Who doesn’t want equality?

Written by Erika Morris on October 27th, 2009

“[W]hat the spontaneous order of society provides for us is more important for everyone, and therefore for the general welfare, than most of the particular services which the organization of government can provide, excepting only the security provided by the enforcement of the rules of just conduct” (pp. 132-133).

I really enjoyed Hayek’s views on made orders (taxis) versus natural orders (kosmos). I can see that society is a naturally organized structure. There are too many customs, people, ideas, and interactions within any given society for it to be managed by an ordered power. The market system operates in much of the same way. Because it is a natural and spontaneous order it naturally provides the best for the most, which is also (in many, but not all cases) the most fair. Of course, along with the majority of “winners” there will be also “losers” as a result of this system. There equality in a natural system, we are all playing the same game by the same rules. If this natural force is disrupted, it is no longer the natural order (working for the best for the most) that creates the winners and losers, but “authority is to decide who is to be hurt.” (63) Is it equal for an outside entity to decides who gets and who doesn’t?

Now, of course, there are many that take objection to that argument. Why can’t we all be winners? It is interesting that Hayek makes the connection between a perceived equality and liberty. When the general populace begins to perceive a form of equality that allows government to divide and distribute resources we begin to give up many personal liberties, many times without even noticing. These types of legislation are deemed as for “the general good.” Little by little, as our liberties are being taken away, we arrive at the destination described by Hayek, where there are no further liberties to be taken away. I do not think this is the “big bad government” taking away our liberties willy-nilly. I think a majority of people have this perception because who doesn’t want equality? But there are ways to do so (some say that are better than this way) other than allowing this “authority” to have that power.

 

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