There can be little doubt that man owes some of his greatest successes in the past to the fact that he has not been able to control social life. His continued advance may well depend on his deliberately refraining from exercising controls which are now in his power. In the past, the spontaneous forces of growth, however much restricted, could usually still assert themselves against the organized coercion of the state. With the technological means of control now at the disposal of government, it is not certain that such assertion is still possible; at any rate, it may soon become impossible. We are not far from the point where the deliberately organized forces of society may destroy those spontaneous forces which have made advance possible.
F. A. Hayek
October 1, 1960
The Case for Freedom
[The size and scope of our government has penetrated to depth in our society far beyond what Hayek could have reasonably foreseen in 1960. The banning of certain toilets, shower heads, and light bulbs is just the tip of the iceberg. The use of “eminent domain” to take your property and give it to another, the banning of larger than average soft drinks, and the banning of firearm accessories are just the tip of the same iceberg. The thousands of pages of law and regulations churned out each year are just the tip of the same iceberg.
Our vehicles license plates are scanned by police cars as they drive by, our cell phone positions are tracked, our phone call metadata is stored for use against us, the IRS has been weaponized and is used against political opponents, and drone are ready and able to drop a bomb on your location if the administration believes you to be a threat to national security.
It is easy to argue that “the deliberately organized forces of society” will destroy, or essentially has destroyed, the spontaneous forces of which Hayek speaks. Furthermore it is not farfetched to claim the only viable option at this point is to protect yourself and those close to you as best you can and prepare to rebuild from the ruins of the coming collapse.
I hope we can learn from what I fear is a lesson of staggering magnitude. Then, if the time comes, we must rebuild upon a foundation of solid political and economic philosophical principles. The works of Hayek are almost certainly part of that foundation.—Joe]