more on Hayek

Charles Jannuzi b_rieux at
Tue Dec 31 23:42:19 MST 2002

Peter McLaren in part, wrote:

>>I think Henry is right on target in his
assessment of Von Hayek. Part of the
problem faced by the educational left today is
that even among the most
progressive educators there appears to exist an
ominous resignation produced
by the seeming inevitability of capital, even as
financial institutions
expand capacity in inverse proportion to a
decline in living standards and
job security.<<

Yes, I've quite enjoyed reading both Peter and
Henry on Hayek.

Hayek's ideas fail at both engaging real world
economies and real world politics (you could
start with the fact that Hayek really didn't
understand planning and coordination in either a
micro- or macro-economic sense).

The biggest insight I could gain from reading him
is overall irrationalist-- that the theoretical,
predictive, explanatory failure of ALL social
sciences, including Hayekian economics, as a
general pattern, is itself quite predictable
because, well, collective human behaviour is so
multitudinous and complex that most theories
can't encompass it. But that is hardly a unique

I think most who take philosophy seriously don't
find Hayek altogether that interesting, but that
can be a weak spot because so many out there in
the right-wing and right-wing libertarian worlds
do. If you want to know how 'they' think or don't
think, you have to understand how they understand
Christ (the version who appeals to right-wing
fundamentalists and pentacostals, not the
liberation theologists), Popper, Rand, and Hayek.
Perhaps the most post-modernist among their
'thinkers' would be Hayek and Nozick. I could
include Mises, Schumpeter, and even Heidegger,
but really, I don't think most on the
'libertarian' right read that much.

It's no stretch to say that Hayek has far more in
common with Derrrida than he does Alan Greenspan
(though more and more I think Greenspan is
actually this irrationalist, post-mo joker who
probably consults 'Atlas Shrugged' for flaky
ideas as to what to say next in justifying
whether or not he should cut interest rates by
another .25%).

One benefit of all this 'anti-socialism' and
oh-so-brave 'anti-totalitarianism' produced for
the right, though, is that Hayek's writings
relieved them of guilt. As incomplete,
self-contradictory and as hard to follow as Hayek
mostly is, his argument that fascism was
essentially socialist appealed to the right
because it justified the right's quick sloughing
off of the fascism and nazism brands in order to
get down to the business of running the world
without guilt over appeasement and
collaboration--in the name of liberal democracy
and liberty, of course.

Now if this were LBO Talk, I'd wait with
self-loathing anticipation for a cranial gangrape
from the likes of Justin Schwartz, Dennis Perrin,
Doug Henwood, and other assorted trolls of the
twisted (NON)left. So thank goodness for this
list instead!

Charles Jannuzi
Fukui, Japan

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