O Intermitente<br> (So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

O Intermitente
(So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

quinta-feira, setembro 30, 2004

O Socialismo Como Atavismo

Artigo de Madsen Pirie no Adam Smith Institute Blog.

I was present in May 1978 when F A Hayek (pictured) delivered the Hobhouse Lecture to the London School of Economics. The room was packed with staff and students as Hayek delivered a paper entitled The Three Sources of Human Values, which was published as an epilogue to vol III of his Law, Legislation and Liberty.

Hayek explained that from the first source came ideas which were genetically determined and innate. The second source was the product of rational thought, the ideas we think up. These two were relatively minor. The third, and by far the most important, came by cultural transmission, the ideas passed on by society.

Part of his thesis was that human beings had developed their inherited moral instincts as hunters. As they later developed an extended society, interacting and trading, they had to learn culturally to subjugate the inherited instincts to the wiser and more rewarding morality of what he called The Great Society.

Hayek told his rapt audience that the old values of the hunting band still had their allure, including the urge to share everything when value could not be stored. Even with all that modern society makes possible, we still feel the inherited urge that we have learned to subjugate to the transmitted rules which make more worthwhile goals possible. The groups which learned to do that were the ones which survived and prospered.

Members of the audience actually gasped when Hayek referred to Socialism as 'atavistic' - the reversion to an older, more primitive form. Many of the students had thought that Socialism was modern and scientific, and could perhaps bring rational order to a chaotic and unjust world. Now here was Hayek equating it with a primitive instinct, inferior to the learned rules which had enabled human society to develop.

It was, perhaps, a defining moment. Socialism in Britain was at its high water mark, although it had visibly failed to meet worthwhile objectives. Already its confidence was ebbing, together with the faith that it delineated the path to a better future. Now here was an intellectual attack on its very claim to modernity and rationality. Less than a year after Hayek's lecture came the counter-revolution.

posted by Miguel Noronha 12:16 da tarde

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"A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."

mail: migueln@gmail.com