Monday, May 31, 2010

Retreating from Freedom

the generation to which we belong is now learning from experience what happens when men retreat from freedom to a coercive organization of their affairs.  Though they promise themselves a more abundant life, they must in practice renounce it; as the organized direction increases, the variety of ends must give way to uniformity.  That is the nemesis of the planned society and the authoritarian principle in human affairs.
Walter Lippman (1936, The Government of Posterity)

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Marxism has led to Fascism and National Socialism, because, in all essentials, it is Fascism and National Socialism.
F.A. Voigt (Unto Caesar, 1938)

Saturday, May 29, 2010


socialism is certain to prove, in the beginning at least, the road NOT to freedom, but to dictatorship and counter-dictatorships, to civil war of the fiercest kind.  Socialism achieved and maintained by democratic means seems definitely to belong to the world of utopias.
W.H. Chamberlin (1937, Collectivism: A False Utopia)

Friday, May 28, 2010

The New Freedom

The subtle change in meaning to which the word "freedom" was subjected in order that this argument should sound plausible is important.  To the great apostles of political freedom the word had meant freedom from coercion, freedom from the arbitrary power of other men, release from the ties which left the individual no choice but obedience to the orders of a superior to whom he was attached.  The new freedom promised, however, was to be a freedom from necessity, release from the compulsion of the circumstances which inevitably limit the range of choice of all of us, although for some very much more than for others.  Before man could be truly free, the "despotism of physical want" had to be broken, the "restrains of the economic system" relaxed.
F.A. Hayek (1944, Road to Serfdom)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Good Intentions

What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven.
Johnann Christian Friedreich Holderlin (1957)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Attitude of the liberal

The attitude of the liberal toward society is like that of the gardener who tends a plant and, in order to create the conditions most favorable to its growth, must know as much as possible about its structure and the way it functions.  
F.A. Hayek (1944, The Road to Serfdom)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Servile State

the effect of Socialist doctrine on Capitalist society is to produce a third thing different from either of its two begetters-to wit, the Servile State. 
Hilaire Belloc (1913, The Servile State)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Government and Liberty

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the government then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence: it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd. - I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom, and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Demoracy in America, 1835-1840)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Exposing Foundations

Few discoveries are more irritating than those which expose the pedigree of ideas.
Lord Acton (1878)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Permanent Interests

Nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. Only permanent interests.
Lord Palmerston

Friday, May 21, 2010

Useless Fighting

In some ways it’s a battle of the politicians against the markets. That’s how I do see it. But I’m determined to win this battle.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (Head of German Government) said on May 6th, 2010 relating to the Germain aid to Greece

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Bush Doctrine

a unilateral and exclusive right to preemptive attack, any time, anywhere, unfettered by any international agreements, to ensure that ‘[o]ur forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hope of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States
Ellen Wood - Empire of Capital, 2003

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Boundless Aggression

Boundless domination of a global economy, and of the multiple states that administer it, requires military action without end, in purpose or time.
Ellen Wood, Empire of Capital, 2003

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

American Primacy

The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy.
New York Times - March 8th, 1992

Monday, May 17, 2010


I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. ... and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. ... And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
Abraham Lincoln - Fourth Lincoln-Douglas Debate (18 September 1858)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Natural Obedience, Natural Reason

...if we led our lives according to the ways intended by nature and the lessons taught by her, we should be intuitively obedient to our parents; later we should adopt reason as our guide and become slaves to nobody
 Étienne de La Boétie - The Politics of Obedience 1552-1553

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Unenforcable Laws

Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.
Albert Einstein

Friday, May 14, 2010

Truth and Trust

Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.
Albert Einstein

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Inflation is...

Inflation is when you go to he same restaurant each morning, order the same breakfast, and each time you have to ask how much it costs.
Brazilian Businessman (~1990)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Government Necessity

...we could lose our congress, our president and our general staff and nothing much would have happened.  We would go right on.  In fact, we might be better for it...
John Steinbeck, The Log From the Sea of Cortez, 1951

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Free Order

The more freedom in self organization the more order.
Erich Jantsch (1980)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Payment and Cost

Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.
Albert Einstein

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Color of Mind

Once upon another time
He made my mind a different color
Neal Morse (Lifeline, 2008)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Innocent Deaths

We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat,
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal (2010)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Problem with Socialism is...

Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them.
Margaret Thatcher (Feb 5th, 1976)

common paraphrased version is:
"the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fiat Tragedy

The true tragedy of a fiat money regime is that bogus economic growth by way of monetary and fiscal stimulus can go on only until either the collapse of hyperinflation brings an end to the artificial boom or the amount of accumulated debt makes state bankruptcy inevitable.
Antony P. Mueller (March 12, 2010)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called "diversity" actually perpetuate racism. Their obsession with racial group identity is inherently racist.
... Rather than looking to government to correct our sins, we should understand that racism will endure until we stop thinking in terms of groups and begin thinking in terms of individual liberty.
Ron Paul  (April 16th, 2007)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ethics and Economics

I tell my students that economics as such cannot tell you which values to have, but I would argue that endeavoring to understand what careful economic reasoning can say about the world is an important part of being an ethical person because the unintended consequences of policies that fly in the face of basic economic reasoning have been tragic.
Art Carden (4/21/2010 in an article titled Why Economics Is Crucial for Ethics )

Monday, May 3, 2010

Human Choice and Chess

The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder.
Adam Smith (1759, Theory of Moral Sentiments, paragraph VI.II.42)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Noble Self Interest

Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest?
Milton Friedman (1979, in an interview with Phil Donahue)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Releasing Productive Activities

So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people, that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by free enterprise systems.
Milton Friedman (1979, in an interview with Phil Donahue)