|Linz writes: |
Diabolical: You really are an EFT. If you believe Hayek didn't mean it, didn't write it, or was senile, effing say so. If you think he meant it, state your opinion of it. I take your attempt to excuse him indicates that you know it's indefensible.
Linz, all I did was raise the issue that Ebenstein raises: The evidence is persuasive (but the jury is still out) that Hayek may not have written quite a bit of The Fatal Conceit. I have no way of knowing how much or how little he authored without seeing the actual evidence. And that is pretty much what Ebenstein calls for: A new scholarly edition of The Fatal Conceit, which would publish Hayek's book as he intended it, and separate out any material that may have been authored by his editor W.W. Bartley or his editor's assistant, my old colleague, Jeffrey Freidman (who edits Critical Review). So how can I possibly give you a definitive answer without actually seeing evidence?
What I did suggest in my post on this thread, however, was that even if it is proven that this was not "Hayek's written work in the strict sense" (that is, that Hayek didn't write all of it), clearly "the ideas remain 'Hayekian.'" (Though it's quite a separate issue just how "consistent" the editors' material is with Hayek's own work: I still think it's broadly Hayekian, but I'm sure that there would---and should---be a debate over the authenticity of the editors' applications of Hayek's views.)
So where is this an attempt to excuse Hayek?
My own books take Hayek to task on a number of very serious issues, including his view of ethics. But where you and I differ on Hayek is where you and I differ on most things: I approach Hayek with a scalpel, separating out that which I find indefensible, but still preserving that which I think valuable. You use a sledgehammer. (Well, you're not consistent in this: Because clearly you do use a scalpel with regard to those views of Rand's that you find indefensible. The key difference, however, is that you accept the essentials of Rand's philosophy---an acceptance I share with you.)
I submit, however, that we should thank our lucky stars that people like Hayek were around to advance, for example, the Austrian theory of the business cycle, which has provided us with a strong dose of intellectual ammunition in the battle against statism. His insights into the relationships of politics and culture are extremely important; his insights into the "tacit" dimensions of knowledge (so crucial to the debate over socialist economic calculation) and unintended consequences are indispensable. But still, like you, I'd "junk" quite a bit of his work.
But, as I suggest above, I'd approach Ayn Rand and every other thinker the same way. What was the purpose of writing Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation, if not to separate the wheat from the chaff concerning Rand's views of homosexuality and its place in the wider framework of Objectivism? I have been a consistent advocate of "hijacking" the insights of others, and integrating those insights into something different, as you know. I'm not an advocate of "changing" the nature of philosophies or philosophers. I believe in recognizing every thinker for what he or she is, and taking that which is valuable from each. "God said: Take what you want and pay for it," is the old Spanish proverb the Objectivists were fond of quoting. And that's exactly what I do. I take what I want from various approaches, and I pay for it: By taking full responsibility for my own integrations, and refusing to lay that responsibility at the feet of the thinkers from whom I've taken and learned.
As I said in that first "Hijacking" article with regard to Objectivism and the issue of Rand's attitude toward "homosexuality" (which I junked, and which some people still maintain is fully a part of "Objectivism"):
I’m adhering to the old Spanish proverb that says: "Take what you want, and pay for it." I’m taking what I want from Rand’s legacy, and paying for it—by assuming responsibility for my own interpretations and applications. Call me a Randian or a post-Randian or a neo-Objectivist or an advocate of Objectivism 2.0, or even the founder of Sciabarra-ism. But don’t call me an Objectivist. I agree with Rand’s core principles. But I have never argued that my own innovations (on subjects like dialectics or homosexuality) are part of "Objectivism" as Rand ... defines it. Yes, I do believe that my own viewpoint is fully consistent with Objectivism. And on the subject of dialectics, for example, I’ve even argued that Rand herself was a dialectician as I’ve defined it. But I would never argue that Rand embraced "dialectics" as such, explicitly and by that name. Ultimately, I believe that I’m carrying on Rand’s legacy in many substantive ways and the burden is on me to prove it.
What I’ve stated here is fairly straightforward and self-evident, for this is all in the nature of intellectual development. An innovator puts forth a doctrine. Over time, that doctrine is adapted, interpreted, and applied to various issues and experiences of which the innovator never could have dreamed. Some of the approaches will resonate with us; others won’t.
And this is precisely what I've done with Hayek, Mises, and Rothbard as well.
(Edited by sciabarra on 2/19, 7:54am)