Since we could elect a president who is, in all respects, a socialist, it would be good for us to understand what the term means. When we look at Nazi Germany we somehow conclude that they were a people who readily accepted collectivist thinking, and that we could never let that happen here.
Milton Mayer studied the Germans from 1933 to 1945 to find out what made them tick. He found that they were little different from we ourselves, and the things that led them into National Socialism (Nazi) could happen to us. (They Thought They Were Free)
Most of us, and certainly our children, have been taught in humanist schools, and as such have “learned” that socialism and national planning are good. Same with the welfare state and the redistribution (equalization) of income. But, is that necessarily so?
We owe it to ourselves, and certainly to our children, to obtain and read short books about socialism. Books like The Law by: Frederic Bastiat, Planning For Freedom by: Ludwig vonMises, Economics in One Lesson by: Henry Hazlitt, and The Road To Serfdom by: F.A. Hayek.
We conclude that we are different than the Germans and what happened to them could never happen to us. Hayek makes it clear that it certainly can.
The author has spent about half of his adult life in his native Austria, in close touch with German intellectual life, and the other half in the United States and England. In the latter period he has become increasingly convinced that at least some of the forces which have destroyed freedom in Germany are also at work here and that the character and the source of this danger are, if possible, even less understood than they were in Germany. The supreme tragedy is still not seen that in Germany it was largely people of good will, men who were admired and held up as models in the democratic countries, who prepared the way for, if they did not actually create, the forces which now stand for everything they detest. Yet our chance of averting a similar fate depends on our facing the danger and on our being prepared to revise even our most cherished hopes and ambitions if they should prove to be the source of danger. There are few signs yet that we have the intellectual courage to admit to ourselves that we may have been wrong. Few are ready to recognize that the rise of fascism and Naziism (sic) was not a reaction against the socialist trends of the preceding period but a necessary outcome of those tendencies. This is a truth which most people were unwilling to see even when the similarities of many of the repellent features of the internal regimes in communist Russia and National Socialist Germany were widely recognized. As a result, many who think themselves infinitely superior to the aberrations of Naziism, (sic) and sincerely hate all its manifestations, work at the same time for ideals whose realization would lead straight to the abhorred tyranny. (Hayek pp 58-59) (Emphasis added)
Hayek did not believe that these ends were inevitable; otherwise there would have been no point in writing the book (1944). His point was that whenever the free market is abandoned and planning put in its place the end results in forcing people to action they would not otherwise chose (tyranny). Is it too late for America to wake up and see the truth? No. But, it is time for us to understand the truth and to choose accordingly. – Jim Hollingsworth email@example.com