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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Julia’s Road to Serfdom

“A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers. — Fredrich August von Hayek

In the feudal system there was the aristocracy (masterminds) and the rest of the people (serfs). The serfs owned nothing and all was controlled by the aristocracy who were aligned with the king. The aristocracies were those who supported the king with their treasure — a treasure built on the backs of the serfs.

If you were a serf, as most people were, you owned nothing. You had little or no control over your life or family. You had no say in how the aristocracy ran things and if you railed against them you would be punished to the extent of losing your status on the land and even your life.

You worked the land designated to you by the feudal lord or in the shops or factories owned by him. You were given a place to live and a stipend from the feudal lord in the form of monetary remuneration or a few bushels of grain from your farming efforts. In essence you had no inalienable rights to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. Of course there were the “good” kings of Plato and the kind and humane lords, but they were still the lords and masterminds that men like John Locke, Montesquieu, and Bastiat wrote about.

This changed in the Western World with the formation of the United States and its Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Men like Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, and Mason knew that such a system was wrong and immoral. It was against nature and God’s law of nature. Men should not be serfs beholding to the masterminds — they should be equal in the eyes of the law and have equal rights with every other man or woman. They should not be beholden to any other man or government for their life, liberty or property.

In 1944 the Nobel Prize winning economist Friedrich August Hayek wrote a book entitled The Road to Serfdom. Hayek, was an economist andFriedrich_Hayek_portrait philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism. In 1974, Hayek shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (with his political rival, Gunnar Myrdal) for his "pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and.penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena." He considered the efficient allocation of capital to be the most important factor leading to sustainable and optimal GDP growth, and warned of harms from monetary authority manipulation of interest rates. Interest rates should be set naturally by equilibrium between consumption of goods or capital stock.

Hayek is considered to be a major economist and political philosopher of the twentieth century. Along with his mentor Ludwig von Mises, he was an important contributor to the Austrian school of economic thought. Hayek's account of how changing prices communicate information which enable individuals to coordinate their plans is widely regarded as an important achievement in economics. He also contributed to the fields of systems thinking, jurisprudence, neuroscience and the history of ideas.

Hayek served in World War I and said that his experience in the war and his desire to help avoid the mistakes that had led to the war led him to his career. Hayek lived in Austria, Great Britain, the United States and Germany, and became a British subject in 1938. He spent most of his academic life at the London School of Economics (LSE), the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg.

In 1984, he was appointed as a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for his "services to the study of economics." He also received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 from president George H. W. Bush. In 2011, his article The Use of Knowledge in Society was selected as one of the top 20 articles published in the American Economic Review during its first 100 years. He died in 1992.

For years The Road to Serfdom was widely read by students of economics, but little known by the general public. At the Conservative Party Conference of 1966 Margaret Thatcher criticized the high-tax policies of the Labour Government as being steps "not only towards Socialism, but towards Communism.” It was at this conference she rose and held Hayek’s book above her head and shouted out to assembled Conservative Party politicians that this is the road map we should be following in Great Britain. This outburst pushed Thatcher to the leadership of the party and eventually to the position of Prime Minister.

Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom was written 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 market libertarianism and remains a popular and influential work in contemporary discourse, selling over two million copies, and remaining a best-seller.

The Road to Serfdom was to be the popular edition of the second volume of Hayek’s treatise entitled “The Abuse and Decline of Reason,” and the title was inspired by the writings of the 19th century French classical liberal thinker Alexis de Tocqueville on the “road to servitude.” The book was first published in Britain by Routledge in March 1944, during World War II, and was quite popular, leading Hayek to call it “that unobtainable book,” also due in part to wartime paper rationing. It was published in the United States by the University of Chicago Press in September 1944 and achieved great popularity. At the arrangement of editor Max Eastman, the American magazine Reader's Digest published an abridged version in April 1945, enabling The Road to Serfdom to reach a wider popular audience beyond academics.

The Road to Serfdom has had a significant impact on twentieth century conservative and libertarian economic and political discourse and is often cited today by commentators. It is one on the most downloaded books from the Internet as more and more Americans are becoming familiar with the writings of men like Hayek, von Misses, Hazlitt, and Bastiat.

In the video shown below you can substitute the word Masterminds for Planners.

The Road to Serfdom in 5 minutes

You can watch this video on YouTube by clicking here.

"Barack Obama has a new composite girlfriend, and her name is Julia. Her story is told in an interactive feature titled 'The Life of Julia' on the Obama campaign website. As a toddler, she's in a head-start program. Skip ahead to 17, and she's enrolled at a Race to the Top high school. Her 20s are very active: She gets surgery and free birth control through ObamaCare regulations, files a lawsuit under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and pays off her student loans at a low interest rate. We get updates at age 31, 37 and 42 — and then the narrative skips ahead 23 years when she enrolls in Medicare. Two years later, she's on Social Security, at which point she can die at any time. Nothing happens to Julia between 42 and 65. That period includes the typical peak earning years — the time at which, assuming Julia is gainfully employed, she will be paying the biggest price for 'Obama's' generosity. The most shocking bit of the Obama story is that Julia apparently never marries. She simply 'decides' to have a baby, and Obama uses other people's money to help her take care of it. In 1999 Lionel Tiger coined the word 'bureaugamy' to refer to the relationship between officially impoverished mothers of illegitimate children and the government. 'The Life of Julia' is an insidious attack on the institution of the family, an endorsement of bureaugamy even for middle-class women."

In this cartoon slide show the Obama-Biden team takes the viewer through the life of Julia from the cradle to the grave. It begins when Julia is three-years old and is enrolled in a Head Start program to help get her ready for school.

At Age 17 Julia takes the SAT and is on track to start her college applications. Her high school is part of the Race to the Top program, implemented by President Obama. Of course after trillions of dollars have been spent by the federal on education our test scores have remained flat.

At age 18 Under President Obama: As she prepares for her first semester of college, Julia and her family qualify for President Obama's American Opportunity Tax Credit—worth up to $10,000 over four years. Julia is also one of millions of students who receive a Pell Grant to help put a college education within reach. Of course no mention is made of the thousands of dollars in student loans that will be like a millstone around Julia’s neck for her overpriced degree.

At age 22 during college, Julia undergoes surgery. It is thankfully covered by her insurance due to a provision in health care reform that lets her stay on her parents' coverage until she turns 26. Of course if ObamaCare is overturned this will never happen. No mention is made of the free birth control Julia will receive so she can enjoy a life of free sex without consequences.

At age 27 for the past four years, Julia has worked full-time as a web designer. Thanks to ObamaCare, her health insurance is required to cover birth control and preventive care, letting Julia focus on her work rather than worry about her health and having babies

At age 37 Julia's son Zachary starts kindergarten. The public schools in their neighborhood have better facilities and great teachers because of President Obama's investments in education and programs like Race to the Top.

At age 42 Julia starts her own web business. She qualifies for a Small Business Administration loan, giving her the money she needs to invest in her business. President Obama's tax cuts for small businesses like Julia's help her to get started. She's able to hire employees, creating new jobs in her town and helping to grow the local economy.

At age 65 Julia enrolls in Medicare, helping her to afford preventive care and the prescription drugs she needs. Of course by the time Julia 65 Medicare will be bankrupt and government health care will be rationed.

At age 67 Julia retires. After years of contributing to Social Security, she receives monthly benefits that help her retire comfortably, without worrying that she'll run out of savings. This allows her to volunteer at a community garden.

As you can see by this scenario Julia will in essence be a ward of the state and nothing better than a modern day serf dependent on he government for her life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

There is an alternative scenario for Julia, called A Better Life for Julia, proposed by conservatives at the Heritage Foundation. It goes something like this:

At Age 3 Julia will be happy three-year old unburdened by the federal government. She will not be $50,000 in debt the day she is born, and her parents will have access to private preschool providers of their choice.

At age 17 with conservative reforms Julia isn’t stuck with a one size-fits-all Common Core national standards and was able, because of robust school choice, to attend a school with a curriculum tailored to her unique needs and future career goals.

At age 18 Julia will be able to go to an innovative college that controls costs and fits her budget, qualifications, and career goals thanks to reforms that encourage savings for college instead of driving students into debt.

At Age 22 during her college, Julia undergoes surgery. After the repeal of ObamaCare she, and her family, are eligible for tax credits to purchase a health insurance plan they choose and own that fits their needs. They are also protected by a new Medicare safety net that allows states to pursue high-quality, innovative care if she needs it.

At age 23 Julia will be able to choose a job that rewards her performance without government interference, even if she wants to help build the Keystone Pipeline or airplanes in South Carolina. She will live in a Right to Work state, and not be forced to pay union dues, unless she desires to do so.

At age 27 Julia takes a job as an administrator at a Catholic school. After the repeal of ObamaCare Julia and her colleagues are free to choose a health care plan that meets their needs and matches their values, rather than the school facing fines for keeping health coverage consistent with its religious teaching.

At age 31 when Julia becomes a mother, she will not be tethered to a government or employer health care plan, so she can choose the coverage best suited for her maternity, her child’s pediatric years and her growing family needs.

At age 37 when Julia’s son Zachary starts kindergarten she will have the freedom to choose her son’s school. He will not be stuck in a broke system and will have a brighter future.

At age 42 Julia starts her own business. With a flatter tax system, reduced barriers to investment, and more transparent regulations, Julia can focus on growing her business and hiring others.

At age 65 Julia gets the freedom to choose a health care plan that best fits Julia, whether that’s Medicare’s fee for service plan or a private health plan. And new protections ensure that she cannot be bankrupted by medical bills.

At age 67 Julia retires with a healthy nest egg because of the reformed tax code incentivized her to save, and she opted for a personal retirement savings account. A stronger Social Security program is still in place to provide true insurance protection and supplement her income if she needs it.

While the Heritage Foundation’s plan for Julia is not the best, it is a step in the right direction and far better than the Obama Plan.

Hayek said:

“Even the striving for equality by means of a directed economy can result only in an officially enforced inequality - an authoritarian determination of the status of each individual in the new hierarchical order.”

He also stated:

“Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one's government is not necessarily to secure freedom.”

Both of these statements are relative to where we are today. No doubt millions will vote for the Obama-Biden plan this November with the belief that more government largess will be beneficial to their lives without giving thought to what it will do to their freedom. Equality of results is not the same as equality of opportunity — something our founders bequeath to us.

For almost 100 years we have been living in a nation dominated by the planning of our betters — the masterminds. Every plan they devise fails and their response is that they need more money and time to make their progressive schemes work. They never do.

Obama’s Julia will live in serfdom for the rest of her life. The serfdom may not be as harsh and cruel as the serfdom of yesteryear, but it will still be serfdom. The more she depends on government the more power government will have over her life. Yes she may think she has security but she must remember that what government gives it can take away.

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