The Error of Forgetting the Individual

In his essay The Illusion of Certainty, written in 1984, Ridgway K. Foley Jr. writes the following:

“What, then, of the perfect illusion? It is simply this: In a world dominated by bloc or aggregate thought, it is deceptively easy to overlook the individual, and to do so virtually compels the error of belief that men act as hordes or groups and not as persons or individuals. The Austrian School perceives the ill-advised Keynesian focus upon macroeconomics to the obscurity of the single acting man or woman who produces, earns, saves, consumes, and thinks. Nevertheless, proponents of that primal school of thought sometimes forget to transfer the fundamentals there recognized into other disciplines.

The philosophy of individual liberty necessarily focuses upon, and dignifies, the individual human being as an actor causing consequences, accountable for his conduct, and (by virtue of his signal ability to select from an array of choices) imperfect and mistake-prone in the sense of being incapable of universally determining a desired result. Dr. George Charles Roche Ill concludes that one of the most telling legacies of Frederic Bastiat was his insistence ‘that men were imperfect and unique, that freedom could be found only by protecting the individual’s life, liberty, and property from the predations of other men, organized or unorganized.'”

Read the entire essay here,


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