Tag: Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche von Hayek on Merit

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer and His Shadow: The value of work.—If we wanted to determine the value of work by how much time, effort, good or ill will, compulsion, inventiveness or laziness, honesty or deception has been expended on it, then the valuation can never be just; for we would have to be able to place the entire person on the scales, and that is impossible. Here the rule must be “judge not!” But it is precisely to justice that they appeal who nowadays are dissatisfied with the evaluation of work. If we reflect further we find that no personality can be held accountable for what it produces, that is to say its work: so that no merit can be derived […]

The Price of Labor: Burke, Nietzsche, and Menger

Edmund Burke, Thoughts and Details on Scarcity: When any commodity is carried to market, it is not the necessity of the vendor, but the necessity of the purchaser that raises the price….If the goods at market are beyond the demand, they fall in their value; if below it, they rise. The impossibility of the subsistence of a man, who carries his labour to a market, is totally beside the question in this way of viewing it. The only question is, what is it worth to the buyer? (pp. 68-69) Carl Menger, Principles of Economics: Neither the means of subsistence nor the minimum of subsistence of a laborer, therefore, can be the direct cause or determining principle of the price of […]

The Smartest Guy in the Room

The current issue of Vanity Fair has a profile of William Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund manager who’s trying to bring down Herbalife. Ackman’s friends and enemies call him Bill; I know him as Billy. You see, Billy Ackman and I grew up together in Chappaqua, New York. He was a year ahead of me in school. Our families went to the same synagogue. I knew his parents, and his older sister and my sister were in the same class. We weren’t friends, and he never made much of an impression on me. He was smart, but in the way many kids in Chappaqua were smart: he got good grades, obsessed about college, went to Harvard. What I didn’t know […]

Justice Scalia: American Nietzsche

This is Part 2 of my series on Justice Scalia, Diva of Disdain.  Part 1 is here; an introduction to the whole is here. • • • • • Like many originalists, Scalia claims that his jurisprudence has nothing to do with his conservatism. “I try mightily to prevent my religious views or my political views or my philosophical views from affecting my interpretation of the laws.” Yet he has also said that he learned from his teachers at Georgetown never to “separate your religious life from your intellectual life. They’re not separate.” Only months before Ronald Reagan nominated him to the Supreme Court in 1986, he admitted that his legal views were “inevitably affected by moral and theological perceptions.” […]