On Labor Day, it seems only appropriate to post John Stossel's show on The Road to Serfdom. With the dramatic growth in government in the Bush and Obama administrations and the increasing encroachment of government on the lives and rights of individuals, the topic seems timely.
The Road to Serfdom is a book written by the Austrian-born economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek between 1940–1943, in which he "warned of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning," and in which he argues that the abandonment of individualism, classical liberalism, and freedom inevitably leads to socialist or fascist oppression and tyranny and the serfdom of the individual. Significantly, Hayek challenged the general view among British academics that fascism was a capitalist reaction against socialism, instead arguing that fascism and socialism had common roots in central economic planning and the power of the state over the individual.
The Road to Serfdom is among the most influential and popular expositions of classical liberalism and libertarianism, and remains a popular and influential work in contemporary discourse, selling over two million copies, and remaining a best-seller.
I encourage people to read Hayek's book and not just take the summary of his ideas from this show. I find it disturbing that so many people today look to government to solve their problems rather than taking matters into their own hands. If government has proven anything over the past 110 years as their spending has increased from 7% of GDP in 1910 to 35% of GDP in 2010, the more money they spend to solve problems, the more problems they create that require additional monies to solve. It is a never ending upward spiral toward the Road to Serfdom.
Grouch: I ask my readers, just how much of your hard earned dollars does the government deserve to take? What percentage of GDP should government consume? What if any programs should the government abolish to reduce deficit spending? Do we already have de facto Handicapper Generals in government? If you receive any government benefits what would you be willing to give up? All I can think of that I personally receive for my tax dollars is road maintenance, public schools, police protection, and the protection of the US Military.... I contribute to our volunteer fire department out of my own pocket. I pay a hefty tax bill and certainly don't receive a corresponding set of benefits.