Libertarian History/Philosophy

Get Yer Ha-Yeks Out! (And Yer Rands Too!)

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Riffing off a Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds observation earlier this spring, The Philadelphia Inquirer's Frank Wilson talks up the surge in interest in the works of F.A. Hayek and Ayn Rand:

To attribute the surge in popularity of these books to "conservatives" seeking solace after a defeat at the polls is both tempting and easy. But it almost certainly has less to do with partisan politics than with fundamental principles.

Some years after The Road to Serfdom, Hayek wrote an essay called "Why I Am Not a Conservative." In it, he describes "as liberal the position which I hold and which I believe differs as much from true conservatism as from socialism," and he proceeds to argue that "the liberal today must more positively oppose some of the basic conceptions which most conservatives share with the socialists." Of course, Hayek uses liberal in its classic sense, referring to someone whose aim is "to free the process of spontaneous growth from the obstacles and encumbrances that human folly has erected." (John Galt couldn't have put it better.)

Moreover, what Hayek says about conservatives applies equally well to many who today call themselves progressives:

"Conservatives are inclined to use the powers of government to prevent change or to limit its rate. . . . They lack the faith in the spontaneous forces of adjustment. . . . The conservative feels safe and content only if he is assured that some higher wisdom watches and supervises change, only if he knows that some authority is charged with keeping the change 'orderly.' "

Read the whole thing here.

More quoting from Hayek in today's news, courtesy of your humble narrator.

Correction: The Inquirer's name was wrong in the orignial post. And I even lived in Philadelphia for two years.