Friedrich Hayek as Ideologue
The highly intelligent Peter Boettke protests that Austrian economists like Friedrich Hayek were not dogmatic ideologues:
The Austrian Economists: Economics and Ideology : Perhaps no charge has been leveled against Austrian economists more than any other to dismiss their scientific contribution as the claim that they are dogmatic ideologues. This is, of course, ironic because the Austrians from Menger on insisted on their "value-freedom" in a Weberian sense of means-ends analysis. In fact, Gunnar Myrdal in his analysis of the political influences on economic theory points out that the Austrians are the least guilty. But the debates with both Keynesianism and market socialism, and the staunch stance that both Mises and Hayek held, led to the impression that dogmatic ideologue was the best label for these two and their followers...
But what, then, is one to make of Friedrich Hayek's statement in 1956 that Clement Attlee's social democratic government had destroyed the "rule of law" in Britain?
More on Hayek...: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal: Of course, six years of socialist government in England have not produced anything resembling a totalitarian state. But those who argue that this has disproved the thesis of The Road to Serfdom have really missed one of its main points: that "the most important change which extensive government control produces is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people." This is necessarily a slow affair... attitude[s] toward authority are as much the effect as the cause of... political institutions under which it lives.... [T]he change undergone... not merely under its Labour government but in the course of the much longer period during which it has been enjoying the blessings of a paternalistic welfare state, can hardly be mistaken.... Certainly German Social Democrats... never approached as closely to totalitarian planning as the British Labour government has done.... The most serious development is the growth of a measure of arbitrary administrative coercion and the progressive destruction of the cherished foundation of British liberty, the Rule of Law.... [E]conomic planning under the Labour government [has] carried it to a point which makes it doubtful whether it can be said that the Rule of Law still prevails in Britain...
Private property rights were much narrower than Hayek would have wished, and government ownership of the commanding heights of the economy was much greater than he (or I) would have wished. But destruction of the rule of law? Nonsense.
This is important. For if right-wing ideologues claim that Clement Attlee has destroyed the rule of law through nationalizations, unemployment insurance, public health programs, and zoning, then right-wing ideologues can take one step further to justify the crimes of a Franco or a Pinochet.