The Pretense of Knowledge

Friday, June 19, AD 2015

Hayek

 

I have been viewing with some mirth the joy of the Left in regard to the release of the Green Encyclical.  Prior to Pope Francis, most of those celebrating were intensely hostile to the papacy, viewing it as enemy number one on their path to the ever elusive socialist utopia.  Now they think they have a pope on their side.  Of course, in regard to the Green Encyclical we have Pope Francis being celebrated by the Left for doing something which was anathema to them before he came on the scene: a pope  judging science.  Leftist accusations aside, that is something the Church has rarely done, for sound reasons.  Most ecclesiastics lack the education to make sound judgments on science.  Plus, the conclusions of science are always being modified as new data is studied, and for an institution that exists to expound the Timeless Truths of Christ, it is dangerous to seek to mix in with those Truths opinions on science which are bound to be wrong in part in the fullness of time.  Thus the Pope is being celebrated by the Left for agreeing with them, although his manner of agreeing with them can just as easily be turned against them when a future pope has different opinions on science, if a future pope is foolish enough to wish to do what the Pope has just done.  It is one of the features of our time that the clergy, doing a lousy job by and large in expounding the Gospel, are eager to give their opinions on subjects they are frequently bone ignorant about, merely parroting, in the main, beliefs of the Zeitgeist popular among the chattering classes, and the clergy are always members in good standing of that group.

Father George Rutler at Crisis Magazine explains why having the Church sit in judgment on the conclusions of science is a very bad idea indeed:

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the ecology of the earth is adventurously laden with promise and peril. It can raise consciousness of humans as stewards of creation.  However, there is a double danger in using it as an economic text or scientific thesis. One of the pope’s close advisors, the hortatory Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras said with ill-tempered diction: “The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits.” From the empirical side, to prevent the disdain of more informed scientists generations from now, papal teaching must be safeguarded from attempts to exploit it as an endorsement of one hypothesis over another concerning anthropogenic causes of climate change. It is not incumbent upon a Catholic to believe, like Rex Mottram in Brideshead Revisited, that a pope can perfectly predict the weather. As a layman in these matters, all I know about climate change is that I have to pay for heating a very big church with an unpredictable apparatus. This is God’s house, but he sends me the ConEd utility bills.

It is noteworthy that Pope Francis would have included in an encyclical, instead of lesser teaching forms such as an apostolic constitution or motu proprio, subjects that still pertain to unsettled science (and to speak of a “consensus” allows that there is not yet a defined absolute). The Second Vatican Council, as does Pope Francis, makes clear that there is no claim to infallibility in such teaching. The Council (Lumen Gentium, n.25) does say that even the “ordinary Magisterium” is worthy of a “religious submission of intellect and will” but such condign assent is not clearly defined.  It does not help when a prominent university professor of solid Catholic commitments says that in the encyclical “we are about to hear the voice of Peter.”  That voice may be better heard when, following the advice of the encyclical (n.55) people turn down their air conditioners.  One awaits the official Latin text to learn its neologism for “condizione d’aria.”  While the Holy Father has spoken eloquently about the present genocide of Christians in the Middle East, those who calculate priorities would have hoped for an encyclical about this fierce persecution, surpassing that of the emperor Decius.  Pictures of martyrs being beheaded, gingerly filed away by the media, give the impression that their last concern on earth was not climate fluctuations.

Saint Peter, from his fishing days, had enough hydrometeorology to know that he could not walk on water. Then the eternal Logos told him to do it, and he did, until he mixed up the sciences of heaven and earth and began to sink. As vicars of that Logos, popes speak infallibly only on faith and morals. They also have the prophetic duty to correct anyone who, for the propagation of their particular interests, imputes virtual infallibility to papal commentary on physical science while ignoring genuinely infallible teaching on contraception, abortion and marriage and the mysteries of the Lord of the Universe.  At this moment, we have the paradoxical situation in which an animated, and even frenzied, secular chorus hails papal teaching as infallible, almost as if it could divide the world, provided it does NOT involve faith or morals.

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17 Responses to The Pretense of Knowledge

  • Pope Francis has forsaken the concerns of God for those of Man. Ignoring the spiritual climate vs pontificating on “climate change”. Helping folks get to heaven vs. making a heaven on earth. Enriching the poor in spirit vs. increasing the dissatisfaction of the actual poor. Imagine what the Holy Trinity thinks about this. I wonder how They plan to get our attention this time. My understanding is that floods are out. May God have mercy on us all especially our poor Pope.

  • As the incomparable Walter Bagehot pointed out, most statesmen, especially the successful businessmen who sit in the House of Commons (and other legislatures), do not look for certainty: “They have lived all their lives in an atmosphere of probabilities and of doubt, where nothing is very clear, where there are some chances for many events, where there is much to be said for several courses, where nevertheless one course must be determinedly chosen and fixedly adhered to… They got rich themselves by transactions of which they could not have stated the argumentative ground—and all they ask for is a distinct though moderate conclusion that they can repeat when asked.”
    The encyclical is very well suited to such an audience. That is why I am sure it will be well received in Paris in November.

  • “That is why I am sure it will be well received in Paris in November.”

    Historically most bad ideas in Western history have received a fond reception in Paris.

  • I’m exhausted, and the real spiritual battle will still be ahead in the coming synod.
    Make no mistake–it will be aimed at the sacraments–for they are what the diabolical seeks to destroy by man’s willing desecration–better if done by men in Roman collars.
    Gird your loins….

  • I agree with Don L. I am exhausted and absoluely demoralized and disheartened. The Pope talks like a eco-wacko communist. The President of the United States is a baby-murdering, sodomy sanctifying collectivist. The Church and the Republic are both wounded, perhaps mortally. When will this end? I see impending schism in the Church and civil war in the nation. I pray neither happens. But frankly, I neither want to go to Mass at a Roman Catholic Church any longer, having to listen to this Gaia-worshipping eco-wacko, social justice, liberal progressive Democrat nonsense from the pulpit, nor do I wish to raise the American flag at my house because this isn’t the country of moral principle for which I served in the nuclear submarine force. I am angry – infuriated beyond measure. And for an alcoholic anger is always bad. Maybe I need to go to a 12 step meeting. Maybe I need to take my own moral inventory. Aaarrrggghhh!

  • To Paul W Primavera

    You need not attend a novus ordo mass to hear all the nonsense you describe. Find instead a church that offers the Traditional Latin Mass. I wish you godspeed in your search and hopefully a solution to your dilemma. God bless.

  • Man up Paul. Remember we are the Church Militant. Things are supposed to be the way they are as God has permitted it. So expect expect something good to come from all this evil. These are exciting times, so keep up the good fight. This is our era of history, our time of battle. Let us make the best of it. We need you.

  • On another topic but appropriate for context:

  • ” I neither want to go to Mass at a Roman Catholic Church any longer, having to listen to this Gaia-worshipping eco-wacko, social justice, liberal progressive Democrat nonsense from the pulpit,”

    You are not there for the empty vestments spouting politically correct nonsense from the pulpit. Remember what the Church really is. Remember what the Mass really is.

  • Indeed. Modify it a bit for the Church and this speech from Soldier Ask Not by Gordon R. Dickson is my response to defects in the human side of the Church:

    “Suppose it was even as you think,” he went on, even more gently. “Suppose that all you say was a fact, and that our Elders were but greedy tyrants, ourselves abandoned here by their selfish will and set to fulfill a false and prideful purpose. No.” Jamethon’s voice rose. “Let me attest as if it were only for myself. Suppose that you could give me proof that all our Elders lied, that our very Covenant was false. Suppose that you could prove to me”—his face lifted to mine and his voice drove at me—“that all was perversion and falsehood, and nowhere among the Chosen, not even in the house of my father, was there faith or hope! If you could prove to me that no miracle could save me, that no soul stood with me, and that opposed were all the legions of the universe, still I, I alone, Mr. Olyn, would go forward as I have been commanded, to the end of the universe, to the culmination of eternity. For without my faith I am but common earth. But with my faith, there is no power can stay me!”
    ― Gordon R. Dickson, Soldier, Ask Not

    My belief in Christ and His Church is impervious to all the manifest human failings that ever have beset the Barque of Peter.

  • Said it too many times – read “Jesuits” by Fr. Malachi Martin. You will understand this pope very well. He is a first class clown, with a second class intellect from a third class backwater country.

  • How can the world be prepared to accept the Antichrist? We are living in an age that answers that question. The only institution in the world, in history, to educate, warn, and provide the proper tools of the armor necessary to defeat the forces of evil, is the Catholic Church. But its leaders since John XXIII have failed in their duty as defender’s and protectors of that armor and have instead, instructed the flock to tear off that armor, that the armor isn’t important, that they don’t need to believe or practice the teachings of Jesus Christ as handed down by Him to the Apostle’s and their valid successor’s. That there is a universal spirit, or essence, that exists in everyone and each can find that essence in their own way and that is God. There is no need to belong to Christ’s one true Church because it simply “subsists” within His body, which is not only those who believe in Him, but even those who do not. No, a little truth or no truth no longer matters. Go with your conscience! Simply love!

  • Donald, thank you for Dickson’s speech. We must persevere knowing the final battle will be won by Christ and we will then share in His glory in His Kingdom forever and ever.

  • Similarly, American Will Rogers said, “The problem isn.t what people don’t know. The problem is what people know that ain’t so.” Sadly, the problem is expanding.

  • Shawn Marshall on Friday, June 19, A.D. 2015 at 1:29pm

    Said it too many times – read “Jesuits” by Fr. Malachi Martin. You will understand this pope very well. He is a first class clown, with a second class intellect from a third class backwater country.”

    I don’t know about your summation of the pope, but having read every word of that book (NYT best seller list) many times, My eyes were opened and I pray that many other “traditional” Catholics would climb down out of the clouds and learn about the great spiritual/political battle that’s been going on in their church while they trot back and forth to Mass.

  • Paul,

    Don’t give up. Never give up. There were at least six truly bad Popes and the Church goes on.

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Quote of the Day: Hayek on Individualism

Tuesday, January 12, AD 2010

From “Individualism: True and False” (1946)

…[T]he state, the embodiment of deliberately organized and consciously directly power, ought to be only a small part of the much richer organism which we call “society,” and that the former ought to provide merely a framework within which free (and therefore not “consciously directed”) collaboration of men has the maximum scope.

This entails certain corollaries on which true individualism once more stands in sharp opposition to the false individualism of the rationalistic type. The first is that the deliberately organized state on the one side, and the individual on the other, far from being regarded as the only realities, while all the intermediate formations and associations are to be deliberately suppressed, as was the aim of the French Revolution, the noncompulsory conventions of social intercourse are considered as essential factors in preserving the orderly working of human society. The second is that the individual, in participating in the social processes, must be ready and willing to adjust himself to changes and to submit to conventions which are not the result of intelligent design, whose justification in the particular instance may not be recognizable, and which to him often appear unintelligible and irrational.

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Difference and Equality

Thursday, December 3, AD 2009

Individualism is one of those terms which a great many people use in a great many different ways, so it has been with interest that I’ve been reading Individualism and Economic Order by F. A. Hayek. The book is a collection of essays dealing the individualism, its definition and its place in the economic order.

From the first essay, “Individualism: True and False” comes an interesting thought:

Here I may perhaps mention that only because men are in fact unequal can we treat them equally. If all men were completely equal in their gifts and inclinations, we should have to treat them differently in order to achieve any sort of social organization. Fortunately, they are not equal; and it is only owing to this that the differentiation of functions needs not be determined by the arbitrary decision of some organizing will but that, after creating formal equality of the rules applying in the same manner to all, we can leave each individual to find his own level.

There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. While the first is the condition of a free society, the second means, as De Tocqueville described it, “a new form of servitude.”
(Individualism and the Economic Order p. 14-15)

This strikes me as touching on the sense in which classical liberals in the tradition of Burke and Smith can still be considered “conservative” in the old sense of the term. Although Burke is commonly accepted by those who argue that classical liberalism is not “truly conservative” as being conservative in his outlook because of his reaction to the French Revolution, he was (like Smith) Whig, though they were Old Whigs, not True Whigs or Country Whigs. Prior to the French Revolution, Burke had been generally supportive of the cause of the colonists in the American Revolution.

Taking Hayek’s point, classical liberals in the tradition of Burke and Smith do not reject the necessary hierarchy of society. Nor do they embrace sudden, transformative social change. As such, they can certainly be seen as conservative. However, they do seek sufficient freedom within society to allow people to “find their own level”, believing that there is a natural hierarchy of ability which will thus result in an ordered society, and a more desirable one than one in which hierarchy comes strictly from birth and rank.

In this sense, the freedom of a classical liberal society creates social order, and a more stable one than the sort that an ancien regime conservatism maintains. Indeed, arguably, at this point in history, it is only this Whig-ish conservatism which is commonly found within society. Ancien regime conservatism has virtually died out.

Entirely different are notions of politics or the human person in which it is held which all people are truly and fully equal — in ability and inclination as well as in human dignity. Such systems would indeed seem to lead quickly to a most undesirable oppression.

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18 Responses to Difference and Equality

  • The trouble with “individualism” in rightist (traditionalist or right-liberal) argumentation today is the lack of realization of what Robert Nisbet pointed out in the 50s and Patrick Deenan has been hammering home in recent years: it is an invitation to statism, and an opening for a grave lonliness.
    ( http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/?p=4115 )

    Individualism and personal freedom, which should always be second to virtue as a value, tends to deny a very basic truth that all conservatives must embrace: the absolute and inherent incompatibility between liberty and equality. Left-liberals value the latter, and right-liberals the former. Each is a false human anthropology when out of context. We are products of a particular time and social environment, and that cannot be escaped – which makes family the most foundational unit of the good society.

    The purpose of freedom and liberty is to protect family, material and immaterial.

  • Jonathan,

    Actually the Hayek essay (“Individualism: True and False”) this quotes would be worth your time (it’s fairly short) in that one of the things it seeks to do is arrive at a proper understanding of what individualism means in relation to the classical liberal tradition.

    What, then, are the essential characteristics of true individualism? The first thing that should be said is that it is primarily a theory of society, an attempt to understand the forces which determine the social life of man, and only in the second instance a set of political maxims derived fromt his view of society. This fact should by itself be sufficient to refute the silliest of the common misunderstandings: the belief that individualism postulates (or bases its arguments on the assumption of) the existence of isolated or self-contained individuals, instead of starting from men whose nature and character is determined by their existence in society. If that were true, it would indeed have nothing to contribute to our understanding of society. But it’s basic contention is quite a different one; it is that there is no other way toward and understanding of social phenomena but through our understanding of individual actions directed toward other people and guided by their expected behavior. This argument is directed primarily against the properly collectivist theories of society which pretend to be able directly to comprehend social wholes like society, etc., as entities sui generis which exist independently of the individuals which compose them. The next step in the individualistic analysis of society, however, is directed against the reationalistic pseudo-individualism which also leads to practical collectivism.

    I’d be curious at your reaction to it.

  • Is it perhaps too much of an oversimplification to describe the different views of individualism as a means/end dichotomy. Randian and leftists see individualism as an end in and of itself, whereas conservatives/classical liberals merely see it as a means by which to achieve a more just social order.

  • Darwin,

    As I recently pointed out on a different thread, the classical liberalism of the American founders was also balanced by their classical republicanism, which includes an emphasis on virtue and does not shy away from regulating wealth to preserve society.

    I would argue that classical liberalism never created a stable society – other political forces such as aforesaid classical republicanism, or later on labor movements and the Church tempered and balanced it.

    Finally, I would argue that all most all of the classical liberals are gone – that even the vast majority of libertarians are not truly classical liberals. Why? Because I believe anyone defending the right of total, untaxed inheritance today cannot possibly believe in a “natural aristocracy”, a “meritocracy”, or anything other than the perpetuation of oligarchy and plutocracy.

    Except the one libertarian I met as a socialist who said we could strike a bargain – we could tax the hell out of inheritance as long as he could become rich in his lifetime without paying a dime on it. I always thought it was a good idea.

  • Darwin,

    Hayek and Röpke, in their analysis of the “humane economy,” both identify the elevation of individualism as something like “reationalistic pseudo-individualism which also leads to practical collectivism.”

    One problem though, especially for the traditionalist conservative critic (my own politics), is that Hayek’s case for the “free market” (i.e. The Constitution of Liberty) draws very heavily from Hume, A. Ferguson, and Adam Smith. That is not necessarily a red flag (Mill and Bentham would be for sure) but it remains the British, skeptic, empirical tradition. That tradition has both much to admire and quite a lot to deride from the traditionalist perspective.

    Their case rests on the necessary ignorance of human judgement, which is correct (in a civilized society, there is no centrality capable of managing a complex social outgrowth, so a minimal state is best) but also incomplete.

    Hayek, IMO, is relevant at the theoretical level yet less so at the practical level, and this is due to some uncomfortable topics like demographics and population composition. Here my critique would turn Buchananite: specific government policies matter less than the quantities and qualities of populations. Racism and sexism become cheap and lazy charges at that point, yet this is the obvious problem with all shades of individualism at the intersection of public policy – Finland, for instance, is “Finlandly” because of the Finns themselves, not because of philosophy and governmental mechanics.

  • there is no other way toward and understanding of social phenomena but through our understanding of individual actions directed toward other people and guided by their expected behavior

    This is a very good refutation of Randian libertarianism and its incorrect anthropology. Individualism should not mean that subjective action is sacrosanct; it is, instead, a better way to analyze the social outcomes that are obviously the product of so many individual decisions. The temptation is to play identity politics and assume that these social constructs have some nature or form that can be counted on to behave in certain ways… Just to name one example, it would be foolish to assume that all Catholics will act similarly, ceteris paribus.

  • The trouble with “individualism” in rightist (traditionalist or right-liberal) argumentation today is the lack of realization of what Robert Nisbet pointed out in the 50s and Patrick Deenan has been hammering home in recent years: it is an invitation to statism

    Okay, let’s test this. Which part of the globe is more individualistic: the United States, or Europe? Which part is more statist?

  • Blackadder: on a blog discussing the anti-gay marriage vote in NY, a European leftist jumped in and said basically, see, this is why in Europe a supra-national body decides these issues, because we don’t want a situation where people vote to deny other people their rights. He obviously thought that was highly superior to the way we rednecks do things.

    Ironically enough, it is the Left which now embodies the mentality of the ancien regime. In Europe, the dukes and earls have been replaced by the EU elites, because the judgment of the peasants is not to be trusted. And many liberals in this country also put their faith in the elites and the courts and would like us to become more like the Europeans in that respect. The funny thing to me is that it’s basically feudalism presented as cutting edge progressivism.

  • “The funny thing to me is that it’s basically feudalism presented as cutting edge progressivism.”

    On target analysis Donna. Leftist comments about the tea bag party protests reminded me of a British aristocrat looking down his nose and cursing at the American rabble of 1776. The Left has a childlike faith in government by experts with the “proper opinions” amd judges with the “proper opinions”. Voters simply cannot be trusted to elect representatives with the “proper opinions”. That is also why Leftists love treaties to bind what elected representatives can do.

  • European leftist jumped in and said basically, see, this is why in Europe a supra-national body decides these issues, because we don’t want a situation where people vote to deny other people their rights. He obviously thought that was highly superior to the way we rednecks do things.

    Maybe it’s all Providence. Clearly someone like this isn’t a clear enough thinker to understand the virtues inherent in a properly constructed constitutionally limited republic. Its a pity when someone forfeits his ability to shape society for the better and contribute to his own governance, but maybe it’s best that those who would, should.

  • on a blog discussing the anti-gay marriage vote in NY, a European leftist jumped in and said basically, see, this is why in Europe a supra-national body decides these issues

    That’s an interesting argument, or at least it would be if it was remotely true. There’s no supra-national body in Europe telling nations that they have to recognize gay marriage. The issue is decided country by country, and in fact most European countries do not recognize gay marriage.

  • Because I believe anyone defending the right of total, untaxed inheritance today cannot possibly believe in a “natural aristocracy”, a “meritocracy”, or anything other than the perpetuation of oligarchy and plutocracy.

    Clayton Cramer has visited this issue on occasion and (I believe) has some citations to literature. His point: that with some exceptions (the duPonts, for example), families tend to lose their mojo after a few generations and their wealth is dissipated (by alcoholism, failure to earn well, and bad investments, among other things). A sad contemporary example would be Robert Kennedy’s in laws.

    You also would not want to work it so that an able businessman could not provide for his wife or his disabled children.

  • Okay, let’s test this. Which part of the globe is more individualistic: the United States, or Europe? Which part is more statist?

    Europe is more statist. This doesn’t negate though, the point of the first post, and I think ties into the second. A welfare state/statist/collectivist/ect. governmnetal organization “works” much better in a homogeneous society, for reasons explained by Putnam among many others.

    And so one big reason “individualism” as a public ethos is an open pathway to statism is that the “autonomous rights-based individuals” many open border/libertarian types tend to be happy to receive will over time make the country significantly more statist: one glaring example is California in the last three decades.

  • A welfare state/statist/collectivist/ect. governmnetal organization “works” much better in a homogeneous society, for reasons explained by Putnam among many others.

    The evidence isn’t that it works any better, only that it is more popular. I don’t see that as being necessarily a positive.

  • I think we find the first link between individualism and statism in Hobbes. First he shatters organic society and breaks us up into individual atoms, then he reconstitutes us in the body of the Leviathan, the absolute monarchy.

    This is why I object when people compare modern statism to feudalism, calling it “neo-feudalism.” At least in places such as England, the average peasant probably had more freedom certainly than a “worker” under communism. It was the medieval village (and the Church as the provider of social services) that had to be broken up and destroyed so that absolutism and statism could consolidate themselves.

  • The evidence isn’t that it works any better, only that it is more popular. I don’t see that as being necessarily a positive.

    I disagree with you on the evidence, but that’s another argument. Let’s accept this premise: in a homogeneous society (race, ethnicity/culture, religion, language being the most important) a statist system of governance is more popular and nothing else. This is not nothing if that state retains republican or democratic processes….in fact, popularity of large-scale policy is essential to societal harmony and decent, honest governance. Diversity and proximity equals conflict – all across the world, all across time and environment. Does this mean any one person is “lesser” than another? No. It means human populations are different, and (for powerful evolutionary reasons) prefer their “own.”

    Now let us consider a societal opposite. With different (and, by the way, strongly self-segregating populations), and with our incredibly advancing understanding of genetics, the future of social policy could very well be very contentious and ugly, with resentments galore.

    Geoffrey Miller in the current Economist:

    Human geneticists have reached a private crisis of conscience, and it will become public knowledge in 2010. The crisis has depressing health implications and alarming political ones. In a nutshell: the new genetics will reveal much less than hoped about how to cure disease, and much more than feared about human evolution and inequality, including genetic differences between classes, ethnicities and races.

    Uh oh. I just don’t see how it is not obvious that such revelations, in a republican society with democratic processes, an egalitarian ethos, and different populations, is not a toxic mix.

    (And again, let me be clear: I am not saying, nor do I believe, that any one person has less moral worth or inherent human dignity than another.)

  • Joe,

    I guess I see two issues with your characterization of the approach that classical liberals would/should take to inheritance:

    1) I’m not aware the Burke, Smith, etc. in any way endorsed a confiscatory approach to inheritance.

    2) The desire to be able to pass on an inheritance does not necessarily stem from an opposition to meritocracy (some idea that because your parents were rich you deserve to be rich regardless of your own abilities) but rather from self interest in the sense the classical liberals talked about it. When Smith talks about “self-interest” he means no so much “selfishness” or “what I want for me, myself” but rather “what I, myself, want to do with my goods”. One of the very natural things that people desire (and work to achieve) is the ability to take good care of their loved ones and of other causes or institutions they care about. In this sense, wanting have the fruits of one’s labor result in financial support for one’s children, one’s church, etc. would all be examples of “selt interest” in the classical liberal sense.

The Road to Serfdom

Tuesday, November 17, AD 2009

I do not endorse some of the overheated added commentary, but I believe Friedrich von Hayek’s warnings of the long terms dangers of a planned economy are just as prescient today as when the book The Road to Serfdom was published in 1944.  It is a short book and well worth the time it takes to read it. Some memorable quotes of von Hayek:

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5 Responses to The Road to Serfdom

  • Hilaire Belloc in THE SERVILE STATE anticipated Hayek by several decades.

  • Interesting that GM’s several billion loss this quarter indicates that it is on the road to recovery. It will be able to repay part of the government loans from government money.
    Creative Accounting it is called.

  • Or you could call it a lie. Maybe theft. Perhaps B.S.

    I wonder if I can convince my mortgage company to confiscate money from other debtors and give me a non-recallable, non-recourse loan so I can use that to pay my mortgage. My balance sheet would look great and then they can make brochures with my face on them showing a success story for financial prudence. How do I sell this? . . .

  • Do we need government? Of course, we have disorderd appetites and we must use force to restrain some of them. Murder, rape, kidnapping, plunder by another government, etc. However, we need to limit the scope of that government becuase it will be run by the same people it seeks to govern: sinners. The temptation to power is too great for any man so the power must be tempered and temporary.

    Economic rights, such as private property and a stable reserve currency that is pegged to a commodity to keep its inflation in check are very important. Hayek was right about all that and he also knew that if wealth is controlled by the collective then the individual is a slave and a slave that will not be free to excercise the worship of religion. Not good, unless you like that sort of thing.

    You know that old chestnut: Freedom is Slavery. It is a brave new world. We used to be apes and now we can be gods.

  • Gabriel,

    I’m going to buy that book by Hilaire. I’m a big fan of Von Hayek and if Belloc is anything close to it, I’d like it to be Catholic.