Road to Number One

article top

BY PAUL JACOB – Good news and bad news.

The good news: F.A. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, an exploration of the fallacies of socialism and the very real political hazards of bureaucratic, centralized planning, has been riding high on’s bestseller list. It even made it to No. 1 on the list, and is No. 6 as I write.


Pretty amazing for a reprint of a 66-year-old treatise on how economic controls foster tyranny.

Economist Hayek’s most accessible tome first hit it big in the 1940s, especially after Reader’s Digest excerpted it. The book resurges in popularity now thanks to something a bit different than a Digest excerpt. Glenn Beck featured it on his controversial talk show, praising it in glowing terms.

But there’s a deeper reason for its comeback, the reason Beck turned to in the first place: Its insights seem particularly relevant in an era of spastic expansion of government power.

That’s the bad news.

Gene Healey, at Cato Institute’s blog, suggests that “the underlying reason for the sustained interest in Hayek’s book is that it taps into a profound dissatisfaction in the public mind with the machinations of its government. Both Presidents Bush and Obama have presided over huge growth in the size of the federal government. . . . Things seem out of control.”

Maybe, with Hayek’s help, we can hang a U-ee and reverse course.

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge and Citizens in Charge Foundation, which sponsors both Common Sense and Paul’s weekly Townhall Column. The opinions expressed in Common Sense are Paul Jacob’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Citizens in Charge or Citizens in Charge Foundation.