devices as the granting of academic degrees:na decision-maker has some justificationnfor considering the holders ofndegrees on the whole superior to collegendropouts. Though the generalizationnmay not be valid in individual cases, itnis usually not worth the additional costnof discovering which ones these are.nIdeologies, Sowell notes, are anotherninstrument by which a society mayneconomize on the costs of gathering andnutilizing knowledge.nSowell understands very clearly thatnno matter how much knowledge a societynmay possess somewhere in its recesses,nit must be made available at thenproper time, in the proper form and atnthe proper point within the decisionmakingninstitutions of our society. Innother words, there must be an effectivenmechanism for bringing ideas andnknowledge to the attention of policymakersnas they are in the process of formulatingndecisions. Such establishmentsnas the Brookings Institution have longnprovided liberal intellectuals with suchna mechanism, one which specializes innthe knowledge of where to bring knowledgento bear within the governmentalnstructure. Only recently, with the foundingnof such organizations as ThenHeritage Foundation, have conservativenintellectuals begun to match that capabilitynand thereby to exercise greaterninfluence upon the formulation of publicnpolicy.nIn the contemporary world there arentwo principal ways of structuring a society:none relies upon economic transactionsnand the working of the marketnwith numerous, semi-independent centersnof authority and decision-making.nThe other is a political system, withnfewer centers of decision-making, whichnproduces decisions affecting great blocsnof people and tends toward a hierarchicalnstructure for the coordination of itsnactivities. These two systems utilize entirelyndifferent methods of obtaining theninformation they require for decisionmaking.nUnder the economic systemnthe information is transmitted in thenhighly abstract and highly useful formnof prices. Specific knowledge existsnsomewhere in the system, but no onenperson or group of persons needs to acquirenmuch of it in order to make rationalndecisions. A political systemnwhich seeks to eliminate the market,nhowever, relies upon “articulated” informationnin order to reach decisions.nSowell argues that the collection of allnthe articulated information which genuinen”central planning” requires is anpractical impossibility. In this area Sowell’snarguments recall those of PaulnCraig Roberts in his unjustly neglectednbooks on the theory of planned economies.nContrary to the prevailing opinionnof our day, the more complex a societynbecomes, the more essential it is that itnbe coordinated through the marketnmechanism, and the more impossiblenit is to direct it through political processes.nThis truth is slowly beginning tondawn on those responsible for the politicalnmanagement of the Americanneconomy; the recent airline deregulationnis the fruit of that realization.nAnd yet many still press for the furthernextension of centralized politicalncontrols over our economy. Most ofnthese are, in a word, “intellectuals.”nIntellectuals, as a budding social class,nhave largely seized control of the Americannpolitical system; they have a vestedninterest in the articulation of knowledgenwhich few can understand, as opposednto the transmission of knowledgenthrough prices, which any dullard canncomprehend. Intellectuals specialize innknowledge, or at least general ideasn(Sowell fails to distinguish sufficientlynbetween ideas and knowledge), and innthe use of language for the articulationnof knowledge and ideas. But while it isnrelatively easy to verify knowledge innmost instances, by testing it againstnnnempirical reality, it is quite difficult tondo this with ideas—particularly in thenrealm of the social sciences—and especiallynwith whole systems of ideasncombined into an ideology. Empiricalnreality is so complex that a skillful dialecticiannmay successfully defend then”truth” of a social idea or theory againstnwidespread assaults by simple reality.nAs experts in the use of language,nSowell quite rightly points out, intellectualsnmay utilize the resources of languagenitself to sustain ideas which otherwisenmight not withstand empiricalnverification. He cogently inquires atnone point: Shall decision-making be locatednin “an appointed judiciary influencednonly by those particular viewpointsnto [which] it is arbitrarily responsiven(known as ‘moral conscience’) andnarbitrarily oblivious to other viewsn(known as ‘public clamor’).^” Later Sowellnmakes a similar argument in showingnthat fashionable intellectuals sustainntheir view that Third World nations arenexploited by the developed world largelynthrough the incantatory repetition ofnsuch phrases as “web of capitalism” andn”imperialist network.” Affective wordsnand phrases have a powerful impactnupon our perceptions, and therefore ourndecisions. In the final analysis they maynbe driven from the field only by wordsnand phrases of equal or greater power.nFrom the use of affective phrases itnis but a step to the blurring of any distinctionnbetween truth and falsehood,nand from there to the straightforwardnand systematic lies upon which, as Solzhenitsynnreminds us, totalitarian systemsnmust be based. In Dostoyevsky’snThe Idiot, a young radical tells PrincenMyshkin that the strictly factual accuracynof information contained in a newspapernarticle should not be debated:nwhat is important is the article’snideological and moral thrust. Sowellnphrases it: “political truth is whatevernwill advance the interests of the causenor movement.” He shows that the “instrumental”nconcept of truth has alreadynprofoundly affected our polity; then121nSeptember/October 1980n