A common mistake is to interpret Hayek’s Road to Serfdom as arguing that interventionism will inevitably lead to totalitarianism (e.g. Noah Smith; John Quiggin; and many others). Here is Bruce Caldwell, criticizing this interpretation,
One of the most frequent complains voiced by critics of The Road to Serfdom, sometimes called the inevitability thesis, is that Hayek predicted that any amount of government intervention or planning would inevitably lead to totalitarianism. As I have argued elsewhere, Hayek denied this reading both in the book itself and in subsequent responses to his critics. That the book was originally intended as a part of the Abuse of Reason project provides further evidence in Hayek’s favor. One of the major themes of the “Scientism” essay is that the historicist search for general laws that would allow one to predict the future course of history is chimerical. Would it make sense for the author of such an essay to then turn around later in his work and attempt to predict the future course of history?
— Bruce Caldwell, Hayek’s Challenge: An Intellectual Biography of F.A. Hayek (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004), p. 241, ftn. 241.
To add to that excerpt, also based on my reading of Caldwell’s book on Hayek, is that Hayek’s main target was a state of thought. For example, while he may not have been totally in favor of Karl Popper’s “piecemeal” social engineering, he wouldn’t accuse Popper’s ideas as some that, if implemented, would inevitably lead to socialism. The Road to Serfdom was written during a period in time that large swaths of British academia were genuinely interested in socialism, not just academically but as a possible alternative to liberal democracy (although, it may be better said that they believed it, or some of its specific ideas, to be compliments to liberal democracy).
This kind of uncritical rejection of Hayek’s work — largely by dumping it into some kind of mental classification bucket that allows a thinker to “throw the baby out with the bathwater,” so to speak — is an example of the “epistemology of rejection” that I wrote about yesterday. Remember that Hayek’s work on complexity and “scientism” is a more sophisticated version of my thoughts yesterday, applied to those he thought were practitioners of “scientism.”