Friday, October 14, 2011

Culture is Spillover From Human Action?

It does not make sense to apply the standards of conscious conduct to those unintended consequences of individual action which all the truly social represents, expect by eliminating the unintended---which would mean eliminating all that we call culture. -- F.A. Hayek, Law, Legislation, and Liberty, Vol. 1: Rules and Order, pg. 33

According to Hayek, culture is essentially an unintended consequence of our various actions in our various spontaneous orders. Culture is thus spillover. So, too, is society itself. To try to replace spontaneous orders, then, with a constructed order will thus, as Nietzsche also observed, destroy culture (Nietzsche pointed out that there was an inverse relation between the strength of government and the strength of culture, and he also pointed out that government would not support the kind of education necessary for there to be a strong culture, but would only support the kind of education which would serve the government).


  1. Nietzsche's insight was worked out and elaborated by Rudolf Rocker in the 1920s and 1930s in a series of articles for anarchist publications that ultimately came together as the book Nationalism & Culture, first published in English in 1937. For more on all this, see


  2. Thank you for the link. I look forward to reading it and learning more about Rocker's work.

  3. I just went to the link. When I saw Rocker's picture, I remembered having read your piece. :-)