Download The Fatal Conceit (Collected Works of Friedrich August by F.A. Hayek PDF

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By F.A. Hayek

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The second, related development which challenged the extended order arose from the work and influence of Jean Jacques Rousseau. This peculiar thinker - although often described as irrationalist or romantic - also latched on to and deeply depended on Cartesian thought. Rousseau's heady brew of ideas came to dominate `progressive' thought, and led people to forget that freedom as a political institution had arisen not by human beings `striving for freedom' in the sense of release from restraints, but by their striving for the protection of a known secure individual domain.

Needham, 1943:41). I shall return to Monod, but want first to assemble a few further examples. A particularly appropriate instance that I have discussed elsewhere (1978), is John Maynard Keynes, one of the most representative intellectual leaders of a generation emancipated from traditional morals. Keynes believed that, by taking account of foreseeable effects, he could build a better world than by submitting to traditional abstract rules. Keynes used the phrase `conventional wisdom' as a favourite expression of scorn, and, in a revealing autobiographical account (1938/49/72: X, 446), he told how the Cambridge circle of his younger years, most of whose members later belonged to the Bloomsbury Group, `entirely repudiated a personal liability on us to obey general rules', and how they were `in the strict sense of the term, immoralists'.

In other words, what is wanted is an ethics that men can deliberately follow to reach known, desired, and pre-selected aims. Monod's conclusions stem from his opinion that the only other possible way to account for the origin of morals - apart from ascribing them to human invention - is by animistic or anthropomorphic accounts such as are given in many religions. ' (M. R. Cohen, 1931:112). This aspect of religion I can as little accept as can Monod and the majority of natural scientists. It seems to me to lower something far beyond our comprehension to the level of a slightly superior manlike mind.

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