Last night, libertarian Ron Paul came in a close third in the Iowa Republican caucuses. In his combative concession speech, Paul quoted a supporter who recently told him that he awaits the day when a President says, “We’re all Austrians now,” referring to the laissez-faire capitalist ideology of Friedrich Hayek (and recalling Richard Nixon’s famous quote, “We’re all Keynsians now”).
But I wonder what Paul and his supporters make of the followinq quote from Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, and especially its implications for such programs as food stamps, housing and heating assistance, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Apparently, even Hayek wasn’t opposed to all forms of wealth redistribution:
“There is no reason why, in a society which has reached the general level of wealth ours has, the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom; that is: some minimum of food, shelter and clothing, sufficient to preserve health. Nor is there any reason why the state should not help to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance in providing for those common hazards of life against which few can make adequate provision.”
(Hat tip: John Médaille, from his book, “Toward a Truly Free Market: A Distributist Perspective on the Role of Government, Taxes, Health Care, Deficits, and More .”)