Here’s Bruce Caldwell on the 75th anniversary of the publication of Hayek’s Road to Serfdom. (HT Tyler Cowen) A slice:
Hayek would have none of that. His goal was to locate the origins of certain fundamental and plausible sounding ideas about how to create a new and better society, then show how the gradual spread and acceptance of those ideas helped to bring about the horrible mess in which the world found itself. It is telling that many liberals of his day also sought to reassert the paramount role of ideas over interests. Lippmann had done so in The Good Society, and Keynes as well, in the final pages of The General Theory. Everyone remembers Keynes’ quip about “madmen in authority” being influenced by some “academic scribbler.” But his next sentence isequally apposite: “I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated comparedwith the gradual encroachment of ideas” (Keynes 1936, p. 383). Hayek would have agreed completely.