The Road to Serfdom




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I want to start in 1945. The guns had finally drawn silent in Western Europe. The bombs had stopped falling. The skies above were no longer filled with the scream of fighter planes. The invasions and battles were no more. The Allied forces had won, and World War II was over. But this was far from the end. Another, perhaps even more important war, was just beginning. Europe was decimated both politically and structurally and faced the daunting task of starting over from scratch.

America had just come off a Great Depression many believed was caused by the evil, greedy capitalist system. The question that loomed largest over many countries around the entire globe: What do we do from here? Should we risk another economic collapse, or should we let government control the economy?

The eventual deciding factor in the 'war after the war' came from a very unlikely source: A little known economist, originally from Vienna, named Friedrich A. Hayek. We are in a similar war today, but if you don't know history, you probably aren't even aware of it.

Starting in the early 1940's, Hayek began writing a little book called "The Road to Serfdom." The book clearly and logically explained how any form of central government planning eventually leads to serfdom (or servitude) and extinguishes freedom. He didn't think he would gain any notoriety or fortune from the book, in fact, it was quite the opposite. Material like this was banned in Germany and elsewhere. He was only writing it because he considered it "a duty which I must not evade." See, there was a real possibility that Europe and even America would move in that direction. After all, England had been in with the Fabian socialists.

Who were the Fabian socialists? People like George Bernard Shaw, who we showed you in our documentary, "The Revolutionary Holocaust." He was a Fabian socialist, give you a little taste of what they believed. Here he is:

(BEGIN CLIP)

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW: I don't want to punish anybody. But there are an extraordinary number of people whom i want to kill… but it must be evident to all of you… you must all know half a dozen people at least who are of no use in this world… who are more trouble than they are worth.

(END CLIP)

Hayek couldn't live with himself if he didn't write what he was thinking. He initially wrote the book for the Brits, because he could see who they were in bed with. He could see the road they were traveling down. He had no earthly idea it would take off like it did. And boy, did it take off. After initially not being able to find a publisher, the first printing of 2,000 copies was exhausted instantly, and within six months more than 30,000 books were sold. American publishers were skeptical. They didn't think it'd work. Ironically, they tried to get progressive icon Walter Lippman to do the foreword for the book, noting that it'd sell thousands if he did, maybe 900 if he didn't. Lippman wasn't able to write it.

The book went through six impressions in the first 16 months, was translated into numerous foreign languages, and circulated both openly in the free world and underground in the emerging iron curtain. It absolutely took off after Reader's Digest published a condensed version of the book in 1945. The Reader's Digest had a circulation at the time of more the 5 million copies, and the little journal was provided to each American serviceman, at home and abroad.

What did people so love about this book? People understood it — Hayek's claims such as: "Man does not and cannot know everything, and when he acts as if he does, disaster follows," make good, common sense. Hayek explained that capitalism is the only system of economics compatible with human dignity, prosperity, and liberty. He demonstrated that planned economies that tried to control the nature of man through administrative rules was impossible, and could only lead to one outcome: Serfdom.

And the message spread like a ripple on a pond. Soon, terms like "collectivism" were erased from political debate, and anyone defending government central planning was discredited.

This book was like a Mike Tyson (in his prime) right hook to socialism in Western Europe and in the United States. But its influence didn't stop there. It has inspired political and economic leaders for decades since — most famously Ronald Reagan. Reagan often praised Hayek when he talked about people waking up to the dangers of big government. That brings us to today.

We were on the right track, but clearly we've fallen off the wagon. A few years ago I started asking, how'd we get here? How did this happen to us? No one had answers. I started reading history, and it didn't take long for me to realize that we'd completely disconnected ourselves from history, making us incredibly vulnerable to repeating the mistakes of the past. And look at what we're doing! We have a government car company, government banks, we're talking about government oil companies, government is hiring all the workers. We are there, gang! And as Hayek so clearly demonstrated, this road only leads to one destination.

I have to admit, the first time I saw this book I made fun of it. I've read the roots of modern liberalism by Woodrow Wilson — that's enough to want to make you hang yourself — I wasn't about to put myself through the "Road to Serfdom." But there's a reason this book was banned in places like Germany and the Soviet Union.

I'm about to talk to someone who lived this. He read this book at the risk of seven years in prison. If you were caught giving this book out you'd get 12 years hard labor — a certain death sentence. Why didn't they want people to read it? They know if the people caught on to what these tyrants were doing, it'd be over.

Now, we're not banning books and dishing out hard labor sentences, but I want to show you something we are doing that to me is pretty shocking. Here's a publisher selling copies of the Constitution. But look at what comes along with it: "This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today...Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work."

There's a war for the future of this country. It's being waged right now. The questions of the future can always be answered with the information, glories, and mistakes of the past. Let's give you the other option today — besides capitalism is bad, let's go on to global governance and control through a giant progressive monolith. If you don't learn the things no one is willing to teach today… there will be more than a disclaimer on the Constitution.

— Watch Glenn Beck weekdays at 5p & 2a ET on Fox News Channel

Carter Page, a former advisor to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, found himself at the center of the Russia probe and had his reputation and career destroyed by what we now know were lies from our own intelligence system and the media.

On the TV show Thursday, Page joined Glenn Beck to speak out about how he became the subject of illegal electronic surveillance by the FBI for more than two years, and revealed the extent of the corruption that has infiltrated our legal systems and our country as a whole.

"To me, the bigger issue is how much damage this has done to our country," Page told Glenn. "I've been very patient in trying to ... find help with finding solutions and correcting this terrible thing which has happened to our country, our judicial system, DOJ, FBI -- these once-great institutions. And my bigger concern is the fact that, although we keep taking these steps forward in terms of these important findings, it really remains the tip of the iceberg."

Page was referencing the report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which revealed that the FBI made "at least 17 significant errors or omissions" in its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications for warrants to spy on Page, a U.S. citizen.

"I think this needs to be attacked from all angles," Glenn said. "The one angle I'm interested in from you is, please tell me you have the biggest badass attorneys that are hungry, starving, maybe are a little low to pay their Mercedes payments right now, and are just gearing up to come after the government and the media. Are they?"

I can confirm that that is the case," Page replied.

Watch the video clip below for a preview of the full-length interview:

The full interview will air on January 30th for Blaze TV subscribers, and February 1st on YouTube and wherever you get your podcast.

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On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

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On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com