“To advocate any clear-cut principles of social order is today an almost certain way to incur the stigma of being an unpractical doctrinaire. It has come to be regarded as the sign of the judicious mind that in social matters one does not adhere to fixed principles but decides each question “on its merits”; that one is generally guided by expediency and is ready to compromise between opposed views. Principles, however, have a way of asserting themselves even if they are not explicitly recognized but are only implied in particular decisions, or if they are present only as vague ideas of what is or is not being done. Thus has it come about that under the sign of “neither individualism nor socialism” we are in fact rapidly moving from a society of free individuals toward one of a completely collectivist character.”
This is the beginning of F.A. Hayek’s lecture “Individualism: True and False,” given in 1945. The lecture comprises the first chapter of Hayek’s 1948 work, “Individualism and Economic Order”. Thanks to Mises.org, you can read it online; however, it is a fine book to own for your collection.
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