The Economist slams NYT’s for redefining Hayek’s “The Rule of Law”

Friedrich Hayek, a Nobel Laureate in economics, became famous for his book titled “The Road to Serfdom”. A considerable portion of that book focuses on two central memes:

1) Rule of Law
2) Rule of Status

The Rule of Law can be succinctly defined as: “If you make a law, everyone should follow it. No exceptions.” That’s the best way (in Hayek’s opinion) to have a stable and prosperous society. The Rule of Status could be easily described by referencing laws or political decisions that only affect a select few (e.g. ethnic groups) or are only enforced when judges and police decide to enforce them.

One society is predictable and easy to understand. The other society favors those with friends in high places and punishes those who offend the wrong people. It’s a simple concept that’s been a central battle cry of the Tea Party. As simple as this is, the New York Times reporter Kate Zernike doesn’t seem to understand it. She actually attributes qualities to The Rule of Law that are mostly irrelevant. The Economist has a much more detailed critique.

A co-worker once told me “The intensity of peoples reactions is inversely related to how much they know.” Given that Katie Zernike and the NYT’s have been so hostile to the Tea Party, this kind of ignorance is not unexpected. Then again Katie has extensively covered and even written a book on the movement, so maybe she is either using selective hearing, incapable of understanding or simply rewriting history. No matter what the reason is, it can’t be a good one.

If the new NYT’s posts a correction I’ll update, but I’m not very optimistic.

The Economist, What is this thing Hayek called “the rule of law”?, Oct 6th 2010, 22:17 by W.W. | IOWA CITY

New York Times, Movement of the Moment Looks to Long-Ago Texts, KATE ZERNIKE, October 1, 2010

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