essence of a philosophy can
seldom be captured in
a few words. But a few quotations can sometimes reveal much of the
philosophy's hidden essence. The task of seeking the
grounds, the axioms, or the genetic structure of a philosophy is not easy; but it is immensely
rewarding. Especially when the seeking is after freedom,
truth, and money.
share with you some of my favorite quotations.
I collected these over many years while probing and studying the works of the great
those of their students.
The quotations reflect many worldviews.
Two major conflicting worldviews are worth noting. The first
worldview is rooted in the works of the great Greek philosophers, Plato
and Aristotle. The other worldview is rooted in Solomonic
Broadly speaking, the philosophies of
Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger are descended
from the first worldview ─ via St. Augustine and St. Thomas
Aquinas; those of Popper, Hayek, and Ayn Rand are
descended from the second worldview. This second worldview
impregnates the core of the Anglo-Saxon philosophy
code named "English
comfort."1 This philosophy is
apparently what animates the champions of the "free" marketplace, like
Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman.
There is an immense tension between
these two worldviews. Many people experience the tension in the
marrow of their bones - but they do not know what its secret
source is. But philosophers like Ernst Cassirer do.2 They
know that the conflict is nothing short of cosmic.
The conflict and its horrors
exploded out of control in the twentieth century. Unfortunately,
can explode again. I suspect this is why Soros has been
warning against "market fundamentalism."3
I also suspect that the
philosophies of Hayek, Popper, Rand, Friedman, and Soros are
wrongheaded. In the case of Friedman, for example, the proof is
trivial: slaves were bought and sold in
the "free" markets of Rome ─ and of Hebron.
According to an account reported by Buber, Jews were
"sold for the price of a horse in the marketplace of
Following Friedman's doctrine, there is no
reason to believe
- that the buyers and sellers were coerced,
- that the transactions were not "bi-laterally
voluntary and informed,"5a
- that the sales contravened the "rule of law," or
- that the
responsibility"5b of the sellers was not to make as
much money for themselves as possible.
The essential conflict is not "free
private enterprise exchange economy"5a vs.
totalitarianism, or "open" society
vs. closed society.6 For Hegel,
such characterizations, I suppose, would be nothing but diversions calculated to
deceive the masses.7
The essential conflict is what it has always been:
the cosmic battle between Good and Evil, Truth
and Falsity, Lordship
─ between being free and being unfree.
outcome of the conflict will determine how world history
Dr. Edward E. Ayoub
March 27-29, 2000
Last Updated November 7, 2001
See F.A. Hayek, The Road to
Anniversary Edition. Introduction by Milton Friedman. Chicago,
IL: The University of Chicago, 1944, 1972, 1994.
The Socialist Roots of Naziism, at 186.
Ernst Cassirer, The
Myth of the State.
Yale University Press, 1946. Henry Cassirer and Anne Applebaum,
1974. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. The Religious and
Metaphysical Background of the Medieval Theory of the State, at
78-96, especially 81-82.
George Soros, The
Crisis of Global Capitalism [Open Society Endangered].
George Soros, 1998. New York, NY: Public Affairs™. Introduction,
(1878-1965). On Judaism.
Edited by Nahum N. Glatzer. Foreword by Rodger Kamenetz, 1995. Schoken Books Inc.,
York, NY: Random House, Inc., 1996.
IV. The Spirit of the Orient and Judaism, at 71.
The expressions "bi-laterally voluntary and informed,"
"social responsibility," and "free
private enterprise exchange economy" are borrowed from
Friedman. For Friedman's views, see Milton Friedman, Capitalism
and Freedom. With the assistance of Rose D. Friedman.
Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago, 1962, 1982.
The Relation between Economic Freedom and Political
Freedom, at 13.
Monopoly and the Social Responsibility of Business
and Labor, at 133.
The Open Society and Its Enemies.
Volume II: The High Tide
of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx, and the Aftermath. Fifth ed. (revised). Karl
Raimund Popper, 1962, 1966. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Press. For Popper's characterization of Hegel's philosophy, see Hegel and the New Tribalism, at 59 and 61.
G. W. F. Hegel. Phenomenology
Translated by A.V. Miller with Analysis of the Text and Foreword by
J.N. Findlay. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1977. The Struggle of the Enlightenment with Superstition,
Ibid., Independence and Dependence of Self-Consciousness:
Lordship and Bondage, at 115.
See Edward E. Ayoub. World War III
Against the Money Trust? Toronto, ON: Macroknow Inc.,
1998. For a critique of Solomonic thinking, see the quotations