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Unrepentant "Old" Whig

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  • Rebanks James M.

    (Oxford University)

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    Abstract

    En post-scriptum de la Constitution de la Liberté, Friedrich Hayek situa le coeur de ses convictions où il perçut qu’était leur place dans l’histoire des idées. Il était, il insistait, “simplement un vieux Whig impénitent”, en insistant sur le “vieux”. Le Whiggisme, il venait de le soutenir, était le nom du seul et unique courant de pensée qui s’opposa sérieusement à tout pouvoir arbitraire. En mettant en avant le fait que le “vrai libéralisme” n’avait pas de nom reconnaissable afin de le distinguer du “faux libéralisme”, Hayek suggéra celui de “vieux Whig” – bien qu’il sembla plus proche de sa validité historique que de son utilité dans le monde réel. Cet essai tente d’illustrer ce qu’Hayek voulait dire en s’appelant lui même vieux Whig ou Whig Burkéen, comme il se décrivit plus tard. Il soulève des questions quant à la validité de la conception qu’Hayek avait de lui, et quant à la vraie nature des vieux Whig historiques. Cet article explore le modèle historique créé par Hayek, centré sur l’événement clé de la Révolution Française, pour expliquer ce qu’il appela une “contre-renaissance” en faveur du collectivisme.In is postscript to The Constitution of Liberty, Friedrich Hayek placed his core beliefs into what he perceived as their proper place in the history of ideas. He was, he insisted, ‘simply an unrepentant Old Whig – with the stress on the “old”. Whiggism, he went on to assert, was the name of the only set of ideals that had consistently opposed all arbitrary power. Highlighting the fact that ‘true liberalism’ had no recognisable name with which to distinguish itself from ‘false liberalism’, Hayek tossed ‘Old Whig’ into the ring as his suggestion – though he seemed more confident of its historical validity than its real-world usefulness. This essay attempts to illustrate just what Hayek meant by calling himself an Old Whig, or Burkean Whig, as he later described himself. It raises some questions about the validity of Hayek’s self-conception, and the true nature of the historical Old Whigs. It also explores the historical model that Hayek created, centred on the key event of the French Revolution, to explain what he called a ‘counterrenaissance’ in favour of collectivism.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

    Volume (Year): 10 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 1-15

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:10:y:2000:i:4:n:9

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