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Tradição e progresso em Hayek

por Samuel de Paiva Pires, em 02.09.15

friedrich hayek.jpg

Friedrich Hayek, Law, The Political Order of a Free People, vol. 3 de Law, Legislation and Liberty:

 

Tradition is not something constant but the product of a process of selection guided not by reason but by success. It changes but can rarely be deliberately changed. Cultural selection is not a rational process; it is not guided by but it creates reason.

(...)

We do not really understand how it maintains the order of actions on which the co-ordination of the activities of many millions depends. And since we owe the order of our society to a tradition of rules which we only imperfectly understand, all progress must be based on tradition. We must build on tradition and can only tinker with its products. It is only by recognizing the conflict between a given rule and the rest of our moral beliefs that we can justify our rejection of an established rule. Even the success of an innovation by a rule-breaker, and the trust of those who follow him, has to be bought by the esteem he has earned by the scrupulous observation of most of the existing rules. To become legitimized, the new rules have to obtain the approval of society at large - not by a formal vote, but by gradually spreading acceptance. And though we must constantly re-examine our rules and be prepared to question every single one of them, we can always do so only in terms of their consistency of compatibility with the rest of the system from the angle of their effectiveness in contributing to the formation of the same kind of overall order of actions which all the other rules serve. There is thus certainly room for improvement, but we cannot redesign but only further evolve what we do not fully comprehend.

(...)

That progress may be faster than we like, and that we might be better able to digest it if it were slower, I will not deny. But unfortunately, progress cannnot be dosed, (nor, for that matter, economic growth!) All we can do is to create conditions favourable to it and then hope for the best. It may be stimulated or damped by policy, but nobody can predict the precise effects of such measures; to pretend to know the desirable direction of progress seems to me to be the extreme of hubris. Guided progress would not be progress. 

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