Barack Obama and The Road to Serfdom

The Road to Serfdom, by F.A. Hayek

In 1944, a book was published that shook the intellectual and political cultures of the Western world. Dedicated to “The Socialists of All Parties,” The Road to Serfdom was authored by the Austrian School economist Friedrich A. Hayek, who subsequently received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974. In his book, Hayek vividly showed that if unchecked, all forms of collectivism, including those under democracies, lead logically and inevitably to tyranny and autocratic rule and that if Great Britain, the United States, France, and other Western countries continue to embrace the socialist policies of central government planning they would be propelled into a vortex of despotism.

The book had a profound effect on the thinking of people worldwide and created a new wave of insight that hindered the growth of statism in many countries and reversed it in some.

However now, building upon a many decades-old escalation of government power in the U.S., including the huge explosion of federal power and spending under George W. Bush, Barack Obama is proving to be not a champion of real change but a sorry caricature of the true believer in foolish pursuit of a dangerous agenda based on the exact myths of collectivism and statism that Hayek warned about.

Americans and people worldwide would be well-advised to read Hayek’s great book, which after thirty-two printings is more timely now than ever. In the meantime, here is a video based on the cartoon portrayal of the book as originally published in 1950 by Look Magazine.

David J. Theroux is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Institute.
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