Janet Albrechtsen makes the case for believing that Kevin Rudd’s hard left veer into wing nut lefty polemics against a fraudulent strawman “Hayek” has everything to do with party politics and almost nothing to do with Rudd’s understanding of the world or the work of Friedrich Hayek. Her article is titled “Hayek Hatred A Handy Dog Whistle.”
The breaking news in the story, however, is the fact that Rudd is giving a copy of his anti-Hayek screed to each of his fellow G20 heads of government.
One wonders which Obama will be reading the Hayek-bashing Rudd tract. Will it be the the Obama who claims he was influenced by his reading of Hayek — influenced enough to have come to believe in the Hayek Hypothesis and the Hayek-Friedman Hypothesis? Or will it be the Obama who based his life on the socialist idealism of his father, who attended socialist conferences, who packed his college schedule with Marxist & radical professors, who attended socialist conferences, and who admired the ideas of anti-Western & anti-market radicals? Or perhaps it will be the Obama who says he wants to keep government small, and who says he wants to let the private economy and the free market produce wealth for the nation. Or, well, it may even be the Obama who reads it will be the Obama who is in the midst of nationalizing major segments of the financial sector, the transportation sector, the health care sector, and the energy sector. Does Barack Obama himself even know?
From Albrechtsen’s article:
Rudd is no fool. He needed votes from Labor’s Left faction to win the leadership. And he did so by using the CIS, then seen as the Left’s enemy territory, to assail Hayek – the nemesis of hard-Left warriors – and to espouse a new-found conviction in the Left’s core belief about the central role of government.
Sure enough, in December 2006 Rudd won the leadership. Pairing up with the left-wing Julia Gillard as his deputy was shrewd politics.
Come election time in 2007, Rudd’s new-found social democratic convictions went into hibernation. He became the economic conservative, a safe pair of hands who largely mimicked the fiscal policies of the Howard government. More shrewd politics.
Once elected, the social democrat re-emerged. In August 2008 he renewed his attack on Hayek in a speech at the CIS’s Consilium dinner. Many at the dinner wondered aloud whether he had read Hayek, given the smart-alec remarks tacked on to the end of his dreary pro-forma policy address.
One guest, Somalian-born writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, kindly offered to send the PM Hayek’s seminal 1944 work, The Road to Serfdom. “I know he’s a busy man, so I’ll highlight the relevant sections,” she said. In the spirit of ideas, CIS founder and director Lindsay offered to set up a debate with Rudd to test his new-found antipathy towards Hayek and the free market. Rudd did not respond.