… is from page 59 of F.A. Hayek’s July 1946 speech at Stanford University titled “The Prospects of Freedom,” as this speech appears – for the first time in print – as chapter 3 of the hot-off-the-press Essays on Liberalism and the Economy (2022), which is volume 18 (expertly edited by Paul Lewis), of The Collected Works of F.A. Hayek:
But in a complex social structure like ours almost any policy which never hesitates to invoke coercion by the government when a particular desired end is to be achieved is bound to lead us into a system where the government controls everything.
DBx: Please note that Hayek is not saying here – and he did not say in The Road to Serfdom – that any use of coercion inconsistent with liberalism sets us on an unstoppable trek toward tyranny. His message, instead, is that if the idea is widely accepted that liberal principles of limited government should not stand in the way of government using coercion to attempt to achieve some particular goal that is currently desirable, then we are trekking down the road to serfdom. But it is a trek that can be reversed – a reversal that requires a restoration of acceptance in the popular mind of broadly limited principles. This reversal requires that the populace stop acquiescing in the government’s violations of property rights and freedom done, however earnestly, to achieve whatever are the particular concrete goals that the public fancies today.