I Never Knew Hayek Was a Socialist

But there are two kinds of security: the certainty of a given minimum of sustenance for all and the security of a given standard of life, of the relative position which one person or group enjoys compared with others.

There is no reason why, in a society which has reached the general level of wealth ours has, the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom; that is: some minimum of food, shelter and clothing, sufficient to preserve health. Nor is there any reason why the state should not help to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance in providing for those common hazards of life against which few can make adequate provision.

It is planning for security of the second kind which has such an insidious effect on liberty. It is planning designed to protect individuals or groups against diminutions of their incomes.

Let a uniform minimum be secured to everybody by all means; but let us admit at the same time that all claims for a privileged security of particular classes must lapse

[T]here is no incompatibility in principle between the state providing greater security in this way and the preservation of individual freedom.

There can be no question that adequate security against severe privation will have to be one of our main goals of policy (Hayek 1944).

Friedrich Hayek is the God of the “Austrian” Libertarians, the nuttiest of all, and The Road to Serfdom is his Bible. But if you actually read this monster book, it turns out that Hayek would be called a Communist by the teabaggers, Republicans, elites and corporations of today, since, anyone insisting on any minimum safety net is automatically a Communist. At the very least some kind of social democrat. Hayek was to the Left of Bill Clinton, who got rid of welfare. He’s to the Left of Barack Obama, who is busy trying to destroy Social Security.

It’s a sad day when they Hayeks are so reasonable that they’re nearly social democrats because the center has moved to the right of Hayek himself.

Of all of the Libertarian thinkers, the Austrians are considered the craziest and most dangerous of them all. Those lined up with the Austrians include the wildest of the Libertarians, including the fake anarchists known as anarcho-capitalists (I thought we had anarcho-capitalism already).

These people move beyond gutting all social spending and all normal government functions, selling off all roads, parks, forests, beaches, marine reserves, grasslands, etc. Supposedly, the gap in social spending will be taken up by charities, who will compete to see who can serve the poor better. LOL! Why would anyone get into the “business” of being a charity? For God’s sake, there’s no money to be made. It’s all just a money-loser. That right there just shows you how deranged Libertarians are.

Anyway, the Austrians go beyond. The want to get rid of state cops, fire departments and even courts. They will replace them with private cops and private firefighters. How these guys bill I will never figure out. Supposedly they will compete on how best they serve the public.

I guess the nice White suburbs can hardass Crack Down on Crime cops for their money, while the ghetto folks (How will they have the money to buy any cops?) will purchase the laid-back, Go Easy on the Criminals Cops, perfect for a criminal society. I assume at some point the private cop forces (Really warlordism) will inevitably shoot it out as private warlord cop armies and paramilitaries do all over the 3rd World. I suppose that’s all part of the anarcho-capitalism fun and games, dodging the bullets and all.

Fire departments? Competition once again? And how do they get paid? The perfect Republican way. Your house burns down, you not only over fork over for everything else you lost and buying everything new but you dish out another $20K for the bastards who fought your fire.

Of course, the longer the fire goes on, the more they make, so firefighters will drag out their battles with the flames. Since they get paid per fire fought, at some point, firefighters or the paramilitary gangs allied with them will go around torching places so they can get paid to fight the fires.

Courts? Why, we will have competition in the court system! Criminals will prefer the Get Out of Jail Free Court, while victims will prefer the Hang Em High Court. How they will sort this all out no one knows.

You buy and sell your leaders too. Kind like most capitalist societies already do, you know?

The environment will take care of itself, as it’s the evil state that wrecks the environment, not the naturophilic capitalist John Muir-Rachel Carson types.

Some advocate getting rid of all laws, which leaves it an open question why you would need cops. Some guy just shot your family? Take the bastard to court, dammit! Ruin his credit forever!

Others want laws to be bought and sold on the free market, but they already are anyway here in anarcho-capitalist US, so I don’t see how this is a reform.

I guess the military gets replaced by private militias, contractors and mercenaries, but there’s nothing new about that. It already operates that way in Russia and the 3rd World, where the rich and businesses have their own private armies, frequently assassinating their competitors.

The defense of those who could not afford cops or armies. Why, wonderful charity armies would spring up to lay it all on the line for your sorry impoverished ass for free. Yeah right.

Clearly, corporations would buy their own armies and would not only attack workers, communities, etc. like say the Colombian death squads of today, but they would even go further and in the US, where the private armies had the latest military hardware, surely they would attack other nations to drive out competitors, overthrow regimes bad for business, force open new markets, etc. All the stuff that imperialist militaries already do, but with the sociopathic ethics of capitalism to make it all even more shitty and evil than it already is.

A lot of racists, especially White Southern racists, support anarcho-capitalism because, well, Southern caste society has always been pretty anarcho-capitalistic anyway. What was the KKK but a private militia? Also, in the glorious anarcho-capitalist world, everyone can discriminate their asses off against anyone they want to, and that prospect makes racists go all google-eyed.

As you can see, the Austrians even distort the findings of their leader, Hayek.

They lie, like most neoliberals do.

Just like how the neoliberals lie about Adam Smith, who was adamant that the state had to manage the free market. The neoliberals just pick and choose the crap they want to believe even from the Biblical tomes of their Gods. Like rabbis arguing over the Talmud, it’s all a matter of interpretation to them.


Hayek, Friedrich A. 1944. The Road To Serfdom. University of Chicago Press, pp. 120-122
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8 thoughts on “I Never Knew Hayek Was a Socialist”

  1. He was kind of a wishy-washy figure, hard to pin down. His Righty (Rothbardian, I suppose) critics often deride him as a social democrat, which I don’t quite buy since he spent a lot of time trying to convert Popper away from that. At the same time many claim he’s a conservative (despite writing “Why I am Not a Conservative”), and if one wants evidence they can point to his relationship with Pinochet (kind of odd that Milton Friedman gets tarred with that instead).

    It’s also funny that many people (including some libertarians who should know better) claim The Road to Serfdom’s thesis is that the welfare state will inevitably lead to totalitarianism when he actually advocates a welfare state in there! My interpretation is that at the time things seemed so bad for classical liberals that central planning seemed like the dominant paradigm, so the welfare state made a good compromise. I think the “liberaltarians” or “Rawlsekians” as Wilkinson prefers to put it, have a similar view and often name-check Hayek in their defense.

  2. First off it’s clear by simply conducting google searches that Hayek IS NOT the God of Austrian Libertarians. He’s considered an important predecessor and founder in the movement. His contributions to economic theory are what are important for Austrian Libertarians.

    Secondly, Hayek’s positions politically have never been claimed to be anarcho-capitalist. There are significant problems between Hayekians and anarcho-capitalists.

    Thirdly I will simply say that I object to your entire misrepresentation of anarcho-capitalist theory and I’m disappointed by your lack of basic comprehension of the sober positions and arguments of those who follow the anarchist capitalist creed. No, we are not living in an anarcho-capitalist society. Yes, there have been societies close to anarcho-capitalism in ancient Ireland and the Basque region. Look into it.

  3. Don’t equate Austrians with ancaps. A lot of Austrians are classical liberals.

    re: teagege- Hayek at one point referred to himself as “a Burkean liberal,” which as far as I can tell, can only be a general heuristic attitude of viewing political problems rather than a relatively specific political ideology.

  4. Hayek basically accepted social democracy, if not for the reasons most social democrats do. He was a statist, and not a minimal statist, he more or less rejected commodity money, and he constantly made allowances for all sorts of welfare, military and social engineering programs.
    He was also a major misstep in Austrian economics, although superior to the mainstream he made systemic errors in the epistemic, methodological and ontological accounts of economics; which resulted in a thoroughly confused half-empiricist morass of irrelevancies. His account of economic calculation is totally unsatisfactory.
    Franz Oppenheimer was tangibly less socialistic than Hayek, despite being an avowed socialist. Hayek gets far more credit than he deserves, probably because he is wishy-washy and Millian enough that neo-liberals and conservative party hacks can be comfortable with him.

  5. You don’t know shit about “Austrian Libertarians” as you call them. Hayek is the soft-sell social Democrat fiat law cocksucking jackoff of the fake-libertarians like Cato. Real libertarians are anarchists, and don’t give a shit about some doddering old socialist and his off-the-rails demolition of real Austrian economics into some neo-liberal bullshit spiel.

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