Hayek VS. Hobbes

tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu
Sat Nov 5 23:22:59 MST 1994


Chris,
I still have some doubts that your interpretation of Hayek is correct.
Thanks however for the wonderful quotes.  I have not read much of Hayek, except
for a course I took many years ago. but I have read a great deal of
Nietzsche.  The two thinkers seem to share a reactionary viewpoint vis
socialism.  They are also, it would seem from your quotes, CULTURAL, not
economic, determinists.  Cultural determinists, as we can see even from those
nominally on the "left," such as Derrida and Foucault, are notorious for
a jaundiced view of human nature, a view that all human behavior, under the
polite exterior of culture, can be reduced to the selfish motivation for
"Power" and "Desire," two terms which, to the cultural determinist. None
of this is incompatible with Hobbes.  Hobbes himself stated that, although
not every human being was selfishly self-aggrandizing, out of sheer
self-preservation, we all have to seek "power after power."

 There
is nothing incompatible about this view with that of a KIND of social deter
minism, either, if we reduce society itself to "culture," as do the cultural
determinists.  Of course, what these cultural determinists are doing is to
reintroduce a biological a priori DISGUISED  as culture.

You ought to check out Georg Lukacs's Destruction of Reason for an account
of bourgeois sociology and how it accomplishes these feats of magic.

2nd point: If you do indeed accept the idea that human nature is socially
determined, how then do you answer the critique that market relations corrupt
whatever state regulator is posited as correcting the markets' inegalitarian
tendencies? Aren't the dangers of such corruption equal if not worse to those
within a bureaucratic system?

And I don't believe that democratic planning must result in bureaucracy.  I know
Hayek did.  Do you?  Why?  If you answer, "because it happened in the
soviet Union, that's the wrong answer.  The Bolsheviks were not interested
in democracy.  That's pretty clear, even as early as Lenin's "Can the Bolsheviks
Hold On to Power" which claims that since 100,000 aristocrats once ruled
Russia, the Bolsheviks can do the same.  This was written before October.

Cheers,

tom


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