"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Fisher, the Digest junkie, is already politically active and is also worried about the future for his country. The April 1945 edition lands on his desk as he is moving to London and, after reading the cover story, he notes on the front that the author is at the University of London. A phone call establishes that the LSE is back in place and, one lunchtime or late one afternoon, Fisher makes the short walk from his office to the LSE and knocks on Hayek’s door. Fisher also recalled the physical setting of Hayek’s office in minute and accurate detail including its proximity to that of the dreaded Harold Laski. Fisher claimed that after small talk (which neither excelled at) the conversation went like this:
Fisher - I share all your worries and concerns as expressed in The Road to Serfdom and I’m going to go into politics and put it all right.
Hayek - No you’re not! Society’s course will be changed only by a change in ideas. First you must reach the intellectuals, the teachers and writers, with reasoned argument. It will be their influence on society which will prevail, and the politicians will follow.
I have this quote framed above my desk alongside Keynes’s famous line: ‘The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.’