Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hayek Illustrated

Friedrich A. Hayek (1899-1992) won the 1974 Nobel prize in Economics. If you want to find out his thoughts without reading a long book, consider the graphic (cartoon) form of his 1944 classic The Road to Serfdom which is now on-line here. The on-line version explains how "idealistic" planners paved the way for the rise of fascism in 1930s Europe.

The book remains relevant because, while fascism is dead, idealistic planners remain. The planners operate the same way: they need to claim a crisis. In the 1930s, it was war. Today, it is the health care "crisis" or global warming. Anyone who wants to manufacture a crisis knows that they need a propaganda machine. This is apparent today with the opposition to the existence of dissenting media sources. Fox News and Rush do not have a large share of the total news/commentary audience but their mere existence is a threat to those who views depend on uniformity of the media message.

The uniformity of the media is important whenever the plan is in trouble or decisions need to be made. The failure of HillaryCare can be blamed on the lack of a uniform propaganda message. Grand plans are always more complicated than planners first think. Consider, for example, Sen. Clinton's thoughts on health care regulations:

WASHINGTON - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that a mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance was the only way to achieve universal health care but she rejected the notion of punitive measures to force individuals into the health care system.

“At this point, we don’t have anything punitive that we have proposed,” the presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We’re providing incentives and tax credits which we think will be very attractive to the vast majority of Americans.”

She said she could envision a day when “you have to show proof to your employer that you’re insured as a part of the job interview — like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination,” but said such details would be worked out through negotiations with Congress. [emphasis added]

The left were unable to control the message on this one, to their great frustration. You can see why, through 'fairness' doctrines or licensing, they want to re-gain a monopoly on the news media. This, as Hayek pointed out, is a path preferred by dictators.

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