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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

Gab@StFerdinandIII -

Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hayek and 'The Fatal Conceit', Chapter Two

Several property vs. the 'rationalists'....

by StFerdIII

 The 'Fatal Conceit' was published in 1988 by 'Austrian school' economist F.A. Hayek. The title is accurate. The fatal conceit possessed by 'intellectuals' and self-proclaimed kings of thinking, or modern 'prophets' of rationalism in their various disguises, is the inane supposition that their sort of 'logic' and view of reality, supersedes evolutionary processes, culture and billions of independent decisions made by people who want to exercise their free-will, and who by such an exercise, form independently of 'rationalist' thought a heritage and complex of processes which are not only moral but productive and which work. In other words the 'conceited' make the fatal mistake of imagining that they, with their atheistic moral and quite irrational fervour, can reorder long complex processes, evolving orders, culture, heritage and individual initiative through coercion, force, tirades, rhetoric, 'programs' and endless utopian demands. Hayek was being kind in using the word 'fatal' to describe such a conceit.

The Introduction to the book reviewed here, is titled 'Was Socialism a Mistake'? It certainly was and is. The First Chapter 'Between Instinct and Reason' outlines the fatal conceit and its flaws. Chapter Two or the 'Origins of Liberty, Property and Justice' is summarized below. In capsulated form, this chapter makes the coherent and relevant argument, that processes, traditions and heritage, all of which formulated rules, and informed reason, created civilisation:

If morals and tradition, rather than intelligence and calculating reason, lifted men above the savages, the distinctive foundations of modern civilisation were laid in antiquity in the region surrounding the Mediterranean Sea....the first to see the acceptance of a person's right to dispose over a recognised private domain, thus allowing individuals to develop a dense network of commercial relations among different communities.”

'Reason' by itself can be moral, immoral, selfish, unselfish, relevant, or even irrational. There is no 'reason' why in my rationality, I should not seize your property and your money if I am stronger, and more violent than you are. My 'reason' would tell me that might makes right. My instincts would support this theory. My morals, traditions and heritage would nullify it.

It appears also to have been the Greeks, and especially the Stoic philosophers, with their cosmopolitan outlook, who first formulated the moral tradition which the Romans later propagated throughout their Empire.”

Private or several property was indispensable, along with ethical traditions of the Hebrews, Greeks and Romans, in establishing the base for the creation of modernity:

The crucial point is that the prior development of several property is indispensable for the development of trading, and thereby for the formation of larger coherent and cooperating structures, and for the appearance of those signals we call prices.”


For David Hume and other Scottish moralists and theorists of the eighteenth century, it was evident that the adoption of several property marks the beginning of civilisation; rules regulating property seemed so central to all morals that Hume devoted most of his Treatise on morals to them.”

Several property will establish with it, laws, regulations and the elevation of morality. Do not steal, covet, kill, lie, engage in wanton violence, assault, or cheat others, are the rules governing society. They all stem in part from several property and the ownership of assets, production and wealth, all due to trade – and the complex processes and interchange which makes up trade.

Intellectuals hate commerce and disavow trade. They place little confidence in markets, prices or in the private ownership of anything at least for the masses, though certainly of course, they view themselves as superior to the peasant-hoi polloi and by 'right' should have ownership of assets and of decision making within society to determine arcane matters like supply and demand, quality, price points and who can produce and consume what item.

Those very intellectuals who are generally inclined to question those forms of material property which are indispensable for the efficient organization of the material means of production have become the most enthusiastic supporters of certain immaterial property rights invented only relatively recently, having to do, for example, with literary productions and technological innovations.”

Intellectuals only comprehend their own self interests. Evolving processes, legacies, heritage, morals and several property innovations are too much for them. For the 'rationalists', the world is much simpler. They, the 'great men', the 'state', the powers which be, speak and the rest follow. In their view, this is how the modern world was created. 

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