The Road to Serfdom

Yeah, you really should put down what you’re doing and go read up. If, after skimming, you don’t agree it was worth your time to do so, I can pretty much promise you weren’t doing anything worthwhile when you got interrupted.

It was written by one F. A. Hayek between 1940 and 1944, and effectively predicts the world’s struggles with socialism in the years after World War II. The trailhead is the wartime necessity of “coming together for the greater good”; from there, even after the cessation of hostilities, the slope just becomes steeper and more slippery. People become acclimated to the notion that any challenge can be overcome we if can just be persuaded to put aside our sniveling, greedy little individualist ambitions and somehow be bludgeoned into following a few more rules.

But whose rules? After the last shovelful of earth falls on the casket holding the shattered remnants of libertarian spirit, we come across a problem of Too Many Chiefs Not Enough Indians. A strong opinion, it turns out, is not such a rare and precious thing; if it were, we’d seek out a wise man. But there is much power available to whoever came up with the plan that shall reign supreme, and this culminates in quite a different state of affairs. Endless bickering, squabbling…a wise man isn’t what’s needed, we just need someone strong. We need unity, gosh darn it, and if it doesn’t come naturally we will force it. That will make things better.

The prosperity and happiness of “everyone” depends on it.

It’ll really make you think about things. Or it should.

Hat tip: Classical values.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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