Hayek on Case for Freedom
By David Henderson
As mentioned in my previous post, I had forgotten how good Hayek’s Chapter 2 of The Constitution of Liberty is. A large part of his case for freedom is based on ignorance and uncertainty. He makes the case well, but, in the following two passages, he badly overstates.
First, on p. 29, point 4:
If there were omniscient men, if we could know not only all that affects the attainment of our present wishes but also our future wants and desires, there would be little case for liberty.
Second, on p. 31, point 5:
If we knew how freedom would be used, the case for it would largely disappear.
Imagine that you, I, and everyone else know all our future wants and desires and how exactly we would use our freedom. There’s still a strong case for freedom. Why? Because without freedom, we would be subject to government force. There is no reason on earth to think that a government that knows exactly what we want and exactly how we will use our freedom will give us what we want.