Abstract: Melville’s depictions of non-Western tribes suggest his keen appreciation of spontaneous orders as described by Hayek, and his masterpiece Moby-Dick likewise exhibits a Hayekian esteem for the modern market order. Moreover, the Pequod ’s transformation from an element in that order to an instrument of revenge suggests an allegory of America transformed, to use Oakeshott’s terms, from the nomocracy envisioned by founders like Madison into a teleocracy. Written at a time of mounting skepticism, Moby-Dick depicts the vulnerability of liberal institutions whose spirit may fail to align with the people’s hunger for a substantive, collective purpose.
Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal – Penn State University Press
Published: Nov 9, 2016