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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Amazing contrast

Over at Maggie's Farm

One quote from Obama on the Constitution:

(It )"says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.”

The community organizing? Are you joking? More at Surber. I do not think that he understands the concept of freedom at all. That concerns me. I think the Constitution is quite clear about the role, and mainly the limits of the Federal government. They knew all about power-seeking. It's one of the things that makes us unique.

OJ presents this from Bill Kristol and the enduring Reagan Revolution:

It's interesting that Barack Obama keeps talking about spreading the wealth, and yet sometimes he comes across as an elitist.

He is very much a product of Harvard Law School…and that's fine. But I do think he believes that if he gets the really smart guys in a room in Washington or New York, they can sort of retool the American economy. I don't think he has that fundamental, I would call it a Hayekian belief—after Friedrich Hayek, the great Austrian economist—in the limits of central planning, the limits of very smart people's abilities to figure things out. I do think Obama is instinctively very much a government-knows-best guy.

I can't help but contrast the Obama view with that of Maggie Thatcher:

There is a great story of Margaret Thatcher, after being urged to be more moderate at a political meeting, reaching into her handbag for a book which she then held up for all to see. Throwing this book down on the table she proclaimed, "this is what we believe."

The book was Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty. What a truly amazing contrast.


Harry Eagar said...

Thatcher was a proto-Reaganite, all right. She redistributed wealth from the north to the south. Reagan did it from the interior to the coast.

If you haven't figured how that worked, heaven help you.

Having been part of the community organizing effort against the conservatives, who opposed civil rights sometimes to the death, I am puzzled by your disparaging comment.

I never noticed any Hayekians on my side of the barricades. They were over on the other side with the cops and dogs. So spare me the moralizing.

erp said...

Howard, most people, not having an historical perspective, can't understand why everybody wouldn't agree with Obama that income should be distributed evenly. It never occurs to them that it would their income that would be distributed to others, only that they'd get money from the rich.

These past few days, we've been out and about and overheard heated conversations about McCain's lies and how good it will be to have a wonderful guy like Obama as president. We didn't hear a single word in dissent.

Which is worse? More than half the voters bought the left's lies or that voter fraud has become so widespread and organized that it could infiltrate every nook and cranny of the electorate.

In our household, we're divided. My husband thinks it's worse that voters are so ill-informed that they base their decisions on propaganda and I think it's worse that our institutions have become so corrupt that they will serve the cause rather than the people.

Will the country survive this? I'm not so sure.

Howard said...


Let's see, doing enough community organizing to amass sufficient political power is justification for ignoring constitutional limits. In your best bandito accent, "rule of law, we don't need no stinkin' rule of law!" I think that was the posters point(poster Bird Dog).

Regarding civil rights, as a strong advocate of liberty, this Hayekian would strongly support anyones' claim for equal treatment under the law.


Improvement in information and institutions, please! If I have to give one higher priority it would be less corrupt institutions. I tend to be optimistic about the country beyond the obvious circumstance, but there will be some damage to repair.

Harry Eagar said...

I dunno, I never had to ignore any constitutional limits in my civil rights demonstrating days.

As for your commitment to liberty, easy enough to say, but when it came time to face the shotguns, the Hayekians were, as I said, all on the other side.

Even today, they sell cheap copies of Acton's defense of slavery in the name of property rights.

So, sorry, until I see a Hayekian on the barricades, I will continue to think it is nothing but self-deluded, pernicious twaddle.

Howard said...

Even today, they sell cheap copies of Acton's defense of slavery in the name of property rights.

Anyone doing that couldn't possibly be Hayekian, but perhaps some neo-nazi parading as an ultra extremist libertarian or more likely some odd remnant strain of old style European conservative.

Your ignorance can be remedied Harry. Try reading The Constitution of Liberty and The Fatal Conceit for a good start.

Harry Eagar said...

Liberty Fund, which also publishes subsidized texts of Hayek and von Mises.

Getcha scorecahds heah! Ya caint tell duh playahs widout a scorecahd!

Howard said...


Still got all your marbles?

Harry Eagar said...

It isn't up to me to decide who is a true Hayekian and who is a poseur. If a man calls himself a Hayekian, good enough for me.

I am reminded of my feud with the Hayekian editor Virginius Dabney when he was opposing the M.L. King holiday on the ground that King associated with communists.

Maybe he did. Who cares? He didn't associate with the Hayekian Dabney (a pretty well-known voice in his day), that's for sure.

Anyhow, do you consider the Liberty Fund a leftover European old-style conservative outfit?

Here is what it says about itself:

'Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals. The Foundation develops, supervises, and finances its own educational activities to foster thought and encourage discourse on enduring issues pertaining to liberty. This is done through the implementation of different programs:

Each year, Liberty Fund conducts over 165 conferences throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe.
Liberty Fund publishes as many as 20 or more books each year.
These programs focus on the place individual liberty has in an intellectual heritage evident from ancient times and continuing through our own times. The programs are intended to enrich understanding and appreciation of the complex nature of a society of free and responsible individuals and to contribute to its preservation.'

There aren't a lot of 501(c)(3) groups pushing slavery these days, but scratch a Hayekian and you might find one.

Howard said...


Thank you for your clarification. A number of obligations kept me from responding sooner. Have you read such a pamphlet as you describe? Someone I spoke to at Liberty Fund said that they have no such item.