Wednesday, November 21, 2007
We Move On; We Do Not Move On
A phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests. Mankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity. In this sphere, wisdom, which may be defined as the exercise of judgment acting on experience, common sense and available information, is less operative and more frustrated than it should be. Why do holders of high office so often act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-interest suggests? Why does intelligent mental process seem so often not to function?Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, 1984
A Libertarian Comment
F. A. Hayek, economist and philosopher, was the darling of Thatcherite conservatives, although we would call him libertarian (and he would call himself a Whig). His warning to modern conservatives, given in his essay 'Why I Am Not a Conservative', remains ever fresh.
When I say that the conservative lacks principles, I do not mean to suggest that he lacks moral conviction. The typical conservative is indeed usually a man of very strong moral convictions. What I mean is that he has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions.