Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hayek Would Not Be Surprised by the Neocons

In his famous book, The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek gave several reasons why something like fascism could have been so appealing to so many in twentieth-century Europe. One ingredient, he said, was that it appealed to the lowest common denominator in terms of intelligence and therefore gained a wide audience. Another reason was that it is easier for people to focus on hatred of someone or something as opposed to a more positive outlook, such as a free society. According to Hayek, the Jews were a symbol of capitalism, which is one reason why they were treated the way they were in the Europe of his day. (Let's not forget that "Nazi" was an acronym for National Socialism).

This was brought to my mind from an email from Garrett S., who said that he has met numerous people who have told him that they used to be neocons, but after educating themselves a little in basic economics and the literature of liberty they have become libertarians and Ron Paul supporters. On the other hand, wrote Garrett, he has never come across anyone who has said, "I used to be a libertarian and a Ron Paul supporter, but now that I'm educated I'm a proud neocon."

The neocons are today's version of Hayek's lowest common denominator.

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