The De Benoist conservative (?) critique of Hayek

Here is the concluding bit:

Hayek’s efforts differ from classical liberalism because of his attempt to re-ground the doctrine at the highest possible level without recourse to the fiction of the social contract and by attempting to avoid the critiques usually made of rationalism, utilitarianism, the postulate of a general equilibrium or of pure and perfect competition founded on the transparency of information. In order to do this, Hayek is forced to raise the stakes and to turn the market into a global concept necessary because of its totalizing character. The result is a new utopia, predicated on as many paralogisms and contradictions. Actually, as Caille put it, were it not for “the welfare state’s failure to achieve social peace, the market order would have been swept away a long time ago.” A society based on Hayek’s principles would explode in a short time. Furthermore, its institution can only be the product of a pure “constructivism” and would undoubtedly require a dictatorial state. As Albert O. Hirschman writes, “this allegedly idyllic privatized citizenship, which only pays attention to its economic interests and indirectly serves the public interest without ever playing a direct role — all of this can only be achieved within nightmarish political conditions.”[56] That today “national thought” is being reinvigorated by this type of theory says a lot about the collapse of this thought.

The full essay is here, and for the pointer I thank Bill.

Just yesterday on my doorstep I received the book The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Depression, by Angus Burgin, which offers a lengthy contrast between Hayek and Friedman, among other matters.  It looks interesting: “Postwar conservative thought was more dynamic and cosmopolitan than has previously been understood.”


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