The Ominous Parallels

December 13, 2011 10:15

Readers of Austrian economics are familiar with these problems. Warnings began virtually with the inception of the study of human nature. For the Austrians, whether you date that as the Spanish Scholastics or Carl Menger, the benefits of freedom were clear. So were the inefficiencies and cruelties of authority when freedom was constrained.

Hayek, Rothbard, Mises and others outlined where bad policies inevitably lead. Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom” is the most popular book for layman, and it was published three-quarters of a century ago. Mises warned much earlier than that, in his monumental work, “Socialism” in 1920. He continued to warn until his death in 1973.

Hans Herman Hoppe and the late Murray Rothbard became more contemporary “Paul Revere’s” for freedom and liberty.

Ayn Rand, not an economist but a philosopher, enlightened millions through her fiction. “Atlas Shrugged” is alleged to be the only book that comes close to the bible in terms of readership. One of Rand’s disciples, Leonard Peikoff, published a less well-known book in 1982 entitled “The Ominous Parallels.” The subtitle was “The End of Freedom in America.”

Most readers are not familiar with this work, but it applies to what is happening today. While it was written and relevant thirty years ago, it is more so today. To determine whether you might want to read this book, the late Roy Childs overview may save you some time. Childs’ review quotes Ayn Rand from the introduction:

It will bring order into the chaos of today’s events

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