2013년 3월 16일 토요일

[발췌] Interview with Ralph Harris (2000)

출처: PBS, Commanding Heights
자료: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/shared/minitext/int_ralphharris.html

2000년 7월 17일 대담.


※ 발췌 (excerpts)

of which The Road to Serfdom: Influence and Ostracism



LORD RALPH HARRIS: He wasn't talking about [only] the Labor Party. He was talking about the Tory Party, the Liberal Party in Britain. They had all become totally trapped in this collectivist, centralist view. So his main purpose was to alert academics and the ordinary public. It was meant to be for popular consumption; it was to alert them to the truth as he saw it, that once we embarked upon the collectivist road, then you have to go on further and further and further. The problems lead to further excuses for extension of government. And that doesn't work, so then we need to do even more, and government spending should increase. So he saw it as an intensifying process, and he gave examples like exchange control, which seemed to be important in war. You had to consider foreign currency. But he explained that exchange control was actually a grip on the throat of a free society because you could no longer travel; you could no longer buy books [or] other products from other countries. And so [collectivism] gave the government this enormous power over investment [and] spending. So the road to serfdom he took as generally as being a descent into the Dark Ages.

INTERVIEWER: Now, Hayek and the book had some influence on Churchill during the 1945 election, did they not?


INTERVIEWER: You said it didn't help Churchill, but it didn't help Hayek either, did it? Attlee dragged his name into the election, didn't he?

LORD RALPH HARRIS: Yes, Attlee did, in fact, uncharacteristically, I think, because he was a decent, amiable man, but he actually went out of his way to refer to this foreign professor, Friedrich August von Hayek, all spelled out in full, so that other people could see that this was some foreign crank who was saying these things about [England].

That little episode caused the depth of hatred that was focused on Hayek. Hayek went through a period in the '50s and '60s [when] he was hated, execrated. Academics on the left, who were by no means unpleasant individuals, would not meet him. I had occasions when a professor of philosophy at Oxford didn't want to meet that man, absolutely emphatic -- not even for a free lunch, not with this man. It was a deep hatred.

INTERVIEWER: Can you explain why?

LORD RALPH HARRIS: We've all got all kinds of rather unworthy explanations. A lot of people who hated him were going to make quite a good living out of a mildly socialist collectivist system, that intellectuals on the whole grow fat on the back of collectivism ... so that self-interest might divert some academics away from the genuine belief in competition. But there was something of a religious war about it, that to criticize this noble ideal of socialism, of fairness, of equality, was to desecrate something that was fine and that all men should admire. It was a glint in the eye with many quite ordinary people who thought that socialism not merely was bound to come, but was the ultimate fulfillment of a civilized society.

INTERVIEWER: Of a Christian society?

LORD RALPH HARRIS: Well, of course. Now we're back to the bishops, the Christian scientists, the Christian socialists. It's absolutely true.

INTERVIEWER: Friedman was hated. I can remember Friedman being hated.



LORD RALPH HARRIS: Well, yes, I suppose hatred for Hayek or Friedman was a tribute to their effectiveness. You don't hate a person who is putting up weak arguments and silly points of view. The hatred was because potentially Friedman and Hayek had lethal arguments, devastating, pointed, persistent arguments that required academic, analytical responses. You didn't get that [before then]. You got catchphrases about inequality, or about imperfect competition -- that was a great phrase that was published -- or was it perfect. But you never got a real engagement with Friedman and Hayek.

INTERVIEWER: We've talked about the most hated figures in a way to personalize the issue. One has to remember that their ideas for 20, almost 30 years were completely marginalized, weren't they? They were often extreme, considered almost eccentric.

LORD RALPH HARRIS: Yes, yes. It's difficult to see why intellectuals [and] academics, who live by reflecting, arguing, contemplating, testing hypotheses, should be so vicious. One of the problems was that they never met Hayek, and it's easy to represent Hayek, this foreign chap with a slightly German accent, as being [an] alien from out of space, coming along [and] telling us how it should be done, how we should behave. If you met him, he would really, totally disarm all of those [suppositions]. He was quite a cuddly man, but he was an extremely attractive and vulnerable and gentle and shy figure, shrinking sometimes from too much attention. You couldn't imagine him as a dictator. And yet that's how some people saw him, as a Hitlerian, counter-Hitler authoritarian figure. It's absurd. Actually, it's the reverse of his nature, his argument, and his message.

INTERVIEWER: You knew Hayek personally. Did he ever despair about his ideas winning out?

LORD RALPH HARRIS: Yes, he went through a stage of intense depression. It may have been connected with personal matters with his own family, I don't know, but certainly we got very worried about Hayek. If you take the 1960s... He was born in 1899. When Hayek began to show signs of disorientation and lack concentration and disinterest in the '60s, he was a man of 60. He'd led an active and vigorous and contentious existence. At the same time there was some kind of health [problem], which I've never fathomed, and he was induced to stop smoking. I think it was a very false step for him to take.

We all argued that the Nobel Prize he got in 1974 was the making of him. He would never accept that; he half argued there shouldn't be a Nobel Prize for economics, and most of the people who got Nobel Prizes, he would name them, didn't even understand economics, and it was no big deal, though there was some money -- quite a lot of money, actually, [and] it was tax-free in those days. So he took on a new lease of life in the 1970s. But in that time that he was more broody and [had] less spring in his step. But certainly [with] the Nobel Prize and the coming of Thatcher, there's no doubt that really smartened him up. He was really uplifted by seeing this movement in the stuffy old Conservative Party in a radical redirection of policy along the lines that he had charted, although not in detail, or in his complete effect.

INTERVIEWER: So he finally believed that maybe his ideas were going to win.

LORD RALPH HARRIS: Yes. When we had lunches, and businessmen would come and we were in the depths of inflation or depression and unemployment, and all these terrible things in the '60s and '70s, and say, "Do you see any future?" And he would begin to say in the '70s and before Thatcher that if the politicians don't block the world, then I believe that we'll come through and see the acceptance of much of our thinking. But he didn't put a firm date on that in his lifetime.

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