Saving Hayek from the People Who Think They’re Saving Hayek

Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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16 Responses

  1. Mike Schilling says:

    The ability to accumulate capital and to believe that one held it justly was, for Hayek, a most important incentive for the formation of responsible individuals.

    Fortunately for Hayek, he died before encountering 21st century Wall Street, where the goal of accumulating obscene amounts of wealth is the most important incentive for the formation of completely irresponsible individuals, and the notion of justice is at best ignored but more often ridiculed.Report

  2. Koz says:

    “I look forward to my friends on the left continuing to deepen their knowledge of Hayek, and maybe entertaining this modest proposal.”

    I think this is coming, in a weird way. California is in real trouble. What we’ll see eventually, is that the Feds, controlled by a Republican Congress will loan the state the money it needs to avoid bankruptcy and in return the state will have to give up control over its revenue sources.Report

  3. Michael Drew says:

    The latter disgusting quote here ought to be enough to convince us that this tendency toward the fetishization of certain figures, cults of personality, and argument from asserted authority (or, more accurately, private admiration) — which you rightly point out is seen on all sides, though in this case we’re discussing an attempt to complicate the public understanding of such a figure that one side in particular has elevated to near-sainted status, not the initial elevating itself — are poor ways to conduct deliberation about public policy. No argument or theory is more powerful or consistent with observed facts just because it came from the mouth of a particular advocate. We ought to consider what policies best serve our interests and values today, not fixate on the ideas of long-dead theorists merely because just those ideas — And not these others!!! — were the ones that truly came from the subject of our esteem.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      I should add that if our interest is an academic accounting of the evolution of a writer’s thought, then of course it is right and proper to be as exacting as we can with just what the ideas were and weren’t.Report

  4. buce says:

    Kuznicki is too timid. See: [underbelly-buce_blogspot_com]Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to buce says:

      You might have a half-clever point, if I’d ever written that I supported this idea. Or if Hayek had written that he supported it. Neither is true, of course.

      Instead, I wrote that I’d “consider” the idea — if and when our welfare system were conducted very differently.

      And if a frog had wings…Report

  5. buce says:

    if I’d ever written that I supported this idea.

    Pity you didn’t. It’s an interesting idea that deserves competent advocacy.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to buce says:

      Michael Drew explains very well why this isn’t the best of ideas. Even if we had a welfare system without traps, and even if we did exclude government contractors from voting, we would still face the constant danger that any disenfranchised group would become a group of permanent second-class citizens.Report