

While doing research for a magazine article some years ago, I had been talking with a wildlife biologist about a controversial management issue when he told me a great truth about how we approach wildlife and wild lands policy.

Paraphrasing, he said that we don’t have the answers to all of our questions. Further, he said that our outdoor world is so complex that we cannot even know how much we don’t know.

It is that truth which we fail to recognize and admit; and it is our failure to do so that constantly gets us into trouble.

That brings me to today’s highlighted article. The Free Market Beats Government Planning Every Time is the title and it starts like this:

One of the most challenging and important jobs for an economics professor is to teach students how little we know and can possibly know.

My longtime friend and colleague Thomas Sowell says, “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” Nobel laureate Friedrich August von Hayek admonished, “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”

The fact that we have gross ignorance about how the world operates is ignored by the know-it-all elites who seek to control our lives. Let’s look at a few examples of the world’s complexity.

The article then goes on to explain why the government’s approach to controlling the economy not only fails but makes things worse for consumers. This is precisely why socialism/communism always fails.

What sportsmen refuse to recognize is that our wildlife and wild lands suffer the same fate as our economy because of overreaching federal management. The constant efforts to control everything about our outdoor world consistently make matters worse.

Yet we clamor for the Fed to “do something” about every issue.

I could write a book about the problem – probably 12 books – if I thought more than a handful of people would actually read them…

In the meantime, I’ll continue to post these snippets of truth and pray that someone, somewhere, sometime will actually decide they can take a touch of truth and make a difference wherever it is they live.

That’s the view from here…

Author: Daniel D. Lamoreux

As an outdoor writer and freelance photographer, Dan's publishing credits include articles and/or photographs in more than 40 state, regional and national publications and he has authored three books. His expertise on the subject matter has been developed from over 40 years experience pursuing the outdoor sports.


  1. I have copied the last paragraph of that article. I will keep on copying it and sending it on and on and on. Maybe somewhere sometime someone will read it and realize just how correct you and Walt Williams are! Great stuff Dan’l!

    “The bottom line is that each of us is grossly ignorant about the world in which we live. Nothing’s wrong with that ignorance, but we are stupid if we believe that a politician can produce a better life than that which is obtained through peaceable, voluntary exchange with our fellow man anywhere on earth.”

  2. Dan’l,

    Great article! It exposes a universal truth, that we don’t know everything about anything and we never will. There is only one who holds all knowledge and that is the Creator of all things. That’s another good reason it’s wise to lean on Him as we navigate this thing called life.

    Thank you for this article. Hope you don’t mind if I share it.

    ~ Ray

  3. Don’t mind at all, Ray. In fact, I prefer that it get shared as often as possible. Thanks to both you and Ron!
    BTW, I agree that there is only one source of all knowledge and I’m thankful that I know the final chapter…

  4. as always been you are spot on. I just sent you an email on an issue with the University of Wyoming which touches on this and the ignorance that people do not accept but jump wholeheartedly into the ring of fire not knowing why, will it change I doubt it.

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