The Mirage of Social Justice

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Routledge and Kegan Paul, Jan 1, 1976 - Democracy - 195 pages
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This is a three-part study of the relations between law and liberty. Volume 1 deals with the basic conceptions necessary for a critical analysis of prevailing theories of justice and of the conditions which a constitution securing personal liberty would have to satisfy. In volume 2, the author examines the theories of utilitariansim and legal positivism and considers the concept of 'social justice.' He shows this ideal to be devoid of meaning and therefore a most harmful and dangerous cause of the mis-direction of well-meant efforts: he demonstrates that it is a remnant of the tribal ethics of a closed society and whooly incompatible with the individual freedom whih the Open Society promises. In the final volume, Hayek analyses and discards modern sociobiological theories of morality and social conduct, demonstrating that man's behaviour pattern has been determined more by custom than by the exercise of reason, and that mind and culture therefore developed concurrently and not successively. He shows how the democratic ideal is in danger of miscarrying due to the erroneous assumptions that there can be moral standards without moral discipline, that the element of tradition can be ignored in proposals for restructuring society, and the way in which the disctinct ideals of egalitarianism and democracy are increasingly confused.

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