Monday, September 03, 2012

Hayek on Communism and Fascism

The following four paragraphs are parts of F.A. Hayek's discussion of fascism and communism as observed in Russia and Germany around the time of World War II.
While “progressives” in England and elsewhere were still deluding themselves that communism and fascism represented opposite poles, more and more people began to ask themselves whether these new tyrannies were not the outcome of the same tendencies. Even communists must have been somewhat shaken by such testimonies as that of Max Eastman, Lenin’s old friend, who found himself compelled to admit that “instead of being better, Stalinism is worse than fascism, more ruthless, barbarous, unjust, immoral, antidemocratic, unredeemed by any hope or scruple,” and that it is “better described as superfascist”; and when we find the same author recognizing that “Stalinism is socialism, in the sense of being an inevitable although unforeseen political accompaniment of the nationalization and collectivization which he had relied upon as part of his plan for erecting a classless society,” his conclusion clearly achieves wider significance.
...W. H. Chamberlin, who in twelve years in Russia as an American correspondent had seen all his ideals shattered, summed up the conclusions of his studies there and in Germany and Italy in the statement that “socialism is certain to prove, in the beginning at least, the road NOT to freedom, but to dictatorship and counter-dictatorships, to civil war of the fiercest kind. Socialism achieved and maintained by democratic means seems definitely to belong to the world of utopias.
...And Walter Lippmann has arrived at the conviction that “the generation to which we belong is now learning from experience what happens when men retreat from freedom to a coercive organization of their affairs. Though they promise themselves a more abundant life, they must in practice renounce it; as the organized direction increases, the variety of ends must give way to uniformity. That is the nemesis of the planned society and the authoritarian principle in human affairs.”
...“The complete collapse of the belief in the attainability of freedom and equality through Marxism,” writes Peter Drucker, “has forced Russia to travel the same road toward a totalitarian, purely negative, non-economic society of unfreedom and inequality which Germany has been following. Not that communism and fascism are essentially the same. Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion, and it has proved as much an illusion in Stalinist Russia as in pre-Hitler Germany.”
Hayek, F. A. (2010-10-22). The Road to Serfdom (pp. 78-80). University of Chicago Press - A. Kindle Edition.

Disclaimer: These opinions are solely my own, and do not reflect the opinions or official positions of any United States Government agency, organization or department.

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