Hayek’s great mistaken prognostication has nothing to do with the welfare state — Hayek’s great error in the science of divining historical inevitability was his false prognosis of the death of “hot socialism”. Indeed, the reports of the death of “hot socialism” have been greatly exaggerated. Even Hayek began to realize this in the last years of his life. We might think of “hot socialism” as something like a horror movie killer — Michael Myers constantly coming back to life and never suffering a final death.
The fact is, it seems that “hot socialists” will always be with us, and as a typical example of the phenomena we can point to Barack Obama, the current President of the United States, who was very much a “‘hot socialist” in the 1980s. (Many more “hot socialists” can be found in the pages of Stanley Kurtz’s Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism.)
There is all sorts of evidence for this, but perhaps the best account comes from Occidental College graduate John Drew, who was a member of the Marxist – Socialist circle sitting at the center of Barack Obama’s social life in the early 1980s. Drew at the time was a very sincere Marxist, and focused his academic studies on Marxist economics and Frankfurt School style “Western Marxism”. Drew identifies Obama in the 1980s as a Marxist-Leninist who believed in revolution as the means for replacing capitalism with socialism.
he was a Marxist-Leninist in his sophomore year of college, from 1980 to 1981 ..
Obama believed, at the time I met him .. Obama was looking forward to an imminent social revolution, literally a movement where the working classes would overthrow the ruling class and institute a kind of socialist Utopia in the United States. I mean, that’s how extreme his views were his sophomore year of college.
…I was a comrade, but I was more… the Frankfort School of Marxism at the time. I was, I felt like I was doing him a favor by pointing out that the Marxist revolution that he and Caroline and Shandu were hoping for was really kind of a pipe-dream. And that there was nothing in European history, or the history of developed nations, that would make that sort of fantasy, that Frank Marshall Davis fantasy of revolution, come true.
And here’s a longer telephone interview with Drew — the substance begins about 2 minutes in: