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Back on the Road to Serfdom: The Resurgence of Statism Hardcover – January, 2011
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Leviathan is back
The threat of statism has reemerged in force. The federal government has seized on the economic crisis to radically expand its power—through bailouts, “stimulus” packages, a trillion-dollar health care plan, “jobs bills,” massive expansions of the money supply, and much more. But such interventionism did not suddenly materialize with the recent collapse. The dangerous trends of government growth, debt increases, encroachments on individual liberty, and attacks on the free market began years earlier and continued no matter which political party was in power.
This shift toward statism “will not end happily,” declares bestselling author Thomas E. Woods. In Back on the Road to Serfdom, Woods brings together ten top scholars to examine why the size and scope of government has exploded, and to reveal the devastating consequences of succumbing to the statist temptation.
Spanning history, economics, politics, religion, and the arts, Back on the Road to Serfdom shows: ul>•How government interventionism endangers America’s prosperity and the vital culture of entrepreneurship
•The roots of statism: from the seminal conflict between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton to the vast expansion of federal power in the twentieth century
•Why the standard explanation for the recent economic crisis is so terribly wrong—and why the government’s frenzied responses to the downturn only exacerbate the problems
•Why the European welfare state is not a model to aspire to but a disaster to be avoided
•How an intrusive state not only harms the economy but also imperils individual liberty and undermines the role of civil society
•The fatal flaws in the now-common arguments against free markets and free trade
•How big business is helping government pave the road to serfdom
•Why the Judeo-Christian tradition does not demand support for the welfare state, but in fact values the free market
•How the arrogance of government power extends even to the cultural realm—and how central planning is just as inefficient and destructive there
It’s been more than sixty-five years since F. A. Hayek published his seminal work The Road to Serfdom. Now this impeccably timed book provides another desperately needed warning about—and corrective to—the dangers of statism.
About the Author
Thomas E. Woods Jr., Ph.D., is the New York Times bestselling author of Meltdown and The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, among other books. He holds a bachelors degree in history from Harvard and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. A recipient of the Templeton Enterprise Award and the O. P. Alford III Prize for Libertarian Scholarship, he is a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
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These are centers of serfdom - whether in the United States, Honduras or China, and what they desperately need is a little bit of Statism - Just Laws to regulate the economy and free these economc slaves from their serfdom.
The book is a hodgepodge of facts, figures and crying in the milk for an economy free of regulation by Just Laws or Supreme Court decisions that eat into the profits of conscience-less "Entrepreneurs". The theme of the book is the constant and oft-repeated complaint of the practitioners of Austrian Economics - with the vocal and vociferous support of the Acton Institute - of trying to turn back the clock - to an economy completely in the hands of "Entrepreneurs". We have seen that kind of an economy before and that hope was destroyed by Supreme Court decisions in Muller v. Oregon and United States v. Darby Lumber Company - and a host of others.
The blurb on the back of the book repeats the assertion that the government in this country is the real enemy of the economy, an illusion denied by Thomas Piketty in his recent book, with this plea: "I would like to see justice achieved effectively and efficientlly under the rule of law, which should apply equally to all - and derive from universally understood statutes subject to democratic debate".
The economic problem is not with the State, but with the Market itself and the practitioners of a "Market" economy - -who use and play the Market for their own personal profit and social advantage. The book is really a cry-baby plea for more autonomy for those practitioners, who are willing to put millions into a different kind of serfdom, with no accountability to anyone but themselves.
It may be a consummation devoutly to be wished, but ours is a government of laws, not of men. There is no aristocracy of wealth in this country and this book is a feeble attempt to create one.
Father Clifford Stevens
Archdiocese of Omaha
This book of essays edited by Thomas E. Woods Jr. revisits, and updates, a theme first presented by F.A. Hayek in 1944. That theme, of course, is the hypothesis that collectivism and central planning on the part of a Nation-State will ultimately degenerate into some form of totalitarianism. Hayek, writing from wartime England, drew his argument from a comparison of the Western English-speaking Nations, i.e. England, its Commonwealth members, and the USA to the then existing scourges of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the Communist USSR. His arguments are well-founded, brilliantly executed and still relevant.
Woods, and his selected essayists, writing in 2010, take Hayek's principles to heart and turn their attention inward to the economic/political aspect of today's USA. That the Nation-States of the Western World have relentlessly, over the past 50-years, marched down the path to socialism and the embrace of collectivist-central planning concepts is unfortunately all too evident. Examples of that trend are presented from a number of European socialist oriented welfare States and particularly applied to the welfare/warfare policies that exist within the Pax Americanus Empire.
Back on the Road to Serfdom is a call for an intense re-examination of where this course will take us if not soon corrected.
A reading or re-reading of Hayek's original The Road to Serfdom is suggested as being beneficial for an understanding of how we have arrived at this point and leads us to consider what could be a hellish style destination.
R. David Read
February 13, 2011
This book gets 5 stars from me because Tom Woods is a great scholar and writer.
I am sure I would give it 5 stars if I read it.