Overall, so far I’m liking “The Constitution of Liberty.” Hayek’s introduction successfully gives a conceptual framework for both what he is to be discussing and in what manner he is going use to tackle the topic of Liberty, while using the tool kit of not only economics, but of other social sciences such as philosophy and political science.
I found though, that in his introduction two of what I’ll call his disclaimers has really sparked an interest in me. These disclaimers are specific approaches that Hayek notes he is to use throughout the work. Both of these points have multiple reasons as to why they capture my attention. It may simply be that I don’t really understand why Hayek wants to take, that particular approach or that it is an approach in itself sounds very difficult to use.
1.) The answers to the “pressing social questions of our times…are to be found ultimately in principles that lie outside the scope of technical economics or any other discipline.” For this reasoning Hayek apologizes for not venturing deeply in economics in his journey to define and explore liberty. I find his statements about the idea of our personal willingness to accept a specialist’s view without question as threat to freedom, most interesting. He states that this is one of the most important lessons had he had learned in his work on this book (pp4). Perhaps I am taking this the wrong way, but my mind found itself ultimately going to the idea of specialization. Specialization, though, I thought was one of the few ideas that economists typically agree on and you know….really like. I don’t know if any of you guys took the passage differently. I was thinking that it would be very interesting to elaborate on this point.
2.) The statements regarding that this entire work will be completed with an approach, which is to cut out emotions when dealing with the ideas of freedom and liberty. I find this a very interesting disclaimer for Hayek to make. I understand that it might be an effort to make sure this work is not to be labeled as propaganda and looked at in an academic manner. However, for me I think it will be interesting to see how Hayek or anyone in particular could ever possibly do this. I mean liberty is an emotionally charged topic. The word alone is filled with strong connotations for anyone who sets their eyes upon it. I was thinking about all the quotes that are used at the beginning of each chapter of the work and how these are in themselves filled with emotions. I will have to keep reading and see how the heck Hayek achieves this approach, as I would think that it is impossible not to bring emotion into the picture of liberty.