In “The ‘Marketplace’ of Ideas” I observe that
[u]nlike true markets, where competition usually eliminates sellers whose products and services are found wanting, the competition of ideas often leads to the broad acceptance of superstitions, crackpot notions, and plausible but mistaken theories. These often find their way into government policy, where they are imposed on citizens and taxpayers for the psychic benefit of politicians and bureaucrats and the monetary benefit of their cronies.
The “marketplace” of ideas is replete with vendors who are crackpots, charlatans, and petty tyrants. They run rampant in the media, academia, and government.
I have more to say in “Revisiting the ‘Marketplace of Ideas’“.
Now comes Tom Smith of The Right Coast:
Think [about] Nazism, Communism, various religions, Rastafarianism, and other -isms without number. Millions of people actually believe these things, often without reservation. The marketplace of ideas at best works only, ah, imperfectly, you might say. You also might say it’s always just a half-step away from disaster.
I would say that it often leads to disaster. Bringing the U.S. economy to its knees in the name of combating climate change is today’s Exhibit A. (Though it has stiff competition from Critical Race Theory, the transgender fad, abortion-on-demand, and a bunch of other things.
Equilibrium in the “marketplace of ideas”, were it ever to be realized, would be a consensus about “truth” of some kind or other. The problem is that even if such an equilibrium could be attained, a lot of damage (often irredeemable) would occur before nirvana arrives.
There are many historical parallels he tortuous and often futile search for “truth”, and to the damage that is wrought during that search.. One parallel that springs to mind — and which ought to horrify you — 100,000,000 human beings in the years between Hitler’s rise to power and the defeat of his regime.