Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Quotes On Socialism

“The effect of Socialist doctrine on Capitalist society is to produce a third thing different from either of its two begetters- to wit, the Servile State” -Hilaire Belloc, The Servile State1913: 3d ed., 1927

I wanted to discuss another little passage from Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom today.

“We have progressively abandoned that freedom in economic affairs without which personal and political freedom has never existed in the past. Although we had been warned by some of the greatest political thinkers of the nineteenth century, by De Tocqueville and Lord Acton that socialism means slavery, we have steadily moved in the direction of socialism. And now that we have seen a new form of slavery arise before our eyes [referring to Nazi Germany], we have so completely forgotten the warning that it scarcely occurs to us that the two things may be connected.

“How sharp a break not only with the recent past but with the whole evolution of Western civilization the modern trend toward socialism means becomes clear if we consider it not merely against the background of the nineteenth century but in a longer historical perspective. We are rapidly abandoning not the views merely of Cobden and Bright, of Adam Smith and Hume, or even of Locke and Milton, but one of the salient characteristics of Western civilization as it has grown from the foundations laid by Christianity and the Greeks and Romans. Not merely nineteenth and eighteenth century liberalism*, but the basic individualism inherited by us from Erasmus and Montaigne, from Cicero and Tacitus, Pericles and Thucydides, is progressively relinquished……

…….. During the whole of this modern period of European history the general direction of social development was one of freeing the individual from the ties which had bound him to the customary or prescribed ways in the pursuit of his ordinary activities. The conscious realization that the spontaneous and uncontrolled efforts of individuals were capable of producing a complex order of economic activities could come only after this development had made some progress. The subsequent elaboration of a consistent argument in favor of economic freedom was the outcome of a free growth of economic activity which had been the undesigned and unforeseen by-product of political freedom.” (Italics are mine.)

- F.A. Hayek, The road to Serfdom, pg.16-19

* Remember at this time the word liberal referred to those in favor of a free market individualism.

Are we ready to give up such a heritage? Are we ready to trust the political impulses of Barack Obama and his cronies over the great thinkers of the ages and the benefits of the free market that we can see with our own eyes? Are we ready to give up the freedom we have for a system that has FAILED every time it has been tried?

I would also like to call attention to the last sentence that I italicized. It is easy for our opponents to claim that our capitalist tendencies come from greed and nothing more. I do find it frustrating that our way of living has become called capitalism, when that is merely an outgrowth, and a way of describing the system of market a free society is able to produce under a laissez faire government. But the free society is the point, and offers many opportunities for pursuing life, liberty, and happiness beyond just the pursuit of capital.



  1. Love the last paragraph. That was so powerful and so true.

    It is sad to read those quotes knowing and feeling all to well what is happening.

  2. Thanks. I'll have to get my hands on this book.

  3. I am Andrew33, Co-contributor to KOOK's blog. I just wanted to say thanks for joining up. It is good to see so many like-minded souls joining our blog. Please feel free to make your opinions known on our blog and we will do the same here from time to time. We want people to think for themselves and want good debate. You will see that I refuse to use the word "socialism" as it is simply communism tidied up so it can be sold. I will not bend to those who want to push such things on us. Socialism is Communism. Those who are pushing it are no different than Bolsheviks that destroyed Eastern Europe and would do the same to us given the opportunity.

  4. Thanks for visiting, Andrew. Interesting Take on the word socialism. While I will still use the word, I have often referred to Socialism as 'Communism with training wheels'. It is tidied up and more acceptable to people, But to me socialism just means as much as you can get away with without having an actual revolution. But in the end there will always be those people who won't budge or give in to socialism, who will have to be dealt with, at the same time the rest of the populous is more entrapped. I think this is the message of 'The Road to Serfdom', though I'm not to far into it yet. Only Hayek gives everyone the benefit of the doubt..."Watch out because this socialism you want may turn into something far worse", while I think there are many who hope socialism here will roll neatly over into communism or a dictatorship, and they are just struggling for power in order to be the ones on top when it goes.
    I just hope we can keep it from happening altogether.
    Thanks again for visiting.

  5. Our opponents are willing and, in fact, enthusiastic to bend every definition and twist every truth to gain political power. If ever there were a time in American history to fight for every measure of liberty, it is now. The battle has begun. Thanks, young lady, for choosing our side.