Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hurtling Down the Road to Serfdom by John Stossel

Government is taking us a long way down the Road to Serfdom. That doesn't just mean that more of us must work for the government. It means that we are changing from independent, self-responsible people into a submissive flock. The welfare state kills the creative spirit.

F.A. Hayek, an Austrian economist living in Britain, wrote "The Road to Serfdom" in 1944 as a warning that central economic planning would extinguish freedom ( The book was a hit. Reader's Digest produced a condensed version that sold 5 million copies.

Hayek meant that governments can't plan economies without planning people's lives. After all, an economy is just individuals engaging in exchanges. The scientific-sounding language of President Obama's economic planning hides the fact that people must shelve their own plans in favor of government's single plan.

At the beginning of "The Road to Serfdom," Hayek acknowledges that mere material wealth is not all that's at stake when the government controls our lives: "The most important change ... is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people."

This shouldn't be controversial. If government relieves us of the responsibility of living by bailing us out, character will atrophy. The welfare state, however good its intentions of creating material equality, can't help but make us dependent. That changes the psychology of society.

(Read the rest of Stossel's article here.)

1 comment:

  1. "It means that we are changing from independent, self-responsible people into a submissive flock." well, if that isn't exactly what's going on for centuries; the fact is - we're lucky to have u reflecting on that on ur blog, thanks to internet, access to communications and education, etc. which we have because of leaving in a democratic world; if Romania (where I am writing from) would still be situated behind the Iron Courtain today, I couldnn't be possibly using such thing as INTERNET, for sure) so, that's what we have been doing for ages - playing a part in Class Struggle & Power Struggle GAME - thus gaining little by little for our flock; thankfuly, we get to have the right sheperds and sheep away from the flock from time to time.