A Trial-And-Error Society

Eric Posner reviews Jim Manzi's new book, Uncontrolled:

[Manzi argues] that we should approach social problems with a bias for the status quo; those who seek to change it carry the burden of persuasion. Once a problem is identified, we should try out our ideas on a small scale before implementing them across society—except in those instances where an immediate all-or-nothing decision is called for, as occurs during wars and economic crises. Meanwhile we should encourage variation across society, so that ideas can be tried out in different conditions, and proposals will bubble up from below. Manzi thus embraces federalism, and argues that we should permit states (and smaller-scale localities) to experiment with different policies.