Milestones on the Road to Serfdom
Linking to an illustrated Road to Serfdom, Instapundit Glenn Reynolds conveys a reader’s question about what page we’re currently on. Of course, one must take into consideration, as Michael Ledeen does, that American fascism is likely to have some significant differences in character from that described by Hayek, but I’d suggest that we’re somewhere around pages eight and nine. (Sadly, that assessment includes both Republicans and Democrats in the category of “planners.”)
This paragraph, from Ledeen, struck an uncomfortable chord for me, having recently observed many state and local “leaders” casting their eyes to Washington for salvation:
The metaphor of a parent maintaining perpetual control over his child is the language of contemporary American politics. All manner of new governmental powers are justified in the name of “the children,” from enhanced regulation of communications to special punishments for “hate speech;” from the empowerment of social service institutions to crack down on parents who try to discipline their children, to the mammoth expansion of sexual quotas from university athletic programs to private businesses. Tocqueville particularly abhors such new governmental powers because they are Federal, emanating from Washington, not from local governments. He reminds us that when the central government asserts its authority over states and communities, a tyrannical shadow lurks just behind. So long as local governments are strong, he says, even tyrannical laws can be mitigated by moderate enforcement at the local level, but once the central government takes control of the entire structure, our liberties are at grave risk.
Any Rhode Island school committee member will complain of unfunded mandates from the feds. What they may not have considered is that, when the funding encompasses the entire enterprise, increasingly invasive mandates will follow. The same is true on the town side, as well.