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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 88 of the 2011 Definitive Edition (Ronald Hamowy, ed.) of F.A. Hayek’s great 1960 book, The Constitution of Liberty: The relevant distinction is not between individual and group action but between conditions, on one hand, in which alternative ways based on different views or practices may be tried and conditions, on the other hand, in which one agency has the exclusive right and the power to prevent others from trying. It is only when such exclusive rights are conferred on the presumption of superior knowledge of particular individuals or groups that the process ceases to be experimental and beliefs that happen to be prevalent at a given time may become an obstacle to the advancement of knowledge. DBx: The only error in this otherwise wise and wonderful quotation is

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… is from page 88 of the 2011 Definitive Edition (Ronald Hamowy, ed.) of F.A. Hayek’s great 1960 book, The Constitution of Liberty:

Quotation of the Day…The relevant distinction is not between individual and group action but between conditions, on one hand, in which alternative ways based on different views or practices may be tried and conditions, on the other hand, in which one agency has the exclusive right and the power to prevent others from trying. It is only when such exclusive rights are conferred on the presumption of superior knowledge of particular individuals or groups that the process ceases to be experimental and beliefs that happen to be prevalent at a given time may become an obstacle to the advancement of knowledge.

DBx: The only error in this otherwise wise and wonderful quotation is Hayek’s inclusion, in the final sentence, of the word “may.” Such an obstacle will indeed arise and wreak harm.

“Progressives” today are very proud to proclaim what they take to be their advanced and humane commitment to diversity. Their pride is unwarranted. Quick and correct to criticize those who judge individuals by the shallowest of criteria – criteria such as skin color and sexual preferences – “Progressives’s” conception of diversity is based exclusively on the very same shallow criteria that they claim to loathe when these are acted on by others.

True diversity is what is identified above by Hayek. True diversity arises and thrives – and bestows its benefits – only in a society in which individuals are as free as possible from central direction by the state. And insofar as most of the policies demanded by today’s “diversity” mongers are adopted, this true diversity is diminished.

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Don Boudreaux
He is a professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Previously, he was president of the Foundation for Economic Education.

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