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Greatest crimes of our times

Most people are still unwilling to face the most alarming lesson of modern history: that the greatest crimes of our time have been committed by governments that had the enthusiastic support of millions of people who were guided by moral impulses. It is simply not true that Hitler or Mussolini, Lenin or Stalin, appealed only to the worst instincts of their people; they also appealed to some of the feelings which also dominate contemporary democracies. Whatever disillusionment the more mature supporters of those movements may have experienced as they came to see the effects of the policies they had supported, there can be no doubt that the rank and file of the communist, national-socialist or fascist movements contained many men and women inspired by ideals not very different from those of some of the most influential social philosophers in the Western countries. Some of them certainly believe that they were engaged in the creation of a just society in which the needs of the most deserving or ‘socially most valuable’ would be better cared for. They were led by a desire for a visible common purpose which is our inheritance from the tribal society and which we still find breaking through everywhere.
     — F.A. Hayek, "The Mirage of Social Justice"
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