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Author Topic: Road to Serfdom Roundup  (Read 586 times)
frenger
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« on: November 24, 2005, 05:08:50 pm »
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http://www.conservativephilosopher.com/posts/1123233794.shtml

F. A. Hayek famously argued in The Road to Serfdom that a consistent implementation of a socialist economic policy would entail a totalitarian political and legal order. Socialist economics is pretty much dead today, but the radically egalitarian moral impulses that undergirded it are still with us, and it seems increasingly evident that they are having an effect on the public life of contemporary Western democracies that bears at least a family resemblance to the outcome Hayek warned us of. The new totalitarianism is far milder than the old, and works through regulations, lawsuits, fines, and educational policy rather than concentration camps and public executions. The jackboot is not its footwear of choice; as someone at National Review (John Derbyshire, I think) once described the post-1960s brand of Orwellian tyranny, "If you want an image of the future, imagine a Birkenstock sandal on a human face forever." However, the aim is much the same: the state-sponsored creation of a "New Man" (sorry, "New Person") who will not only act, but also think, in accordance with the radical egalitarianism of the Left (albeit that equality of race, sex, and sexual orientation seem to be of even more pressing concern to contemporary egalitarians than the economic egalitarianism emphasized by their socialist forebears).

Here are some recent news items, blog posts, and articles that illustrate what I mean. For disturbing evidence of a trend toward the outlawing of politically incorrect speech in Europe, see here, here, and here. For evidence of the same trend in Canada, see here, here, and here. For some comments by Pope Benedict XVI on these matters, see here.
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"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." – H.L. Mencken



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frenger
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2005, 05:14:52 pm »
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http://www.conservativephilosopher.com/posts/1126507092.shtml

In an earlier post, I noted how the preferred methods of radical egalitarians today are "regulations, lawsuits, fines, and educational policy" rather than the more brutal—and visible—methods of communist and socialist dictatorships. Here and here are some more recent examples of this trend, and of how an intense hatred of traditional attitudes toward sex, and a desire to criminalize the expression of such attitudes, seem to be the driving obsessions of the new totalitarians. Here is an indication of what the National Educational Association would force home-schoolers to teach their children if they had their way. We see in such trends one sort of confirmation (by no means the only one) of Aldous Huxley's observation (in the Introduction to Brave New World) that "as political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase"—or, more precisely, of the converse of his statement. As Huxley goes on to say, "the dictator . . . will do well to encourage [sexual] freedom. In conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope and movies and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate." It is no accident that economic and political revolutionaries on the one hand, and sexual revolutionaries on the other, tend to be the same people. (A useful book on this subject is E. Michael Jones's Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control.)
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"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." – H.L. Mencken



NO, I don't want to go back to Fantasy Elections.
frenger
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2005, 05:18:14 pm »
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http://www.conservativephilosopher.com/posts/1132736225.shtml

In two earlier posts (here and here), I made reference to some examples of how radical egalitarians use regulations, lawsuits, fines, and educational policy as a means of enforcing their vision of equality, in a way that threatens the continued existence of a free society. Here are some more recent examples.

Here is a report about how some lawmakers in the UK are proposing to make pre-school mandatory from birth(!), with the government requiring that certain "learning objectives" be met by the age of three. What sort of objectives might these be? You can be sure that it is the state, and not parents, who will end up making the decision. A clue as to what many egalitarians would favor is provided by this report, which indicates that in Canada, the legalization of "same-sex marriage" coupled with anti-discrimination laws seems to entail writing advocacy of the sexual revolution into the public school curriculum, whatever the wishes of parents might be.

Here is a report about how the Danish Supreme Court has taken it upon itself to determine the conditions under which a church can excommunicate one of its members. And here we read about a debate over whether the telling of certain jokes would violate proposed hate crime legislation in the UK. Finally, here is a report on how the notorious David Irving "has been arrested in Austria on a warrant accusing him of denying the Holocaust." That's right, arrested. Is is one thing to criticize crackpot and immoral ideas, to refuse to publish them, etc.; but to criminalize them hardly seems compatible with a free and open society.
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"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." – H.L. Mencken



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David S
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2005, 02:25:27 pm »
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In my own opinion there are several reasons why socialism can lead to totalitarian government.

1) Socialism requires a huge powerful government to run the economy. That in itself is a threat to freedom since you have swarms of bureaucrats with nothing better to do than meddle in the private affairs of citizens. Our founders wanted a small government to minimize the amount of mischief it could get into.
2) Socialist philosophy holds that individual rights can be sacrificed in the name of the common good. The supreme court ruling in the Kelo v. New London  property case is an example. The cummulative effect of such intrusions on individual rights eventually results in the total loss of all rights.
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