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Some scary similarities
October 17, 2003 9:06 AM   Subscribe

The Road to Serfdom, in cartoons. First published in 1944, it still seems prescient today. Here it is in rare illustrated form.[condensed printed version]
posted by insomnyuk (20 comments total)

 
This should be required reading for High School seniors. Well, the ones who can read at least...
posted by Fantt at 9:24 AM on October 17, 2003


"Your thinking is 'planned'...Posters, radio, press - all tell you the same lies"
posted by jester69 at 9:35 AM on October 17, 2003


Note: This can only happen under a conservative administration. This could NEVER happen under "democratic socialism," where noble public servants with good intentions work tirelessly for your better future. [/sarcasm]
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:35 AM on October 17, 2003


Those who don't remember history ... blah, blah, blah...

[great post!]
posted by anastasiav at 9:39 AM on October 17, 2003



Note: This can only happen under a conservative administration. This could NEVER happen under "democratic socialism," where noble public servants with good intentions work tirelessly for your better future. [/sarcasm]


Yeah, take that, Commie dissenters!
posted by interrobang at 9:43 AM on October 17, 2003


Insomnyuk, you might want to make your agenda a bit clearer here. Are you trying to draw parallels between the Bush administration's military and economic policies and what you see as the rise of repression, dare I say fascism, in the US?

If so, then I'm finding that ironic since this tract seems to actually be aimed at FDR and the wartime economic footing that he put the country on during WWII. If that's indeed the case, then the claims of the authors that laborers in the 1940s would eventually be reduced to the status of serfs doesn't appear to have come to pass, thus weakening the case for your claims of prescience.

Or are you claiming that Bush is the new FDR?

~wink~
posted by MrBaliHai at 9:48 AM on October 17, 2003


I call Godwin on this booklet!!
posted by jonson at 9:54 AM on October 17, 2003


Or are you claiming that Bush is the new FDR?

Actually, MrBaliHai, it was my thinking that Hayek was talking about the rise of the Nazi regime in particular and the dangers of how it could happen elsewhere. Perhaps he issued it as a warning regarding FDR's massive expansion of government power. I believe there are indeed many parallels between Bush and FDR. We've had a national crisis and the reaction was the desire for a political "strong man" so to speak (its a toss up between Bush and Ashcroft for who has filled that role). It remains to be seen which direction this will take us but I'm going to hope for the best and expect the worst.

I call Godwin on this booklet!!

I think this predates Godwin by several decades.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:56 AM on October 17, 2003


Hayek in The Road to Serfdom is a lot of fun.

The main point boils down to "Socialism would be awful and immoral. Now, it is transparently obvious that we should give everyone a guaranteed minimum income and a comprehensive set of social insurances. But socialism would be awful and immoral."

Anyway, it's fun to point out the commie-lefty, let's-give-everyone-some-stuff, let's-all-sing-Kumbayah parts to people holding it up as a correct rightist manifesto.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:58 AM on October 17, 2003


3 questions I am desepate put too lazy to answer:
What the hell is this thing for?
Who the hell is Ludwig von Mises?
Is there any format more persuasive than the Chick Tract?
posted by putzface_dickman at 10:27 AM on October 17, 2003


The pamphlet is somewhat simplistic in dealing with the application of economic instruments under Nazi Germany. The German economy has always run under a certain amount of state control/direction and continues to do so to this day. The US economy doesn't operate as a co-ordinated economy, and modern theories relating to National Innovation Systems tend to suggest that it never will. Leading from this, some of the things from the story are unlikely to apply for the reaons given, though it doesn't take too much imagination to see things like unions snuffed out for other equally 'valid' reasons.
posted by biffa at 10:35 AM on October 17, 2003


I think that the fact that we're all able to argue without a consensus over who this strip is actually about says something in itself. Fascism can and has been started from either the left or the right.
posted by unreason at 10:35 AM on October 17, 2003


The full printed version is much more interesting and much less screed-like than the pamphlet. In fact, it's unfortunate the printed version wasn't the primary link. Read that, and not the abyssmal cartoon.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:41 AM on October 17, 2003


The last panel of that is begging to be printed out and taped to my office door.
posted by Prospero at 10:48 AM on October 17, 2003


Now, it is transparently obvious that we should give everyone a guaranteed minimum income and a comprehensive set of social insurances.

ROU, are you being sarcastic, because I am unfamiliar with F.A. Hayek ever making such a claim.

Oh, and yes, I am aware of the parallels between the cartoon and the Bush administration, which is part of why I posted it.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:05 AM on October 17, 2003


The US economy doesn't operate as a co-ordinated economy.

Nonsense: our large corporations coordinate the best legislation money can buy!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:09 AM on October 17, 2003 [1 favorite]


Heh. Nice that this was produced by GM. After all, "what's good for GM is good for the country," right?
posted by soyjoy at 11:15 AM on October 17, 2003


ROU, are you being sarcastic, because I am unfamiliar with F.A. Hayek ever making such a claim.

I'm not being remotely sarcastic. It's directly in the text of TRtS. He even describes it as being more-or-less obvious that we should do it.

It's still under copyright, so I can't find an etext of it anywhere, but if you google for hayek + guaranteed income, you'll find lots of links, some of which even seem reputable.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:39 AM on October 17, 2003


From the text link -

"It is characteristic that both in Germany and in Italy the success of fascism was preceded by the refusal of the socialist parties to take over the responsibilities of government."

Can't say anything about Italy, but according to William L. Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", the Social Democrats never had a majority, so taking over completely was impossible.

"There are three main reasons why such a numerous group, with fairly similar views, is not likely to be formed by the best but rather by the worst elements of any society. First, the higher the education and intelligence of individuals become, the more their tastes and views are differentiated. If we wish to find a high degree of uniformity in outlook, we have to descend to the regions of your moral and intellectual standards where the more primitive instincts prevail.

Which is why political and other forms of violence are more common in poor countries than rich ones, right? If they have uniformity in outlook, why are they fighting?

Yes, many of the lower classes supported Hitler - but that only took him so far. He didn't actually get power until he persuaded the military and the major business people that he wouldn't upset things too much - (man, were they wrong about that!)

Conclusion - the rabble aren't that dangerous by themselves - but once the pillars of society lend their power to a movement the rabble supports, watch out!

"They who cry loudest for a planned economy are most completely under the sway of the ideas which have created this war and most of the evils from which we suffer.

Like Henry Ford? Charles Lindbergh? The Republicans that were taking campaign contributions from German fronts? Oh, wait, they weren't calling for socialism, were they?

I'm not pro-socialist myself, but this is pretty bad history.
posted by pyramid termite at 2:59 PM on October 17, 2003


hayek + guaranteed income

there's also milton friedman + NIT :D

i guess hidden deep within the hearts of austrian and chicago economists lies the dark desire for income redistribution!
posted by kliuless at 4:40 PM on October 18, 2003


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