Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Video: F. A. Hayek Distinguishes Rule of Law and Arbitrary Laws

In the following video the great F. A Hayek distinguishes between the rule of law (general rule) vis-a-vis arbitrary laws (source liberty pen, hat tip Prof Peter Boettke)

Hayek quotes from the video:
Any redistributive policy requires a discriminating treatment of different people. You cannot so long as you treat all the people according to the same formal rules—forcing them to act only to observe the same rules—bring about any distribution of incomes. Once you decide that government is entitled to take from some people in order to give it to others, this is automatically discrimination of a kind for which there can be no general rule. They are purely arbitrary.

After long discussion in jurisprudence, it has come out that the essential point about general rule is you cannot predict who will profit from it and who will suffer from it. Any rule where you know beforehand who will be gainers and who will be the suffers is, in that sense, not a general rule

Once you authorize government to act arbitrarily there is no limit to it.

Not acting to a general rule is arbitrary. It is the only way in which you can define arbitrary.

You distinguish between the people whom you want to have more and the people whom you want to have less

The distinction is between (I can only say) a general rule which applies equally to all and a rule which distinguishes between different groups

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