Monday, January 11, 2016

On the 70th Anniversary of F. A. Hayek’s Lecture on “Individualism: True and False,”

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the “EpicTimes” news and commentary website on, “Individualism is Battling the Politically Managed Mind in the 21st Century.”

Especially in an election year, we are surrounded with candidates and commentators offering unending lists of plans, programs and projects to remake a better world – if only government is given the necessary power and authority.

It is worthwhile, perhaps, to challenge this mindset by marking the seventieth anniversary of F. A. Hayek’s December 1945 lecture on “Individualism: True and False,” with its defense of a free society based on the principle of individual freedom.

Hayek’s basic idea was that it is presumptuous and arrogant on the part of such social engineers and political planners to think that they or any others should ever have the knowledge, wisdom or ability to successfully redesign all or a good part of society.

The world is too diverse and complex, populated with too many people possessing different and distinct types and forms of useful knowledge to believe that any one or group minds can know all that it relevant to design, plan and regulate humanity for social improvement.

True individualism, Hayek insisted, begins with an appreciation of how little anyone of us knows or can master, and that the material and cultural greatness of any society comes from allowing all the knowledge contained in all the human minds in the world to contribute what they can to their own improvement and that of others through the resulting “spontaneous order” emerging from the free market and social interactions of all the members of humanity.

To do otherwise is to limit human progress and betterment to what the handful of political planning, regulating and controlling minds in government can ever know.


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