Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on March 10, 2012

in Hayek, Hubris and humility, Man of System, Reality Is Not Optional, Seen and Unseen

… is from page 144 of the first volume (“Rules and Order,” 1973) of Hayek’s Law, Legislation, and Liberty:

The idea that the aim of government is the satisfaction of all particular wishes held by a sufficiently large number, without any limitation on the means which the representative body may use for this purpose, must lead to a condition of society in which all the particular actions are commanded in accordance with a detailed plan agreed upon through bargaining within a majority and then imposed on all as the ‘common aim’ to be realized.

This enforced conformity – this subjection of everyone to act in ways that aim at achieving a set of particular ‘common’ outcomes desired by electoral majorities – along with the inevitable (and inevitably unprincipled) command-and-control means that government must employ if it is to have any hope of bringing about this socially engineered state of affairs – is the serfdom that Hayek warned against.

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