Skip to comments.The Road to Serfdom (Link to the Readers' Digest Condensed Version in PDF!)
Posted on 05/01/2005 5:49:32 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion
The authors 9
Foreword by Edwin J. Feulner Jr 11
Introduction: Hayek, Fisher and The Road to Serfdom by John Blundell 14
Preface to the Readers Digest condensed version of The Road to Serfdom 26
The Road to Serfdom (condensed version) 31
Planning and power 32
Background to danger 34
The liberal way of planning 37
The great utopia 39
Why the worst get on top 43
Planning vs. the Rule of Law 49
Is planning inevitable? 51
Can planning free us from care? 53
Two kinds of security 58
Towards a better world 62
The Road to Serfdom in cartoons 63
About the IEA 82
But in April 1945 it was not only condensed in the Readers' Digest, it was the first and still the only condensed book to be the first article in an issue of the Digest, rather than being in the back. Hayek was sailing to America for what he thought would be a modest book tour at the time the April 1945 edition hit the newsstands - and he arrived to learn that The Road to Serfdom was a sensation in America and he would be speaking to huge audiences.
The original uncondensed book has gone through multiple printings since then, at least as recently as a 50th anniversary printing in 1994. It has been printed in many languages, and was read sereptitiously behind the Iron Curtain.
F A Hayek ping.
The original should be required reading for every high school course and freshman college course in the country. Never will happen, though.
Even though I majored in Economics in college I was never exposed to Hayek (or Von Mises or any of the other Austrian School), until after I graduated. This was no doubt due to the fact that I went to "Buckethead State University" which was dominated by liberals (the Econ chair had been on Pres. Carter's Counsel of Wage and Price Stability). I discovered Hayek after college and have read (and reread) his works ever since.
I have the bad habit of underlining and/or marketing up many of the books I read to more easily find passages of particular significance and insight. Unforetunately, with my copy of "The Road to Serfdom" most of the entire book is underlined and highlighted because Hayek had so many profoundly important (and in many ways prophetic), things to say about where socialism would lead us.
If you have a F A Hayek ping list please add me to it!
Prophetic is right.
FANTASTIC book. All politicians should be required to read. High Fives for this post!
No doubt an American or English fascist system would greatly differ from the Italian or German models; no doubt, if the transition were effected without violence, we might expect to get a better type of leader. Yet this does not mean that our fascist system would in the end prove very different or much less intolerable than its prototypes. There are strong reasons for believing that the worst features of the totalitarian systems are phenomena which totalitarianism is certain sooner or later to produce.
Just as the democratic statesman who sets out to plan economic life will soon be confronted with the alternative of either assuming dictatorial powers or abandoning his plans, so the totalitarian leader would soon have to choose between disregard of ordinary morals and failure. It is for this reason that the unscrupulous are likely to be more successful in a society tending toward totalitarianism. Who does not see this has not yet grasped the full width of the gulf which separates totalitarianism from the essentially individualist Western civilization.
. . . Advancement within a totalitarian group or party depends largely on a willingness to do immoral things. The principle that the end justifies the means, which in individualist ethics is regarded as the denial of all morals, in collectivist ethics becomes necessarily the supreme rule. There is literally nothing which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves the good of the whole, because that is to him the only criterion of what ought to be done.
To be a useful assistant in the running of a totalitarian state, therefore, a man must be prepared to break every moral rule he has ever known if this seems necessary to achieve the end set for him. In the totalitarian machine there will be special opportunities for the ruthless and unscrupulous. Neither the Gestapo nor the administration of a concentration camp, neither the Ministry of Propaganda nor the SA or SS (or their Russian counterparts) are suitable places for the exercise of humanitarian feelings. Yet it is through such positions that the road to the highest positions in the totalitarian state leads.
A distinguished American economist, Professor Frank H. Knight, correctly notes that the authorities of a collectivist state would have to do these things whether they wanted to or not: and the probability of the people in power being individuals who would dislike the possession and exercise of power is on a level with the probability that an extremely tender-hearted person would get the job of whipping master in a slave plantation.
"We're Going to Take Things Away From You on Behalf of the Common Good" - Hillary Clinton, June 2004
Well, I didn't have one . . . but having googled FR to make sure this wasn't already posted, I had a ready source for one!
. . . and by pinging them in small groups . . .
. . . I hope you can . . .
As Hayek said, ...it is largely because civilization enables us constantly to profit from knowledge which we individually do not possess and because each individual's use of his particular knowledge may serve to assist others unknown to him in achieving their ends that men as members of civilized society can pursue their individual ends so much more successfully than they could alone.
The most effective way of making people accept the validity of the values they are to serve is to persuade them that they are really the same as those they have always held, but which were not properly understood or recognized before. And the most efficient technique to this end is to use the old words but change their meaning. Few traits of totalitarian regimes are at the same time so confusing to the superficial observer and yet so characteristic of the whole intellectual climate as this complete perversion of language.
The worst sufferer in this respect is the word liberty. It is a word used as freely in totalitarian states as elsewhere. Indeed, it could almost be said that wherever liberty as we know it has been destroyed, this has been done in the name of some new freedom promised to the people. Even among us we have planners who promise us a collective freedom, which is as misleading as anything said by totalitarian politicians. Collective freedom is not the freedom of the members of society, but the unlimited freedom of the planner to do with society that which he pleases. This is the confusion of freedom with power carried to the extreme.
It is not difficult to deprive the great majority of independent thought. But the minority who will retain an inclination to criticize must also be silenced. Public criticism or even expressions of doubt must be suppressed because they tend to weaken support of the regime. As Sidney and Beatrice Webb report of the position in every Russian enterprise: Whilst the work is in progress, any public expression of doubt that the plan will be successful is an act of disloyalty and even of treachery because of its possible effect on the will and efforts of the rest of the staff.
Control extends even to subjects which seem to have no political significance. The theory of relativity, for instance, has been opposed as a Semitic attack on the foundation of Christian andNordic physics and because it is in conflict with dialectical materialism and Marxist dogma. Every activity must derive its justification from conscious social purpose. There must be no spontaneous, unguided activity, because it might produce results which cannot be foreseen and for which the plan does not provide.
It will be in my home. I've worn out two copies myself.
I've got two copies myself! (gotta frame the cartoon copies for my kids, though... heh).
This is twisted! Reading the passages you posted *literally* fills my heart with joy... like hearing an old beloved hymm from childhood.
I can tell it's time for a reread. I've resisted for the past few years, because I was vainly hoping for an electric edition to come out. I've obviously waited too long as I've nearly forgotten *why* I despise socialists so much. So many of them are such nice people... Hayek taught me why they are just as dangerous as the ones who wear jack-boots.
A book every freedom-loving person should read and heed.
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