The more the state "plans" the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.— Friedrich August von Hayek
Most Powerful Serfdom quotations
By giving the government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal; and in this way a democracy may set up the most complete despotism imaginable.
It seems to be almost a law of human nature that it is easier for people to agree on a negative program - on the hatred of an enemy, on the envy of those better off - than on any positive task.
Feudalism, serfdom, slavery — all tyrannical institutions, are merely the most vigorous kinds of rule, springing out of, and necessary to, a bad state of man. The progress from these is in all cases the same — less government.
Socialism can only be put into practice only by methods which most socialists disapprove.
The real work of men was hunting meat.
The invention of agriculture was a giant step in the wrong direction, leading to serfdom, cities, and empire. From a race of hunters, artists, warriors, and tamers of horses, we degraded ourselves to what we are now: clerks, functionaries, laborers, entertainers, processors of information.
The principle that the end justifies the means is in individualist ethics regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics it becomes necessarily the supreme rule.
Financial dependence on the state is the foundation of modern serfdom.
The truth is that the whole life of the worker is simply a continuous and dismaying succession of terms of serfdom - voluntary from the juridical point of view but compulsory in the economic sense - broken up by momentarily brief interludes of freedom accompanied by starvation; in other words, it is real slavery.
Once you admit that the individual is merely a means to serve the ends of the higher entity called society or the nation, most of those features of totalitarianism which horrify us follow of necessity
...in the negative part of Professor's Hayek's thesis there is a great deal of truth. It cannot be said too often - at any rate, it is not being said nearly often enough - that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamt of.
Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life that can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.
But Friedman seemed to share Friedrich Hayek's extreme and inaccurate view that socialism of the sort that Britain embraced under the old Labour Party was incompatible with democracy, and I don't think that there is a good theoretical or empirical basis for that view. The Road to Serfdom flunks the test of accuracy of prediction!
. . I think the Adam Smith role was played in this cycle i.e. the late twentieth century collapse of socialism in which the idea of free-markets succeeded first, and then special events catalyzed a complete change of socio-political policy in countries around the world by Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom.
The guiding principle that a policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy remains as true today as it was in the nineteenth century.
Two-thirds of a century after [The Road to Serfdom] got written, hindsight confirms how inaccurate its innuendo about the future turned out to be.
The power which a multiple millionaire, who may be my neighbor and perhaps my employer, has over me is very much less than that which the smallest "functionaire" possesses who wields the coercive power of the state, and on whose desecration it depends whether and how I am allowed to live or to work.
.. the publication of Friedrich A. von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom in 1944 is rightly seen as the first shot in the intellectual battle that was to turn the tide in favor of conservatism i.e. non-statist liberalism .
The confused mass of rules of conduct called law, which has been bequeathed to us by slavery, serfdom, feudalism, and royalty, has taken the place of those stone monsters, before whom human victims used to be immolated, and whom slavish savages dared not even touch lest they should be slain by the thunderbolts of heaven.
The system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not.
We shall all be the gainers if we can create a world fit for small states to live in.
Where the sole employer is the state, [opposition] means death by slow starvation.
In the Western world, countries that were once the crucible of freedom are slipping remorselessly into a thinly disguised serfdom in which an ever higher proportion of your assets are annexed by the state as superlandlord. Big government is where nations go to die - not in Keynes' 'long run,' but sooner than you think.
In any society freedom of thought will probably be of direct significance for a small minority. But this does not mean that anyone is competent, or ought to have power, to select those to whom this freedom is to be reserved.
From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.
The path of the common citizen is voluntary serfdom as a speculative commodity.
North as well as South, the Negroes have emerged from slavery into a serfdom of poverty and restricted rights.
Ever read any [Friedrich] Hayek? He's great.
The Road To Serfdom is like... I'm not a big political-science reader, but I actually dog-eared my copy. I ended up going back through it and writing a précis, I was so impressed by this book. It's all about what happens when government tries to make everything right.
But we remember that it was just precisely in the reign of Richard II that the Peasants' War, following upon the changes wrought by the visitations of the Great Plague, virtually destroyed serfdom as a personal status.
If, of course, one builds into the concept of an 'individual' all that Professor Hayek does in his Road To Serfdom, Individualism and Economic Order and many other works, which is, to put it briefly, the whole of laisser-faire economic theory, then plainly man as such a programmed predator has very little interest in being fraternal, or very little chance.
It is a mark of how far we have gone on the road to serfdom that government allocation and rationing of oil is the automatic response to the oil crisis.
...this remedy is the power of the citizens; they have to prevent the establishment of such an autocratic regime that arrogates to itself a higher wisdom than that of the average citizen. This is the fundamental difference between freedom and serfdom.
Religion used to be the opium of the people.
To those suffering humiliation, pain, illness, and serfdom, religion promised the reward of an after life. But now, we are witnessing a transformation, a true opium of the people is the belief in nothingness after death, the huge solace, the huge comfort of thinking that for our betrayals, our greed, our cowardice, our murders, we are not going to be judged.