The parallels to today's world are unsettling, to say the least. Perhaps this is why, a few weeks ago, "The Road to Serfdom" ascended to #1 in sales on Amazon.com after Glenn Beck discussed the book on his Fox News Channel program. There may not be a Hitler on the horizon, but the extent to which governments all over the world have simply ignored the lessons of the past in response to the economic crisis that they created with their own monetary policies and other interventions is mind boggling. The US government, in particular, responded to the bust portion of the Greenspan Fed's boom-and-bust cycle with the most economically destructive - but politically centralizing - policies: trillion-dollar bailouts of failing corporations that will create moral-hazard problems the likes of which have never been seen; an escalation of the money supply that dwarfs the monetary inflation of the Greenspan Fed; the Soviet-style nationalization of automobile companies, banks, and much of the healthcare industry; government regulation of executive compensation; the appointment of dozens of dictatorial "czars" with unaccountable power to regulate and regiment myriad industries; trillion-dollar-a-year deficits; an expansion of the powers of the Fed (!); and a president who believes he has the power to fire corporate executives, [and] nationalize industries [...]And:
Washington DC no longer recognizes any limits at all to its powers to "socially plan" all aspects of American life. This totalitarian impulse is not limited to national politics.
Hayek's insights were remarkable, and remain so to this day. He understood and explained the power of ideas: European fascism could never have been adopted without a 25-year propaganda campaign against individualism (basic respect for the individual), classical liberalism, and free-market economics. He pointed out the "fatal conceit" of believing that government bureaucrats could "plan" an entire society. He explained why socialism - including its fascist variant - meant little more than "equality in restraint and servitude." "Marxism has led to Fascism and National Socialism," he wrote, "because, in all its essentials, it is Fascism and National Socialism [i.e., Nazism]." [...]
"The worst" always rise to the top of the political heap under a regime of government planning, Hayek explained, for they are the ones with the least qualms about brutalizing their fellow citizens and depriving them of their liberties. All of this can only be sustained by what Hayek called "The End of Truth," or the effects of massive government propaganda that demonizes the civil society, individualism, and the system of peaceful voluntary exchange and private property (capitalism), while glorifying all aspects of the state.