“The true individualism which I shall try to defend began its modern development with John Locke, and particularly with Bernard Mandeville and David Hume, and achieved full stature for the first time in the work of Josiah Tucker, Adam Ferguson, and Adam Smith and in that of their great contemporary, Edmund Burke…” Friedrich von Hayek, ‘Individualism: True and False’ in Individualism and Economic Order, 1948
“The second and altogether different strand of thought, also known as individualism, is represented mainly by French and other Continental writers – a fact due, I believe, to the dominant role which Cartesian rationalism plays in its composition. The outstanding representatives of this tradition are the Encyclopedists, Rousseau, and the physiocrats; and for reasons we shall presently consider, this rationalistic individualism always tends to develop into the opposite of individualism, namely socialism or collectivism.” Hayek, ibid.,
“the fundamental attitude of true individualism is one of humility toward the processes by which mankind has achieved things which have not been designed or understood by any individual and are indeed greater than individual minds.” Hayek, ibid.,
“If the presumption of the modern mind, which will not respect anything that is not consciously controlled by individual reason, does not learn in time where to stop, we may, as Edmund Burke warned us, ‘be well assured that everything about us will dwindle by degrees, until at length our concerns are shrunk to the dimensions of our minds.” Hayek, ibid.,
Well, Dear Readers, I do not have to identify for you the particular form of ‘individualism’ promoted by President Barack Obama and his administration. The mindless chanting of ‘Yes, we can!’ by all his political groupies – the New Deadheads, perhaps they should be called – whereever he goes and whatever he speaks about, informs us fully on that particular matter. Now, it may have been the case that a population that endorsed the limits of Edmund Burke’s mind would not go very far wrong. But a population that accepts the limits of Barack Obama’s mind, or indeed the mind of any United States President since Thomas Jefferson? That is an altogether different matter.
Yet Obama’s limited mind has already impressed its constructivist will on one-sixth the United States economy; and promises far more to come, should the rest of his ill-thought-out policy agenda be enacted into law. Do we all want to become facsimiles of those New Deadheads who already unthinkingly worship at his shrine, and who throw down their individual liberties in return for a touch of his blessed hand?
‘No we do not’ , do I hear you reply?