I attended the FA Hayek conference on Saturday hosted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute at the Carolina Inn. There were several good speakers outlining different aspects of Hayek’s works. One spoke about how Hayek fits into the history of the American Conservative movement. Another about his ethics.
The fact is, Hayek did not see himself as a conservative. One chapter in one of his books is titled, “Why I am not a conservative.” Furthermore, Hayek was an agnostic. He believed that liberty was a goal in itself, not a vehicle to virtue or a gift from a God. So, by today’s standard, I guess he would be categorized as a libertarian.
So, what is it about The Road to Serfdom that conservatives like so much? It is the well-supported argument that fascism and socialism are siblings rather than polar opposites. They are both extensions of collectivism. When a nation moves closer to a socialist system believing that centralization will help the citizenry, it is not long before totalitarianism sets in. This is a warning to all nations and peoples. I’m convinced.