CJay Engel

October 23, 2019

Rethinking Hayek?

Well-read libertarians in Mises Institute style libertarian circles (the only libertarianism worth getting into) have long been aware that Hayek is less a libertarian than Mises and, more obviously, Rothbard. On a number of issues, he's basically, like Hoppe elaborates, a social democrat. And on the economic side of things, while he made important developments and contributions to the Austrian tradition, Misesians recognize where he methodologically falls short of Ludwig himself.

In any case, as far as sociology goes and making the case for the use of tradition within the social order, Hayek, for all his protests, is actually quite "conservative" in the old sense; he certainly has the instincts of an Old Whig, coupled with an anti-democracy/populist aristocratic streak to him; something that is needed in our time of mass culture, mass politics, and mass narratives.

In any case, the Institute for New Economic Thinking has an interview (H/T to Tho Bishop for sharing this) on themes related to the anti-egalitarian thinking of people like Hayek. Of course, being leftist hysterics, these themes trouble both the interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewee complains:

But they also all affirmed the importance of traditional morality (centered in the patriarchal family and private property) and the importance of states supporting without intervening in it. They all supported expanding its reach from the private into the civic sphere and rolling back social justice previsions that conflict with it. Neoliberalism thus aims to de-regulate the social sphere in a way that parallels the de-regulation of markets.
Concretely this means challenging, in the name of freedom, not only regulatory and redistributive economic policy but policies aimed at gender, sexual and racial equality. It means legitimating assertions of personal freedom against equality mandates (and when corporations are identified as persons, they too are empowered to assert such freedom). Because neoliberalism has everywhere carried this moral project in addition to its economic one, and because it has everywhere opposed freedom to state imposed social justice or social protection of the vulnerable, the meaning of liberalism has been fundamentally altered in the past four decades.
That’s how it is possible to be simultaneously libertarian, ethnonationalist and patriarchal today: The right’s contemporary attack on “social justice warriors” is straight out of Hayek.

I was already finding renewed interest in Hayek's sociological contributions, but now that the outrageous left has called him out by name....

As Tho said, "We're all Hayekians now."

About the author

C.Jay Engel is the founder and publisher of Bastion Magazine. He has written for, LRC, David Stockman, and related. He owns several consulting business, actively works on the magazine, and lives in Northern CA.

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