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Hayek on the Totalitarian Surprise

Posted By Don Boudreaux On May 8, 2009 @ 6:43 am In Books | Comments Disabled

I mark this 110th anniversary of the birth of F.A. Hayek with this quotation from his 1944 book The Road to Serfdom [1]; it's from the opening paragraph of Chapter XIII, entitled "The Totalitarians In Our Midst":

Probably it is true that the very magnitude of the outrages committed by the totalitarian governments, instead of increasing the fear that such a system might one day arise in more enlightened countries, has rather strengthened the assurance that it cannot happen here….  But let us not forget that fifteen years ago the possibility of such a thing happening in Germany would have appeared just as fantastic, not only to nine-tenths of the Germans themselves, but also to the most hostile foreign observers (however wise they may now pretend to have been).
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[1] The Road to Serfdom: http://www.amazon.com/Road-Serfdom-Documents-Definitive-Collected/dp/0226320553/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241779323&sr=1-1

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