F A Hayek ping.
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!
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.