18 votes

Ron Paul has no "God Complex"

I'm sure Tim Harford wasn't thinking of the Liberty movement here in the US when he presented Trial, error and the God complex, but, for me, it really resonated with our ideas of being for limited government and against central planning.

Ron Paul is the only candidate who fits Harford's criteria of admitting he doesn't have all the answers. The framers of our constitution thought trial and error was the obvious solution when they reserved all other powers to the states or to the people. It really is most important that we Restore America Now.

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He speaks about the "God

He speaks about the "God complex" and then advocates a politician who is ignorant of the past? This politician would enter into government saying that he will try different but random things to make government work.

I think he meant to advocate for someone like Ron Paul who understands trial and error much better than he. Ron Paul doesn't want to go into government and try something random! Ron Paul wants to change government to the role and scope that it was when the country was creating wealth and doing very well. We are already using a variation of the trial and error method he described. In recent decades we have tried things that don't work, and, unfortunately, have been too ignorant and proud to admit our mistakes and fix them. Ron Paul wants to repeal our mistakes and restore prosperity. Ron Paul 2012!

ytc's picture

A great video for wannabe Chief Central Planners. . .

i.e. all the presidential candidates, who need to learn the futility of pretending to know how to solve every problem up there in the white house. That is, EXCEPT for Ron Paul, who is not inflicted with such delusory god-complex!

Tim H beautifully demonstrates the contrast between inflexible dictates from The Best & The Brightest bureaucrats vs the wisdom culled from daily experience of countless mundane lives through many centuries.

As RP, Judge A Nap & other libertarians claim, the wisest government will be the Constitutional LEAN & mean fed gov which defends individual liberties (where real workable solutions are more likely to be found).

Laboratory of the States Platform

Posted here in late 2009:

The 2010 election cycle is rapidly approaching. It's extremely important that each of us ‘register' (Rep or Dem) and attend our local precinct caucus. Register as the party not currently in office with the US House of Representatives from your District. Contact your county recorder for a precinct map of your county. Find at least one person in each precinct in your county who supports the Laboratory of the States Platform and who is willing to lead that precinct.

Laboratory of the States Platform:

  1. Bring all troops home and make the top priority of the Federal government to protect US territory from trespass.
  2. Only one Federal tax: 5%/year on land value. No filing. Individuals own first $80,000 of land value tax-free.
  3. Turn over all Federal programs to the States, with funds apportioned by number of adult citizens.

The objective is to control the US House of Representatives in the next election cycle.

Send this to everyone you know.

If you read nothing else, read this: A Contract Between Americans


As the English economic journalist muttered after Dr Paul explained his Austrian view. I don’t understand praxeology and have no idea whether it is right or wrong. I do know the only mind in each of our heads needs to experience and choose to act on the real world himself. I believe in consistency tempered by non-contradiction. I believe governments and societies that tolerate individual non-coercive diversity are the best for my progeny. I believe if we give up on this experimental trial of individual freedom, we will all be in error. My God complex says Ron Paul.

I'll take my Liberty, it's not yours to give.

on the other hand, this video is perfect for paul supporters

who are still on the fence about environmental and financial regulations. i know some people here by name who are liberals and have argued for financial/environmental regulation in the past. this video gives good perspectives.

watched the video in its entirety. all i have to say is

it is obvious to us paul supporters, but i sincerely doubt those people who immediately mark ron paul off as just another politician or republican ever care to hear what he has to offer, and needless to say, they will not make the connection here, even if he/she were someone nodding head among the audience.


So crazy you posted this cause I just watched this video yesterday and I was thinking the same thing! I was laughing out loud because I was thinking this guy would love Ron Paul :-D

NO MORE LIES. Ron Paul 2012.


I'm surprised that so many people on here liked this video, I think they have really misunderstood the point. There isn't any explicit message about limited government, there is only a request for politicians who would be willing to admit that they don't have all of the answers. But that is immediately followed by the speaker saying that what he wants these same politicians to then do is start running experiments with their society to see which works best. It is not in keeping with the ideas of limited government that politicians run experiments on people (through programs and laws of course), and its also not Ron Paul's message. He wants individuals to run their lives and he wants to leave them alone as much as he can, not experiment on them.

I understand that a side benefit of state's rights is that each state would basically operate as a little laboratory that accumulates data on a particular governing approach and other states can then emulate it or not based on the success it demonstrates. This, however, is not the same thing as what the speaker is talking about. The speaker wants a politician to implement a policy in full understanding that they have no idea what works or not. When people get a novel measure to pass in their state it's because there was sufficient agreement amongst everybody that it would work, not because they want to run an experiment.

Joη's picture

I doubt he really wants politicians to force unknowns on others

though you could very literally interpret that as what he said. It was a 30 second aside meant to contrast current politicians with the much bigger, 18 minute point of the utility of (while not using these words) the marketplace of ideas from the many, with success and failure both possible and useful inputs to optimize.

"You underestimate the character of man." | "So be off now, and set about it." | Up for a game?

Grrreat post!

Grrreat post!

trial and error by government has a huge cost...

What Harford implies but doesn't say explicitly is that trial and error by the government comes at a huge cost. If a scientist makes a mistake in an experiment, he can throw away the results and restart the experiment. Or when a company fails to judge market demand correctly for a product, it takes a loss and tries again or maybe even goes out of business.

But when government makes a mistake, the cost is born by everyone to one degree or another. SS has been a mistake and along with other failed entitlement programs could ultimately bankrupt the nation. Wars can be a mistake and the cost of making such a mistake could kill thousands, maybe bankrupt the nation or even destroy it if the war is lost.

This again reinforces the need for limited government. Limited government translates to limited cost when politicians who suffer from the 'god complex' condition make a mistake. The cost of error is way too high... as is the likelihood that any given government 'trial' will be a mistake.

Trial and Error leads to Best Practices

This reinforces the points of Ron Paul, Gary Johnson and the founding fathers, to allow the states their rightful authority. 50 different opportunities for experimentation, 50 laboratories of innovation and the successful competitor leads, so best practices wins.

Excellent video

For those of you who think this is a waste of time, you need to dig deeper into the Austrian School theories, in particular, Mises' Human Action. Ron Paul is virtually a scholar of the Austrian School and this video bears out some of the greatest points of that economic philosophy, especially when Harford lists products on the market, especially in modern New York (billions) and demonstrates that no central economic tinkering can regulate the interaction of these products with prospective consumers without a disastrous result. Economies are so complex and so dependent on individual choices that there is no way any government or any singular group of people can modify it or control it in order to try to make something better. However, we certainly do have a gang of politicians who most definitely suffer from this "god complex" and who for years have been meddling with our economy with only disastrous results, distorting valuations on money, goods, and services. What we need are individuals like Ron Paul who don't want to lord over us in our economic decisions, but who want to allow the spontaneity that the Free-Market supplies, allowing us to make our own decisions regarding regulating our needs and wants according to each one's given situation, which will be done individually by trial and error. That's what I got out of it.

Thanks for posting it.


Wasted 8 minutes of my time

Watching this before falling asleep.

Nothing "grabbed me." No inspiration, no "aha" moment.

Not sure how this is worthy of the front page.

Alec Baldwin defined a god complex in a movie, I recall. I'm sure it's on YouTube. It's basically a very arrogant person. This guy just seemed to talk without much substance, but then again I was half asleep waiting for the Ron Paul moment which never came.

"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a rEVOLution before tomorrow morning." - Henry Ford

this video is boring

I had to turn it off

no L I M I T S.

Ron Paul has clearly expressed his Faith, and upholds Certain Principles, and Not prone to trial & error, that is the reason many put their trust in him. I think the title of this thread/page is a quite misleading, it does not concern RP one bit.

The speaker is very eloquent, seems like the younger brother of Tony Blair, ex-PM of UK, and war-monger partner of ex-Pres.Bush. This is a good lecture, for those who have No Reference.
I will not guess why he uses the term "god-complex", he could have used or coined some other words for "cock-sure stubbornness", while there are probabilities of error.
Trial & Error is very good to experiment about things you do Not know about. But if you have found out, tested, tried multiple times that 2+2=4, then it would be foolish to continue trials & look for errors. Now we have calculators that run on these mathematical formulas.
Trial & error is good only from a CERTain Level, so you land back safely, to try again. He makes No mention of fundamental rules, the foundation of Knowledge. There are some things called instincts, add to it Inspiration, which guide human thought and action, in creative ways. There is no harm in acknowledging it, express thankfulness.

Later, he says - "with humility we must abandon the god-complex". I wonder what he means by "god complex" in this instance, probably not in reference to Faith, specially of Scripture. Maybe he found some errors in "his" faith then he decides to dump all of it. Further, he shows a picture of a baby and says this was "produced by trial & error". He has no limits or bracing, that give stability & control.
No more to say, - it might become longish.

Probably this guy was himself a product of error. - Some of you may have heard before, - the lines typed below :
There was once a guy named Horn,
who wished he had never been born,
he would'not have been, had his father seen,
that the end of the rubber was torn.

On "God complex"

I'm sure the term means someone who believes they are on par with God with their knowledge of a certain subject.

Ron Paul has strong faith in God but does not believe he is God. He is, in fact, very humble and would be the first to admit where he has erred in direct opposition to those with a "God complex" who cannot admit their mistakes because they believe they cannot be mistaken.

I don't understand

In regards to faith, politics, and philosophy, hasn't there been a lot of trial and error over the thousands of years that humans have been alive to discover what works best (and we're still working on it)?

In regards to Ron Paul, doesn't he believe that it is up to the states and the people to discover what policies allow them to live their lives to the fullest by trying policies at a local or individual level? He does uphold certain principles but what principles would he have were he alive before Christ, or before Aristotle and Plato?

Many people consider the United States to be one of the greatest experiments the world has seen. We know the solution the founders came up with is, indeed, a grand solution. But they allowed an amendment procedure, created a legislative branch to debate law, and left the people to be their own master. From my understanding, this allows us to take what they gave, vary it, discover what works and vary it again.

People will continue to try, error, refine and try again. This video is not saying we should start from scratch after every error just as Ron Paul doesn't say we should start back at being hunter-gatherers. We know the Constitution works, we erred when we strayed from the constitution, it's time to go back to it, this time with more knowledge and understanding of where we erred.


for your attention and response. You have explained well. My intention was not hair-splitting, but my tone may have sounded harsh. My post received -5/ negatives.
This subject deserves long discussion, -- briefly, that what we know surely and is recorded need not be tried again =(read ignored), that would be waste of time, energy & opportunity. In a different way this is what you have clarified, re - the Constitution. Therefore adhering to the Constitution would be safe and economical.

So where in the video does he

So where in the video does he mention Ron Paul?

Joη's picture

when he describes the politican he wants to vote for

least, that's how I heard it, what with Ron Paul repeatedly saying he doesn't want to run everyone's lives, and free market economics putting great importance on every individual's choice.

"You underestimate the character of man." | "So be off now, and set about it." | Up for a game?


There's no explicit mention of Ron Paul but someone like Ron Paul is who he's thinking of.

In fact, as we've seen from all the "Aha!" moments people have before they sign on to support Ron Paul, this is what's going through a lot of people's minds.

There's been a pretty big movement in the past decade or so towards technocracy, both in the US and in Europe, where "experts" are put into positions where they can centrally plan. This video makes the point that the people put in these positions tend to have a "God complex" and they probably aren't going to come up with the best solution, or even a good solution, to our problems. It's one reason why it's difficult to convince people that we don't need a Department of Education or a TSA, etc.

can you give me a minute and

can you give me a minute and second marker please :)?

Joη's picture



What he's describing here is how the free market discovers best practices, which is essentially what RP has been saying. Government can't make these decisions. At best, it can only set a few, very good rules to encourage it.

"You underestimate the character of man." | "So be off now, and set about it." | Up for a game?


...for finding the YouTube link and the relevant timestamp.

If Mistakes were good, we would all be gods

Hopefully, when we make mistakes they don't cost us our lives and we can go on learning from them..

Of course

But the worst mistakes are those which both cost us our lives and we don't learn from. A lot of politicians and voters have been in that camp for a while.

Luckily, people are coming around. The mistakes of the past--the undeclared wars, the Fed, the income tax, the excessive regulation--should not be continued. I think, with Ron Paul as president, we can trust that such continuations will be vetoed.

Joη's picture

genetic algorithms!

I'd recognize those animations anywhere. That's how the nozzle was developed. (He said as much, just never named it)

Good point also, Ron Paul often remarks he doesn't claim to have all the answers.

Jeffrey Tucker in a video recently said "it was probably a good year in American history when no one remembered the name of the President", implying when they step out of the way and let the millions of minds operate freely, things turned out better than "one size fits all".

"You underestimate the character of man." | "So be off now, and set about it." | Up for a game?

I was about to post that

I was about to post that after I finished reading comments. All I could think was genetic algos too when he was showing that nozzle. It never occurred to me that it could work on physical systems which is dumb of me since it comes from physical systems.