In the Category of Sentences that Are True on Many Days . . .

by Kevin D. Williamson

. . . Francis Fukuyama is wrong about this:

Hayek made the slipperiest of slippery slope arguments: the smallest move toward the expansion of government would lead to a cascade of bad consequences that would result in full-blown authoritarian socialism. If anything, however, the history of the past 50 years shows us that the slippery slope has all sorts of ledges and handholds by which we can brake our descent into serfdom and indeed climb back up. Voters in the United States and Europe took seriously the arguments about the dangers of big government and reversed course after the 1980s. Indeed, the pendulum swung so far backward that financial markets were left dangerously unregulated prior to the financial crisis.

Hayek had a pretty good working definition of a public good, and he distinguished between socialism and the welfare state. (Public goods? Socialism? Welfare states? That reminds me of something.) What Hayek feared was central planning; a liberal in the true and best sense of that word, he was fairly comfortable with various social-welfare measures, e.g.: “Subsidies are a legitimate tool of public policy . . . as a means of using the market to provide services which cannot be confined to those who individually pay for them.” Fukuyama oversimplifies Hayek to the point of unrecognizability. Memo to Fukuyama: The market for cartoon versions of Hayek is competitive; you’re going to have to do better.

He’s also wrong about the “unregulated” nature of our financial markets

That being written, I’m looking forward to The Origins of Political Order, even though I prefer my orders spontaneous.

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