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Thursday, March 14, 2013


Comments on Hayek and equality

Hayek promotes governmental law based on equality. Discussed in Law, Legislation, and Liberty Hayek defines liberty as the rule that constrains everyone in the same way. No single person should attain a specific advantage over another in society.
In Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville states that citizens of democratic societies prefer equality, even at the expense of their freedom. Although most don’t realize they are facing a tradeoff that balances liberty and equality, Tocqueville realized this more than two hundred years ago. Liberty and equality are inversely proportional to one another he believes. Tocqueville says that when a society is founded on liberty, equality can only be imposed on society at the expense of freedom. Because equality is rooted in law, attempts to undermine it are difficult and its material benefits are more immediate and tangible. However, the benefits of freedom are less noticeable and take longer to effect society. Americans further favor equality because of a revolution to secure its presence. Because Americans believe that all forms of prosperity should be within an equal reach for all, they favor equality. When a society requires more central authority to promote equality, they in turn lose their freedom, which is the situation we currently find ourselves in. Because society requires equality to be protected by the government at the expense of freedom, the two concepts are at odds with each other.

Is "equality in outcome" different from "equality before the law?"

Does Hayek's discussion of liberty and law mean that equality before the law is a concept of "equality" that is consistent with liberty? Or, perhaps, we should see that liberty and equality before the law are identical?

Is "equality in result" feasible?
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