Monday, January 13, 2014

Hayek's Criticism of Conservatism

Since the 1950s there's been a shrill claim that something called "Conservatism" is the stalwart defender of freedom, while a group of evil-doers called "liberals" seeks oppression.

In this last sixty years, this shrill group has made a lot of noise and even launched wars, but it has failed to advance the cause of liberty.

The inherent inability of the conservative movement to advance freedom has not gone unnoticed. In 1960, Fredrich Hayek felt compelled to write an essay titled "Why I Am Not a Conservative," in which he stated:

Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving. It may succeed by its resistance to current tendencies in slowing down undesirable developments, but, since it does not indicate another direction, it cannot prevent their continuance. It has, for this reason, invariably been the fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing. The tug of war between conservatives and progressives can only affect the speed, not the direction, of contemporary developments.
Conservatism is not a coherent ideology. It is a strategy of reaction and obstruction. Committing to a strategy of reaction and construction allows organized forces of centralization to undermine and lead the freedom movement.

Conservatism has failed routinely for the last 60 years. If we wish to preserve freedom, the freedom movement simply must find a constructive method for countering the forces of centralization and government control. For example, Medical Savings and Loan is simply a constructive path for discussing freedom.

This is where my frustration with the "conservative movement" kicks in. I just happen to live in the most conservative state in the nation. Utah is the most conservative area West of Iran! The FLDS compounds in Utah rival the Ayatollahs in Tehran and the Mullahs in Mecca in shear base conservatism.

The GOP is so reactive, so obstructionist and so conservative that they are not even willing to engage in discourse. Mention an idea that challenges the social order in the state, and you will be immediately cast out.

The US founders were able to give America a legacy of freedom because they were open-minded and willing to engage in rational discourse. The idea that we can defend such a system by obstruction is absurd.

The American System in Self-Rule not only invites open discourse about ideas. It depends on open discourse.

To defend liberty, there simply must be open discourse on how to solve the challenges of our day with freedom. If there is no open discourse, then the enemies of freedom will be able to manipulate us into chains.

My goal for the last six years has been simply to find conservatives interested in discussing free market health care reform. The goal of my discussion is to find ways to overturn PPACA.

I may be wrong in this assessment but, in my opinion, a discussion about free market health care reform is a pro-freedom discussion. This conversation simply cannot take place because I live in a place ruled by the most conservative elements in United States. If this thing called "conservatism" means that people who want to discuss free market solutions to health care are locked out, then conservatism is an enemy and not a friend of liberty.

I may be wrong. Savings based, fee-for-service medicine might be a really bad idea. But this conservative idea that we simply shut down discussion and engage in mindless obstructionist politics means that there is no way to discover free market alternatives to socialism. I feel Hayek's frustration with conservatism echoing through the decades. This conservative methodology of mindless obstruction means there is no way to advance freedom and no path for America but an end to American experiment in self rule.

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