"The [classical] liberal, of course,
does not deny that there are some superior people --
he is not an egalitarian --
but he denies that anyone has authority
to decide who these superior people are."
by:
Friedrich August von Hayek
(1899-1992), Nobel Laureate of Economic Sciences 1974
Source:
"Why I Am Not a Conservative," postcript to The Constitution of Liberty [1960] (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1972), p. 402
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Reader comments about this quote:
Touche'
 -- KS     
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    yes he has no authority to deide how superior people are. we are egalitarians. we are one thread one equal human. nothing can tell us we are something other than people we are all EQUAL
     -- bailey     
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     -- Anonymous      
     -- GG      
    I like this quote and it makes me want to be a classical liberal. Egalitarianism does not say that all people are equal in terms of abilities or other qualities such as physical or mental characteristics or in position of ones birth, or wealth only in ones rights. Those conservatives (snobs that they are) who do decide who is or who isn't superior I don't want to have anything to do with.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    If by 'classical', he meant today's contemporary liberal, I would have given it 5 stars. Today's liberals believe that the rulers are superior to We The People as evidenced by their support of an alien organic ethos with inherent right and supposing said ruler(s) has ability to make law to control his inferiors, instead of just legislating codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. that harmonize with natural law. By way of example: today's liberal supposes fiscal laws are mythical and he can continue in expanding debt with out consequence, and all sciences are inferior to his laws. If Hayek had meant 'classical', to mean as in the times of the founding of this nation I would have rated this quote with a resounding thumbs down. The founders were egalitarian liberals of a truest sense. The founding liberals attempted to establish a system to where all would be equal before the law with each and every, any and all of the family of Man, including those choosing to serve through representation, would be neither superior or inferior.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    The mechnism that now decides who these people are has a name....it's Fascism.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    For every one that can be or do something better than someone else that bested person has something else he can do better. No one has any ability that is wasted. It is all for the good as long as ego doesn't allow one to think his self is any better than others just because of his particular strengths. That is not treating your neighbor as you would have him treat you.
     -- Anon     
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    The classical liberal is the intelligentsia of America so beware liberals of the Roman's with their sword.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Mike, I'm a liberal, and from what I've read you clearly don't understand the modern liberal at all. Liberals do not believe their rulers are above the Constitution; in fact, we emphatically denounce ones (like George W. Bush) who do so. I have no idea what you mean by an "alien organic ethos with inherent right," though I do believe that rights are inherent. And I think everyone--except psychopaths and bigots, of course--believes that people should be treated equally before and be subject to the law. Finally, today's liberals do not suppose fiscal laws are mythical, and we would very much like to see our country out of debt. But in a receding economy, basic economic theory states that expansionary fiscal policy should be implemented. Now that the economic recession has stopped, maybe we can make our fiscal policy a little more restrictive. And yes, that will mean higher taxes to pay off past debt and eventually to finance new projects. Paying taxes is never fun, but taxes are essential to the preservation and advancement of society. The government/country cannot function without at least a minimal level of taxation. Observe: the country was failing under the Articles of Confederation, under which paying taxes was voluntary; even the Founding Fathers, who believed "A government is best that governs least" recognized that some taxes and federal regulation are essential. Now, factor in the changing attitudes of Americans up to present day; the majority of people in the US today, liberals and conservatives alike, want more social programs. It's just that not everyone, mainly non-liberals, wants to pay for the services they say they want. Others want to go it alone, pay for themselves and let everyone else do the same. But we can't simply cut all social programs (though responsible citizens realize that sometimes some cuts are necessary), because doing so would significantly decrease the quality of life for the lower class, into which many middle class people will also be forced, causing the income gap to increase (and rising income gaps are related to declining national conditions).
     -- O. Delusional Liberal     
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    I agree!
     -- classic lib, mn     
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    Where Virtue resides and Liberty abides,
    every man and woman is a Sovereign Individual, the dignity of whose humanity and individuality are naturally, necessarily, honored.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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    I agree. The 'classic' liberals were 'libertarian' in nature; today's liberals are 'statist' in nature.  The word 'equality' has different contexts to both.  What does today's liberal mean by 'equality?'  For the most part the Statist is a ruler that dictates what can and can't be done with the threat of force always present.  The classical liberal is not to be commanded  he commands himself and takes responsibility for it.  The classic liberals formed republican forms of government at all levels  county, state, and nation to protect the equal rights of all, not to engineer society, picking winners and losers, 'leveling the playing field' to junior varsity league.  The two mindsets couldn't be more different.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    O. Delusional Liberal, of what you wrote, I clearly understand the modern liberal. Liberals DO believe their rulers are above the Constitution (constitutional law / constitutionally related “laws of nature and of nature’s God) – Constitutional sovereigns believe their servants are to be limited by/to representing inalienable rights only. As an extremely terse understanding, I meant by an "alien organic ethos with inherent right," - modern liberals believe their carnal gods (unconstitutional government) have a right to force their national establishment of religion on all people. THUS, you / modern liberals do NOT believe rights are inherent to individual sovereigns. Your liberal concept of law – with its liberal defined exceptions (inalienable rights having no part thereof) – confuses law with justice in an unconstitutional atmosphere (in the liberal legal atmosphere of today, there is NO justice system available, only a legal system). Today's liberals DO suppose natural fiscal laws are mythical by their religious support of an unconstitutional fiat / counter-fiat atmosphere (in your statist theocracy and otherwise), their forced collection and expenditures of the carnal god’s statist theocracy’s tithes and obligatory illicit offerings, etc., etc., etc. Your statist theocracy theories and unnatural policies on fiscal law are restrictive, destructive and unconstitutional. Your / modern liberals’ half-truths and misdiagnosis of history (such as the 2nd plank of the communist manifesto being natural / constitutional law) are modern liberal fabrications not based in factor complete truth. Now, factoring in the changing attitudes of Americans up to present day; the majority of people in the US today, liberals and conservatives alike, want more social programs which is a blatant contradiction to your /modern liberals’ concept of liberals wanting to abide constitutional limitations. Today’s liberals and conservatives simply want more of their brand of a statist theocracy, not a constitutionally limited administration of inalienable rights. Your liberal word salad only goes to prove my original post.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Hi, Mike, I hope you like the new site features. Formatting of text is now possible.  It seems that your post is missing several word separators.  You may have pasted in the text and lost some formatting.  Let me know as this has only occurred with some of your posts.  There is a Reply feature for all posts, so you may reply directly.  I am still working out the occasional 'bugs.'  Cheers.
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
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    Now with the election of President Trump, many Conservatives find themselves aligned with " classical libertarianism " " going some where " rather than stuck in the mud. Deregulation, lower taxes, spurring growth and proporrus opportunity. All the while believing a safety net was/is possible, still assuring Individualism and free market capitalism. After many years of abuse, misery and suffering under " Nadiyb liberal democratic socialistic policy seeking the final overthrow our Republican form of Free government, opportunity through/by our Creator's natural course of events, cause and effect, afford the Righting of our Ship of State, breaking the siege, having been 150 years or so in the
    making. As for egalitarian, equality comes through liberty and freedom to WORK for yourself, obtain secured personal property unfettered by chains of oppression. Moral obligation to a wholesome family, hearth and home, at the forefront of the quest. Build the wall, drain the swamp, and yes, tariffs are needed for the making of Better neighbors. 
     -- Ronw13, Yachats OR     
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    I do like the new format. I did cut and paste because some of my first writing was getting lost. I'm trying to figure out how to post a cut and paste without losing some of the spacing and content. Thanks for all you do and have done over the years.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Thanks, Mike.  I'm looking into making your posts editable to correct spelling mistakes, etc.  it will require logging in to authenticate.  You can register above  it's only your username and email address with a password.  We are not trying to collect info, just provide authentication to posts and combat spammers, etc.  Your user name would be the same as usual: 'Mike, Norwalk'  Your email address is just for subscriptions, and will not be displayed or made available online. Please do make suggestions as to how we might improve the interface  I can make a 'button' that'll do most anything.  :-)  Cheers!
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
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