Ideas Have Sex, and We’re Better for It

If government will just stay out of the bar, ideas will meet and mate and produce wonderful things.

An idea walks into a bar. She meets another idea. They get together, and nine months later (or maybe it’s nine minutes or seconds? It’s not clear how it works with ideas), a new idea is born. A baby idea with the best traits of both parents.

When this happens a lot, everyone gets smarter and the world gets better.

Did you know that ideas have sex?

It’s a weird concept, but the more I think about it, the more right it seems. I learned it from British journalist Matt Ridley, a recent guest on my Fox Business show.

Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, says the reason life gets better is that ideas have sex.

“Ideas spread through trade,” he told me. “And when they meet, they can mate, and you can produce combinations of different ideas. I think a good example is a camera pill, which takes a picture of your insides on the way through. It came about (during) a conversation between a gastroenterologist and a guided missile designer ... a process very similar to sex in biology, because through sex, genes meet and recombine, and you get new combinations of genes. That’s what causes innovation in biology, and innovation in culture.”

And life improves.

“Our living standards have shot up in my lifetime. The average income of the average person, corrected for inflation, is three times what it was when I was born (in 1958). And life span is 30 percent longer.”

This didn’t happen because of central planning. It’s the spontaneous market generated from free individuals that sets and keeps it in motion.

Ridley goes on to argue that even sex between the ideas of dumb people produces better results than those of a brilliant central planner.

“If you look at human history ... lots of people in a room who are talking to each other, however stupid they are, can achieve a lot more than a lot of clever people in the room who never talk to each other. So it’s not individual intelligence that counts in how well a society works. It’s how well people communicate and exchange ideas with each other.”

In light of this, it’s not hard to understand why Ridley calls himself a rational optimist. He reminds me the late, great economist Julian Simon, author of The Ultimate Resource, who for years stood virtually alone in explaining the benefits of population growth, free exchange, and the mixing of ideas.

“I was fed up with the pessimists,” Ridley explained. “When I was a student in the 1970s, the grown-ups told me that the future of the world was bleak, that the oil was running out, that the population explosion was unstoppable, that famine was inevitable. I feel kind of cross that nobody said anything optimistic to me about how these resources might not run out. They might become more abundant because of human ingenuity. They might actually get cheaper rather than more expensive and that it might be possible for us to live higher living standards and actually do less damage to the environment as we do so, that the air might get cleaner, the rivers might get cleaner!

“All of these things have happened. We’ve got healthier, happier, cleaner, kinder, cleverer, more peaceful and, indeed, more equal, if you look at the picture globally over that time.”

In a debate, Bill Gates pushed back against Ridley’s optimism. Gates argued that worrying about the worst case can help drive a solution.

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  • ||

    Well, that explains the mess we're in.
    Too many fucking bad ideas and not nearly enough fucking good ideas...

    no hugs for thugs,
    Shirley

  • AlmightyJB||

    :)

  • Julian Simon's loosing bet||

    Everybody knows about that loosing bet Cornucopian Julian Simon made, right?

    THE SIMON-SOUTH BET ON PINE SAWTIMBER
    https://fp.auburn.edu/sfws/sfnmc/web/bet.html

    David South is the Winningest Better against the idiot Cornucpians ever!

    The Madjd-Sadjadi and South --- BET ON OIL
    https://fp.auburn.edu/sfws/sfnmc/web/oilbet.html

  • Our Dear Leaders...||

    ...who are Lords over the Resources, including the valuable human labor pool, have told us only of Julian Simon's winning bet.

    Libertarian rhetoric is sanitized for the hierarchy's protection.

  • so the question is...||

    why are you so fucking stupid that you put your name in your post twice asshole?

    Stop signing you posts, unless it's with "total fucking idiot who lives in 1959".

  • Almanian||

    Speaking of "fucking stupid", Mr./Ms. "butthurt about stupid shit", have a nice day, sunshine.

  • Fucking Shirley's K9ot||

    Jesus H Fucking Christ

  • Loki||

    Way to jump on your mentrual cycle and run someone over. Take a Midol please.

  • ||

    Think you're onto something there, and Matt Ridley is missing an essential part of the puzzle. Bad ideas are out there having sex, too.

    The important thing is some kind of feedback mechanism for encouraging the good ideas and killing the bad ones.

  • ||

    In my experience, bad ideas tend to reproduce asexually, like a virus. People tend recycle the same tired crap over and over, and then explain that the reason it keeps failing is that they need to do it HARDER.

  • Ice Nine||

    Wow, a really revolutionary idea - sharing ideas leads to innovation.

  • Mainer||

    I thought government subsidies lead to innovation.

  • Almanian||

    Only when the Right People are in charge.

  • Mainer||

    Trains, trolleys, windmills...cutting edge stuff.

  • Almanian||

    HIGH SPEED trains, Mainer, HIGH SPEED trains...

  • Tony||

    Computers, the Internet, nuclear power, space exploration...

  • AlmightyJb||

    Top Men

  • Sputnik 1957||

    MARKET FAILURE.

    Stossel is blowing sunshine up everybody's ass, pretty much like the Soviets did too.

  • ||

    Dod/NASA =/= Free Market. Try again.

  • I P Lausute||

    I am so stealing that idea!

  • Intellectual "Property"||

    Re: Ice Nine,

    Wow, a really revolutionary idea - sharing ideas leads to innovation.


    Thief!

  • Cytotoxic||

    IP is necessary to make sure ideas don't get date-raped at the bar.

  • Idea||

    Like my pussy can't handle a room for a sailors. Men are such wimps.

  • ||

    Brainstorming: Idea Gangbang.

  • ||

    lmao

  • ||

    So grilling someone is rape?

  • anon||

    Idk, but I think stossel is calling the gov idea abortionists

  • AlmightyJB||

    They call it brainstorming, it's not all that new.

    I also would not compare sharing ideas to sex unless your sharing ideas about sex and than having sex, cause it's not even close.

  • ||

    What about the idea of registration? It is just passed out drunk somewhere?

  • ||

    That idea is gamboling about the plains.

  • Almanian||

    Nope - Officer State-Controlled-[AGRI]{culture} just arrested it.

  • ||

    I'm sure there's some refutation of IP in a 40-year-old anthropology coloring book.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Only 40? Has basement boy quoted anything this side of the end of the Depression?

  • ||

    The Origin of War drivel was from 1975.

  • If it's not new, it's drivel?||

    Weird. Does that mean the theory of gravity is drivel too?

  • ||

    Does that mean the theory of gravity is drivel too?

    I don't see it working on the smallest scales yet...

  • Loki||

    $10 says that one just flies right over its head.

  • ||

    $10 says that one just flies right over its head.

    It will, considering that he only sees the enormous scales at the zoo when he goes in for a check-up.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: SugarFree,

    I'm sure there's some refutation of IP in a 40-year-old anthropology coloring book.


    No. Plenty of refutations out there, SF.

    http://freenation.org/a/f31l1.html

    http://mises.org/journals/jls/15_2/15_2_1.pdf

  • ||

    And the joke just wooshed right over your head.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: SugarFree,

    And the joke just wooshed right over your head.


    Oh, no, I got the White Imbecile-reference joke. But I still wanted to post a few refutations, just in case.

  • ||

    Your just afraid to afraid to argue with me because of superior huntering and gathering mind!

    The Douche Report For Douches
    Vol. 6, Issue 3

  • ||

    The Douche Report For Douches

    Thanks for the reminder to renew my subscription.

  • ||

    Renew now or you may miss the Douchruary issue.

  • Loki||

    "Your just afraid to afraid to argue with me because of superior huntering and gathering mind!"

    Shouldn't it be gamboling mind?

  • Old Domesticated Poodle||

    Look, my daddy is third picture down.

  • Old Mexican||

    If government will just stay out of the bar, ideas will meet and mate and produce wonderful things.


    Until you get sued by someone claiming to have "ownership" of that idea.

  • Almanian||

    That's MY idead. Stop using my fucking ideas, or I'll sue, Old Mexican.

  • Attorney for Old Poodle||

    Dear Mr. Almanian:

    We are intellectual property counsel for Old Poodle Nanny-State Kennels, Inc. It has come to our attention that your idea has several features that appear to be claimed by our client's copyright (enclosed). Our client has advised us that Almanian enjoys a long-standing reputation in the industry as a reputable and conscientious business. Thus, we presume Almanian was unaware of the existence of our client's copyright. However, we believed it prudent for Almanian to be aware of the copyright as soon as we learned of this situation. From a preliminary review, we are inclined to believe the idea reads on the copyright claims. However, we would appreciate your thoughts on this matter. Please feel free to contact us at your convenience, we look forward to hearing from you.

    Best regards.....
    Piss on my White Fluffy Tail Law Offices

  • Almanian||

    For some actual good info/research, I recommend Scott Page's "The Difference". Paid my own damned money for that book after he gave us a presentation at work. Totally changed my perspective on "diversity" and the power of "many heads are better than one".

    PS Didn't Vlad the Impaler think many heads were better than one? On pikes, anyway?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Thanks for the tip, Almanian. I was going to the library this morning and I'll add this to my list.

  • Almanian||

    Hope you like it.

  • ||

    And yet, no multi-tipped pikes.

  • ||

    (no, tridents don't count)

  • GILMORE||

    I've always been of the mind that strong ideas roam in packs and hunt down the weak ideas, slaughtering their offspring, burning their homes, raping their women... even occasionally fighting among themselves to determine which of them maintains preeminence as strongest of the strong.

    Disclosure: I was raised by Vikings

  • Almanian||

    Your ideas intrigue me, and I am interested in subscrining to your newsletter.

  • GILMORE||

    ...I am interested in subscrining

    Ah, yes, You shall be one to receive my 'newsletter'...

    ...in the form of my war hammer shattering your skull while my dogs feed on your entrails!

    ...also, that's $29.99 for a yearly subscription, BTW. All major credit cards accepted. Act now, you get a free, "My soul has been cast into Niflheim for all eternity!"-Tote-Bag.

  • AlmightyJb||

    3-13. The shame.

  • GILMORE||

    3-13.

    ?

    perhaps this?

    "Colossians 3:13

    13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

    oh riiiight!....Christians! I remember you guys!

    See, we had a slightly different approach to the issue.

    Viking-school documentary = "How to say hello to Christians!"=
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwGNPohAD_0

  • ||

    I hereby challenge you to the holmgang. One of us will find his way to Odin's hall in Asgard this glorious day.

  • Gilmore's Daddy||

    Eric the Awful.

  • Blacksmithing||

    I thought so too, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

  • rather||

    onetime I was watching tv and I fell asleep but when I woke up it was a microwave instead.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Gay ideas don't reproduce and therefore aren't as valuable? This concept is homophobic.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Don't worry, they'll get to the bottom of it.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    Can't they adopt?

  • ­||

    Or David Crosby.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That's plagiarism. Or copyright infringement.

  • PantsFan||

    I used to share ideas, until someone stole my sweet roll.

  • twenty-something ||

    Awesome.

  • ||

    Does Santorum know ideas are having sex? If he did I'm sure he wants to outlaw it and compare it to child porn or whatever he does.

  • ||

    I bet if he knew the ideas were gay, he'd be very interested.

  • ||

    Well ideas aren't very Christian then

  • Doctor Whom||

    An idea should be paired up with only one other idea, ever. Santorum gets to determine which ideas should be paired with which.

  • ||

    Santorum wants to assure us that he's never had an idea or sex. He's got the record to prove it.

  • ||

    He had sex. It just involved chopsticks, gaffer's tape and a whole lot of crying and apologizing to Jesus.

  • sarcasmic||

    I understand the chopsticks but what's the gaffer's tape for?

  • ||

    I'll tell you when you get older.

  • sarcasmic||

    ED, gotcha.

    And, BTW I'm sorry.

  • ||

    BTW I'm sorry

    Don't be. I prayed my gay away decades ago.

  • ||

    If you have to ask, then no, you don't really understand the chopsticks.

    Amateur.

  • sarcasmic||

    I thought the chopsticks were for eating sushi off of... I've said too much.

  • ||

    STEVE SMITH NO NEED TAPE. STEVE SMITH FUCK CHOPSTICKS WITHOUT NEED OF HOO-MON MECHANICAL AIDES AS FOREST GOD INTENDED!

  • Almanian||

    LEAVE SANTORUM ALONE!!!!

    /crying interwebs Santorum-supporter douche

  • sarcasmic||

    Another teenager kills someone in self defense.

    That's three such stories this week.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....-home.html

  • ||

    "Police said the teen will not face any charges for killing Michael Henderson on December 29.

    Under North Carolina's Castle Doctrine Law, homeowners can use deadly force if they fear their lives are in danger."

    The author BARELY suppressed his desire to bitch about the principle of stand-your-ground laws and, almost certainly, about guns. For a British newspaper, that's extraordinary, and this Thompson dude deserves one-hundred-thousand Medals of Honor for managing to hold himself off.

  • ||

    Awesome.

  • 1 in 300||

    • 1 in 300 Cambodians are amputees from hidden land mine explosions.

    • 1 in 300 Americans attempt suicide each year.

    American city-Statism (civilization) is as much a disaster for the human psyche as it is for human limbs.

  • 300 in 1||

    • 300 stupid ideas in one imbecile makes the imbecile cry like a little girl when facing a hungry bear if in his beloved "original affluent society."

  • Nanny-Statist Poodle||

    Domesticted Poodles don't have the personal responsibility it takes to live like their wild ancestors, thus they imagine everybody mewls like them in fear-of-winderness.

  • ||

    Gambol lockdown is still in full effect, asshole. If you want to gambol, you have to apply for an NCSTLL, the Non-City State Typology/Lifeway License.

  • Tony||

    personal responsibility

    What does that even mean?

  • ||

    GAMBOL LOCKDOWN IS IN -F-U-L-L- -E-F-F-E-C-T-, MOTHER-FUCKERS!

  • Nanny-Statist Poodle||

    Domesticated poodles like that stuff, ya know.

  • ||

    Both Marx and Mises have already told you to eat shit, fuck off, and die, right?

    Marx: NO!
    Mises: NO!

    Right? So why haven't you gamboled into a sarlacc pit yet?

  • ||

    So why haven't you gamboled into a sarlacc pit yet?

    Jetpacks, Yo.

    oh, wait, those don't help at all. nevermind.

  • Brother Grimm||

    Ian Snufflepuff: NO!
    Piere Cresaunt: NO!
    Cheif Red Warfeather: NO!
    Bakalaka Whoop-Whoop Click Click Clack Click Click: NO! (Roughly translated)
    Relevance: HELL NO!

  • 300||

    300 (SPARTANS) of the City [State] of Sparta were killed by the [Persians].

    Persians are mean.

  • Brother Grimm||

    1 in 300 White Indians eat the wrong gathered mushrooms and abandon their gamboling paradise for an internet cafe in order to embarrass themselves on a message board. Gambolers are city-statists!

  • Loki||

    This seems like as good a place as any to point out that WI's much vaunted Native Americans also practiced agriculture, lived in organized groups one could refer to as city-states, and also were known to fight wars over land with rival tribes (i.e. city-states).

    The only real difference between them and the European explorers was technology.

  • ||

    they had less idea intercourse

  • ||

    1 in 300 of the posts at H&R contain your retarded use of parenthesis.

  • ||

    inputting a fake email on a form that doesn't require an email is pretty fucking retarded too.

  • ||

    Whatever, "wylie240" at "gmail dot com"

    Gmail?!? Like that's even a real email address. Pssh.

  • ||

    I guess I'm the only one who wants to coordinate with reasons orange revolution, yet not receive unsolicited emails.

  • ||

    Parentheses were invented by denizens of the viticultural city-state. White Indian's a fucking hypocrite.

  • ||

    Oh, are we picking out dog avatars for each other now? Because I know Godesky's.

  • ||

    I CAN HAZ INSULINS?

  • ||

    Is THAT a German shepherd?!?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    What the fuck?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

  • ||

  • ­||

    No talent assclown.

  • illini||

    What's your point, John?

  • Abdul||

    Philosophy majors, step away from the espresso machine for a minute and help me out here: isn't this just the Hegelian theory of thesis-antithesis-synthesis but with a sexy metaphor?

  • Loki||

    I'me surprised nobody's pointed out rule 37 of the internet yet.

    Idea porn...

  • Tony||

    This is a prime example of libertarian hypocrisy. Ideas may have sex, but apparently people may not, since libertarians like Rick Santorum are in opposition to legalized birth control.

  • first||

    Oh come on, I'm a porno spambot and even I can see this is an obvious troll atempt.

  • AlmightyJb||

    Yeah 'cause Santorum is soooo libertarian.

  • ||

    libertarians like Rick Santorum

    You're going to have to provide some additional explanation of the thinking behind this particular string of words.

  • ||

    Ideas are like sex, and Toni is fucked in the head.

  • Average Dumb-ass Democrat||

    Libertarian is just extra Republican, right?

  • ||

    Rick Santorum is a libertarian? wtfru smoking?

  • first||

    Kiki has joined the line-up of our fabulous LiveCam girls. She blends sexy charm with wit and intelligence. Always elegant, always fashionably stylish and super smart - that’s Kiki.

    This beauty is fluent in English so she can share your thoughts and desires as well as add some of her own. Kiki sparkles with fresh ideas and she is bubbling with creative talent. She is creating a buzz on the Ukrainian music scene. The lyrics she writes reach out and grab her audience. Her published poems are bringing a whole new dimension to the phrase “Romantic poetry”. We saw at a glance that Kiki is sophisticated and sharp. Her raw passion is just below the surface.

    She is ready, here and now, to share all this intimately with you.

    http://www.hegre-art.com/models#action=show&id=223

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Vladimir is also famous model and aspiring artist. He is so good that when he come to club to show off his sexy body, everyone say, "no, Vladimir, why not read us some of your poetry instead?"

    Vladimir impress millions with poem "The Man from Nantucket" which is been set to music by Uzbek National Orchestra.

    Is not easy being artist, with loose womens always coming up to Boris and saying "you are so ugly you must be rich to compensate. I will do anything you want!" Boris never have to paint own house again! (Is old joke).

  • first||

    Where can I contact him, Hegre art wants to recruit him.

  • ||

    Things in the past got better with government in the mix. Things will not get better in the future with government in the mix. This is optimism?

  • ||

    things got better before women and blacks could vote in the mix, so why did we start allowing them to get in the mix?
    Imagine how much better everything would be in the mix if we had kept going along the same path...in the mix!

  • Tony||

    "This guy on my show taught me something!"

    Or you could just read a fucking book Stossel.

  • ||

    I like this metaphor because it offends both Rs and Ds.

    Rs don't like it because using sex as a positive metaphor is evil, and they want to choose your sexual partners for you anyway.

    Ds hate is because they will let you choose your sexual partners, they want complete control over how ideas get combined in a centrally planned economy.

  • There is no "we"||

    America has a lot of problems, but pervasive censorship of ideas isn't one of them. The only way I see government interfering with "ideas having sex" is maybe some intellectual-property and non-compete-clause over-enforcement.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Teve Torbes, in the house!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ha, take TARP funds or we'll come around and make you take TARP funds.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    BB&T takes a stand against eminent domain abuse? Nice.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Forbes is endorsing Rick Perry? Is this show a repeat?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Steve Forbes is killing it tonight.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Forbes is secretly talking about Obama destroying the economy. Racist.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    How much money is there in think tanks?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In fairness to Andrew Lloyd Webber, people were probably mad about Madonna's acting.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Show me the spoilers!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Up next: Glorious Ladies of Liberty.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ladies definitely did work for liberty! They made sandwiches for the fellas who were making liberty.

  • first||

    Oh my god will somebody shut this asshole up. I mean for Christ's sake man this isn't Twitter.

  • ||

    Wait...is that the spambot telling Fist to stop spamming? How very meta.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Typical liberal, asking others to do his work for him.

  • Wahyusamputra||

    Take on US politics, by Dmitry Orlov:

    "The Soviet Union had a single, entrenched, systemically corrupt political party, which held a monopoly on power. The US has two entrenched, systemically corrupt political parties, whose positions are often indistinguishable and which together hold a monopoly on power. In either case, there is, or was, a single governing elite, but in the United States it organizes itself into opposing teams to make its stranglehold on power seem more sportsmanlike. It is certainly more sporting to have two capitalist parties go at each other than just having the one communist party to vote for. The things they fight over in public are generally symbolic little token of social policy, chosen for ease of public posturing. The Communist party offered just one bitter pill. The two capitalist parties offer a choice of two placebos. The latest innovation is the photo finish election, where each party pre-purchases exactly 50 percent of the vote through largely symmetrical allocation of campaign resources and the result is pulled out of statistical noise, like a rabbit out of a hat. It is a tribute to the intelligence of the American people that so few of them bother to vote."

    Read more:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/po.....z1iX17H88b

  • ||

    Thesis
    Antithesis....

    (wait for it)

    Synthesis.

    Welcome to philosophy 101

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