I am currently reading Right Nation. It is a great book about the rise of modern American conservatism. Read more here.
Here is one scary excerpt for you.
“The Fabians, a society of intellectuals, founded their organization in 1884. Their ranks included Sidney and Beatrice Webb, HG Wells, and George Bernard Shaw. Their aim was to replace the ‘scramble for private gain’ with ‘collective welfare,’ and their chosen technique was ‘permeation’. They did not believe in overthrowing society, like the Marxists. They did not particularly care about winning elections, like the Labor Party they also helped found. Indeed, they tried not to tie themselves to one particular party. They hoped that socialism would come about gradually but relentlessly-by clothing collectivism in the garb of common sense and by extending government controls over one institution after another.”
Sounds to me like they were pretty successful.