Posted by Peter Lawler
Joe Carter’s THIRTY-THREE THINGS is now located at Culture11. There’s enough there each week to keep you amused and arguing for weeks.
This has too much exformation for me. He does this EVERY WEEK?
Kate, Thanks for letting me know I mislinked again.
Great observation Kate and the reason why Hayek's the Road to Serfdom is right and relevant. On the other hand it is pretty good stuff. But why is it called Culture11? Culture has seven letters, ergo 7-11?
Why not Culture26?
John Lewis, I agree that Hayek is right and relevant, but not sure why you say so here. When you quoted him in a thread below, that was perfect. I need you to explain what you mean in this application.
Well Kate, the full answer is quite long and Dr. Lawler might be better suited to answer it. The truth is had I read the first version(the one you linked to) then I would not have brought it up. I would have instead focused on Schopenhaeur. I have read portions of world and will as representation and so I am always looking for ways to give Schopenhaeur props for arguments some people attribute in a general fashion to Nietzsche(see the Camille Paglia thread). All references to the fascism of nature=Schopenhaeur(or Camile Paglia, but I haven't read her serious works)
In any case, the version that Dr. Lawler linked to includes an interesting post that features a dig on Hayek and a dig on J.S. Mill.
In any case, long story short(which is half the point) Hayek says: "If one has not one's self experienced this process, it is difficult to appreciate the magnitude of this change of the meaning of words, the confusion which it causes, and the barriers to rational discussion which it creates. It has to be seen to be understood how, if one of two brothers embraces the new faith, after a short while he appears to speak a different language which makes any real communication between them impossible. And the confusion between them becomes worse because the meaning of words describing political ideas is not a single event but a continuous process, a technique employed consciously or unconsciously to direct the people."
Actually to be honest again, I can't quote a sufficiently small portion of Hayek to develop a sound argument. What I meant was simply that when you say that: He does this every week? You mean, that it is a lot of hard work! Not only is it a lot of hard work, but it is a never ending hard work the whole of which to be comprehended is probably beyond a single human being and certainly beyond a single blog post. Or as Hayek puts it: "The welfare and the happiness of millions cannot be measured on a single scale of less and more. The welfare of a people, like the happiness of a man, depends on a great many things that can be provided in an infinite variety of combinations."
Hayek goes on to talk about the conception of a complete ethical code...Basically I am saying that the encyclopedic collection of 33 things,(in particular in Dr. Lawlers link which includes the post on Hayek) sets up Hayek's reply which I make for him: " We are not concerned here with the question whether it would be desireable to have such a complete ethical code. It will merely be pointed out that up to the present the growth of civilization has been accompanied by a steady dimunition of the sphere in which individual actions are bound by fixed rules. The rules which our common moral code consists have progressively become fewer and more general in character. From the primitive man who was bound by an elaborate ritual in almost every one of his daily activities...morals have more and more tended to become merely limits circumscribing the sphere within which the individual could behave as he liked. The adoption of a common ethical code comprehensive enough to determine a unitary economic plan would mean a complete reversal of this tendency."
In other words for Hayek comprehensive economic policy requires comprehensive cultural consensus, or as it can be developed seperation of church and state and seperation of business and state go hand in hand.
My short answer in defense of Hayek is that even wrapping the mind around a fairly comprehensive cultural consensus is as you say a lot of hard work, and too much information!
John Lewis, how good you are to do all that hard work and give me all of that information.
I think that where I live, a very small city in NE Ohio, we are primitive enough to still have a common ethical code. Is that why so many of my neighbors are conservative in their politics? The consensus on the current national economic situation is that the bailout offends their moral code, for example. However, they can be subverted, as when the young marrieds I know take 0% down loans from local government, even when they are opposed to government meddling in markets. Honestly, I can deplore government programs and yet love them when one comes to the aid of my daughter-in-law when her hospital bills become too heavy for that small family to carry, or another gives me and two of my children inexpensive loans to pursue our respective college degrees. I know we are being modern in attitude and not truly virtuous. Given such opportunity and without societal condemnation, (but rather approbation) for what we do, we choose to be a burden on society, as society seems to beckon us on.
Anyway, yes, I did mean Joe Carter is doing a lot of hard work and in my bold-face type, hoped to indicate appreciation for the fact.
I would also express my appreciation for you making me interested in Hayek, again. I read that such a long time ago and while raising my first very small children, so that I forgot what I liked about it. As I recall, I was reading a childcare book at the same time and just this minute, worry that my mind might have conflated some of the lessons of the two books. There was something about varieties of temperamental response in infants and "the happiness of a man, depends on a great many things that can be provided in an infinite variety of combinations." that bore comparison for me.
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