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The New Road to Serfdom

November 1st, 2010 - 5:03 am

In case you need a little jolt before heading out to the polls tomorrow, I suggest you pick up a copy of Daniel Hannan’s The New Road to Serfdom: a Letter of Warning to America. Hannan, a British Member of the European Parliament for Southeastern England, has seen what happens when democratic countries travel down that road — what the increasing centralization of government power does to the buoyancy, inventiveness, and prosperity  of society — and he wants to warn his American friends not to make the same mistakes that Europe has.

Many readers will perhaps remember Hannan as the Scourge of Gordon Brown.   His verbal flaying of the former Prime Minister in Strasbourg last year was an internet hit. Brown is now an unpleasant memory, but  Hannan’s phillipic is still a delight, and a pertinent one at that:

Pretty nice, isn’t it? Hannan’s attack on the “racket” of the European Investment Bank, whose chief purpose, he suggested, was “the employment of its own employees” is equally refreshing.

As wend your way to the polls, wondering what folks like Barney Frank — and, who knows, maybe Barney Frank himself — are going to do in their sunset years, now that their lips have been  severed from the public teat, you will be glad to have Hannan’s prose echoing in your head.  I review The New Road to Serfdom this week in The Weekly Standard. It is, I write, “in equal parts a paean to ordered liberty and an admonition against the snares of central planning and rule by cadres of self-perpetuating elites.” My review is now online here.  My advice about the book? “Buy it. Read it. It will probably make you angry. It will certainly make you better informed about what is happening to America. And like the book from which it takes its title, F. A. Hayek’s 1944 masterpiece, The Road to Serfdom, Hannan’s book is essential intellectual equipment for Tea Partiers everywhere.”

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