11 May 2010


All Posts 4 Comments

I am writing something for a Tea Party-type audience, and had this intro to Hayek:

One of the scourges of the 20th century was the arrogant belief by many intellectuals that they could overturn the inherited social order and remake society from scratch. In their view, if the existing customs and social practices couldn’t be justified on a purely “rationalist” basis, then they were obviously obsolete and should be jettisoned in favor of new, “scientific” principles.

As I was writing, I could only think of one book [.pdf].

4 Responses to “D’oh!”

  1. Bob Roddis says:

    We could name this school of thought “Excellence through Haggling”.

    Without haggling for excellence in goods and services, we get the equivalent of the DDR’s famous Trabant automobile in all spheres of our lives, especially those “essential services” which allegedly can only be provided by “government”.

  2. Ron Finch says:

    Capital by Marx, Theory and History by Mises? Unless I misunderstand, you are describing a more aggressive form of a fundamental assumption of statists that humanity is a clean slate to be written upon by lawmakers guided by the insight of intellectuals. When they fail, it is because of selfish disobedience on the part of the masses, not a failure to understand how things really work on their part.

  3. Evan says:

    Thomas Sowell really does a good job exploring that viewpoint in “A Conflict of Visions”. He calls it the “unconstrained vision”, which views traditions as being pointless and often limiting, and advocates the organization of society based instead on new “rational” or “scientific” institutions.
    The “constrained vision”, on the other hand, believes that traditional human institutions contain information that cannot be rationally articulated, and have emerged from a sort of pseudo-Darwinian competition in the past with other institutions, so their preservation should be given a higher priority.
    Despite the fact that most of Sowell’s examples of unconstrained are totaletarians or communists, and most examples he gives of constained are conservatives, it seems that libertarians would actually be closer to the unconstrained vision, since their adherence to non-aggression and freedom from traditional coercions always trump their desire to see traditional institutions preserved.

  4. f4kingit says:

    Hi Bob, read Chaos theory– very good. Can you expand on “However, the “jails” in market anarchy would compete with each other to attract criminals.”
    Who is paying the jails?