Quote of the day—F. A. Hayek

There can be little doubt that man owes some of his greatest suc­cesses in the past to the fact that he has not been able to control so­cial life. His continued advance may well depend on his deliber­ately refraining from exercising controls which are now in his power. In the past, the spontane­ous forces of growth, however much restricted, could usually still assert themselves against the or­ganized coercion of the state. With the technological means of control now at the disposal of government, it is not certain that such assertion is still possible; at any rate, it may soon become impossible. We are not far from the point where the deliberately organized forces of society may destroy those spon­taneous forces which have made advance possible.

F. A. Hayek
October 1, 1960
The Case for Freedom
[The size and scope of our government has penetrated to depth in our society far beyond what Hayek could have reasonably foreseen in 1960. The banning of certain toilets, shower heads, and light bulbs is just the tip of the iceberg. The use of “eminent domain” to take your property and give it to another, the banning of larger than average soft drinks, and the banning of firearm accessories are just the tip of the same iceberg. The thousands of pages of law and regulations churned out each year are just the tip of the same iceberg.

Our vehicles license plates are scanned by police cars as they drive by, our cell phone positions are tracked, our phone call metadata is stored for use against us, the IRS has been weaponized and is used against political opponents, and drone are ready and able to drop a bomb on your location if the administration believes you to be a threat to national security.

It is easy to argue that “the deliberately organized forces of society” will destroy, or essentially has destroyed, the spontaneous forces of which Hayek speaks. Furthermore it is not farfetched to claim the only viable option at this point is to protect yourself and those close to you as best you can and prepare to rebuild from the ruins of the coming collapse.

I hope we can learn from what I fear is a lesson of staggering magnitude. Then, if the time comes, we must rebuild upon a foundation of solid political and economic philosophical principles. The works of Hayek are almost certainly part of that foundation.—Joe]

3 thoughts on “Quote of the day—F. A. Hayek

  1. “…deliberately organized forces of society may destroy those spon­taneous forces which have made advance possible.”

    May destroy”? The way it’s worded, it seems that even Hayek, in this instance, is either unable or unwilling to come to the inevitable conclusion that there are “deliberately organized forces of society” which exist for the express purpose of destroying those spontaneous forces which have made advance possible.

    This is how evil finds it’s way into our homes and businesses; we are always trying to give it the benefit of any doubt (and it GIVES US the doubt).

    We are always entertaining the lies that evil weaves around itself, the assertions of good intentions, of compassion, appeals to “security” and all the rest. Are we often unwilling, or are we incapable, of believing that evil exists for its own purposes and out of envy for the mind of Man? Are we afraid to admit to ourselves, in spite of centuries of overwhelming proof, that people could actually have bad intentions, and could form complex and powerful networks and organizations to carry out those bad intentions?

    The way he wrote it, he seems to think that the destruction of spontaneous advancement is a potential bug, and not the primary motivation and goal.

    Anyway; we are controlled only to the extent to which we want to be controlled. That is perhaps even more deplorable than the fact that there is evil in the world. We’re all guilty too. How many people understand that, verses wanting to self define as victims? It’s one or the other, you see.

  2. Hayek and von Mises are among the greatest non-fiction writers of the 20th century.
    If you haven’t found it yet, look around the Ludwig von Mises institute (mises.org). Among other things, they offer a large collection of free downloads, including works of Hayek. I downloaded their copy of “Human Action”, which is excellent. Also “The theory of money and credit” which is incredibly densely packed and as a result quite hard to read, but also very interesting.

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