≡ Menu

Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 353-354 of the 2014 collection, The Market and Other Orders (Bruce Caldwell, ed.), of some of F.A. Hayek’s essays on spontaneous-ordering forces; this particular quotation is from Hayek’s January 1970 lecture at the University of Salzburg, “The Errors of Constructivism” (original emphases):

The social scientist who endeavors to understand how society functions, and to discover where it can be improved, must claim the right critically to examine, and even to judge, every single value of our society. The consequence of what I have said is merely that we can never at one and the same time question all of its values….

The process of the evolution of a system of values passed on by cultural transmission must implicitly rest on criticism of individual values in the light of their consistency, or compatibility, with all other values of society, which for this purpose must be taken as given and undoubted. The only standard by which we can judge particular values of our society is the entire body of other values of that same society.

DBx: Hayek here speaks as a true liberal (and not as the conservative that many people mistakenly suppose him to have been). Note, though, that the true liberal understands that wisdom counsels humility in assessing the rules by which we live.