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The Road to Serfdom
http://www.freerepublic.com ^ | 1944 | F. A. Hayek

Posted on 01/28/2007 9:29:00 AM PST by Jacquerie

A day or two after the Democrats swept the midterms, I made a promise to finally finish reading an incredible little book called “The Road to Serfdom.” (1944)

The following are direct quotes from the English author, F.A. Hayek. I offer excerpts from the first couple of chapters with the intention of motivating as many Freepers as possible to read it themselves so as to be fully armed when the Democrats and Rinos attempt to further socialize and ultimately destroy a once proud republic.

Foreward

Dedicated “To the Socialists of All Parties”

Fascism and Communism are merely variants of the same totalitarianism which central control of economic activity tends to produce.

I use throughout the term “liberal” in the original, nineteenth century sense in which it is still current in Britain. In current American usage it often means very nearly the opposite of this.

The most important change which extensive government control produces is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people. This means, among other things, that even a strong tradition of political liberty is no safeguard if the danger is precisely that new institutions and policies will gradually undermine and destroy that spirit.

The inevitable consequence of socialist planning create a state of affairs in which, if the policy is to be pursued, totalitarian forces will get the upper hand.

From the point of view of fundamental human liberties there is little to choose between communism, socialism and national socialism. They all are examples of the collectivist or totalitarian state.

Preface

I am always told by my socialist colleagues that as an economist I should occupy a much more important position in the kind of society to which I am opposed - provided, of course, that I could bring myself to accept their views.

Introduction

The supreme tragedy is still not seen that in Germany it was largely people of good will, men who were admired and held up as models in the democratic countries, who prepared the way for, if they did not actually create, the forces which now stand for everything they detest.

Few are ready to recognize that the rise of fascism and nazism was not a reaction against the socialist trends of the preceding period but a necessary outcome of those tendencies.

The Abandoned Road

For at least 25 years before the specter of totalitarianism became a real threat, we had progressively been moving away from the basic ideas on which Western civilization has been built.

We have progressively abandoned that freedom in economic affairs without which personal and political freedom has never existed in the past.

Wherever the barriers to the free exercise of human ingenuity were removed, man became rapidly able to satisfy ever widening ranges of desire.

By the beginning of the 20th century the workingman in the Western world had reached a degree of material comfort, security, and personal independence which a hundred years before had seem scarcely possible.

It might even be said that the very success of liberalism became the cause of its decline. Because of the success already achieved, man became increasingly unwilling to tolerate the evils still with him which now appeared both unbearable and unnecessary.

The change amounts to a complete reversal of the trend we have sketched, an entire abandonment of the individualist tradition which has created Western civilization.

The Great Utopia

What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven. F. Hoelderlin

The French writers who laid the foundations of modern socialism had no doubt that their ideas could be put into practice only by a strong dictatorial government.

While democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.

To the great apostles of political freedom the word “freedom” meant freedom from coercion, freedom from the arbitrary power of other men, release from the ties which left the individual no choice but obedience to the order of a superior to whom he was attached. The new freedom promised, however, was to freedom from necessity, release from the compulsion of the circumstances which inevitably limit the range of choice of all of us. Freedom in this sense is, of course merely another name for power or wealth.

Stalinism is worse than fascism, more ruthless, barbarous, unjust, immoral, anti-democratic, unredeemed by any hope or scuple and is better described as superfascist.

Socialism achieved and maintained by democratic means seems definitely to belong to the world of utopias.

Many a university teacher during the 1930’s has seen English and American students return from the Continent uncertain whether they were communists or Nazis and certain only that they hated Western liberal civilization.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: book; communism; hayek; socialism; utopia
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1 posted on 01/28/2007 9:29:03 AM PST by Jacquerie
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To: Jacquerie

An exceptional book, though not exactly light reading.


2 posted on 01/28/2007 9:32:50 AM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: Jacquerie

This book is a must read IMHO. It puts the entire economic/class/welfare question into its true perspective.


3 posted on 01/28/2007 9:32:55 AM PST by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: Jacquerie

Thank you for posting this. Unfortunately, it seems that we are going to learn of the grim consequences of socialist policy, the hard way.


4 posted on 01/28/2007 9:34:16 AM PST by oblomov (Progress is precisely that which the rules and regulations did not foresee. - von Mises)
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To: festus

If I recall correctly when you read this book keep in mind the terms liberal and conservative are flipped from their current meaning.

The liberal thought of the day was personal freedom and personal responsibility and the conservative (ie. traditional) thought was the class based system with government both taking care of the peasantry and defining their role in society.


5 posted on 01/28/2007 9:34:48 AM PST by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: Jacquerie

I'd put it on the "must" reading list, not just on the the "recommended" list.


6 posted on 01/28/2007 9:35:13 AM PST by P.O.E.
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To: Jacquerie
What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven.

Worth repeating.

Perhaps someday it will sink in to the masses.

7 posted on 01/28/2007 9:39:14 AM PST by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: Jacquerie

BTT I'll look for it. Thanks for posting.


8 posted on 01/28/2007 9:39:27 AM PST by BipolarBob (Yes I backed over the vampire, but I swear I didn't see it in my rear view mirror.)
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To: Jacquerie
Found the book in image form on mises.org. Scary but eerily parallel to events in our own nation. I think that we are around step 9, curiously just before "the strong man is given power" in step 10 (would that be Hillary in 2008?).

Found this quote from the book in Wikipedia: "The principle that the end justifies the means is in individualist ethics regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics it becomes necessarily the supreme rule."

I didn't know about this book until this post on FR . . . now I may have to find a copy and read it.

9 posted on 01/28/2007 9:44:00 AM PST by rabscuttle385 (Sic Semper Tyrannis * Allen for U.S. Senate in '08)
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To: EGPWS
Perhaps someday it will sink in to the masses.

The unfortunate thing is that by the time we reach that point, we will already have gone past the point of no return.

10 posted on 01/28/2007 9:44:32 AM PST by rabscuttle385 (Sic Semper Tyrannis * Allen for U.S. Senate in '08)
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To: Jacquerie
Sounds like an excellent read, unfortunately it will have to wait till this summer. I found the dedication...

Dedicated “To the Socialists of All Parties”

...particularly interesting and something that we should keep in mind as we move into the primary season.
11 posted on 01/28/2007 9:47:22 AM PST by Old_Mil (http://www.gohunter08.com/)
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To: Jacquerie
Hayek had an uncanny psychological insight into the political wiles of human predators. OTH, maybe that's normal for economists.

The Road to Serfdom gives eyes to the oppressed. I'd have to read it again for signs that teach us freedom.

12 posted on 01/28/2007 9:47:36 AM PST by cornelis
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To: cornelis
Even among brilliant economists Hayek stands out as another kind of animal altogether. His insights span the breadth of all public policy issues, and I think once we get past this last generation enamored with the utopian ideal of socialism, his writing will begin to be appreciated for what they really are.

He was right when everyone said he was wrong, and ridiculed him (and worse) for it.

13 posted on 01/28/2007 9:54:35 AM PST by tcostell (MOLON LABE)
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To: rabscuttle385
The unfortunate thing is that by the time we reach[ed] that point, we will already have gone past the point of no return.

JMO

14 posted on 01/28/2007 9:57:33 AM PST by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: facedown
the English author

Austrian. He spent the duration of WWII in England. His background gave him a unique perspective on Germany. The British thought their enemy was inherently evil ie it was the German's genetic/cultural makeup.

Hayek primary thesis was that what happened in Nazi Germany could happen anywhere - it was just the end result of socialism. That is, while collectivism always results in loss of freedom, its greater danger was that it always leads to national socialism (Nazism) - no matter where it's puts into place.

15 posted on 01/28/2007 10:09:25 AM PST by Chuck Dent
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To: tcostell
another kind of animal altogether.

Is there anything more disorienting than taking Economics 101? Skip it and read Von Mises and Hayek instead.

16 posted on 01/28/2007 10:10:05 AM PST by cornelis
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To: tcostell; Jacquerie
Here's his apology:
I have arrived at the conviction that the neglect by economists to discuss seriously what is really the crucial problem of our time is due to a certain timidity about soiling their hands by going from purely scientific questions into value questions. This is a belief deliberately maintained by the other side because if they admitted that the issue is not a scientific question, they would have to admit that their science is antiquated and that, in academic circles, it occupies the position of astrology and not one that has any justification for serious consideration in scientific discussion. It seems to me that socialists today can preserve their position in academic economics merely by the pretense that the differences are entirely moral questions about which science cannot decide. Conversation at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, D.C. (9 February 1978); published in A Conversation with Friedrich A. Von Hayek: Science and Socialism (1979)

17 posted on 01/28/2007 10:18:02 AM PST by cornelis
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To: Jacquerie

A really great book. Hayek was from Austria, not England

see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek


18 posted on 01/28/2007 10:19:45 AM PST by theBuckwheat
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To: facedown
Thanks for the excellent post on this important book!

One small point. Although Hayek taught for years at the London School of Economics, he was by birth Viennese.

Along with Ludwig von Mises, he was an early exponent of the Austrian school of economic thought. After important early work in economics, he broadened his field of work and wrote on politics and social policy as well.

His last great work, The Fatal Conceit, dates from 1988.

19 posted on 01/28/2007 10:24:18 AM PST by Erasmus (Live was I ere I saw Evil.)
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To: facedown
Thanks for the excellent post on this important book!

One small point. Although Hayek taught for years at the London School of Economics, he was by birth Viennese.

Along with Ludwig von Mises, he was an early exponent of the Austrian school of economic thought. After important early work in economics, he broadened his field of work and wrote on politics and social policy as well.

His last great work, The Fatal Conceit, dates from 1988.

20 posted on 01/28/2007 10:28:34 AM PST by Erasmus (Live was I ere I saw Evil.)
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To: Erasmus
Along with Ludwig von Mises, he was an early exponent of the Austrian school of economic thought.

Yes, but unlike von Mises, he reasoned without dismissing the moral question. Hayek's knowledge that human nature was not a machine tempered the scientific rationalism that is so often the refuge of those who are devoted to "what works."

21 posted on 01/28/2007 10:31:22 AM PST by cornelis
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To: Jacquerie

The road to serfdom is paved by "free trade".


22 posted on 01/28/2007 10:32:13 AM PST by hedgetrimmer (I'm a millionaire thanks to the WTO and "free trade" system--Hu Jintao top 10 worst dictators)
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To: Jacquerie
Great book. BTW Hayek was not english but Austrian born. Either way what he wrote is prescient today.

My conclusion on observing the left in the west really comes down not to ideology but to class. The left under their guise to 'help the disenfranchised" will invevitably pave the way to totalitarianism. all movements of liberation have offered the masses the same: liberation from tyranny, a new social order where the new man will be freed from the tyranny of servitute, history, class, race, etc.

But the 'struggle' is never ending. the war of liberation is perpetual. the left is always preparing for war and as a result those who do not support the movement are branded as enemies of the revolution and so on. Then the cycle of tyranny continues.

What the left despises is a free citizenry that left to it's own devices, will not follow the perscribed marxist plan. Thus they find refuge in institutions such as the judiciary, media and the academia just to name a few, that is at arms length of the democratic process. Offering them leverage to push through an agenda that may not be accepted in an open ballot. Abortion, gay marriage, stem-cell research and so on.

I suggest you pick up Robert Bork Slouching's Towards Gomorrah, The Theory of Moral Sentiment by Adam Smith. Anything by Locke & Voltaire just to name a few. Hayek is part of the same tangent of voices as others that warn us again and again that tyranny lurkes around the corners of history.

23 posted on 01/28/2007 10:32:58 AM PST by bubman
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To: bubman

Voltaire and Hayek? Did you forget Comte?


24 posted on 01/28/2007 10:35:08 AM PST by cornelis
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bttt


25 posted on 01/28/2007 10:40:17 AM PST by true_blue_texican (...against all enemies, foreign and domestic...)
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To: rabscuttle385

I've heard Walter E. Williams(the Professor of Liberty!) speak of it on Rush'es show!


26 posted on 01/28/2007 10:51:48 AM PST by Cheapskate ( Celebrate Sept.8 as Pajamatag , the day the pajamahadeem busted Dan Rather!!)
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To: hedgetrimmer

hedgetrimmer wrote, "The road to serfdom is paved by "free trade".


Please elaborate...I'm not following you.


27 posted on 01/28/2007 11:25:09 AM PST by Bishop_Malachi (Liberal Socialism - A philosophy which advocates spreading a low standard of living equally.)
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To: Cheapskate

Maybe I should listen to Rush more often ;)


28 posted on 01/28/2007 11:46:46 AM PST by rabscuttle385 (Sic Semper Tyrannis * Allen for U.S. Senate in '08)
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To: Chuck Dent; theBuckwheat; bubman

Austrian.

Oops, my mistake. He was Austrian, not English.


29 posted on 01/28/2007 11:47:39 AM PST by Jacquerie (To Socialists of All Parties.)
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To: hedgetrimmer; Bishop_Malachi
In the following chapter, Hayek writes:

"What in effect unites the socialists of the Left and the Right is common hostility to competition and their common desire to replace it by a directed economy."

30 posted on 01/28/2007 11:56:06 AM PST by Jacquerie (To Socialists of All Parties.)
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To: bubman

You write very well and I agree with all of your points. Thanks for the reading recommendations!

BTW, being Canadian, how do you suggest we derail the national health care train that is coming around the bend?


31 posted on 01/28/2007 12:50:41 PM PST by Jacquerie (To Socialists of All Parties.)
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To: facedown

Very good book. It should be required reading. Thomas Sowell has written some similar concepts in his work.


32 posted on 01/28/2007 1:01:34 PM PST by Wildbill22
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To: Jacquerie; Bishop_Malachi
What in effect unites the socialists of the Left and the Right is common hostility to competition and their common desire to replace it by a directed economy."

This is describes to a 'T' the falsely named "free trade" system established by the global socialists in conjunction with transnational corporations. The whole purpose of the WTO and the plethora of 'working groups' and 'ministerials' it has created is to CONTROL trade and a global level and remove ANY local control over trade, and private ownership by individuals. This is evidenced by the language and effect of the numerous "free trade agreements" or FTAs that are burning like brushfires around the world. These FTAs usurp control, diminish sovereignty and harm individual rights.

In short, they are as antithetical to a free society as anything can be. For us, especially here in America,there is nothing "free" about them, from the fact that they are forced Americans without our consent to the fact that the American taxpayer is funding it. Without the American taxpayer , this "free trade" system could not have proliferated as it has. Sadly many Americans are not even aware of the massive subsidies globalization has required, financially and culturally.
33 posted on 01/28/2007 2:01:07 PM PST by hedgetrimmer (I'm a millionaire thanks to the WTO and "free trade" system--Hu Jintao top 10 worst dictators)
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To: Jacquerie

It is a great book.


34 posted on 01/28/2007 2:02:31 PM PST by sauropod ( "The View:" A Tupperware party in the 10th circle of Hell.)
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To: Jacquerie

Bump for an excellent book.


35 posted on 01/28/2007 2:05:04 PM PST by spunkets
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To: Jacquerie
Sounds very much like Herbert Spencer's essays from a hundred years earlier and collected by Truxtun Beale in "The Man Versus The State".
36 posted on 01/28/2007 6:07:44 PM PST by fella (Respect does not equal fear unless your a tyrant.)
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To: spunkets

bttt


37 posted on 01/28/2007 7:25:20 PM PST by wildcatf4f3 (Find out what brand the Ethiopians are drinking and send a case to all my generals.)
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To: Jacquerie; All

bump to encourage all to read this book

(we need a "booklist" bump list)


38 posted on 01/28/2007 7:38:36 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: festus

Re: The Road to Serfdom.
When did the terms liberal and conservative get switched around?

I've got this, i just have to read it now.


39 posted on 01/29/2007 7:45:31 AM PST by Shimmer128 (Non Illegitimi Carborundum)
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To: hedgetrimmer

Unintentionally ironic.


40 posted on 01/29/2007 7:59:34 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: TR Jeffersonian

ping


41 posted on 01/29/2007 8:18:38 AM PST by kalee (No burka for me....EVER!)
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To: Bishop_Malachi; hedgetrimmer
Please elaborate...I'm not following you.

What she's saying is that less government control of trade will lead to serfdom at some time in the future. To prevent this we need more government control now. Serfdom now!

42 posted on 01/29/2007 9:08:17 AM PST by Toddsterpatriot (Why are protectionists so bad at math?)
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To: Jacquerie
The Road to Serfdom, a slim volume, masterfully outlined Hayek's major arguments against socialism. The Constitution of Liberty, written some fifteen years later, provides probably the most complete presentation of Hayek's thought on economics and politics, and is an excellent choice as the other book that must be read if only two of Hayek's works are to be chosen.
43 posted on 01/29/2007 1:21:31 PM PST by beckett (Amor Fati)
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To: beckett
Thank you for the book recommendation. I read Hayek only a few pages per day, just to absorb and fully appreciate his insight. IMO, the best use of 99% of academic published material is birdcage liner.

It is the work of the 1% that can change the course of history.

44 posted on 01/29/2007 2:50:23 PM PST by Jacquerie (To Socialists of All Parties.)
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To: Jacquerie

One of my favorites. I in particular like his comparison of Nazis and Communists. See the 3rd quote on my FReeper profile page, the 2-paragraph one.


45 posted on 01/29/2007 2:53:34 PM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: FreedomPoster
Great quote.

The last quote from Chapter II in my post was an eye opener and dovetails with your Hayek observations. I had no idea that 1930's era universities were instilling hatred for western civilization. I assumed it was a phenomena started in the '60s
46 posted on 01/29/2007 3:05:20 PM PST by Jacquerie (To Socialists of All Parties.)
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To: Jacquerie

Fortunately that crap is mostly in the soft disciplines - English, anything with "Science" in the title, diversity degrees, and the sort of nonsense that will get your resume throw to the wastebasket for any position beyond barrista or retail clerk.

Engineering, business, finance, accounting, hard sciences, math, etc., are filled with plenty who still believe in American and Western Exceptionalism.


47 posted on 01/29/2007 3:11:52 PM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: Jacquerie
The two outstanding books in my Library are, The True Believer, and The Road to Serfdom, I have several copies of each which I lend out.
48 posted on 01/29/2007 3:21:33 PM PST by Little Bill (Welcome to the Newly Socialist State of New Hampshire.)
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To: Shimmer128

I really don't know but sometime during the history of America. The intro to the version I have by Milton Friedman has a footnote breifly touching on this. There may be more though in there and my memory is just fuzzy.


49 posted on 01/29/2007 6:43:36 PM PST by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: festus

Thanks, I'd like to explore this further.


50 posted on 01/29/2007 8:25:01 PM PST by Shimmer128 (Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.)
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