45 Years, 45 Days: Reason Interviews F.A. Hayek in 1975


For the next 45 days, we'll be celebrating Reason's 45th anniversary by releasing a story a day from the archives—one for each year of the magazine's history. See the full list here.

In the summer of 1974, Reason editor Tibor Machan visited Nobel-winning economist F.A. Hayek at his home in Salzburg, Austria. Their conversation ranged over a variety of subjects, from epistemology to political philosophy to psychology, focusing especially on Hayek's ideas of a natural evolution towards a free society, in the absence of government action to prevent it, and his concept of the 'Spontaneous order" produced by the market, in contrast to centrally planned order. The interview appeared in Reason's February 1975 issue. Here's a sample:

REASON: What are your views on anarchism in general–as an alternative to what many people have considered to be the dismal attempts to make political solutions apply to human affairs?

HAYEK: In the strict sense of anarchism, it is, in my opinion, wholly impossible to civilization. It is unduly optimistic as regards the intelligence it would require for people to sustain it. There's the kind of anarchism where if people were not compelled they would do all of the right things on their own. That I regard as factually unwarranted and highly unlikely. If it were possible, it would be a very desirable state. But that's not the consistent type of anarchism, the one which believes that even if the instincts of the people were not good, somehow it would be desirable that the strong should subdue the weak. With that type of anarchism I find it very difficult to sympathize. I firmly believe, as I said before, that this sort of anarchism would not produce anything called civilization.