Friedrich Hayek ranks as one of the most consequential intellectuals of the twentieth century.  Trained in economics, he made lasting contributions in law, history, psychology, and political theory as well. His magnum opus, Constitution of Liberty (1960), stood as a ringing defense of individual liberty against the collectivism of his age.

Juliana Pilon, Senior Fellow, The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), pays tribute to this genius in the February 27th issue of American Institute for Economic Research. In “Hayek and the End of Truth,” Dr. Pilon observed that Hayek “had long grasped the inseparable relationship between the anti-liberalism and anti-rationalism of international communism and fascist national socialism.” Those lessons bear repeating, she says, because crippling exotic theories like Critical Race Theory are making more powerful freedom’s enemies by attempting to disarm the public in its attempt to arrest Leviathan’s grip.

Contrary to the pronouncements of radicals, not everyone embraces an ideology. To be sure, truth can be elusive in the game of related “narratives.”  Knowledge is booming, and separating true knowledge and what is provisionally true from what is fallacious can seem most difficult. The inherent slipperiness of language causes problems. But right reason can most assuredly demonstrate what truth is not.

In Hayek’s time and increasingly in the post-modern world, propaganda substitutes for truth. “Spin gurus” do their tricks. Campaigns of fraudsters march through institutions. Morality, as a consequence, suffers.  “[T]he whole apparatus for spreading knowledge – the schools and the press, radio and motion picture,” Dr. Pilon observed, “will be used exclusively to spread those views which, whether true or false, will strengthen the belief in the righteousness of the decisions taken by the authority, and all information that might cause doubt of hesitation will be withheld.” In such a world, totalitarianism will soon follow.

What it will take to resist that chilling temptation, the road to serfdom as Hayek called it, is a moral reawakening to preserve Western civilization from this onslaught against personal liberty. “Truth does not end, remarked Dr. Pilon in her concluding paragraph. “The same, alas, cannot be said of civilization.”