What to Read? Re Hayek debate

Chris M. Sciabarra sciabrrc at is2.NYU.EDU
Fri Jul 14 16:01:26 MDT 1995


On Fri, 14 Jul 1995, Carrol Cox wrote:
> Rob Frantz July 14 challenge on Hayek raises again the question that first
> several weeks ago provoked me to intervene in this list. He claims that we
> cannot reject Hayek without first reading him. If one took this seriously the
> whole human race would die out in moments from inaction. It is a simple matter
> of the amount of time in any one human life. There are millions of texts to
> read and one is probably only going to read a few thousand of them, so there
> needs to be some criteria for exclusion, for identifying those books or those
> trains of thought which one will *not* explore.
	Choosing not to explore a thinker is a valid option.  One can
even say that one might be predisposed to disagreement.  But the human
race would die out as well, if human beings short-circuited their
critical faculties and passed judgment based on pure hearsay.  I would
not want to be on trial with such predispositions against me!

	Having read BOTH Marx and Hayek, and having kept BOTH thinkers in
a position of reverence--for different reasons--I think it is a shame if
Marxists DON'T read Hayek.  Hayek is one of the few thinkers in the
libertarian tradition who is thoroughly imbued with a dialectical
sensibility.  In contrast to many on the libertarian right who are too
rationalistic or dualistic for their own good, Hayek is a mighty
intellectual.

	And by the way-- yes, I know that NATIONAL REVIEW quoted Hayek a
lot, and it still probably does (though I haven't read any recent issues).
I quote Marx quite a bit -- and nobody would accuse me of being a
Marxist.  It is possible that certain conservatives might selectively
quote somebody as being on their "side"-- Hayek, after all, owes much to
both Burke and the thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment.  But Hayek was
no religious or conventional conservative.  The NATIONAL REVIEW is
notorious for filtering out those elements from Hayek, Mises, and others
that they simply don't agree with.  They chastised Ayn Rand for her
atheism, and called Murray Rothbard, the "guru" of modern libertarian
thought, an "apologist for Stalin"--because he refused to whitewash the
imperialism of the American state and its role in the Cold War.  I would
hope that we would not dismiss anyone simply because somebody we don't
like, quotes them.
					- Chris
==================================================
Dr. Chris M. Sciabarra
Visiting Scholar, NYU Department of Politics
INTERNET:  sciabrrc at is2.nyu.edu (NOTE NEW ADDRESS)
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