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Posted: 1/21/2013 4:51:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/21/2013 5:13:17 PM EDT by Lawyerman]
In light of so much recent rhetoric regarding "now is the time for action" and along with the widespread discussion of the legislature as broken and unable to act reminded me of this passage from The Road to Serfdom. Thought it might be a nice teaser for those considering reading this great book.

We must here [pause for a moment to reconsider] the position which precedes the suppression of democratic institutions and the creation of a totalitarian regime. In this stage it is the general demand for quick and determined government action that is the dominating element in the situation, dissatisfaction with the slow and cumbersome course of democratic procedure which makes action for action's sake the goal. It is then the man or the party who seem strong and resolute enough "to get things done" who exercised the greatest appeal. "Strong" in this sense means not merely a numerical majority... What they will seek is somebody with such solid support as to inspire confidence that he can carry out whatever he wants.

Edit: put the quoted text in italics for clarity...

Link Posted: 1/21/2013 4:54:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/21/2013 4:55:12 PM EDT by CarbineDad]
Deep Man

Hayak in GD will go quite well. And a good quote
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 4:56:03 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 4:56:52 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:01:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/21/2013 5:02:07 PM EDT by EasTexan]
I literally cried after the first three chapters of The Road to Serfdom...

Hayek beautifully wrote how mankind ignorantly rebelled against the very economic system that made them so prosperous for the first time human history. When you understand the impact of that behavior on mankind, you see the world as it really is today.

Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:03:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/21/2013 5:03:31 PM EDT by BlueJames]
Can we get some of his cousin Salma in here too?
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:04:51 PM EDT
I thought this was about SELMA Hayek!
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:07:13 PM EDT
Originally Posted By HighLighter:
I thought this was about SELMA Hayek!

You're part of what I see as wrong with America.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:09:57 PM EDT
CarbineDad - Yeah, not your typical GD fare... but what the heck. To borrow from the cry of the gun-grabbers "if it can save just one mind..." I dig that wild-haired smiley!

DoubleFeed - In my copy, this appears on page 159 (in the chapter entitled "Why the Worst Get On Top"). I've had that page dog-eared (along with a few other such pages) since I first read the book. Seems more salient every day.

Link Posted: 1/21/2013 5:22:30 PM EDT
I'm not trying to hijack, but that passage instantly reminded me of this:

Hitler's movement is called a youth movement and during the first months of the Nazi rule, while I was in Germany, this certainly seemed to be true. The streets of every city swarmed with brown shirts, echoed to the sound of marching men and Hitler songs: there were parades, monster mass meetings, celebrations of all kinds, day in and day out. The swastika flag flipped from every building. In Frankfurt-on-Main where I had spent, years ago, delightful student days, I went to the beautiful Römer Platz, only to find it unrecognizable, its lovely buildings hidden under fifty-three Nazi banners. Rathenau Square had been changed to Horst Wessel Square, for Wessel, the young organizer of storm detachments in the slums of Berlin, who died at the hands of Communists, is the new hero of Germany...

To understand Hitler's enormous success with the young we must understand what life has meant to the post-war generation in Germany, not only the children of the poor but of the middle class as well. They were children during the years of the war when the food blockade kept them half starved, when fathers were away at the front and mothers distracted with the effort to keep their families fed. They came to manhood in a country which seemed to have no use for them. Even compulsory military training was no more and there was nothing to take its place...

...A settlement worker told me that she knew families in which the children had come to manhood without ever realizing the connection between work and food. They had never had work, and food had come scantily and grudgingly from some government agency.

To these idle, hopeless youths two stirring calls to action came-one from the Communists, the other from Hitler, and to both of them German youths responded. Both appealed to hatred, both held out an ideal of a changed Germany, but Hitler's propaganda was cleverer than the Communists', because his program is narrower, more concrete. The Communist is internationally mined, his brothers are all over the world, his ideal State embraces all lands. Hitler repudiates internationalism; he is against all who are not German; his ideal State is a self-contained Germany, an object of fear to all her neighbors. The Communist is taught to hate class, the capitalistic, the Hitlerite to hate each individual Jew. Many young Communists were brought under the banner of Hitler by appeals to national pride and race antagonism, but also by the ideal of a united Germany without class hatred.

Hitler made each insignificant, poverty-stricken, jobless youth of the slums feel himself one of the great of the earth, since the youth was a German, a Nordic, far superior to the successful Jew who was to be driven out of office and counting house to make place for the youth and his like. Hitler told the young men that the fate of Germany was in their hands, that if they joined his army they would battle with the Communists for the streets, they would capture the government, deliver Germany from the Versailles treaty and then sweep triumphantly over the borders to reconquer Germany's lost land. He put them into uniforms, he taught them to march and sing together, he aroused the sense of comradeship and esprit de corps so precious to the young, and gave them what is even more precious-an object for hero worship. Life suddenly took on meaning and importance, with the call to danger, sacrifice, even death.

Among the hundreds of thousands who make up the audiences at Hitler's or Goebbels's meetings, and who seem to an outsider to be carried away by a kind of mass hysteria, there are many who are actuated by real idealism, who long to give themselves unreservedly to the great vision of a resurgent Germany. Being young they are of course contemptuous of the slow and moderate methods of the republic; they are for action, quick, arrogant, ruthless.

But their program calls for a changed Germany, one purged of all selfishness and materialism. They repudiate liberalism, for that means to them capitalism, it means the profitmaking system, it means class distinctions, inequalities. The Germany the young are planning will have no division between the classes and will substitute the common good for individual profit. They really believe that Hitler will bring about a genuine socialism without class warfare and this part of their program is highly idealistic and fine, but, as to be expected, it is mixed with the intolerance of youth, it calls for the forcible repression of opposition within the country and a battling front to be present to the outside world...

-Alice Hamilton: The Youth Who are Hitler's Strength.
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 7:25:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Flamicane:
I'm not trying to hijack, but that passage instantly reminded me of this:


-Alice Hamilton: The Youth Who are Hitler's Strength.

Had not come across her writing on the subject before, but it seems to me to be in line with Hayek's own opinion on the rise of Naziism. Unfortunately, any comparison to the Nazis is too likely to fall on deaf ears nowadays. Let me turn to another dog-eared page in my copy of The Road to Serfdom where Hayek points out the problem of people ignoring the Nazi example all the way back in the 1940s. He says:

Probably it is true that the very magnitude of the outrages committed by the totalitarian governments, instead of increasing the fear that such a system might one day arise in more enlightened countries, has rather strengthened the assurance that it cannot happen here. When we look to Nazi Germany, the gulf which separates us seems so immense that nothing that happens there can possess relevance for any possible development here... But let us not forget that fifteen years ago the possibility of such a thing's happening in Germany would have appeared just as fantastic, not only to nine-tenths of the Germans themselves, but also to the most hostile foreign observers (however wise they may now pretend to have been).
Link Posted: 1/21/2013 7:55:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/21/2013 7:56:26 PM EDT by disco_jon75]
Originally Posted By HighLighter:
I thought this was about SELMA Hayek!

Not if she brings snakes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYxxgvA8rlM

Yes if she wears this outfit. At 1:19 she admits to not actually liking snakes.
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