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Constructivist Rationalism as defined by Hayek

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Hayek's position that societies and economies are too complex to be centrally planned is not a great moral argument, but as a derivative principle I have no problem accepting it as one of many explanations for why socialism and central planning do not work.

However, the other side of his argument seems absolutely anti-reason. For all his talk of 'spontaneous order,' it really sounds like nothing more than cultural conservatism, as though conscious reasoning should not question pre-existing cultural practices. It sounds like a defense of good ol' tradition. Am I simplifying Hayek's arguments here? Surely his positon was more nuanced than this? (I've not read much of his work - just excerpts).

Help me articulate the nature of the false dichotomy that seems to be at work here. Something just is not clicking in my mind. I'm leaning toward a position that reason can be used to establish new cultural practices and institutions which would maximize human freedom, rather than ones which would attempt to micro manage society.

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Hayek's position that societies and economies are too complex to be centrally planned is not a great moral argument, but as a derivative principle I have no problem accepting it as one of many explanations for why socialism and central planning do not work.

However, the other side of his argument seems absolutely anti-reason. For all his talk of 'spontaneous order,' it really sounds like nothing more than cultural conservatism, as though conscious reasoning should not question pre-existing cultural practices. It sounds like a defense of good ol' tradition. Am I simplifying Hayek's arguments here? Surely his positon was more nuanced than this? (I've not read much of his work - just excerpts).

Help me articulate the nature of the false dichotomy that seems to be at work here. Something just is not clicking in my mind. I'm leaning toward a position that reason can be used to establish new cultural practices and institutions which would maximize human freedom, rather than ones which would attempt to micro manage society.

I havent read Hayek in a while, but i dont remember the meaning of "spontaneous order" having anything to do with cultural conservatism, and he definitely wasnt one. He definitely did not propose anything that we shoudlnt question pre-existing cultural practises, and i remember him being quite vocal about why tradition in itself is of no value, so i dont know where you got that.

Spontaneous order, as i understand and remember it, is an inherently libertarian principle. It starts from the premise that many libertarians have, that people "in general" are good, and that no specific action is required to "be good". Therefore, when these "good" people act freely, the result will be a society that is ideal.

There is some truth to this, in the sense, that the shape a society takes, is not something that has come out of a single plan, and in that sense it is spontaneous. However, the fallacy he makes, is that it doesnt really matter what these people do, as long as they do it freely. According to that, the ideal society could just as well be a society with people dying from heroine-overdoses at age 28, just as long as they didnt force others to their will. The classic libertarian stuff, you know.....

So, even if spontaneous order in the marketplace is true, it should not be in itself a value. The markets will generally be the "sum" of all its peoples actions, and if most people value using drugs and mutilating themselves as a hobby, the market will cater to these "values", and does not discriminate whether these things actually are "of value" to these people. The thing that Hayek never does, is differentiate between different free actions, and just dubs every free action as equally good.

It is important to note, that the idea of spontaneous order is pretty much the same thing as "the invisible hand", and it is in general a valid argument against central planning. However, it should not be a value in itself, and that is where Hayek goes wrong, or at least i cant ever remember him explaining anything that would disprove that.....

I've read "The Road to Serfdom" and "The Fatal Conceit", but both were like 5 years ago, so i may have misrepresented Hayek here by accident. However, that is what i remember, correct me if im wrong....

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