quinta-feira, 10 de março de 2011

A persistência no igualitarismo

aqui fiz referência ao artigo de Roger Scruton intitulado "Hayek and conservatism". Deixo agora a última secção deste, simplesmente demolidora quanto ao erro do igualitarismo:

«This same weakness infects Hayek’s response to socialism. As I remarked above, Hayek fails to account either for the passion among intellectuals for equality, or for the resulting success of socialists and their egalitarian successors in driving the liberal idea from the stage of politics. This passion for equality is not a new thing, and indeed pre-dates socialism by many centuries, finding its most influential expression in the writings of Rousseau. There is no consensus as to how equality might be achieved, what it would consist in if achieved, or why it is so desirable in the first place. But no argument against the cogency or viability of the idea has the faintest chance of being listened to or discussed by those who have fallen under its spell. Why is this? I shall conclude with a suggestion.

Hayek is right to distinguish the intellectual from the scholar, and to see the intellectual as striving for an influence that the true scholar may abhor. And in his introduction to Capitalism and the Historians he argues plausibly for the view that recent historians, like other intellectuals, have been animated by an anti-capitalist bias. This bias has caused them to misrepresent capitalism as a form of exploitation, and private profit as achieved always at the expense of the workforce that helped to produce it. Indeed, it seems to be characteristic of a certain kind of intellectual to perceive all economic activity as a zero-sum game. If someone gains, another loses. This zero-sum vision underpins Marx’s theory of surplus value, and crops up again and again in the socialist attacks on private enterprise, selective schools, inheritance, and just about anything else that creates a benefit that not everyone can enjoy. The idea that inequality (of reward, status, advantage, or whatever) might be in the interest of both parties, the better off and the worse off, is either not accepted, or seen as irrelevant to the charge against the capitalist order. It is to the credit of Rawls that he believes that inequality can be justified. Yet, according to the Difference Principle, the justification must show that inequality benefits the worse off. But why does inequality have to be justified? And why must the justification be framed in terms of the benefits brought to the underdog, and not in terms of those enjoyed by the dog on top of him? These questions suggest that the belief in equality is being built in to the arguments offered in support of it. Like a religious belief, it is being protected rather than questioned by the arguments adduced in its favor.

Hayek sees that the zero-sum vision is fired by an implacable negative energy. It is not the concrete vision of some real alternative that animates the socialist critic of the capitalist order. It is hostility toward the actual, and in particular toward those who enjoy advantages within it. Hence the belief in equality remains vague and undefined, except negatively. For it is essentially a weapon against the existing order – a way of undermining its claims to legitimacy, by discovering a victim for every form of success. The striving for equality is, in other words, based in ressentiment in Nietzsche’s sense, the state of mind that Max Scheler identified as the principal motive behind the socialist orthodoxy of his day. It is one of the major problems of modern politics, which no classical liberal could possibly solve, how to govern a society in which resentment has acquired the kind of privileged social, intellectual, and political position that we witness today.

If you accept the Nietzschean explanation of egalitarianism, then you will perhaps accept the burden of my conservative critique of Hayek, which is that he pays too much attention to the search for rational solutions to socially generated problems, and not enough to the motives that prompt people to believe or disbelieve in them. For all his brilliance in uncovering a thread of argument that (in my view) decisively establishes the intellectual superiority of liberal-conservative over socialist politics, Hayek does not engage with the real, deep-down conflict between conservatism and socialism, which is a conflict over the nature and conditions of social membership. In this conflict liberalism must learn to fight on the conservative side. For liberalism is possible only under a conservative government.»

2 comentários:

  1. Um liberalismo no sentido hayekiano não será possivel sob um governo de inspiração socialista, desde que esse governo se limite a cobrar impostos aos "ricos" e a distribuir dinheiro pelos "pobres" (em vez de nacionalizar as empresas dos "ricos" e/ou de fornecer serviços ou "géneros" aos "pobres")?

    Pelo menos, penso que o Hayek não tinha grandes objecções a uma politica desse tipo.

  2. Não posso responder por Hayek, e ainda tenho imenso deste para ler para poder responder com pouco mais do que as minhas dúvidas. Contudo, cobrar impostos e distribuir pelos pobres não me parece algo muito socialista, pelo menos no sentido que Hayek dá ao socialismo.