“The tragedy of collectivist thought is that while it starts out to make reason supreme, it ends by destroying reason because it misconceives the process on which the growth of reason depends. It may indeed be said that it is the paradox of all collectivist doctrine and its demand for the “conscious” control or “conscious” planning that they necessarily lead to the demand that the mind of some individual should rule supreme — while only the individualist approach to social phenomena makes us recognise the super-individual forces which guide the growth of reason. Individualism is thus an attitude of humility before this social process and of tolerance to other opinions, and is the exact opposite of that intellectual hubris which is at the root of the demand for comprehensive direction of the social process.”
The Road to Serfdom. Friedrich August von Hayek. He was born on this day in 1899. Happy birthday, dear Prof Hayek.
To mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of Friedrich Hayek‘s The Road to Serfdom, several of Hayek’s personal items were auctioned at Sotheby’s in London on March 19th.
Hayek, together with Gunnar Myrdal (the economist from the opposing camp), was awarded the “Nobel Memorial Prize” (not really a Nobel prize) in 1974. At Sotheby’s auction, Hayek’s award citation and gold medal went for over $1.5 million.
Although the Nobel prize gave renewed vigor to the then 75-year old Hayek, he was absolutely clear that economists should not be honored with prestigious prizes. “Nobel Prize confers on an individual an authority which in economics no man ought to possess,” he said. Continue reading
18 Hayek Quotes That Show the Importance of Liberty
by Gary M. Galles
May 8th marked Friedrich Hayek’s birthday. Called “the most prodigious classical liberal scholar of the 20th century,” Milton Friedman explained his importance:
Over the years, I have again and again asked fellow believers in a free society how they managed to escape the contagion of their collectivist intellectual environment. No name has been mentioned more often as the source of enlightenment than Friedrich Hayek’s.” Continue reading
A brief excerpt from Friedrich Hayek’s essay, “Equality, Value and Merit.”
From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either the one or the other, but not both at the same time. The equality before the law which freedom requires leads to material inequality. Our argument will be that, though where the state must use coercion for other reasons, it should treat all people alike, the desire of making people more alike in their condition cannot be accepted in a free society as a justification for further and discriminatory coercion.
A careful reading of that essay (link above) is guaranteed to lead to profit and enlightenment. Read it a few times.
“. . . how absurd it is to judge relative performance by rate of growth, which is as often as not evidence of past neglect rather than of present achievement. In many respects it is easier and not more difficult for an undeveloped country to grow rapidly once an appropriate framework has been secured.”
Source: F. A Hayek. The Political Order of a Free People. 1979. Page 190. Volume 3 of Law, Legislation and Liberty.
English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era, Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) wrote this in “The Man versus the State” (1884).
“A society that does not recognise that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom.”
Friedrich August von Hayek (1899 – 1992). Austrian economist.
“Freedom, freedom, freedom . . . Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, A long way from my home,” sang Richie Havens at Woodstock. Lots of people struggle for freedom. What are they seeking freedom from? From other people. We have to remember this: People need to leave other people alone. Do what you will and don’t impose your will on others. That should be the totality of the law.
Below the fold, the text of my recent column at NitiCentral.com, “The Iron Lady who Fought for Freedom.” But first here’s Richie Havens in 2009 singing that song which he sang in the 1969 music festival held on Yasgur’s farm near Woodstock, NY.
After 40 years, the man still retains his voice. Watch him at Woodstock here.