>Snow White, Hayek, liberalism and national political culture

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Read parts of the Road to Serfdom while watching Snow White with my daughter. Snow White is still impressive today and must have really wow-ed them in 1937. Hayek’s tract is more clunky and uneven and – despite its (then) heterodox message – more of its time. A rather inelegant restatement of classical liberalism, edged with the foreboding extinguishing of freedom that one can also find in the supposed Golden Age of classical liberalism Hayek looks to – Mill’s fears in On Liberty comes to mind, although here the tyranny of democratic majorities, social convention and the homogenising effects of mass culture and mass consumption are the main culprits

Hayek is at pains to stress that the liberal tradition he defends is a product of Western and/or European civilization, not of any particular national political culture. Similarly, although he speaks of collectivist and socialist thinking in terms of ‘German ideas’ he sees the collectivism he opposes as a general trend more advanced in certain countries than others.

He also notes that the propensity of collectivism for large-scale organization and centralization overrides the autonomy and identity of small nations, noting inter alia Marx and Engels’ dismissive views of the Czechs and other Central Europe nationalities as ‘unhistoric’ nations destined to disappear in the course of (German-led) economic modernization. Influences on Czech right-wing euroscepticism perhaps?

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