Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friedrich Hayek Took Government Benefits

Oh, this is beautiful. From Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism:

Mark Ames, who has been doggedly on the trail of the Koch brothers, found a delicious failure to live up to his oft-repeated standard of conduct by a god in the libertarian pantheon, Friedrich Hayek. And this fall from grace was encouraged one of the chief promoters of extreme right wing ideas in the US, Charles Koch.


On August 10, 1973, Koch wrote a letter appealing to Hayek to accept a shorter stay at the IHS, hard-selling Hayek on Social Security’s retirement benefits, which Koch encouraged Hayek to draw on even outside America.

This should put Hayek in some sort of libertarian circle of hell, along with Ayn Rand, who took Medicare and Social Security payments when she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

If Hayek didn't save enough money to pay for his own medical care, why didn't richer-than-God Koch pay for it instead of helping Hayek sponge off the taxpayer?

They took the government benefits because they needed them, just as people need them today. They could have refused out of principle; the writer Isabel Paterson, a friend of Rand, did just that. But it's a lot easier to tell others to give up something they need than to do it yourself, and people are very good at making up excuses for why everyone else must sacrifice but they cannot.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Society owes them these benefits for the nobility of their ideas about self-sufficiency (for others).

Susan of Texas said...

"I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine, except when I am old and poor and sick."

Batocchio said...

I've got that post linked for tomorrow, actually. The comments are hilarious. The thread reminds me of this one for Instaputz' post on Rand's hypocrisy over Medicare. In both cases, libertarians twist themselves into pretzels (well, more than usual) trying to claim that, somehow, Rand and Hayek were not hypocrites. (It seems roughly half of libertarian arguments on the web entail claiming that some clearly bad idea is actually brilliant, but the critics just can't understand it.)

On a related note, over at Unqualified Offerings, Jim Henley has a candid post (and an interesting thread) about abandoning libertarianism. (He was never one of the nutcase ones, but his break is still intriguing to read.)

aimai said...

yes, my jaw dislocated and fell through the floor and is now being used as an ashtray in a small boite in China. I don't think its coming back.


Anonymous said...

Randians don't believe in the categorical imperative. It's OK for them to take charity or government assistance while simultaneously calling for the end of charity or government assistance, b/c they don't believe that the maxim underlying one's actions needs to be one that can be universalized. Hayek and Rand could take SS/Medicare b/c taking them was of benefit to themselves, while trying to deny them to others, which was also of benefit to themselves. Both actions benefited Hayek/Rand, therefore both are permissible under Randian thinking; it's just that both can't be universalized. In other words, different laws for different people.

I think the reasoning is insane, myself; I only wish to point out that the idea that "there is no defense" for this hypocrisy is wrong--there is "a defense," i.e., reject the categorical imperative (that this leads to arguments for the permissibility or desirability of, say, murder is a minor detail for Randians.) The two sides exist in entirely separate, hermetically sealed systems of morality.