The Road to Serfdom

Originally published by me elsewhere on 11/07/2010

In The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek compares the outlook and actions of individualists (people who value freedom from coercion, private property, free markets, and equality of opportunity) with those of collectivists (people who value redistribution of wealth, equality of result, social engineering, and government control or ownership of parts of the economy). As an Austrian who watched Germany’s socialist movement morph into fascism in the years leading up to WWII, he was distressed that many of the processes that brought about this transformation were being replicated in Britain. He wrote this book as a warning to the British people, and later authorized its distribution in America as Reader’s Digest book. Some of the issues that the book addresses are listed below. I use the words “collectivist” and “leftist” interchangeably.

Leftist incrementalism
Collectivists want to “fundamentally transform” society, but in Western societies they have adopted a piecemeal process to effect this change. Having watched German society fundamentally transform itself, Hayek wanted the West, particularly Britain and America, to be aware of this incrementalist approach, so we’d recognize that it’s happening within our borders and move to oppose it. Or as Hayek said:

Just because in the years ahead of us political ideology is not likely to aim at a clearly defined goal but toward piecemeal change, a full understanding of the process through which certain kinds of measures can destroy the bases of an economy based on the market and gradually smother the creative powers of a free civilization seems now of the greatest importance.

Continue reading “The Road to Serfdom”

The Link between Nazism and Socialism

Originally posted elsewhere on 10/15/2010; the post has been somewhat modified here.

Shannon Love published an excellent article entitled, The Left’s Power of Self-Delusion. In it she argues that the left suffers from a profound need to always see itself as being on the correct side of history. In particular the left whitewashes its own history so that its intellectual heroes appear to be always good, always altruistic, and always working toward a more perfect justice. Love explains that this distorted perspective reduces the left’s own writing on its intellectual roots to little more than hagiography.

Continue reading “The Link between Nazism and Socialism”