Thursday, October 15, 2009

Conservatives & Libertarians (Part II)


As a short addendum to my earlier post on conservatives and libertarians, I just wanted to post a link to an article by Friedrich Hayek entitled "Why I Am Not a Conservative." This article, then, could serve as the libertarian counterpart to Russell Kirk's essay on conservatism's superiority to libertarianism.

One of the essential differences between conservatives and libertarians, according to Hayek, is the conservatives' "fondness for authority." This fondness for authority is based on its "fear of trusting uncontrolled social forces" and its "lack of understanding of economic forces." All of this is "difficult to reconcile with the preservation of liberty." Fighting words?

For those of you not familiar with Hayek, he was a famous economist (Nobel Prize laureate in 1974), and one of the key figures in the Austrian school of economics. In other words, he was a libertarian or a classical liberal. His most famous book, at least among the general public, is the now classic Road to Serfdom in which he attacked the creeping socialism of every major political system in the world at the time--Communist Russia, Nazi Germany, the New Deal in America, and similar programs in the other Western democracies.
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