Hayek and Pinochet
Despite the left slant, this examination of Hayek’s involvement with the Chilean Pinochet regime is calm and informative enough to be worth reading (via). Its relevance to numerous recent discussions on the extreme right is clear.
Given everything we know about Hayek—his horror of creeping socialism, his sense of the civilizational challenge it posed; his belief that great men impose their will upon society (“The conservative peasant, as much as anybody else, owes his way of life to a different type of person, to men who were innovators in their time and who by their innovations forced a new manner of living on people belonging to an earlier state of culture”); his notion of elite legislators (“If the majority were asked their opinion of all the changes involved in progress, they would probably want to prevent many of its necessary conditions and consequences and thus ultimately stop progress itself. I have yet to learn of an instance when the deliberate vote of the majority (as distinguished from the decision of some governing elite) has decided on such sacrifices in the interest of a better future”); and his sense of political theory and politics as an epic confrontation between the real and the yet-to-be-realized—perhaps the Pinochet question needs to be reframed. The issue is not “How could he have done what he did?” but “How could he not?”
(I agree with Corey Robin that the ‘Schmittian’ element in Hayek’s thinking remains an unresolved theoretical problem, but his concrete judgments — as detailed here — strike me as consistently sound.)