Monday, March 14, 2016

WSJ on Why the Worst Get on Top

It must be the in-thing to read. I wonder why.

Tonight at Circle Rothbard here in San Francisco, we are going to be discussing chapter 10, Why the Worst Get on Top, from F.A. Hayek's book The Road to Serfdom.

The Wall Street Journal in today's Notable & Quotable section, quotes from the chapter:
From economist Friedrich Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” (1944):
It is in connection with the deliberate effort of the skillful demagogue to weld together a closely coherent and homogeneous body of supporters that the third and perhaps most important negative element of selection enters. It seems to be almost a law of human nature that it is easier for people to agree on a negative program—on the hatred of an enemy, on the envy of those better off—than on any positive task. The contrast between the “we” and the “they,” the common fight against those outside the group, seems to be an essential ingredient in any creed which will solidly knit together a group for common action. It is consequently always employed by those who seek, not merely support of a policy, but the unreserved allegiance of huge masses. From their point of view it has the great advantage of leaving them greater freedom of action than almost any positive program. The enemy, whether he be internal, like the “Jew” or the “kulak,” or external, seems to be an indispensable requisite in the army of a totalitarian leader.


  1. This is true of all politicians. Politics is about government and government's only tool to take action is its monopoly of the initiation of force. Without an enemy politicians are impotent. If an enemy doesn't exist they will create one. Don't enable politicians. Don't vote.

  2. Great to see my Hayek photo used again.

    Here's the story of the photo: