from Herbert Spencer's Over-Legislation (1853)

“If in . . . personal transactions, where all the conditions of the case were known to me, I have so often miscalculated, how much oftener shall I miscalculate in political affairs, where the conditions are too numerous, too widespread, too complex, too obscure to be understood. . . . [W]hen I remember how many of my private schemes have miscarried — how speculations have failed, agents proved dishonest, marriage been a disappointment — how my carefully-governed son has turned out worse than most children — how the thing I desperately strove against as a misfortune did me immense good . . . whilst the objects I ardently pursued brought me little happiness when gained — when I recall these and hosts of like facts, I am struck with the incompetence of my intellect to prescribe for society.” (The Man Versus The State, with Six Essays on Government, Society, and Freedom)