Hayakian perspective?

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    Hi. I grew up watching Little House (can’t think of Laura without thinking of Melissa Gilbert). I haven’t ever read any of the books, but I might just do so now. Just what do you mean by a “Hayakian perspective”? Thanks.


    Hi Individualist,
    I apologize for taking so long to answer your question. I did not realize it was here waiting for me!

    I encourage you to read the Little House books. They are so much better than the Michael Landon tv series! Very few of the tv episodes come from the books, just to warn you.

    By Hayekian perspective, I’m referring to Friedrich Hayek’s notion of the Fatal Conceit and to his understanding of success and failure. Many of the scholarly works on Wilder take her to task for presenting Pa as anything but a failure as a farmer/homesteader. And early in their marriage, Laura and Almanzo experienced disaster after disaster as farmers. What these scholars ignore, however, is the essential role that failure plays in human learning, as Hayek argues. Liberty enables farmers (in this case) to take risks, and to learn from failure as well as from success. The Fatal Conceit in this case is the all-knowing arrogance that faults farmers for taking those risks, that says farmers should follow the “experts” with their dehumanizing 5 year plans. Indeed, by exercising their freedom to be independent and by taking the lumps that may well come with that independence, homesteader farmers like Pa reveal much about human dignity and resilience. Hope that makes sense!

    Best wishes,
    Dedra Birzer

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