Monday, November 26, 2012

The Road to Addiction

Let's say a prominent psychologist writes a book with the above title. He is writing it as a warning to casual drug users: "You think you can just use heroin / cocaine / meth recreationally, but what you have done is you have set in motion a process that, unless counteracted, will lead to full-blown addiction."

Now, it is one thing to argue, "This guy is overstating the dangers: there is nothing wrong with such usage if it is under control." But it is quite something else to claim he is been proven wrong because some recreational users you know did not become full-blown addicts, and this contradicts the author's claim that full-blown addiction is the inevitable result of any drug usage. Obviously, since he wrote the book to warn recreational users, he did not think there was any inevitability about the matter!

And so it is with Hayek's The Road to Serfdom: I have my own criticisms of the book, but can we stop with the canard that Sweden, the UK, Denmark, etc. prove Hayek was "dead wrong"? Obviously, since he wrote the book as a warning to countries that had become more interventionist, he clearly did not think that any intervention inevitably leads to socialism! There would have been no point in writing the book if that was what he had thought.

1 comment:

  1. I think the war on drugs is a good way to see that Hayek was basically right. It's been a while but I thought the main idea in RTS was that planning can't work, and trying to make it work leads to tyranny, left or right. And the war on drugs is an attempt to control the market for several substances, like cocaine. And it has failed miserably. SO the attempt to keep to the plan, rather than abadon it it, gave us asset forefeiture, and no-knock raids, and a sprawling DEA. And via subsidies and pressure it gave Columbians 'interdiction' and the effect on border towns in Mexico -- help along by Fast&Furious -- has likewise been appalling.


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