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Unformatted text preview: individual liberty depend on a thoroughgoing immersion in social reality. As one commentator put it, for Hayek, "individualism is a social theory" (Kukathas 1989, 216). In short, Hayek's defense of the liberal order meets the communitarian challenge on communitarian terms. Hayekian liberalism neither presupposes the existence of human "atoms," entails the destruction of human community, nor denies the existence of a transpersonal common good. In fact, the liberal Hayek is as concerned as the communitarians to revive a "politics of the common good." If Hayek is right, however--if individual liberty is both the product of a liberal society and the source of that society's continuing progressive evolution--then personal liberty and the pursuit of the common good are not only compatible but, in a sense, inseparable. The common good rests upon allowing millions of individuals liberty without conflict Linda C. Raeder, doctoral candidate political theory at Catholic University of America, THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Spring 1998, p. 519-35
Every society exhibits an orderly pattern of activities--otherwise, "none of us would be able to go about our affairs or satisfy our most elementary needs" (Evans-Pritchard 1951, 49). Hayek emphasizes that we pursue our aims within a comprehensive order of abstract social relations that most of us take more or less for granted. Although we may not be consciously aware of the existence of this "background order," the realization of all our plans depends on its smooth functioning. The order to which Hayekian theory refers manifests itself as the matching, or "coincidence," of plans and expectations among persons who are necessarily ignorant of most of the concrete circumstances prevailing throughout society and the concrete aims pursued by their (mostly unknown) fellows. Why do strangers who have no explicit knowledge of our concrete needs and wants provide the means we require to realize both our transito...
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