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The Republican Road to Socialism

The US Republican Party has long seen a socialist in every Democrat, and, with control of Congress up for grabs in the coming midterm elections, such rhetoric has become more prominent and incendiary among its candidates. But perhaps the GOP is right to be afraid – not of socialism, but of the possibility that its time has come.

NEW YORK – The Republican Party looks poised to win back control of one or both houses of Congress in the United States’ upcoming midterm elections. Yet the party stands for nothing except fear of a “radical left” bent on installing socialism. The strands of paleo- and neoconservatism that once defined the party’s identity have given way to the Christian-national populism embodied by US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and promoted nightly by the popular Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson.

This seemingly new fixation on the specter of socialism looks almost farcical, but it is based on a constant, default setting or through line for the Republicans: the intellectual legacy of Friedrich von Hayek. The Austrian Nobel laureate might as well be on the ballot come November 8.

Hayek was always engaged in what he understood as rear-guard actions against the genuine threat of socialism, which he understood to include both communism and fascism. All were dedicated to erasing the modern liberal distinction between the state and civil society, the public sphere and the private sector, government and free markets.

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