If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion.
A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom.
The system of private property is the most important guarantee of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not.
recognizes the limitations of the powers of individual reason and consequently advocates freedom.
It is always from a minority acting in ways different from what the majority would prescribe that the majority in the end learns to do better.
Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences
Liberty and responsibility are inseparable.
The case for individual freedom rests largely upon the recognition of the inevitable and universal ignorance of all of us concerning a great many of the factors on which the achievements of our ends and welfare depend.
Liberty is not merely one particular value
it is the source and condition of most moral values. What a free society offers to the individual is much more than what he would be able to do if only he were free.
The argument for liberty is
against the use of coercion to prevent others from doing better.
demonstrate[s] that some manners of living are more successful than others.
Once wide coercive powers are given to government agencies
such powers cannot be effectively controlled.
Under the Rule of Law
the individual is free to pursue his personal ends and desires, certain that the powers of government will not be used deliberately to frustrate his efforts.
is the control of the means for all our ends. And whoever has control of the means must also determine which ends are to be served.
The chief evil is unlimited government
nobody is qualified to wield unlimited power.
It used to be the boast of free men that, so long as they kept within the bounds of the known law, there was no need to ask anybody’s permission or to obey anybody’s orders. It is doubtful whether any of us can make this claim today.
Equality of the general rules of law and conduct
is the only kind of equality conducive to liberty and the only equality which we can secure without destroying liberty.
There is no justification for the belief that, so long as power is conferred by democratic procedure, it cannot be arbitrary
it is not the source but the limitation of power which prevents it from being arbitrary.
Coercion is evil precisely because it
eliminates an individual as a thinking and valuing person and makes him a bare tool in the achievement of the ends of another.
All political theories assume
that most individuals are very ignorant. Those who plead for liberty differ
in that they include among the ignorant themselves as well as the wisest.
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