Hayek and the ‘rule of law’

Over at The Economist, Will Wilkinson takes issue with the Times piece DougJ linked to yesterday on Glenn Beck and the Tea Parties. The quotation in question:

Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, alluded to “The Road to Serfdom” in introducing his economic “Roadmap for America’s Future,” which many other Republicans have embraced. Ron Johnson, who entered politics through a Tea Party meeting and is now the Republican nominee for Senate in Wisconsin, asserted that the $20 billion escrow fund that the Obama administration forced BP to set up to pay damages from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill circumvented “the rule of law,” Hayek’s term for the unwritten code that prohibits the government from interfering with the pursuit of “personal ends and desires.”

Wilkinson writes:

It’s the last sentence that has me in stitches. Have you heard of this peculiar thing some call “the rule of law”? To be fair, Mr Hayek did eventually develop a distinctive conception of the rule of law, but it’s not that distinctive, and the idea of “an unwritten code” certainly isn’t part of it. Mr Hayek’s late-period thought on cultural evolution did emphasise the heavy reliance of successful societies on unwritten and often inarticulable norms of behaviour, and our culture’s will to uphold the ideals of the rule of law flows in large part from our unwrittern cultural endowment,  but the idea of an unwritten code is pretty much the opposite of what Hayek had in mind when it came to the rule of law.

Perhaps Ms Zernike missed the chapter titled “Planning and the Rule of Law” as she read “The Road to Serfdom” in preparation for this article. There, Hayek draws out the difference between “a free country” and “a country under arbitrary government”. A country counts as free only if its government is bound by the rule of law, which, according to Hayek, “means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand”. Typically, these rules, once fixed, are written down and then published through official state organs. The idea is that politically-determined rules need to be relatively fixed and publicly known in order to create a stable and certain framework in which individual planning and complex social coordination can flourish. The goal of replacing arbitrary government with the rule of law implies for Hayek, among other things, that executive discretion ought to be reduced “as much as possible”.

Hayek is used and abused by partisans on the left and the right these days, his writing and ideas made into caricatures by both groups. On the left, he’s become a cartoon villain – a criminal mastermind in league with Ayn Rand and the Joker. On the right he’s been almost deified, in the way many of the Founding Fathers have been made more than mere mortals. The fact of the matter is, Hayek was writing for a different time, from a much different perspective than we have now, and had far more nuanced views about government and free markets than many in the current debate give him credit for, making much of the discussion of the man’s ideas rather silly.

Here’s more Wilkinson:

I should add that the rule of law, as Hayek understands it, does not, as Ms Zernike writes, prohibit government from interfering with the pursuit of personal ends and desires. The idea certainly is to maximise the chance that individuals and groups will be able to achieve their goals, but this requires some constraints on the way goals are pursued. For Hayek, the rule of law means that these constraining rules must not play favourites, but rather must embody ideals of impartiality, generality, and equality before the law. Hayek’s proposal for a generality or non-discrimination amendment to the constitution (defended here by James Buchanan) nicely illustrates what he took to be the practical upshot of his ideal of the rule of law. 

Of course, none of this is to say that Hayek’s new tea-party fans generally care much or at all about his conception of the rule of law. If only! Mostly they have fixed on the least impressive part in all of Hayek’s impressive oeuvre. In the age of Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini, it was profoundly wise to vigilantly stand guard against any possible slide into collectivist totalitarianism. But now, almost 70 years later, it is abundantly clear that the prevailing sort of liberal-democratic welfare state has no general tendency toward tyranny.

The New York Times was unforgivably lazy in its interpretation of Hayek, but that’s no surprise. These days, from the Gray Lady to the Tea Party, Hayek is doomed to be misunderstood, to be used as just another weapon in our lazy political discourse. Such is the price of fame, I suppose. Or infamy, depending on how you look at it.

P.S. Tyler Cowen recently reread The Road to Serfdom. His thoughts:

1. It was more boring and less analytic on matters of public choice than I had been expecting.

2. Although some of Hayek’s major predictions have been proven wrong, they are more defensible than I had been expecting.

3. The most important sentence in the book is “This book, written in my spare time from 1940 to 1943…”  In those years, how many decent democracies were in the world?  How clear was it that the Western powers, even if they won the war, would dismantle wartime economic planning?  How many other peoples’ predictions from those years have panned out?  At that time, Hayek’s worries were perfectly justified.

4. If current trends do turn out very badly, this is not the best guide for understanding exactly why.

It’s fine to downgrade the book, relative to some of the claims made on its behalf, but the book doesn’t give us reason to downgrade Hayek.






65 replies
  1. 1
    Culture of Truth says:

    Basically, he’s the thinking man’s Hitler.

  2. 2
    Poopyman says:

    @Culture of Truth:
    A Godwin in 1! Woo hoo!

  3. 3
    uloborus says:

    Thank goodness. I was horrified by the idea that the Tea Jerkers had their own special definition of an important phrase used frequently by everyone (IE, ‘rule of law’). Now I know that they just don’t understand the actual definition. It falls neatly into other terms like ‘socialism’ and ‘fiscal conservatism’ that they don’t understand.

  4. 4
    Culture of Truth says:

    In the sense that he can be a catch-all insult (or compliment) regardless of whether it applies

  5. 5
    New Yorker says:

    So teabaggers understand the words of Hayek about as well as they understand the words of Jesus? Why am I not surprised….

  6. 6
    Menzies says:

    My problem with most of these really polarizing figures isn’t with their own writings. I had the fortune to read, among others, Niccolo Machiavelli, Adam Smith, and Nietzsche in high school, and while I’m not particularly sold on any of them, I also began to see that they were far more nuanced than their supporters or their detractors gave them credit for being.

    Hayek himself, though, has a particularly fucking annoying fan club. The Austrian School of economics is probably responsible for 5 percent of my headaches.

  7. 7
    Culture of Truth says:

    I too recently re-read The Road to Serfdom. I was disappointed as Kelly Slater was not mentioned once. What’s up with that?

  8. 8
    Poopyman says:

    I never read Hayek, nor had to study him, so I can’t comment directly on his ideas. However, the quotes from Tyler Cowen ring true for me, since it strikes me as inevitable that people will try to apply the ideas of long ago to today’s problems and will ignore the context in which they were formed. I might say the same thing about Ayn Rand, but I’m thinking that her ideas are bullshit in any era.

  9. 9
    BR says:

    OT: Obama is vetoing the weird notarization bill:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog.....ng-hr-3808

    He definitely sold us out.

  10. 10
    chrismealy says:

    Let’s smear Hayek as a red using his own words:

    We need only turn to the problems which arise in connection with land, particularly with regard to urban land in modern large towns, in order to realize that a conception of property which is based on the assumption that the use of a particular item of property affects only the interests of its owner breaks down. There can be no doubt that a good many, at least, of the problems with which the modern town planner is concerned are genuine problems with which governments or local authorities are bound to concern themselves. Unless we can provide some guidance in fields like this about what are legitimate or necessary government activities and what are its limits, we must not complain if our views are not taken seriously when we oppose other kinds of less justified “planning.”

    Really though, who gives a shit what one dead guy thinks? It’s like people work backwards: 1) Hayek was a genius, therefore 2) whatever he wrote is important. Well, maybe he wasn’t that smart, and maybe we don’t need to argue over what he wrote 70 years ago.

  11. 11
    Poopyman says:

    @Menzies: I’m pretty sure that the Austrian school is responsible for more than 5% of my disappeared 401k money.

  12. 12
    Culture of Truth says:

    Times like these call for a Marshall McLuhan in Annie Hall moment. “You know nothing of me or my work.”

  13. 13
    chrismealy says:

    Let’s smear Hayek as a red using his own words:

    We need only turn to the problems which arise in connection with land, particularly with regard to urban land in modern large towns, in order to realize that a conception of property which is based on the assumption that the use of a particular item of property affects only the interests of its owner breaks down. There can be no doubt that a good many, at least, of the problems with which the modern town planner is concerned are genuine problems with which governments or local authorities are bound to concern themselves. Unless we can provide some guidance in fields like this about what are legitimate or necessary government activities and what are its limits, we must not complain if our views are not taken seriously when we oppose other kinds of less justified “planning.”

    Really though, who gives a shit what one dead guy thinks? It’s like people work backwards: 1) Hayek was a genius, therefore 2) whatever he wrote is important. Well, maybe he wasn’t that smart, and maybe we don’t need to argue over what he wrote 70 years ago.

  14. 14
    t jasper parnell says:

    According to this the reporter reads as if she was quoting Johnson and the reporter has used the phrase with botching it in the past. The full quote runs:

    Ron Johnson, who entered politics through a Tea Party meeting and is now the Republican nominee for Senate in Wisconsin, asserted that the $20 billion escrow fund that the Obama administration forced BP to set up to pay damages from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill circumvented “the rule of law,” Hayek’s term for the unwritten code that prohibits the government from interfering with the pursuit of “personal ends and desires.”

    The sole speaker in the full sentence seems to be Johnson, no?

  15. 15
    geg6 says:

    @BR:

    I saw that. Yup, he always does sell us out, doesn’t he?

    But WTF is with Nancy Smash letting this piece of shit through?

  16. 16
    Culture of Truth says:

    Personally, I’d rather run a government based on adulation of Selma Hayek.

  17. 17

    The most important sentence in the book is “This book, written in my spare time from 1940 to 1943…”

    I think the key part of that phrase is not the dates it was written during, but that it was written in his spare time.

  18. 18
    WereBear says:

    @Poopyman: I might say the same thing about Ayn Rand, but I’m thinking that her ideas are bullshit in any era.

    True, but when you figure she lived through the Russian Revolution, suffered because of it, and saw people killed… had a promising intellectual career hamstrung with political walls… cut herself off from her family to prevent them from getting in trouble when she moved to the US…

    Her emotional problems become starkly clear.

  19. 19
    Poopyman says:

    @BR:

    He definitely sold us out.

    Good news for John McCain!

    There would have been some serious blowback if he had signed it, given what has been emerging about the contents. I won’t be surprised if the Dems who voted for it take a hit next month. That’s a real great move to motivate the base, innit?

  20. 20
    Culture of Truth says:

    “This book, written in my spare time from 1940 to 1943…”

    So Hayek was a blogger. That makes so much sense.

  21. 21
    geg6 says:

    @WereBear:

    Millions of other people went through that and worse. I can’t think of many others, only a handful, who have wreaked more destruction than this stupid bitch did.

  22. 22
    Poopyman says:

    @WereBear:

    … Her emotional problems become starkly clear.

    Starkly clear to you, perhaps, but obviously not to those Tea Partiers/Republicans who still worship her philosophy.

    Or is that “philosophy”?

  23. 23
    Mike G says:

    Teatards continue their tradition of misunderstanding, exploiting, manipulating and distorting historical writings, from Hayek to Ayn Rand, the Bible and the US Consitution.

    They need to face the fact that ‘reading’ for comprehension rather than propaganda absorbtion, is pretty much beyond their feeble capabilities.

    What a surprise from a fetid culture that hates books, hates intellectuals and learning, embraces chronic hypocrisy and blind faith in authority, and exalts ignorance and stupidity as virtues.

  24. 24

    @E.D. Kain

    The New York Times was unforgivably lazy in its interpretation of Hayek, but that’s no surprise.

    The New York Times is unforgivably lazy in its interpretation of just about anything.

  25. 25
    WereBear says:

    @Poopyman: Well, then the attraction between them becomes evident, doesn’t it?

    They are both mentally rigid, suspicious and paranoid, selfish and proud of it, and utterly devoid of psychological insight or even the urge towards self-examination.

    Made for each other.

  26. 26
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:

    I think it’s a mistake to think about what Hayek actually wrote. Why is that relevant to what wingers say in his name?

  27. 27
    Sentient Puddle says:

    I’m glad to see that the part of the quote that made me spit my drink was what was dissected. I mean Jesus, if you have an unwritten code of law, I’m pretty sure you’re doing it wrong.

    @t jasper parnell: Good question. But seeing we’re talking about Ron Johnson here, it really wouldn’t surprise me if this is the thing he actually asserted.

  28. 28
    Guster says:

    I understand he’s against Campbell’s soup.

  29. 29
    PeakVT says:

    Cowen’s restaurant reviews are better than his book reviews.

  30. 30
    b-psycho says:

    @BR: I see his communications director has a sense of humor:

    The authors of this bill no doubt had the best intentions in mind when trying to remove impediments to interstate commerce.

    Uh, no they didn’t. They never do, and never will.

  31. 31
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Typically, these rules, once fixed, are written down and then published through official state organs.

    This is an American affectation, based on fetish-worshipping of the written US Constitution. Anyone familiar with the British system would know better, and one of the great secrets of our system here in the US is the extent to which we too have an informal, unwritten constitution based on tradition, which supplements the formal written document.

    In fact one of the signature methods whereby Bush/Cheney seized and held power in DC far out of proportion to their actual mandate and their enumerated powers in the written constitution was by deliberately ignoring and subverting the informal constitutional rules governing our sytem (e.g. the USA attorneys scandal). John Rogers summed it up well in his post L33t Justice. Since 2006 the GOP has turned the same trick in the Senate, using the filibuster in ways dramatically out of line with past precedent.

    So yes, there is an informal and unwritten rule of law, and fucking with it is the royal road to power, if you are willing to take that route and can get away with it. It helps to have friends and allies dominating the news media.

  32. 32

    @E.D. Kain

    On the left, he’s become a cartoon villain – a criminal mastermind in league with Ayn Rand and the Joker.

    That would be an awesome team up. And you could have a subplot where Ayn Rand was trying to seduce Bruce Wayne because as a billionaire he represented the highest ideals of capitalism. Of course she opposes the Batman because he doesn’t charge for his crime fighting services and thus is an altruist and anti-life.

    I’m thinking that Grant Morrison should write the series, he’s crazy enough to do it. It’s a pity though that Marshall Rogers died in 2007, he would have been the perfect artist for it.

  33. 33
    Suck It Up! says:

    @BR:

    oh, its only a pocket veto. Once the election is over he’ll sell us out for sure.

    hmph….think anyone bashing him from last night’s thread will say anything about this?

  34. 34
    Paris says:

    A better example where the rule of law was circumvented is the fact that Dick Cheney is a free man. Granted, he no longer has a heart beat. You shouldn’t be walking around without a beating heart. I prayed, God acted, but stupid man and his technologies are not cooperating.

  35. 35
    Punchy says:

    OT:

    Kiss Blowjob Jesus goodbye. That didn’t take long. Glad to know Christians fundys are fundementally no diff than Muslim fundys.

  36. 36
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    I was wondering more just WTF congressional Democrats were thinking when they passed a law that had the appearance of expediting foreclosures. In the long run, vetoing the bill probably won’t save anyone’s home. In the short run, Passing the Skid Greasing Act of 2010 smacks of insanity.

  37. 37

    @Sentient Puddle:

    I’m glad to see that the part of the quote that made me spit my drink was what was dissected. I mean Jesus, if you have an unwritten code of law, I’m pretty sure you’re doing it wrong.

    Yeah, didn’t our second president once say something about “…a government of laws, and not of men”? Oh wait, he wasn’t Ronald Reagan, so it didn’t count.

  38. 38
    tim serbo says:

    @Poopyman: that’s going to be a long list, Poopyman. in theory, at least, every Dem voted for this devious POS. HR 3808 cleared the House by voice vote, and no record of individual votes was kept. it cleared the Senate by unanimous consent.

  39. 39
    Chyron HR says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    hmph….think anyone bashing him from last night’s thread will say anything about this?

    Of course. So far I think the most common explanation is that he forced Congress (Republicans included) to pass it so that he could look good by vetoing it. You know, the kind of 11-dimensional chess that Real Progressives don’t believe in.

  40. 40
    uloborus says:

    @chrismealy:
    This also goes back to their Christian heritage. These days it’s subtle and a lot of people don’t realize it, but it’s one of the bedrock assumptions of Catholic thinking taken from Plato (and from previous Greek culture through him). It’s the idea of a ‘golden age’. There is nothing knew to be learned. The best way to justify your arguments is to reference somebody who’s been dead for ages. Ancient wisdom is better wisdom.

  41. 41
    Stillwater says:

    I think it’s a mistake to think about what Hayek actually wrote. Why is that relevant to what wingers say in his name?

    Damn straight. When will the myth that you can actually reason with wingers conservatives finally die?

    EDK, you’ve got to elevate your game to the next level and embrace the uncomfortable truth that conservative thought is impervious to countervailing evidence and argument. End. Of. Story.

  42. 42
    Poopyman says:

    @Punchy:

    Glad to know Christians fundys are fundementally no diff than Muslim fundys.

    No, but the perp was promptly arrested.

    Rule of Law, bitches!

  43. 43
    J says:

    @DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.: I realize that arguing with the tea party cretins, in the sense of making a case, or assembling reasons by which they should be moved to accept a conclusion, is a lost cause, but the thought ‘even the figure you hold up as a hero thinks that there is an important and legitimate role for the state and (if I’ve got it right) thinks the state should ensure minimum levels of welfare and even act to secure the occasional public good in a way you people regard as anathema, so what are your reasons for thinking otherwise?’ *should* have some force for them. Of course they are only interested in lending their ignorant prejudices an air of intellectual respectability.

  44. 44
    Jon H says:

    @WereBear: “cut herself off from her family to prevent them from getting in trouble when she moved to the US…”

    She probably cut them off so they couldn’t bug her for help.

  45. 45
    Culture of Truth says:

    To be fair last week the NYT referred to Socrates as “some Greek weirdo” and Nieztsche as “a Swedish interior designer”

  46. 46
    daveNYC says:

    So teabaggers understand the words of Hayek about as well as they understand the words of Jesus? Why am I not surprised….

    Hey, they understand the constitution just fine!

  47. 47
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Stillwater:

    EDK, you’ve got to elevate your game to the next level and embrace the uncomfortable truth that conservative thought is impervious to countervailing evidence and argument. End. Of. Story.

    But, but, but, that would mean the end of bipartisanship!

  48. 48
    Martin says:

    @Mike G: Ayn Rand can be distorted? The only think I think it could be distorted into is sense.

  49. 49
    tim serbo says:

    @Chyron HR: BTW, some folks on last night’s thread were hatin’ on Reuters for what seemed to me were minor flaws in its story on HR 3808–omitting the number of the bill, for instance. ok, that was a significant omission, but some hardworking wretch there spotted the bill, reported out the backstory, got a least some idea of the ramifications of the bill’s becoming law, and informed the public. would Obama have signed the bill absent the outcry that followed the story’s publication? dunno, but i’m glad we didn’t have to find out.

    sounds to me like an excellent argument for a free, decently compensated, trained and skilled press. much as i love the blogosphere, citizen journalists were not going to get this story.

  50. 50
    Culture of Truth says:

    So now the teapartiers have us reading long old boring useless books just to rebut their stupid arguments when they themselves haven’t read them. Digby is right about one thing – fighting their insanity is exhausting and intentionally so.

  51. 51
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Stillwater:

    Damn straight. When will the myth that you can actually reason with wingers conservatives finally die?

    You don’t argue with wingers using facts and reason and stuff for the unpossible purpose of convincing them. You do it for the sake of any non-wingers in the audience who may still be confused or sitting on the fence. Do it for the lurkers, in other words.

  52. 52
    Poopyman says:

    @Culture of Truth:
    Yes, and the thing that pisses me off is that we’re always left reacting to their stupidity. It would be nice if the left would be proactive once in a while, but I’m not really going to root for an increase in liberal stupidity. Isn’t there another way we can be proactive? Help me out here.

  53. 53
    Karmakin says:

    @Dennis SGMM: I think what they were thinking is that they had to do SOMETHING just in case the entire mortgage system breaks down and results in a bunch of people having their mortgages thrown out.

    Which would cause havoc with the whole financial system, but more so, would piss a whole lot of people off who are upset that they still have to pay their mortgage.

  54. 54
    Barry says:

    @BR:
    “OT: Obama is vetoing the weird notarization bill:”

    Excellent – and another reason to abolish the US Senate.

  55. 55
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Most of what should be said has already been said.
    Well, except maybe this.

    Had the title of Hayek’s book been anything else than its actual easy to understand and stereotype “The Road to Serfdom”, nobody would be talking about it.

    Even Hayek’s friends and colleagues at the U. of Chic don’t refer to it (nor did Uncle Milty and company provide Hayek much to do once their Godfather showed up).

    Tempest in a 70 year old tea pot.
    “The Road to Serfdom” is irrelevant to everything except blogging tantrums and counter tantrums.

  56. 56
    Barry says:

    Going back to the subject of this thread, it just goes to show that even people like Will Wilkinson are, in the end, not worth much for analyzing anything in the real world.

    In the real world, a US president, even a Democratic president, does not push around an oil megacorp. If he’s reeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaally lucky he can get some laws through which inconvenience the megacorp.

    What happened here is the equivalent of some guy who’s been caught red-handed at a serious crime cooperating with the police/DA and pleading guilty to a lesser charge. BP screwed up badly enough to put the corporation (and more importantly to the upper management, the upper management itself) in jeapardy. Obama ‘suggested’ the escrow fund, and BP went along gladly.

    If that’s ‘Chicago politics’, then every plea-bargain is ‘gangster politics’.

  57. 57
    kth says:

    E.D., I’ve enjoyed your posts here and hope you will stick around. But really, I would have been surprised if a standard-issue glibertarian like Cowen had *not* found a way to praise the text, however qualified that praise was.

  58. 58
    Suck It Up! says:

    @tim serbo:

    would Obama have signed the bill absent the outcry that followed the story’s publication? dunno, but i’m glad we didn’t have to find out.

    Classic. And typical.

  59. 59
    Don K says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Well, he’s also talking about having publicly-available statutes so you can determine whether what you’re doing is illegal before you do it, and not be surprised by being arrested for violating something that was made up on the spot (yeah, I know U.S. cops engage in a fair amount of that as a harassment technique, and they’re upheld by the courts way too often) or after the fact (hence the prohibition of ex post facto laws).

    But you’re right that way too many in the U.S. treat the Constitution as though Madison, Hamilton, and the rest ascended to the top of Independence Hall where god handed them the stone tablets containing the sacred text.

  60. 60
    Comrade Luke says:

    My only observation is that the continued reverence for people from the past, be they the founding fathers or people like Hayek, Keynes or Reagan, often prevent us from moving forward.

    Maybe we should stop wondering what long-dead people would have done or what they mean and start doing things ourselves.

  61. 61
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:

    @J:

    I guess you’re right.

  62. 62
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @BR: Haha! I love the close:

    The authors of this bill no doubt had the best intentions in mind when trying to remove impediments to interstate commerce. We will work with them and other leaders in Congress to explore the best ways to achieve this goal going forward.

  63. 63
    Redwood Rhiadra says:

    @Don K:

    But you’re right that way too many in the U.S. treat the Constitution as though Madison, Hamilton, and the rest ascended to the top of Independence Hall where god handed them the stone tablets containing the sacred text.

    Which of course contained only the original, plus the Second and Tenth Amendments, the rest being added by Satan later.

  64. 64
    salvador dalai llama says:

    @WereBear:

    Well, that and the amphetamine abuse. Together, those account for most of it, I think.

    I’m still chuckling about the John Scalzi piece on Atlas Shrugged.

  65. 65
    anon says:

    Most of these comments rival the NYT in teh stoopid.

    “Basically, he’s the thinking man’s Hitler.”
    (Right, one of the 20th century’s most notable ANTI-fascist intellectuals is the thinking man’s Hitler!)

    “Now I know that they just don’t understand the actual definition.”
    (Did you read any of the criticism of the NYT article? Did you understand *who* it is that doesn’t understand the term? Hint: its the NYT)

    “people will try to apply the ideas of long ago to today’s problems”
    (70 years ago is “long ago”? What – critiques of economic planning are passe?)

    “Really though, who gives a shit what one dead guy thinks?”

    “Personally, I’d rather run a government based on adulation of Selma Hayek.”
    (It’s SALMA, not Selma!)

    “What a surprise from a fetid culture that hates books, hates intellectuals and learning, embraces chronic hypocrisy and blind faith in authority,”
    (This comment is on a topic related to a NYT article on the movement’s EMBRACE of literature, intellectuals, and self-education, as they protest authority. The win is strong in this one.)

    “Anyone familiar with the British system would know better,”
    (Britain writes is laws down too.)

    “So now the teapartiers have us reading long old boring useless books just to rebut their stupid arguments when they themselves haven’t read them.”
    (Did you read even the NYT article? Or this post? Where do they even *imply* they haven’t read them?)

    “I think it’s a mistake to think about what Hayek actually wrote.”
    (Bravo!)

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