I suspect that in his heart, Representative [Paul] Ryan is more attracted to the dogmatism of [Ayn] Rand than the complex, nuanced philosophy of [Friedrich] Hayek, who told the Cornell political scientist Theodore Lowi that Rand angrily called him “a compromiser” on the only occasion they met.
Bruce Bartlett, “Why Hayek Isn’t Paul Ryan’s Guru“, Economix, 28 August 2012.
This is an excellent post on Friedrich Hayek, the deceased Austrian economist who is more cited than read. Hayek was less dogmatic than his followers want us to believe, and certainly less dogmatic than philosopher Ayn Rand. Paul Ryan, like Rand, seems to be dogmatic and uncompromising, but we have no way of knowing what he really believes ‘in his heart’.
One of my favourite writings of Hayek is his essay “Why I am not a conservative”. In it, he explains that he is a European-style liberal, not a conservative, and – this might surprise you! – not a libertarian.
[T]o the liberal neither moral nor religious ideals are proper objects of coercion, while both conservatives and socialists recognize no such limits. … This may … explain why it seems so much easier for the repentant socialist to find a new spiritual home in the conservative fold than in the liberal. ….
[T]he liberal is fundamentally a skeptic — but it seems to require a certain degree of diffidence to let others seek their happiness in their own fashion and to adhere consistently to that tolerance which is an essential characteristic of liberalism. ….
In the United States, where it has become almost impossible to use “liberal” in the sense in which I have used it, the term “libertarian” has been used instead. It may be the answer; but for my part I find it singularly unattractive.
F. A. Hayek, “Why I am not a conservative“, in The Constitution of Liberty (University of Chicago Press, 1960).
In the US, socialists long ago chose to call themselves ‘liberals’, perhaps because voters conflate socialism with communism. This created much confusion and misunderstanding, for liberalism has little in common with socialism.