Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Freedom, progress and anarchy

Hayek wrote on 1960

"If there were omniscient men, if we could know not only all that affects the attainment of our present wishes but also our future wants and desires, there would be little case for liberty. And, in turn, liberty of the individual would, of course, make complete foresight impossible. Liberty is essential to leave room for the unforeseeable and unpredictable; we want it because we have learned to expect from it the opportunity of realizing many of our aims. It is because every individual knows so little and, in particular, because we rarely know which of us knows best that we trust the independent and competitive efforts of many to induce the emergence of what we shall want when we see it."

And

“Interaction of individuals possessing different views is what constitutes the life of thoght. The growth of reason is based on the existence of such differences. Its results cannot be predicted that we cannot know which views will assists this growth and which will not. To plan and organise progress is a contradiction in terms. Individualism is an attitude of humility before this social process and of tolerance to other opinions and is the exact opposite of that intellectual hubris which demands comprehensive direction of the social process.”

It is easy to say, let institutions grow by themselves, society will make them grow up. But is clear that liberty by itself may bring us to progress but also to chaos. Look at Somalia, no institution is growing but terrorism and no progress at all. Is an utterly anarchy. I guess liberty, anarchy and progress are sides of the same coin.

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