Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reply to Ron Rosenbaum

I'm running late for a buffet reception, but I couldn't leave until I offered a Hayekian response to Ron Rosenbaum in the Hot Air Green Room:
It is one of Hayek's famous essays which I would like to call to Ron Rosenbaum's attention. In The Mirage of Social Justice, Hayek dismantled this commonplace concept, demonstrating how the pursuit of "social justice" leads to harmful outcomes contrary to the benevolent intentions of those who subscribe to such doctrines. . . .
What Hayek is saying is that "social justice" requires treating people as groups, rather than as individuals -- an error similar to the Jim Crow laws that the civil rights crusade sought to overturn. Indeed, with no intention to invoke Godwin's Law, we might say that "social justice" shares with Hitler's categorical antagonism to the Jews this conception of people in terms of groups and not individuals.
The pursuit of "social justice" -- accompanied by a rhetoric of "rights" misappropriated to describe what would be more accurately term entitlements — inexorably leads down that same path that Hayek described as The Road to Serfdom. Only an extremely powerful government can apportion outcomes in the egalitarian manner intended by the phrase "social justice," superintending the welfare of specially protected groups. As government power expands, individual liberty is eroded. . . .
Read the whole thing. I'm in a hurry to get ready to go travel The Road to Free Buffet.


  1. O/T

    Here's the link to a Geoffrey Dunn article:

    Click on the link with 'not' as the link text, and, wallah, Jessie Griffin rears his child loving head.

    Side note: Geoffrey Dunn is penning an whole book about Palin. Interesting connection, no?

  2. The ontological reason your observation here is true is this: whereas an individual is a centered self, has a unity of will and is therefore capable of and reasonably expected to act morally (justly) towards other centered selves and groups (including animals, plants, environments, worlds and universe), groups are not centered selves, do not have a single directing spirit or intelligence, as do individuals, and therefore, are not self-integrating, self-creating nor self-sustaining and cannot be held effectively to moral standards.

    (This is a reason immoral individuals and groups find attraction in the "service" of political activism.)

    So that, while rightly expected to act morally towards individuals and other groups (because they can), groups have no intrinsic center that can be appealed to by either the demands of morality or by moral admonishments. Groups are held to moral standards by a combination of peer pressure, including leadership of character, and coercion. When peer pressure and/or coercion run against moral standards, a group goes evil in a way related to its context that an individual cannot, and that group cannot be brought back from its evil course to sanity/morality because it has no center to which appeal can be made -- or punishment effectively (meaning redemptively) administered.

    Such a group responds only to overwhelming force tasked with its annihilation. "Scorched earth." "Not one red cent."

  3. Hayek's essay is all the more relevant since President Obama used the very term in last night's speech.

    Terry in Ft. Lauderdale

  4. A tour de force Stacy.

    Quoted from and linked to the Greenroom essay at: