Some things never get old.  And that goes double for F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom.  Written in 1944, The Road is a compelling  demonstration that collectivist central economic planning leads not to utopia but necessarily to tyranny.  

Hayek brilliantly illuminated the dangers of the Collectivists’ vaguely defined “social goals” and “common purpose”.  The Obama presidential campaign elevated this vagueness to a new high with “Hope and Change”.   Hayek would have hit that softball out of the park, “The effect of the people’s agreeing that there must be central planning, without agreeing on the ends, will be rather as if a group of people were to commit themselves to take a journey together without agreeing where they want to go: with the result that they may all have to make a journey which most of them do not want at all.”   That’s precisely how we traveled from “Hope and Change” to Obama Care.  

Speaking of the dangers of collectivist naivete, Obama has made clear that he will ignore Congress’ attempts to reign in his band of unaccountable Czars,  And, it’s time we all read (or re-read) Hayek. 

To understand the dangers of the Czars, however, it’s not even necessary to read all of The Road.   Jump right to Chapter 5, “Planning and Democracy”.   The bottom line is that democracy, in and of itself,  is not sufficient to protect a people from tyranny.   The Executive Branch’s increasing use of “czars” over the past thirty-some years is dangerous.  With chilling clairvoyance, Hayek warned us not to make a “fetish of democracy”.   Hayek argued, “There is no justification for the belief that, so long as power is conferred by democratic procedure, it cannot be arbitrary…  [I]t is not the source but the limitation of power which prevents it from being arbitrary.”

Obama claims the power to appoint “advisors” to policy-making positions without the advice and consent of the Senate.  Moreover, he claims that his Czars cannot thereafter be limited by Congress.  It’s cold comfort indeed that the Czars fitting you for shackles were appointed by a democratically elected president.   They don’t call them “Czars” for nothing.  Where’s Hayek when we need him?  Right there on your bookshelf.

Mike Yashko
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