[i]Friedrich von Hayek, who was, along with von Mises, one of the patron saints of modern libertarianism, was as infatuated with the Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet as von Mises was with Mussolini
The dread of democracy by libertarians and classical liberals is justified. Libertarianism really is incompatible with democracy. Most libertarians have made it clear which of the two they prefer. The only question that remains to be settled is why anyone should pay attention to libertarians.[/i]
"My thesis is that Hayek's greater prominence has little if anything to do with his economics. There is little difference in Mises's and Hayek's economics. Indeed, most economic ideas associated with Hayek were originated by Mises, and this fact alone would make Mises rank far above Hayek as an economist. But most of today's professed Hayekians are not trained economists. Few have actually read the books that are responsible for Hayek's initial fame as an economist, i.e., his Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle and his Prices and Production. And I venture the guess that there exist no more than 10 people alive today who have studied, from cover to cover, his Pure Theory of Capital.
Rather, what explains Hayek's greater prominence is Hayek's work, mostly in the second half of his professional life, in the field of political philosophy â?? and here, in this field, the difference between Hayek and Mises is striking indeed.
My thesis is essentially the same one also advanced by my friend Ralph Raico: Hayek is not a classical liberal at all, or a "Radikalliberaler" as the NZZ, as usual clueless, has just recently referred to him. Hayek is actually a moderate social democrat, and since we live in the age of social democracy, this makes him a "respectable" and "responsible" scholar. Hayek, as you may recall, dedicated his Road to Serfdom to "the socialists in all parties." And the socialists in all parties now pay him back in using Hayek to present themselves as "liberals.""
I don't share your sentiments. If a group of people becomes large enough they will organise some of sort of governing body made up of a selected few.
The majority is comfortable defering responsability to these selected few to make decisions for them as long as they have [the illusion of ] a say in the decision making process.
Looking back through history I don't see much evidence to the contrary. It's true that, eventually, the selected few will abuse their position and the majority revolts against them, but whether libertarianism is immune to that or not remains to be seen.
In no time in history did the poor benefit more than in 18th and 19th century Britain and America.
Their purchasing power went up by 1900%.
There were charities all over the place, "friendship" societies that were organized by trade had doctors on a retainer you could go to if you were sick and the crime rates were roughly 2-4 % of what they were now.
You dont like their values, however their values enabled them to take care of their fellow man without government with less technology and wealth that we have now at our disposal.
Actually, they side with fascists and authoritarians more often than not, but not because of their political ideology, but because of their sociological ethos.
Many libertarians live under the strange delusion that they would do well, or better, in a world ruled by competition alone. They think they are somehow "stronger" than their fellow man. Hence, their elitism, their hatred for "the mass" and their fear of "the crowd". And their preference for dictatorship over democracy.
Dictators have at least one virtue : they keep the stupid herd in place.
Keep dreaming orion. If child labor, widespread disease and slum housing, corruption and rampant crime, no healthcare or education for the poor is your idea of a better society then, again, I hope you never get your wish.
And yet in the southern states via minimum property qualifications for male suffrage the cotton barons ensured that less than 10% of white men actually had the right to vote. Thank heavens for Lincoln eh?
Yet that society was objectively better than all the others that had come before it and that can be laid entirely at the feet of libertarianism. You can try to paint up a picture of the industrial revolution as having been a harsh and cruel time, but you'd simply be wrong. It was one of the biggest flowerings of human society ever. It raised the general standard of living beyond belief and allowed a much greater number of people to thrive than any social order that had ever come before. Western civilization was built on the principles of libertarianism and it will fall if it continues to stray ever farther from the values that gave rise to it.
As for your question about libertarianism being compatible with human nature; it's the only system compatible with human nature. It's the only system that manages to harmonize and resolve all conflicts of interests while retaining human dignity and freedom. Property rights lie at the very foundation of civilization and they are the bedrock of libertarian theory. Without them, we never would have advanced beyond subsistence farming.