Friedrich Hayek


You don’t have to be an economist to appreciate Friedrich von Hayek’s legacy. He made one of the world’s greatest cases against the nanny state – that a government which values “the greater good” over personal and political freedoms will inevitably devolve into a totalitarian hellhole. He is more right every day.

The Friedrich Hayek Collection

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Friedrich von Hayek’s pioneering work in economics will never make him as famous as, say, “Snookie” from Jersey Shore. But if fame were based on influence and academic merit – and he hadn’t died in 1992 – then Hayek could still sell out Madison Square Garden with live readings of The Road to Serfdom.

Hayek believed a society could only prosper if driven by creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and that any social system which represses the gifted and ambitious is doomed to produce only misery at best. In the Soviet Union, which was the closest approximation of Hayek’s vision of hell ever achieved on Earth, people would risk life and limb just to buy copies of his books on the black market. The fall of the Iron Curtain was due in no small part to Hayek’s ideas.

Hayek was not an idealist to a fault. He did not, for example, assert that the kind of people who idolize Snookie would directly benefit from freedom of thought. You are not equipped to appreciate that freedom if you are incapable of thinking. He simply wished for Western democracies to cease putting fetters on their few exceptional citizens so that they might lead the way for the rest of the masses.

Hayek was not an absolute anarchist, either. He didn’t perceive the free market as some magic wand that could wave away all of society’s ills. His ideal government would play a limited role, serving its people in the few spheres where the free market doesn’t concern itself.

If you wish the government would stop promoting “the greater good” at the expense of impeding innovation and actual progress, or believe that collectivism shouldn’t be enforced by the tip of a bureaucrat’s pen, then Hayek is your boy.