Neither definition says anything about individual liberty. Liberals could violate liberty in their eagerness to change things that individuals DON’T want to change, and conservatives could violate the liberty of individuals who DO want to change.
So Becker (of whom I am otherwise a big fan) faults conservatives for – being conservative. They and Miss California are not flexible enough on “gays in the military, gay marriage, abortions, cell stem research.” Yes, that’s what happens when you prefer – as Conservatives always do — state-enforced tradition to values that the current generation of individuals might freely choose.
Wolfe says that liberty-loving Hayek would “seek to straighten out the crooked timber of humanity by forcing everyone into a mold established by the market.” To Hayek, who wrote an article called “Why I am not a conservative,” the “market” was just one of many arenas where individuals were free to choose, sometimes overturning tradition, other times choosing to stick with tradition, and in yet other cases making gradual progressive changes. So Wolfe’s statement is logically nonsensical, something like “Hayek would force everyone into a mold where they could be whatever they want.”
Originally published at Aid Watch and reproduced here with the author’s permission.