Economic Freedom: Guardian Of Every Other Freedom

Economic Freedom is the guardian of every other freedom. Loss of economic freedom must lead to loss of personal and political freedom. Socialism always ends in totalitarianism of the kind seen in Germany, Italy, and Russia. And the unfortunate people who have not even experienced the economic freedom to begin with, like us Indians, as a consequence do not even know what personal freedom or political freedom is. And therefore we see the mai-baap culture in India, where supposedly free-born human beings openly genuflect at the feet of political leaders, and where political leaders are treated as godmen, and godmen thrive.

 

” For at least twenty-five years before the spectre of totalitarianism became a real threat, we had progressively been moving away from the basic ideas on which Western civilisation has been built. That this movement on which we have entered with such high hopes and ambitions should have brought us face to face with the totalitarian horror has come as a profound shock to this generation, which still refuses to connect the two facts. Yet this development merely confirms the warnings of the fathers of the liberal philosophy which we still profess. We have progressively abandoned that freedom in economic affairs without which personal and political freedom has never existed in the past. Although we had been warned by some of the greatest political thinkers of the nineteenth century, by Tocqueville and Lord Acton, that Socialism means slavery, we have steadily moved in the direction of socialism. And now that we have seen a new form of slavery arise before our eyes, we have so completely forgotten the warning that the two things may be connected.” -F A Hayek, in his masterpiece The Road To Serfdom