`Read Kindle õ The Constitution of Liberty ê eBook or Kindle ePUB free

`Read Kindle ⛅ The Constitution of Liberty Í One Of The Great Political Works Of Our Time, The Twentieth Century Successor To John Stuart Mill S Essay, On Liberty Henry Hazlitt, Newsweek A Reflective, Often Biting, Commentary On The Nature Of Our Society And Its Dominant Thought By One Who Is Passionately Opposed To The Coercion Of Human Beings By The Arbitrary Will Of Others, Who Puts Liberty Above Welfare And Is Sanguine That Greater Welfare Will Thereby Ensue Sidney Hook, New York Times Book ReviewIn This Classic Work Hayek Restates The Ideals Of Freedom That He Believes Have Guided, And Must Continue To Guide, The Growth Of Western Civilization Hayek S Book, First Published In , Urges Us To Clarify Our Beliefs In Today S Struggle Of Political Ideologies Finished this finally This is in the prescribed reading list of Princeton University s Department of Politics for Public Law Wonderful critique on Socialism a.k.a Communism And why Conservatism is not the opposite to Communism Socialism. THE CONSTITUTION OF LIBERTYBy Friedrich A HayekThis is Hayek s magnum opus, a long but not too long book that combines his previous studies in economics and political theory to explore the nature of freedom and liberty to answer the eternal question, What system will deliver the most freedom to the most people If you are at all familiar with Hayek s thought, his answer shouldn t surprise you he was a true believer in liberal democracy and free markets a descendant simultaneously of John Locke and Adam Smith What is surprising about this book is his analysis of the contemporary 1960 political scene, where Hayek saw very little freedom, even in countries that seemed to offer its citizens limitless personal license Hayek s great insight, originally made in the Thirties when he was fighting on the anti Keynsian side of the economic denates of the day, was that human knowledge was so vast and complex that is was simply impossible for one person or group of people to centralize that knowledge and make use of it in a useful efficient manner Rather, knowledge is better spread and utilized when it is dispersed throughout a population, so that it is instantly available to those who can best utilize it for the benefit of themselves and the rest of society In Hayek s day, and ours apparently, the emphasis was on the technocrat who could form a committee and direct society Hayek originally made applied this insight in economics, but in this book, he moves it to the realm of politics Hayek begins by asking what is the best system for spreading knowledge His answer is that a political system offering liberty and freedom to all is likely to be one in which knowledge is spread most efficiently and quickly because ideas are allowed to spread and evolve organially without any interference from government Thus, the dynamism of the American economy is possible because of the freedom guaranteed by its Constitution, while socialist and communist countries become economically moribund because knowledge is held to be the proper province of the government, and none other The middle part of Constitution is Hayek s analysis of the development of liberty in the west he credits the British and the US with providing the most political and economic liberty to their citizens Under Hayek s analysis, the British were the first people whom you could call free, although their institutions were not as strong as they could be He sees America s great innovation to be its creation of consitutitional liberty What is truly interesting in this section is his analysis of European approaches to liberty, especially in France and Germany While both countries spoke often about liberty and equality, both had gone through periods of dicatorship, and by Hayek s time were countries marked by strong central governments In Hayek s analysis, the reason for this was the strong tradition of bureaucratic government in each country As Hayek puts it, the French Revolution may have marked the end of absolute monarchy, but the bureaucracies set up by the kings of old continued as if nothing had changed Hayek spends quite a bit of time discussing the development of the German welfare state and the simultaneous encroachment on liberty He spends an inordinate amount of time analyizing the development of administrative law, but this is to make the point that the bureaucracy used its procedures to create a sort of separate legal system that eventually weighed heavily upon the freedom of the citizenry The third part of Constitution is Hayek s analysis of contemporary issues such as rent control, minimum wage laws, state education, and the like Hayek is, of course, in favor of as little government interference in any of these areas That we have not pursued the Hayekian path is obvious But, just as obvious should be the realization that there are many people including many who are wealthy and well educated who would rather look to the government for protection, rather than look to themselves And the government is always there to give that protection so long as it can dictate the parameters of how its wards shall live.This is a thought provoking and worthwhile book As Hayek puts it, the liberal left ideal of activist central government was and remains the dominant political philosophy in his day and in ours Its promises are seductive to say the least equality, social justice, protection from life s troubles Now, we have a left wing president promising to save us from climate change and offering to deliver free health care Wow is there anything liberalism can t do It is difficult to make the argument for limited decentralized government because it seems to offer so little we won t do much for you won t rally the troops, after all But that s not really the point The Hayekian model is a government that sees its job as protecting liberty and guaranteeing the safety of the citizenry It has been a long time maybe since the Coolidge Administration since a US president saw that as his mission in life If you only want to read one of Hayek s books, you should read The Road To Serfdom But once you have finished that remarkable work, you ll want to read This should be next on your list. Hayek s book is one of the crowning achievements in the socialism capitalism debate of the last 100 years It is a deserved classic of liberalism, an argument for a market oriented society with all its faults.It provides a classical liberal defence, mostly on utilitarian grounds, for a limited government under what he called rule of law the reign of non arbitrary, non coercive, abstract and general rules that apply to all citizens equally The state, although minimal, should offer the maximum protection for individual liberty and safeguard the efficient operation of the free market Hayek s system places heavy emphasis on the virtues of private property and the vices of government interventionism especially of the benign and well meaning kind He sees his work as continuing the work of the British Whigs the originators of today s liberalism As we know, this Whig lover has inspired many Tories including Thatcher but he has always considered himself a classical liberal rather than a conservative See the last paragraph below The Constitution in the name is a pun on the two meanings of the term, active and passive A The actively written constitution that safeguards liberty the rule of law and B the non deliberate passive emergence of liberty out of social evolution via the market forces.The book traces the history of liberalism in the Anglo Saxon countries, from the days of Common Law to the philosophers of early Anglo Scottish liberalism Locke, Hume, Smith, Burke He also traces the way these ideas affected American constitutionalism with its Bill of Rights.He sees the British Common Law tradition with its emphasis on individual liberty as laying the basis for the idea of limiting government action, i.e chaining sovereign power Such a concern, he claims, was the guiding principle of 18th 19th centuries liberal politics But, due to shifting intellectual currents he puts the blame on Franco Teutonic rationalism and positivism , by the 20th Century, this tradition of liberalism, in its original form, had mostly been either forgotten or supplanted by socialist, authoritarian and social democratic ideologies, with their faith shared by Marxism and social democratic reformism alike on shaping society according to deliberate design The main argument of the book is that we need methods of making sure that government, despite being a useful servant, should not be granted arbitrary and discretionary powers Hayek argues that such dangerous powers should NEVER be granted to such a powerful, monopolizing, competition killing institution, EVEN if done for all the best intentions and in the service of good sounding causes Indeed, we should be wary of using the blunt powers of government, with the noble but misguided aim of shaping society according to human will and design, ESPECIALLY when faced with the ever present danger of bleeding heart zealousness due to some notion of social justice , which may blind our long term interests and cause us to accept mild forms of socialist interventionism into the economy Such interventionism only serves to destroy the basis for a free society A good example of such a danger, according to Hayek, is the support, in the name of egalitarianism, for progressive taxation, in order to achieve heavy redistribution If the main obstacle for freedom, in the 18th and 19th Centuries, used to be the power of sovereign kingship and the police state with its arbitrary and often unlimited powers of discretion , in the 20th and 21st Centuries, the main obstacle, according to Hayek, has become the DEMOCRATIC AND BUREAUCRATIC STATE From being the promise of human dignity and infinite progress, the welfare state, which is the norm in the Western countries, has turned into a scourge The welfare state, even with its obvious achievements, has nearly destroyed the legacy of spontaneous human development, replacing dangerous freedom with the promise of an all knowing authority The line of argument is familiar to anyone who has read The Road to Serfdom Indeed, even the social democratic proponent of welfare state measures must admit that the current welfare state has everywhere turned into a network of power wielding authorities and a never ending supply of liberty infringing laws Hayek argues the power of the democratic legislature, and the power of the bureaucratic committee, are JUST AS BAD as the power of, say, absolute monarchy, if not EVEN WORSE, because ostensibly based on the will of the people and in the service of higher causes, such as social justice which, for Hayek, is mere babble.However, despite his reputation, Hayek does NOT see the solution as being the complete abolition of democratic sovereignty, or even of welfare state measures many of which he supports, at least in theory, to some extent, despite his official protestations Rather, he argues that we should strengthen the institutional safeguards of our legal, economic and political framework to make sure that our laws do not infringe on the people s basic liberties On top of this, Hayek crucially admits that the state may well, without infringing on human liberty, provide a wide range of social services usually supported by socialists but also many classical liberals , including, but not limited to, social security, basic education, zoning laws, housing rules, public parks, roads, bridges, spreading important information, supporting universities, protecting wildlife reserves, etc At this point it becomes clear Hayek is no strict libertarian Whatever you may say about the list, this is hardly a minimal state, at least of the kind Ayn Rand or Robert Nozick would want Hayek s argumentation is rather circuitous, so it becomes difficult to say what his primary argument for the importance of private property accumulation is, and, on the other hand, why he nonetheless accepts a wide range of government activities It is NOT enough to say that he is a typical utilitarian minded classical liberal because this only pushes the question back a few arguments a few centuries Hayek s position, because of its strong anti rationalism, seems to waver between intuitive liberal prejudice and relativistic utilitarianism.The problem is, from Hayek s not very precise premises, not very precise consequences will follow In the same book, he can claim that social justice is a completely meaningless concept, and yet, a few pages later, without blinking an eye, argue that the state probably has a useful role in the name of the public good in a dozen or important fields besides letting the markets operate freely I even think that Hayek s position would be tenable and logical if he had accepted SOME part of the ethical principles of egalitarianism But such principles Hayek, recalcitrantly, refuses to even consider Thus his anti egalitarianism may seem like a prejudice.As I see it, Hayek s work s has three main problems 1 An excessive distrust of ethical principles other than a Humanist fascination with human freedom and a Puritan fascination with legal orderliness 2 The wavering argumentation in SIMULTANEOUSLY attacking and defending welfare state institutions he seems to want to have his cake and eat it too, i.e to destroy the ethical basis of the welfare state and nonetheless to salvage many of its features 3 His shortcomings as a writer and thinker leave his prose to be somewhat repetitive and dry He repeats the same arguments over and over again All these faults aside, the book contains so much scholarship and erudition that the reader is bound to be both enlightened and delighted Hayek s principled criticism of the welfare state and his equally principled defence of limited government under the rule of law, are very timely and useful But so is his surprising and forceful defence of the POSITIVE role that government can play in actually making the society a better place for everybody The fact that this is bound to piss off many orthodox libertarians and small government conservatives makes it all the valuable, because perhaps it makes them reconsider some of their doctrinaire anti government attitudes.It is my opinion that we should replace the welfare state not with cutthroat capitalism but with something like a mixture of Hayek and the welfare state free market fairness, or social liberalism, which respects both individual liberty AND the effective, minimally coercive role that limited government can play in a free, just society.The resurgence of liberalism in the last couple of decades has shown that the idea of maximizing human freedom is far from dead and buried In order to make this revolution stick, Hayek s work should be the Bible or at least one of the Holy Texts for the next decades PS See John Tomasi s book Free Market Fairness to learn about bleeding heart libertarianism See also Milton Friedman s Free to Choose PPS The book also contains the classic short essay, Why I Am Not A Conservative , which explains the difference between Whig and Tory mentality or between classical liberalism and a Tea Party Ron Paul Republicanism quite succinctly Hayek s work is in the line of humanists and progressive forces of society, against defenders of the status quo Although in essence there is not much difference between his liberalism and much of what passes for economic conservatism in the Anglo Saxon countries We are back at the old question was Edmund Burke a conservative or a classical liberal, or perhaps an imperfect combination of both Bruce Caldwell, in his excellent study of Hayek s social and economic thought, has suggested that The Constitution of Liberty most likely constituted a part of Hayek s broader project to respond to the increasingly fashionable view that the application of the methodology of the natural sciences to social phenomena, in the form of social planning by a team of experts, could in theory solve all problems of human organization This conclusion was predicated on the assumption that the laws of human interaction were analogous to the laws of physics, which, once uncovered, would permit the engineering of social relationships with the same predictability of outcome as obtained with respect to the physical world Hayek begins his analysis of the nature of a free society by attempting to define personal freedom One is free, he maintains, when one is not coerced And coercion, he continues, occurs when one man s actions are made to serve another man s will, not for his own but for the other s purpose, 26 but only when the possibility of alternative action is open and only when that alternative action serves the other person s desires The conception of freedom under the law rests on the contention that when we obey laws, in the sense of general abstract rules laid down irrespective of their application to us, we are not subject to another man s will and are therefore free The recognition that each person has his own scale of values which we ought to respect, even if we do not approve of it, is part of the conception of the value of the individual personality How we value another person will necessarily depend on what his values are But believing in freedom means that we do not regard ourselves as the ultimate judges of another person s values, that we do not feel entitled to prevent him from pursuing ends which we disapprove so long as he does not infringe the equally protected sphere of others.