Monday, April 9, 2012

Hayek Proved Correct Again: The Worst Do Get on Top in Politics

Doug French explains Hayek's warning:

 F.A. Hayek famously argued in The Road to Serfdom, that in politics, the worst get on top, and outlined three reasons this is so. First, Hayek makes the point that people of higher intelligence have different tastes and views. So, as Hayek writes, “we have to descend to the regions of lower moral and intellectual standards where the more primitive instincts prevail,” to have uniformity of opinion. 
Second, those on top must “gain the support of the docile and gullible,” who are ready to accept whatever values and ideology is drummed into them. Totalitarians depend upon those who are guided by their passions and emotions rather than by critical thinking. 
Finally, leaders don’t promote a positive agenda, but a negative one of hating an enemy and envy of the wealthy. To appeal to the masses, leaders preach an “us” against “them” program. 
“Advancement within a totalitarian group or party depends largely on a willingness to do immoral things,” Hayek explains. “The principle that the end justifies the means, which in individualist ethics is regarded as the denial of all morals, in collectivist ethics becomes necessarily the supreme rule.”
Keep this in mind, when reading what Eric Margolis reports is going on in France right now.


  1. Could it be a little clearer to state the last reason like... The immoral (and intelligent) have an inherent advantage in a centralized and hierarchical power structure because they have more tools at their disposal to aid in their ascendency?

    In other words, they know about fighting dirty and are quick to do so?

  2. The immoral socio-path/psycho-paths who get to the top are willing to do Anything to get into their positions. That includes creating 'education' and propaganda systems which keep the rest of people in the dark. These tools are as important to them as the control of money, police, and armies.

  3. The septic tank theory of government: the biggest terd rises to the top.

  4. I think it's about honor. It's a forgotten virtue. In fact, it's denigrated in these times.

    I'm old school, schooled in the South, and I was taught what honor meant.

    Robert E, Lee personified honor. Lincoln - quite the opposite. I guess that makes me a racist somehow, even though Lee hated slavery and owned none, and Lincoln endorsed slavery and cherished Grant who DID own slaves.

    I guess what I'm saying is, Duty and Honor go together. In a healthy society, "public service", was your duty, and you performed that duty with honor. I think The Pauls are the only examples of that in this, our benighted age. (sigh)

  5. For $13 bucks, you can now order the 1977 "Firing Line" episode with Hayek as the guest.

    Hayek: You see, another political element was that, of course, politicians just lapped the argument and Keynes taught them if you outspend your income and run a deficit, you are doing good to the people in general. The politicians didn’t want to hear anything more than that -- to be told that irresponsible spending was a beneficial thing and that’s how the thing became so influential.

    That "brilliant" blogger of Social Democracy , the Imperious "Lord Keynes" responded:

    Yeah, that's Hayek the bitter old idiot re-writing history.

    Clearly, Hayek drew some blood.