Jim Henley on Hayekian foreign policy and libertarian morality

Jim Henley extends the fatal conceit to foreign interventionalism:

F.A. Hayek makes essentially the same argument about political economy: central planning is impractical. The impracticalities of it drive central planners to cause more and more harm as they attempt to correct those impracticalities. And crucially, the impracticality of central planning can be anticipated. If you survey the wreckage of the Soviet system, the Fascist systems, the Maoist system, the ruin of postcolonial Africa, even the long doldrums of post-boom Japan and set out on a central planning project anyway, you are acting immorally.

Now there are two types of libertarians in the world, I have discovered: the kind who believe that Hayek stops at the water's edge, and the kind that don't.

This is certainly a valid criticism of interventionalist foreign policy. If central planners lack the knowledge needed to allocate resources for the national economy, can they rationally plan and execute foreign incursions in the international arena?

The reason why people like Perry de Havilland and I end up shouting at each other, despite agreeing on almost everything there is to agree on, is precisely because of what neither liberals nor conservatives understand about libertarians - we are all moralists at heart. Liberals imagine that all we care about is money and utility, conservatives that our driving concern is satiating our various appetites. But we actually hate evil. We may not define "evil" the way a given liberal or conservative does. And when one libertarian weights a pair of evils differently than another it can get very heated very quickly.

Indeed. Conservatives often believe that libertarians are nothing more than hedonists who eschew any semblance of normative standards - the 'Bill Maher libertarian'. On the contrary, libertarianism is all about morality.

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