Saturday, January 31, 2009

On True Liberalism and True Conservatism

"I use throughout the term 'liberal' in the original, nineteenth-century sense in which it is still current in Britain. In current American usage it often means very nearly the opposite of this. It has been part of the camouflage of leftish movements in this country [Britain], helped by muddleheadedness of many who really believe in liberty, that 'liberal' has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of governmental control. I am still puzzled why those in the United States who truly believe in liberty should not only have allowed the left to appropriate this almost indispensable term but should even have assisted by beginning to use it themselves as a term of opprobrium. This seems to be particularly regrettable because of the consequent tendency of many true liberals to describe themselves as conservative... But true liberalism is still distinct from conservatism, and there is danger in the two being confused. Conservatism, though a necessary of society, is not a social program; in its paternalistic, nationalistic, and power adoring tendencies it is often closer to socialism than true liberalism; and with its traditionalistic, anti-intellectual, and often mystical propensities it will never, except in short periods of disillusionment, appeal to the young and all those others who believe that some changes are desirable if this world is to become a better place. A Conservative movement, by its very nature, is bound to be the defender of established privilege and to lean on the power of government for the protection of privilege. The essence of the liberal position, however, is the denial of all privilege, if privilege is understood in its proper and original meaning of the state granting and protecting rights to some which are not available on equal terms for others."

- Friedrich August Hayek, The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents, The Definitive Edition, ed. Bruce Caldwell (London: University of Chicago Press, 2007).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

On the Origin of Ideas

"Few discoveries are more irritating than those which expose the pedigree of ideas."
 - Lord Acton, "Review of Sir Erskine May's Democracy in Europe" [1878], reprinted in The History of Freedom and Other Essays.

Monday, January 19, 2009

On the Toughest Critics

Dr. Russell Moore, the Dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, preached "Pharaoh vs. Embryo: Why Unborn Still Matter to Our Church" from Exodus 1 for Sanctity Human Life Sunday. The following is an insightful critique from his 7 year old son:
"You talked too much about Pharaoh, too much about babies and not enough about crocodiles."

Monday, January 12, 2009

On the Preservation of Human Resources

Wendell Berry offers some colorful words:
"Despite world-record advances in automation, robitification, and other "labor-saving" technologies, it is assumed that almost every human being may, at least in the Future, turn out to be useful for something, just like the members of other endangered species. Sometimes, after all, the Economy still requires a "human component." At such times, human resources are called "human components" and are highly esteemed in that capacity as long as their usefulness lasts. Therefore, don't quit taking care of human resources yet. See that the schools are run as ideal orphanages or as ideal jails. Provide preschool and pre-preschool. Also postschool. Keep the children in institutions and away from home as much as possible -remember that their parents wanted children only because other people have them, and are much too busy to raise them. Only the government cares. Move the children around a lot while they're young, for this provides many opportunities for socialization. Show them a lot of TV, for TV is educational. Teach them about computers, for computers still require a "human component." Teach them the three S's: Sex can be Scientific and Safe. When the children grow up, try to keep them busy. Try to see that they become addicted only to legal substances. That's about it."
- Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community: Eight Essays (New York: Pantheon Books, 1993).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

On the Law

"But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it."
- Deuteronomy 30:14 (NASB)