Because of the inevitable failure of socialist bureaucrats to “plan” an economy and a society better than the millions of individuals comprising the society can, there will be “dissatisfaction with the slow and cumbersome course of democratic procedure which makes action for action’s sake the goal,” wrote Hayek. “It is then the man or the party who seems strong and resolute enough ‘to get things done’ who exercises the greatest appeal” to the public. The public demands a “strongman” (or strongwoman) “who can get things done”—even if it means the abandonment of democracy.
Moreover, the socialist regime is likely to be populated by “the worst elements of any society,” warned Hayek. Political demagogues (and socialists are always demagogues) have long understood that it is easier for the masses to agree on a negative program—a hatred of an enemy or “the envy of the better off” than on any positive program. In Bolshevik Russia, it was the capitalists and monarchists and Christians and independent farmers and aristocrats who were the enemy, and against whom the masses could be swayed, and against whom violence could be inflicted in the name of “the people.” In the Europe of Hayek’s day it was the plutocrat and “the Jew who became the enemy….” “In Germany and Austria the Jew had come to be regarded as the representative of capitalism,” and hence became the target of extreme hatred. In America, political demagogues target “Wall Street” and the wealthy “one percent” as the objects of their hatred. [RPT’s addition: And the “fundamentalist that would dare question transgender normalization of bathroom use and female sports, etc.]
Hatred and violence, especially for the young, is justified in the name of idealism, however perversely understood. To a socialist, the ends justify the means (which is the reverse of traditional morality) and can justify any action desired by a socialist. To a socialist, said Hayek, there is nothing “which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves `the good of the whole.’” This socialist mindset accepts if not celebrates “intolerance and brutal suppression of dissent,” and “the complete disregard of the life and happiness of the individual,” because the “selfish” individual does not matter; the socialist will argue that what he does is “for the good of the whole.”
In a socialist society, said Hayek, the only “power” worth having is political power, and to consolidate that political power government relies on propaganda, intimidation, and government domestic spying to discredit, bully, and eliminate possible opposition.
Socialism can lead to “the end of truth,” as Hayek called it, because socialists believe in indoctrinating people into “The Truth.” This is why socialist regimes have made us familiar with “reeducation camps” and rigid, totalitarian ideological conformity. Socialists believe that there are no legitimate, alternative viewpoints. Socialist propaganda must dominate the educational system and the mass media so that, in Hayek’s words, “a pseudoscientific theory becomes part of the official creed” which “directs everybody’s actions.” Under socialism, “every act of the government, must become sacrosanct,” while minority opinions—or even majority opinions at odds with the official ideology—must be silenced and are demonized. This all sounds like a perfect definition of the “political correctness” that plagues American colleges and universities and which has gone a long way toward destroying academic freedom both for students and professors.
“Truth” in a socialist society is not something to be debated; it is mandated and enforced by the Socialist regime, from which there is no alternative and no appeal. Once socialist ideology takes over and respect for actual truth is destroyed, wrote Hayek, then all morals are assaulted because all morality is based on respect for the truth.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Problem with Socialism (New Jersey, NJ: Regnery, 2016), 55-58.