Monday, December 28, 2020

Too Smart By Two-and-a-Half

To be "too smart by half" (also common is "too clever by half") is to be too smart for one's own good, meant either literally or ironically. As an idiom, it is usually sarcastic. The phrase has a wide range of potential uses; for instance, it can mean:

1.) Something so complex that it's self-obfuscating.

2.) A seemingly clever action that is in fact foolish.

3.) Logically accepting something as necessary that isn't.

4.) Over analysis.

5.) Elitism (see ivory tower).

--"Those Harvard scholars are too smart by half."

--"What a dumb idea; I tell you, that guy is too smart by half."

Too clever by half: Shrewd but flawed by overthinking or excessive complexity, with a resulting tendency to be unreliable or unsuccessful.

Too clever by half: To be too contrived or arrogant in one's cleverness or intelligence, to the point of being irritating to others.

Let’s get at some of the key words from above:

-          Self-obfuscating

-          Foolish

-          Over analysis

-          Flawed overthinking

-          Excessive complexity

-          Contrived

-          Arrogant

-          Being irritating to others

And this describes those who are too smart by merely half!  Imagine the adjectives necessary to get this increased by a factor of five – of being too smart by two-and-a-half.

My journey of diving deep into libertarianism and liberty began at this blog by addressing many left-libertarian ideas, few of which had anything to do with the non-aggression principle and few of which offered anything that would contribute to my liberty.  I was able to handle these with little emotion, but with much aggression.  In hindsight, I would probably take some of that aggression back.

Then I came across a seemingly well-respected libertarian thinker who advocated killing a child for picking an apple.  Technically, he advocated that the property owner was the only individual entitled to decide the punishment for a violation of his property.  As one of my readers pointed out, this, therefore, could also include the demand of sex with the minor as punishment.

In this case, I reacted both quite emotionally and aggressively.  I wish I reacted only slightly less emotionally.  Only slightly.  The aggression?  No amount was too much.  Equating liberty with evil?  This deserves damnation in hell.

Then there is the stretching of the theory to the point of absurdity – frankly, to the point of making it a punch line.  Open borders, even if it means a million commies come to your town?  Sure.  Martian invaders demand that you murder someone in order to save the world?  Yes, a subject worth addressing. 

Recently I have read of the theoretical possibility under the non-aggression principle of forcing individuals to be vaccinated against their will.  Boy, I went in with a knife on that one – and not just one wound, but several.  I stabbed it with my steely knives…

…but I just couldn’t kill the beast, apparently.  Because now comes masks: yes, there is a libertarian case (believe it or not) for forced mask-wearing as well.  Keep in mind – both the topic of forced vaccinations and this topic of forced mask-wearing have been raised in the context of our last nine months.  Both are addressed in the most esoteric and theoretical manner, yet the context in which these are read is in the reality of today.

Ideologies always present a danger.  On the surface, many sound good.  Taken to the extreme, none have proven efficacious toward the stated ends.  Given that here I am speaking of the ideology of libertarianism, this ideology – taken to an extreme – will not produce liberty; given the examples offered above, it should be obvious that it destroys liberty.

Even if one grants that libertarianism supports forced vaccines or forced mask wearing (I do not, but bear with me), where is the liberty in this?  I, as the property owner, no longer have rights as to what goes into my body?  I, as the property owner, no longer have rights in what is done in my restaurant or church?  Even if one grants that these are compatible with libertarianism (again, it isn’t, but bear with me), it isn’t compatible with my liberty.

This is the problem with ideologies and their ideologues: they focus on one thing while ignoring all else.  There is a complexity in human social relations that is never addressed by ideology; historically, this complexity has been addressed by religion – maybe not all religions, but certainly by Christianity (and I don’t purposely exclude others; I am just not as knowledgeable on others nor are these relevant to life in the West).

Which leads me to examining the relationship of law and ideology.  From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

If law is a system of enforceable rules governing social relations and legislated by a political system, it might seem obvious that law is connected to ideology. Ideology refers, in a general sense, to a system of political ideas, and law and politics seem inextricably intertwined.

For a too-smart-by-two-and-a-half libertarian, this statement clears the field.  Armed with his ideology, he is now free to craft his laws – wherever the ideology leads: shoot a child for picking an apple, allow a million commies in, Martians demanding murder, forced vaccinations and mask-wearing. 

In contrast to the ideology taken to extreme, we continue:

The ideal of law, in contrast, involves a set of institutions that regulate or restrain power with reference to norms of justice.  Thus the presence of the ideological in law must, in some sense, compromise law’s integrity.

As compared to a theory of law based on ideology, other theories of law purport to meet a higher ideal – norms of justice:

Not only is the view of law as ideology at odds with a lot of mainstream thinking about law, it seems difficult to reconcile with the central philosophical positions on the nature of law, e.g. a positivist conception of law as a set of formal rules, or a natural law conception where law is identified with moral principles.

I am not, of course, concerned about mainstream thinking of law nor will I consider arguments for positivists conceptions of law.  However, natural law as a basis of law achieves two things not achieved by taking the ideology of libertarianism to the extreme: first, it does away with the absurdities and silliness when one tries purifying an ideology (as seen in the examples above), and second, it offers a path to liberty properly understood.  And isn’t liberty the norm of justice that libertarians should be chasing?

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn is quite relevant here:

I have spent all my life under a Communist regime and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale than the legal one is not quite worthy of man either.

What is the non-aggression principle but an objective legal scale?  Continuing:

A society which is based on the letter of the law and never reaches any higher is taking very scarce advantage of the high level of human possibilities. The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have a beneficial influence on society.

What is the “beneficial influence on society” of seeing people by the thousands lined up to be forced to take an injection, or to spend months (going on years) of not seeing another human face?

Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relations, there is an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralyzing man's noblest impulses.

Moral mediocrity and paralyzed man; exacerbating the meaning crisis.  This doesn’t sound much like liberty to me.

Regarding the necessity of leaning on natural law for liberty (and not merely the non-aggression principle), Murray Rothbard understood this at least as early as 1960:

What I have been trying to say is that Mises’s utilitarian, relativist approach to ethics is not nearly enough to establish a full case for liberty. It must be supplemented by an absolutist ethic—an ethic of liberty, as well as of other values needed for the health and development of the individual—grounded on natural law, i.e., discovery of the laws of man’s nature.

Rothbard goes further, from The Ethics of Liberty:

I at no time believed that value-free analysis or economics or utilitarianism (the standard social philosophy of economists) can ever suffice to establish the case for liberty.

There is something beyond the non-aggression principle – especially when it is as poorly applied as is the case in the above examples – that is required if one is after liberty.  Rothbard concluded that it was the natural law.  I agree, wholeheartedly.


Returning to the list from above:

-          Self-obfuscating

-          Foolish

-          Over analysis

-          Flawed overthinking

-          Excessive complexity

-          Contrived

-          Arrogant

-          Being irritating to others

For those who were raised on Rothbard’s knees, who believe that they are advancing the cause in the tradition of Rothbard, it really is long past time to stop your efforts.  Rothbard, even when charting a pioneering path, never came to conclusions as silly as those advanced by these self-proclaimed disciples.

That you make a mockery of yourself is your own business.  You are making a mockery of Rothbard, and you are making a mockery of libertarianism.  Certainly, you are not advancing the cause of liberty.

I suggest it is time to retire.


See my developing maturity?  No emotion, very little aggression.  I didn’t even name the guilty, nor link to any of the relevant posts.


  1. Absolutely brilliant analysis.

    1. What that Vance fellow penned.

      Great read.

      Liberty Mike

  2. My belief is that you've found the target.

    Thank you

  3. Let me comment upon this topic by arguing that most of our political and cultural "leaders" are abstract thinkers. I mean this in the sense that Hegel illustrates in his essay, "Who is it that Thinks Abstractly?". To think abstractly means to consider a part as if it were a whole. For example, to think about the nervous system abstractly is to consider that system in isolation from the whole that is the human body. And such an abstraction may be useful, justifiable, for many reasons. But when St. Fauci approaches the problems of a virus abstractly, when he views it exclusively from the vantage point of an epidemiologist (and there may be many such critters, not always viewing the virus in an identical way), he is thinking in an inappropriately abstract way. He, conveniently or not, forgets about the economic, the mental health, the spiritual, and the other affected domains affected by this "pandemic". I believe this is what Aristotle means when he describes politics as an "architectonic science": public policy should be crafted in such a way as to consider the whole that is impacted by such policy, not just the part which a specialist might focus upon. People like Fauci resolve the problems of human life into puzzles with unique answers, accessible to the appropriate experts. Public policy suggestions should be crafted to give several options, none, if possible, irreversible. As it now is, even bad options, endorsed by "experts" become categorically imperative, like always wearing a mask, even when it is far from clear that masks work. Or when it is possible that they make things worse. And what is even worse, is the injunction "follow the science". As Dr. Carl Schmitt indicates, it is a property of the political to conceal itself: to claim that the sceptic is opposed to science, is behaving politically, not the Faucis or the Cuomos.
    Still within the Twelve Days: Merry Christmas!

    1. Great point. I never quite understood abstract to mean the opposite of wholistic. It makes perfect sense though.

      This criticism could probably be equally applied to the word 'ideology'. Ideology is more or less a set of ideas that describe a preferred social outcome without regard for all the factors and unintended consequences that will most likely come as a result of its implementation.

      Funny how conservatives always had an aversion to abstract thinking and ideology. Another reason to trust conservative intuition.

      Don Livingston of the Abbeville Institute has a great talk on "What is Wrong with Ideology"

      Henry Hazlitt's great book, "Economics in One Lesson" is all about taking stock of a policy's effects not just on one industry but the economy as a whole, and not just the short term effects, but the long term as well.

  4. Yes, nicely said. I am a longtime libertarian who has been backed into absurdity many times because I could not bridge the gap between ideology and reality. With age and experience, I have come to accept that the NAP is a necessary but insufficient guide to social organization.
    As this applies to mask wearing: The NAP says you may not force anyone to wear a mask. However, it also says that you may not be the spreader of a disease. What the NAP does not address, however, is the question of degree of harm and degree of defense against harm, and the evidence required. If we do not use common sense, we would be quarantining people who had a sniffle, or worse yet, the possibility of a sniffle. Absurd. There must be some kind of social agreement that establishes an acceptable norm, guided by the NAP, that says sniffles are not aggression worth worrying about, or human social interaction is impossible. I believe there is a legal maxim that says something like "the law does not concern itself with trivialities." That seems like a pretty good rule to me.
    I still advocate for the NAP because I believe it is no longer the guiding principle. Talking with a young man a couple of years ago, he was insistent that I should vote for a leftist politician because of all the good things she would do. I countered that she, the politician, was going to embark on policies that would impose economic and regulatory burdens on innocent people which would violate my principles. My opponent then assumed I was going to vote for the other party, and I assured him I was not. But you MUST vote, he said. I disagreed, and finally said to him that I would agree to not vote for someone who would victimize him if he would agree to not vote for someone who would victimize me. That's not now the system works! he screamed. Yes, because the NAP is no longer a guide. Law is now untethered from any kind of principle, and only legalized raw force is recognized as legitimate.

    1. I broadly agree with your views, and would like to just add a couple of thoughts:

      I have found that the NAP works much better as a guideline for when punishment or physical defense is justified, and not as an answer to every question we face.

      To turn the NAP into some sort of rule authorizing "pre-crime" makes it nonsensical. There is no crime until someone is harmed. To say that there is now a law criminalizing the possibility that I might harm someone, maybe, turns law into a weapon.

    2. In an article posted this morning on, Allan Stevo brought out the following point. His article directly concerned the wearing of face masks, but the connection with the issue being discussed is clearly evident.

      "...theories that cannot be described to an eight-year-old are either fallacious or poorly understood by the speaker. Simplicity of communication is obtainable to he who understands his subject matter and possesses a sincere desire to communicate."

      This is true. If you cannot explain to an eight-year old boy why he must die because he stole an apple off your tree, then your theory is too complicated and should be discarded. If you cannot explain to an eight-year old girl why she must wear a face mask and receive potentially harmful vaccines because someone else she doesn't even know MIGHT die from her non-compliance, then your theory is too complicated and should be discarded. If you cannot explain to any eight-year old, male or female, why his/her mother could have killed him/her before birth on the premise that she had the "right" to evict trespassers (abort pregnancy), then your theory is too complicated and should be scrapped.

      This is a serious problem with the NAP and its theoreticians. It has become too complicated and in far too many instances has unexplainable...except to others who also inhabit the rarefied air of the Ivory Tower. Far too much time, effort, and expense has been spent trying to nail down every little detail with very little to show for it.

      It is my understanding that the general public is not interested in the esoteric theories promoted by these people, but instead is far more receptive to issues which directly address justice. I think that more people have been turned off by "extreme libertarian theory" than have been enlightened by it.

      If there is one thing eight-year old children understand, it is the simple issue of justice, the rightness or wrongness of an action. Perhaps this is why Jesus said that we MUST enter the Kingdom of Heaven as a little child. Certainly salvation is predicated on a simple explanation, not a complex theory.

    3. Well said, Roger. Your last paragraph is spot on.

  5. "Armed with his ideology, he is now free to craft his laws – wherever the ideology leads: shoot a child for picking an apple, allow a million commies in, Martians demanding murder, forced vaccinations and mask-wearing."

    Add this to your list. He is now free to advocate the deliberate killing of defenseless, unborn children in the womb because the mother has the "right" to evict trespassers from her body. Since we do not have the technology yet to remove these trespassers and keep them alive, safe, and growing, there is nothing left except to allow their heinous, gruesome death. The woman's "property rights" are, after all, sacrosanct above all else.

    Property rights rise above and rule over everything else. Without this concept, there is no libertarianism. The only problem is that this assumes that the individual person is his own sovereign who has to answer to no one. Property rights, however, are given to us, in trust, by a higher moral Authority and we transgress that trust to our own detriment.

    "Woe to those who call evil good."---Isaiah 5:20

    I follow in your footsteps. No emotion (well maybe just a little or maybe a truckload), no aggression, no naming of the guilty.

  6. First, excellent analysis.

    "This is the problem with ideologies and their ideologues: they focus on one thing while ignoring all else. There is a complexity in human social relations that is never addressed by ideology; historically, this complexity has been addressed by religion – maybe not all religions, but certainly by Christianity..."

    As I have matured from trying to understand the world in my youth to seeking the wisdom to find peace in the world in my old age, I have found a renewed faith in the principles of Christianty. In some part due to your writing. Thanks for that.

    1. Thank you, Mark. The feedback from this community over the last many years has aided me similarly.

  7. This is good.

    And it is better to dispense with the emotion, in any kind of a fight, if you can.

    I started out not being able to dispense with it at all. Fury in a hurry, that was young me.

    But then age bore down, the fur fell down – fuzzy-wuzzy was still a bear, just a more laid bare bear – and emotion was less hairy, too.

    But now I seem to doing the Benjamin Button reversal, seem to be going back to the future.

    And the reason it seems to me is realization & acceptance that words don’t stand in. They stand down.

    No matter how tall & sound words may be, or seem to be, in a given time & place context, platoons of too smart by two-&-a-half wo/men word-subverters strip away charlie’s sheen, keep pulling ball-away fast ones, until all the leaves are brown, & the sky is gray.

    And then when the dreaming finally undeniably flips backwards into nightmaring, millions of spores transplant themselves to Bozeman, Missoula, & Whitefish... and start dreaming all over again.

    “But we think in words!” stands in-objects the county prosecutor who has Soros on speed-dial.

    Except that’s just more sheening the Charlie. Not to mention the deconstruction that separated the frog’s legs from its torso, & fried ‘em up with some fava beans accompanied by a nice chianti. To which lambs stand down in silent approval, all around.

    Felt sense/s (Gene Gendlin, Peter Levine...) are the thoughts that get labeled in words.

    I had a brief amicus with the “evictionist.” Whether germ theory is true, false, or somewhere in between, I said – and there’s a whole lotta’ sheening been done re Pasteur & vaccination – it’s incontrovertible that nothing grows in incompatible terroir.

    E. pluribus unum & other ‘social contract’ fondues aside, everybody gets the terroir they get, & I never promised to tend your rose garden, whatever contrived promissory notes to the contrary color of law gather ye’ rosebuds as ye may.

    I had a sales manager long ago that said most people walk through life with the severed end of their umbilical cords in hand, searching for a womb to plug back into.

    Tenure in university is one such womb.

    Seems no such thing as too much womb, tho.

    Taking one’s skin out of the game seems to increase the desire to skin as many others’ hides as possible in some sort of effort to get back to the Garden of Eden...that scene in Apocalypto, the professoriate atop the pyramid, ripping out hearts & lopping off heads.

    So, yeah. I’m back to preferring grand pianos positioned just so until gravity’s potential goes perfectly timed kinetic. Bye, Charlie. Feel that sense.

    1. I believe, then, you will appreciate this response better than my current one:

    2. I appreciate both responses.

      Dave Cullen pointed out the transhumanists’ fear of mortality seems a tad higher than is the stock humanstock variety.

      Maybe that’s because some of them have lots of money, all the rack & pinion power-minions money can buy, misplaced pride – hubris – in those accumulations, and believe gobs of currency will enable spending their way to keeping themselves current in far-farther-farthest extended futures.

      Or maybe that carts the dead horse & beats it because mortality fear drives the accumulations.

      The quip used to be s/he who dies with the most toys wins. Now it is hoped that enough toys does away with dying. Off chance if so, some are more than willing to take everybody elses' toys.

      The technocrats leading the charge from well arrears are driving the transhumanism pawn•tiac trans am like they stole it because...they are more afraid of dying than the average mortal is. Panicked, even, you might say.

      With all the wealth & power they have, they still see themselves in the life raft scenario, & have no moral or ethical qualms about cannibalism to keep increasing the quantity, extending the span, of poor quality life they lead.

      And they are moated by commando bodyguards willing to defend them, even unto shuffling off their own coils, for 30 pieces of silver, too.

      But I know lots of people, none connected billionaires, who believe corona has put us one & all into foxholes, & whose own foxholes seem to be dug into a-seeping-theism wet ground.

      Trickle down econ voodoo bleeds into those holes in the ground, into eyeholes in heads too, apparently, since none of the ones who are able to cocoon & zoom & keep paychecks coming have much if any concern for the dolls that have been pinned into devil•details display cases.

      Or concern for what collapsing division of labor in the real economy, & especially collapsing competition (you know the quote Peter Thiel is infamous for? Wonder if he’ll be at Davos next month....) is going to get around to doing to *them.*

      First they came for the restaurateurs, waiters, waitresses & bartenders, & I did not speak out – because I was not in hospitality, nor even hospitable....

      They are not starving, let alone scrimping, in other words, even as they are ravenous to stay alive at whatever & all costs, even – if not especially – against largely fictional threats to their mortality ...just like the billionaires who have a lot, but not enough, never enough, & so must conspire to cannibalize lifeboat earth. There but for the Grace of Slick, go those blood”donor”-filled I’s.

      Block, the people I know & have described, are all chips off that old billionaire block that’s been after the fountain of youthful confidence, ignorance & hunger forever. Wanna-gonna live forever, right up til a minute later when they are shot out of their saddles up on that Cold Mountain.

      That's about the extent of that id•eology. The drive it like you killed it death drive, a la Freud.

    3. Anon,

      "most people walk through life with the severed end of their umbilical cords in hand, searching for a womb to plug back into"

      Now that is genius.

      Love your comment. Not sure what you mean with your last line though. Are you saying you prefer people who keep falling for the ball being pulled away trick (Charlies) to instead get a piano on their heads? I know poetry is ruined when you have to explain it, but when you cast your pearls before this swine it comes with the terroir!

    4. Hi ATL...Practical genius he was, that sales manager. And he was a good old boy, from Texas, too.

      I meant that I’m through talking to these people – the ones that keep falling for the ball being pulled away, & the ones that keep pulling the ball away. I meant that since words aren’t the power chords most seem to take for granted that they are, I prefer to, if putsch comes to shovel, be the piano...again, as I was in my Jerry Lee Lewis youth. (But my preference most is to be far, far from this madder crowd. Piano sailing’s pyhrric.)

      Ha...I watched some of an interview of Delbert McClinton, who just turned 80. He described being backstage wing edge when Lewis did his signature stand up & kick the stool away move. And that the stool missed his head by 10 inches. Alas Delbert makes clear he’s all aboard with the coronaphobia, while he alas’s all the unbelievers out there. Some differences between 80 & 20 are improvements, some aren’t.)

      Here’s a line from Rodney Crowell, another Texas musician:

      Through action wisdom is revealed and too much talk is like a shield
      In silence lies the keys to how we grow

      And, because poetry, make of this line what you will:

      In between the masks you wear, wash your face and comb your hair
      You're not hurting anyone dancin' circles round the sun


      Incentives matter. Natural incentives “incentivize” natural people. Quote locks intended to indicate the order, the sequence, that’s counter the intuitions of too many. Compulsion to create is an internal configuration that projects itself outward. It’s not an external lube job that slip-slides creation into being.

      I remember somebody praising Carlos Santana. They said that if things hadn’t gone the way they did – fame, fortune – CS would still be making music in whatever small venues, wherever he could.

      I remember Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band getting booed at Montreux, & responding by turning up the volume.

      Etc. It’s like that. That’s the direction of the shot. Music wasn’t always a potential goldmine, but there were always people that spent their lives creating in music. The example scales.

      “Natural” is word play, of course. Natural contains the twisted “unnatural,” too. Cartels, monopolies, IP, “living” corporations & constitutions...anti-creation. Young Mary Shelley saw that, got her parable past the gatekeeper censors of the day.

      Nature consumes nurture. Digestion varies. Some convert dairy into nutrition. Some are lactose intolerant. Etc. Scales. Do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti...but fee-fi-fo-fum, too.

      Michael Crichton’s “fiction” digests a lot of this medical/biotech unnaturalness. His novel Next gets more current with the passage of back to the future time.

  8. I assume we're talking about Mr. Defending the Undefendable here. I kind of just disregard a lot of his theoretical observations and arm-chair imaginings (though I am interested in reading his books on the ownership of Roads and Water). I once met Stephan Kinsella (one of the few libertarians who is actually a practicing lawyer) for lunch, and he imparted some wisdom on me that he was not really interested in all the arm-chair theorizing that many libertarians engage in. These sorts of things will be worked out in the free world by the actual courts and legal associations as they arise he told me.

    It kind of took me by surprise, because I thought, "here is a libertarian lawyer and he is not interested in this?" But he was right. The world is not going to end if we achieve liberty one day and find we have not thought of every possible scenario concerning the NAP. Let's get to liberty first, and then the rest will sort itself out naturally.

    Perhaps there will be associations and communities in the coming free world (should it ever come to pass) which require vaccinations for everyone and masks in shared spaces. No sweat off my back, because I won't live in one of those communities, nor will I do business within one.

    1. ATL, this, in a nutshell, captures it. Custom, culture, and tradition will fill in the spaces in between. We don't need to sweat this stuff (How many libertarians can dance on the head of a needle?).

      Libertarian communities (if we ever get to see such things) will not look libertarian to those on the outside. They are free, of course, to form their own community as they like.

      Regarding Kinsella, this doesn't surprise me given his positive association with Hoppe. Not that this means they agree on everything, but I could imagine Hoppe saying something similar.

    2. Yeah Kinsella, more than anyone else, is Hoppe's protégé. I really should pay more attention to this guy. Maybe that will be my New Year's Resolution! He is also a student of Roman Law or Civil Law (rather than English Common Law) and sees some libertarian instincts contained within it. I think it's because he's from or spent some time in Louisiana (I can't remember which), which has a Civil Law foundation ("we come from France" - Dan Aykroyd).

      He also told me that he never wanted to be attached to an institute, university, or think tank because he thought that would unacceptably restrict his views should they evolve based on newer arguments or evidence. So he's stayed employed as a patent attorney here in Houston. This is a great man.

    3. "...because he thought that would unacceptably restrict his views..."

      I think the subject of this post is evidence that this is not necessarily the case with all institutes.

    4. Read Kinsella's treatise on patent and copywrite law. Wasn't convinced. Makes some good points but totally misses on others.

    5. Mr. Undefendable guy is really a pain in the neck. He seems rather goofy to me.

  9. Well thank you for this. When coming across some of the examples given, I've often been left scratching my head. Now I know it isn't just me.

  10. One thinker who has helpful things to say about "ideology" and practical knowledge, worth reading and reflecting upon in my opinion: Michael Oakeshott (may his memory be eternal!): On Human Conduct, Rationalism in Politics, Experience and its Modes. He, I hazard, would view our contemporary mess in part as a result of treating all knowledge as if it conforms to the template of a "cook book". That is, knowledge as such can be summed up in a single book of recipes, accessible to relevant experts: say, a manual for epidemiologists. Such self contained knowledge by itself, though, never teaches us to cook or to heal the sick. To do so, human actors require in confronting the puzzles of life experientially acquired practical knowledge: know how. "Ideology", for Oakeshott, is an instance of the cook book approach, and Oakeshott opposes to it "tradition."
    Christ is born!