The Road to Serfdom
By David Henderson
In it, I summarize the book’s message and discuss its relevance today. One passage:
In the United States today, the intellectuals’ and the public’s belief in freedom seems to be in decline and certainly freedom itself is in decline. On the civil liberties side, government agents monitor phone calls, often without a court’s permission; SWAT teams invade people’s homes; and a federal government agency insists that we get its permission before we board commercial flights. In economics, the federal government has become a much bigger decisionmaker in investments, choosing — regardless of investor or customer desires — to give billions of dollars to various firms. And both George W. Bush and Barack Obama embrace the “fatal conceit,” to use one of Hayek’s terms, that government can allocate hundreds of billions of dollars better than the owners of those resources can.
I also discuss his gentlemanly style–going on the offensive without being offensive–and his sense of humor:
While he is polite and generous to a fault toward those with whom he disagrees, he is not defensive. Instead, in page after page, he points out mistaken thinking and the horrible problems that arise from extensive government economic control. Throughout it all, he maintains a subtle sense of humor. Consider Hayek’s statement about one of the main British totalitarian intellectuals: “It deserves to be noted that, according to Professor [Harold] Laski, it is “this mad competitive system which spells poverty for all peoples, and war as the outcome of that poverty” — a curious reading of the history of the last hundred and fifty years.”