Freedom vs. Collectivism

In his book The Road to Serfdom, F. A. Hayek lists the characteristics that make America an exceptional country. (1) independence and self-reliance, (2) individual initiative and local responsibility, (3) successful self reliance on voluntary activity, (4) noninterference with one’s neighbor and tolerance of the different and queer, (5) respect for custom and tradition, and (6) a healthy suspicion of power and authority. He attributes these as deriving from our Anglo-Saxon heritage. These characteristics, Hayek said, “…have molded the national character and the whole moral climate of England and America,…”

Even while listing those attributes, he warns that “…the progress of collectivism and its inherently centralistic tendencies are progressively destroying” this exceptional heritage. He cautions against centralized planning of business, industry, education, health care, and other systems that are necessary for our way of life. He readily admits that a system such as we have we had for the first 125 years of our union’s life is sometimes slow and awkward. But the trade off is that we have freedom to “pursue happiness.”

Obamacare_Road_to_Serfdom_Obama didn’t start all of this. This began with Woodrow Wilson, and Wilson’s inspiration, we are told, was a little book named Philip Dru Administrator: A Story of Tomorrow 1920-1935 by Edward Mandell House. (I’ll be writing more about this book and the author’s relationship with President Wilson later.) If you have never read this book, do so. It is available from in the Kindle edition for a pittance. It will send cold chills up your back. If you have read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, you will perhaps see some of the genesis of that huge novel. I don’t know whether Ms Rand knew about Philip Dru Administrator, but she was a well read person. I would guess that she knew about it.

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We are witnessing today the streamlining of our country’s processes for achievement. Congress takes too long to pass laws. So we get a Presidential Executive Directives and Orders to get things done. Some of our laws, indeed many of our laws, date back to the twentieth century and even further back and sections of them have become antiquated. So we have a Department of Justice that advises the administration that it can ignore certain laws or certain sections of laws. Sometimes my wife accuses me of selective hearing. Well, I accuse the DOD of selectively cherry picking our laws, and that includes the Constitution.

At one time we proudly would say that we are a nation of laws and not of men. We can now say that we are a nation of decrees and regulations and not of laws. The citizens of the United States have been shuffled down and over to one side and ignored. Our congressmen, with a few exceptions, are like sheep being led to the slaughter. They talk a good talk, but they do not walk a good walk. When it comes right down to it, they are more afraid of the colleagues in leadership positions in the House and Senate and of the president himself than they are of the people who bestowed upon them the honor of representing them. Even the nine grave men and women who wear the black robes and sit in supreme judgment of lesser courts–with a couple of notable exceptions–have kowtowed to the president and his lackeys.

We have the ballot box. We have primary elections. We have the power of recall. We have term limits. Let’s do what we need to do to rid ourselves of this mill stone that the Democrat party has hung around our necks. And, for goodness sake, let’s keep Hillary away from the White House. I know it’s a long time until the election of 2014 and even longer than the election of 2016, but we need to keep the fires burning in the furnace of our opposition to avoid being dragged any deeper into the quagmire of collectivism.

Oh, and by the way, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to y’all from deep in the heart of South Georgia. Drop in and see us sometime, ya hear?


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Harry Livermore

Harry Livermore spent a lifetime teaching English in high schools and junior colleges in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Georgia. He now writes for and is editor of the Valdosta Magazine. Harry and his wife Janice live in Valdosta, GA. They are members of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Valdosta. Harry has two sons, six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren who live in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas.

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