Friedrich A. Hayek: Champion of
Individual Liberty, Limited Government, and Free Markets
Three Parties: Two Directions
The Libertarians are the only real solution to the Socialist Democrats, and Republicans (I need a good epithet for them, but they've got more than one primary negative characteristic making it difficult).
Friederich Hayek explains wonderfully, if verbosely, in his essay "Why I am not a Conservative" the essential necessity of three main political forces.
Socialism (Democrats): Advocating government control, redistribution of wealth, social safety nets, etc. This has been tried and tried all over the world over the last 100 years and has failed in every case. No matter how positive the intentions, government intervention always causes more problems than it solves. But idealist intellectuals cannot resist the idea that with enough knowledge and a good enough plan, they can overcome the inherent problem of omniscience regarding the infinite variables in a national economy. Hayek proved that Prices are the key communicator of supply and demand and government intervention negatively circumvents the accurate reflection of these forces, eventually causing havoc and failure of the system.
The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were both outcomes of what began benignly enough as attempts to implement “Social Justice” and “Rational Equality”. What is tragically ignored behind the shadow of Adolph Hitler and WWII was the slow and gradual implementation of socialist policies over 50 years, which eventually resulted in a country where every aspect of society was controlled by the government, down to how individual’s free time should be spent. This absolute statism in combination with the crushing economic retribution of “reparations” the Allies chained Germany with after “The Great War” (WWI), fostered a cancerous anger that allowed a very impassioned and charismatic Hitler to simply step in and give direction to the tool which he had been left.
Friedrich Hayek’s first book “The Road to Serfdom” gave us the revelation of how government intervention with good intentions inevitably must lead to statist totalitarianism based on Germany’s experiment.
Conservativism (Republicans): Is the opposition to drastic change. In the US it is very different from overseas because we come from a historically free society. But in supporting the status quo, they use government intervention as well. This intervention is often in support of established businesses - what is often vilified as "big business" interests. There is some validity in this as, historically, Conservative intervention in pursuit of their goals has added the weight of irresistible government coercion to some businesses over others massively destabilizing the free markets and actually creating the "evil" monopolies which otherwise would have to compete freely. "Without government assistance, it is impossible for a would-be monopolist to set and maintain his prices and production policies independent of the rest of the economy." - Alan Greenspan
But they also tend to favor what is in their view "conservative morality" and "Christian Values" which automatically infringes on the rights of anyone who would have other personal beliefs, but would still be a good citizen - i.e. one which does not infringe on the rights of other citizens. This is "Legislative Morality" and has been responsible for plentiful ills in our history, not only social, but also further imbalance of free markets. Most notably the era known as Prohibition. The evils of alcohol were obviously widely accepted so Conservative Legislators undertook "to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America" subsequently "Alcohol became more dangerous to consume; crime increased and became "organized"; the court and prison systems were stretched to the breaking point; and corruption of public officials was rampant. " - The Cato Institute. Similar "Legislative Morality" is behind the attempt to limit access to alcohol and tobacco, the "War on Drugs" (a mirror of Prohibition), censorship, abortion, and gambling.
The tragedy of Conservativism is that it operates under the guise of protecting what are traditional American values: Individual Liberty, Limited Government, and Free Markets. This dishonesty almost outweighs the benefits of its fight against the obvious ills of Socialism, but in actuality, it is leading inexorably toward a very similar system of government out of control. “Lower taxes” and “free enterprise” are intentional malapropisms – meaningless propaganda to gather closer to it all others who would oppose the Socialist agenda. Lower taxes and free enterprise cannot truly benefit America unless they go hand in hand with a significant reduction in government spending and control.
Libertarianism: Essentially the core values the United States of American was founded upon: the protection of Individual Liberty, restrictions on Government intervention, control, and growth (i.e. Limited Government), and Free Markets. The foundation is that the majority of citizens are basically good and that they are capable of making the best decisions and evaluations of factors that directly affect themselves. That the Government cannot have enough information (Hayek) to interfere with the billions of individual decisions that occur every day, so should be restricted to those areas where all citizens equally have a mutual interest: The Courts, National Defense, Roads, Environmental Mediation (not restrictive regulation), and similar areas. When an individual or entity does infringe on the rights of others, the recourse is mediation in the Courts, not additional laws affecting the entire country. Civil and criminal prosecution is the deterrent to fraud and negligence, not a convoluted labyrinth of governmental regulation and taxation.
Business operates and grows best in a free system, without outside regulation, but with consequences for misdeeds.
Individuals should take responsibility for their own success or failure in society rather than having it decided for us by a frivolous and inconsistent government before we are even born.
So my premise being made, my goal is
to gather support for a moderate libertarian movement that a good portion of
Americans can rally behind as an alternative to the Republicans and Democrats.
All information on this and referred pages should be distributed widely (with
appropriate references to sources) to spread Hayek's principles to as many
people as possible and move our countries toward more ideal conditions for all
Feel free to contact me with questions and comments: email@example.com St. Augustine, Florida, USA - These pages last updated: July 17, 2003.
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