Monday, 24 October 2011

Hayek on "The Road to Serfdom"

Steven Horwitz at the Coordination Problem blog has written on Hayek's interpretation of  "The Road to Serfdom". He writes,
Hayek wrote in 1973 (p. 58, my emphasis):
What I meant to argue in The Road to Serfdom was certainly not that whenever we depart, however slightly, from what I regard as the principles of a free society, we shall ineluctably be driven to go the whole way to a totalitarian system. It was rather what in more homely language is expressed when we say: "If you do not mend your principles you will go to the devil." That this has often been misunderstood to describe a necessary process over which we have no power once we have embarked on it, is merely an indication of how little the importance of principles for the determination of policy is understood, and particularly how completely overlooked is the fundamental fact that by our political actions we unintentionally produce the acceptance of principles which will make further action necessary.
It would seem to me that this is a clear statement that the "inevitability hypothesis" reading of RTS is a bunch of nonsense.
The Hayek quote is from Law, Legislation, and Liberty.

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