Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.
If we wish to convince [the people], not only of our sincerity, but also that we have to
offer a real alternative to the way they have gone, it will not be by concessions to [the
socialist] system of thought. We shall not delude them with a stale reproduction of the
ideas of their fathers which we have borrowed from them--be it socialism, Realpolitik,
"scientific" planning, or corporativism. We shall not pursuade them by following them half
the way which leads to totalitarianism. If the democracies themselves abandon the supreme
ideal of the freedom and happiness of the individual, if they implicitly admit that their
civilization is not worth preserving, and that they know nothing better than to follow the
path along which the [Progressives] have led, they have indeed nothing to offer.
If we are, nevertheless, rapidly moving toward [socialism], this is largely because most people
still believe that it must be possible to find some middle way between "atomistic" competition
and central direction. Nothing, indeed, seems at first more plausible, or is more likely to
appeal to reasonable people, than the idea that our goal must be neither the extreme
decentralization of free competition nor the complete centralization of a single plan but some
judicious mixture of the two methods. Yet mere common sense proves a treacherous guide in the
field. Although competition can bear some admixture of regulation, it cannot be combined with
planning to any extent we like without ceasing to operate as an effective guide to production.
Nor is "planning" a medicine which, taken in small doses, can produce the effects for which one
might hope from its thoroughgoing application. Both competition and central direction become poor
and inefficient tools if they are incomplete; they are alternative principles used to solve the
same problem, and a mixture of the two means that neither will really work and that the result
will be worse than if either system had been consistently relied upon. Or, to express it
differently, planning and competition can be combined only by planning for competition but not by
planning against competition.
--F Hayek, The Road to Serfdom(1994ed), p47.