Values File

Because no one can know the relative importance of

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Unformatted text preview: stances encountered within their local environments. Such knowledge emerges only if persons are permitted to pursue self-chosen objectives. Individual freedom is best: imposing a common good inhibits experiments and discovery Linda C. Raeder, doctoral candidate political theory at Catholic University of America, THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Spring 1998, p. 519-35 For Hayek, the "best" concrete pattern arises from the most comprehensive utilization of all the knowledge of particular conditions dispersed throughout a society, knowledge unavailable as a whole to anyone. According to Hayek, abstract liberal rules prevailed precisely because they serve to bypass both the limits of the human mind and the need to reach consensus on concrete goals before taking action. By ignoring these epistemological considerations, one misunderstands the "whole rationale" (Hayek 1976, 9) of a liberal society, that is, a free society in which persons may choose the ends they will pursue. Hayek's fundamental objection to any conception of the common good that seeks to employ the power of government to achieve particular concrete goals is that any such scheme must inhibit the generation and employment of knowledge, especially the knowledge of concrete circumstances known only and perhaps only tacitly to the countless individuals who compose a society of any degree of complexity. If the common good entails the effective functioning of the overall order and is meant to foster the long- term well-being of every person and the preservation and growth of civilization, then, Hayek argues, any scheme that inhibits the utilization of such knowledge cannot be in the general interest. SLHS Value File The common good and a peaceful society rest upon individual freedom Linda C. Raeder, doctoral candidate political theory at Catholic University of America, THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Spring 1998, p. 519-35 I conclude by drawing attention to the relationship between the common good as Hayek conceives it and that "currently most neglected" (Kukathas 1989, 222) value in political philosophy--peace. One cannot exaggerate the...
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