Posted by: Dr Churchill | June 18, 2014

On this Anniversary of Waterloo — Let’s think Liberty

Am quite ambivalent of which ideological side to claim as Victorious in the battle of Waterloo but in popular culture there is no argument that in recognition of Napoleon’s defeat on the bloody battlefield in Belgium near Brussels; “to meet one’s Waterloo” has entered the colloquial language as a phrase signifying a great test with a final and decisive outcome – generally one resulting in failure and proving vincibility for something or someone who had seemed unbeatable.

So for my purposes and respecting my allegiance to friends and colleagues on both sides of the channel on this anniversary of the battle of Waterloo — I’d like to invite all of us to think of Democracy and Liberty. And this thought is largely due to the fact that am participating in the Liberty 2014 conference in London that stands as #Liberty2014 in the digital sphere. And am also immersed in London Tech Week that allows me to look at the great concepts of our Age through the lens of the modern cutting edge era.

And as the shared economy grows on one end — so the backclash reverbates and the Democratic deficit is increasing across the world today.

Liberty is again under attack and thus am reminded of the very reason why the rise of Individual rights, Human Rights, and Civil Rights, is undisputably the Winner of the conflict of Waterloo. As both sides lost their thin veneer of claim to divine rule, the legitimacy of the State lost ground and the concept of individual Liberty, Freedom, and Parliamentary Democracy, came to the front.

This is evoked because after all major conflicts, the re-examination of the Social Contract leads to a new settlement, and a new Equilibrium in Society. So the bigger the battle — the bigger the movement of the needle. And thus the Battle of Waterloo indeed moved things forth in a very big way. Both England and France benefited mightily and today’s advances in Shared Economy and Technology represent another Waterloo for old Statist influences albeit the Governing oppressors around the world have not yet felt the ground shifting under their feet. That the tremors will come soon is certain. Whether there will be any of them left in a few years is highly uncertain…

So again in my usual time travel sequence I bring the clock forward to the other Big War, the Second World War that was nearing the end when an otherwise unknown economist wrote a seminal book that really didn’t have much truck with the war, but had everything to do with the ideology that brought about the war. The National Socialists of Germany under Adolf Hitler as modern day barbarians destroyed and rearranged Europe in ways reminiscent of Napoleon but without the positive aspects nor the vastly civilizing influence of the Bonaparte.

So the unassuming economist Hayek came into the world stage with a small book named: “The Road to Serfdom” and this book does justice to its monumental status in the history of the Human Struggle against Totalitarianism.

It is Hayek’s spirit that helps us all in the battle against the history of State oppression and in our struggle for Freedom and Liberal ideas, with open Minds. Hayek’s book: The Road to Freedom, was a surge of Free people / free markets, capitalist ideas that are singularly responsible for launching an important debate on the relationship between the state and the individual where political and economic freedoms are concerned.

All of You, who know me as a champion of Freedom and Liberty — and there is a clear distinction between the two — inevitably recognize the Hayek spirit in my work. But what You don’t recognize is that equality and equanimity are central themes of my struggle as well. I don’t believe in unbridled market forces but in Free and Open Markets same as in Free and Open Societies and above all else I believe in Free and Open individuals reaching their potential in Democratic Societies where the are at Liberty to reach their potential in an environment of Freedom, Hope and Opportunity.

Equality of Opportunity is foremost in my mind when I bring the aftermath of the Second World War and the Free Speech of Hayek towards the Liberty of Equal Rights for All people when I say this: Freedom, Liberty, and Democracy, are the rights we won after the bloody Second World War and the terrible toll in lives, that the National Socialists brought to the world — by wanting to enforce a faulty ideology to our world and to our Peoples.

On “The Road to Serfdom” is a stop gap book written by the Austrian-born economist and philosopher Friedrich von Hayek (1899–1992) between 1940–1943, in which he “warned of the danger of tyranny that inevitably results from government control of economic decision-making through central planning”, and where he argues that the abandonment of individualism and classical liberalism inevitably leads to a loss of freedom, the creation of an oppressive society, the tyranny of a dictator and the serfdom of the individual.

Hayek challenged the general view among his era’s academics that fascism was a capitalist reaction against socialism, instead arguing that fascism, national socialism, and socialism — all had common roots in central economic planning and the power of the state over the individual.

On that note, Hayek became an important influence in the post war Democracy, Liberty, and Open Market/Open minds world debate. And the book set a new standard for what it means to be a dissident in a world of intellectual conformity. It collected around it a new breed of Liberty minded philosophers, economists and politicos. They gathered and huddled together in early Think tanks,and Don rooms in Oxford and Cambridge, same as they did in Princeton and Harvard, and they all exchanged notes and found the movement as a blast of fresh air to warm their hearts and allow them to breathe. The new adherents to Liberty saw far and were able to detect the negative trends after the war and raised their voice and warned of a new form of despotism coming up. They saw this State Oppression as enacted after the war in the name of liberation. And though this book appeared in 1944, at the tail end of the war it was to have it’s remarkable impact felt mostly today, because no modern thinker can consider himself well-schooled in modern Economics, Policy, Social and Political ideas, without having absorbed its lessons.

What Hayek saw, and what most all his contemporaries missed, was that every step away from the free minds & free markets; toward central government planning and state controls, represents a grave loss of individual Liberty. Statism clearly brings a compromise of human freedom generally and is unquestioningly a step toward a form of dictatorship. This is absolutely true in all times and in all places of human history. We’ve seen it in ancient times and we see it today. Yet there is a balance to be had in order to run the state. And that is the true search for the Holy Grail. Hayek in my mind, and history bears this out — demonstrated rather well, this argument against every claim that government control was really only a means of increasing social well-being.

He clearly demonstrated that government planning would make society less liveable, more brutal, more despotic. State sponsored Socialism in all its forms is contrary to freedom and Liberty.

Nazism, or otherwise scientifically called National Socialism — he wrote, is not different in kind from Communism. Furthermore, he showed that the very forms of government that England and America were supposedly fighting abroad were being enacted at home, if under a different guise. Corporate Oligarchy, concentration of power, and Lobby Corruption, he said, are further steps down this road that can only end in the abolition of effective liberty for everyone. And so is the industrial military complex that leads us to war … a weed that destroys the garden of Liberty, Freedom and Democracy — where far too many people have sacrificed their lives to have the flowers of Liberty blossom tenfold.

Capitalism, he wrote, is the only system of economics compatible with human dignity, prosperity, and liberty. To the extent we move away from that system, we empower the worst people in society to manage what they do not understand.

I trust that you would agree upon re-reading the book “The Road to Serfdom” that the beauty of this book is it’s ideas that not only offer analysis but a debating society style of discourse which is unrelenting and passionate. Even today, the book remains a source of controversy and I’ve often used it to bolster my rhetoric style and win debate after debate over the years.

And I win the debates because all the Statists, Socialists, pseudo-humanitarians, Communists, and all those who imagine themselves to be against dictatorship, yet want to micromanage Society — cannot abide Hayek’s argument, or my rhetoric and leadership practice. Yet my opponents never stop attempting to refute me… All in vain… As for the Statists — they hate my guts… But that’s another ball of wax.

Some other Social extremists on the other end of the spectrum, deep conservatives of the foggy bottom, also find themselves disappointed with Hayek, claimed that He did not go far enough, and made too many compromises in the course of his arguments…

They prove my point that wingnuts on both sides of the political divide, staying clear away from the golden middle are just that. Nuts.

But that is the genius of Hayek and our small group of Liberty and Democracy fighters. Nobody is fully satisfied with his explanation and serene observation of the incoming serfdom of the citizen and yet when you see the NSA having the biggest budget than any other agency of the state of the US it fully illuminates the point. And that makes me think that He was just right. A very Solomon like approach to Economics and Politics is what we need today to parse the needs and wants, the gets and gives of all segments of the political and socio-economic spectrum.

Still for, anyone who loves liberty this is a gospel book and one cannot but feel a sense of gratitude that this book exists and remains an important part of the current debate today that we celebrate the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo and we remember Liberty as the suffering quality in each and every conflict that pits state against state.

Someday we’ll learn this lesson in Europe and we’ll stop fighting but I don’t see this happening in our lifetime.

Yours,
Pano

PS:

Hayek served humanity with this work of thought and inspiration, offering it to a world that desperately needed to hear its message, after a devastating and destabilizing World War and also today where we are building resilience to avoid falling in the same ditch that brought about the serious imbalances that caused the two worldwide Wars of attrition.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: