789. (4-25-2010) Experience should teach us, to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachments by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
- Justice Brandeis, in a dissenting opinion of 1927, cited in Friedrich A. Hayek – The Constitution of Liberty, 1978
791. (4-25-2010) [G]overnment interference in the life of the citizenry even for benevolent purposes endangers liberty: it posits a consensus which does not exist and hence requires coercion….[T]he modern welfare state indeed coerces in a variety of ways to attain its unattainable ends. But well-meaning patriarchalism [sic] also enervates people by robbing them of the entrepreneurial spirit implicit in freedom. What harm long-term dependence on the welfare state can inflict became apparent after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when a substantial part of the population, suddenly deprived of comprehensive state support and unaccustomed to fending for itself, came to yearn for the restoration of the despotic yoke. The trouble is that because schools fail to teach history, especially legal and constitutional history, the vast majority of today’s citizens have no inkling to what they owe their liberty and prosperity, namely a long and successful struggle for rights of which the right to property is the most fundamental. They are therefore unaware what debilitating effects the restrictions on property rights will, overt the long run, have on their lives.
- Richard Pipes – Property and Freedom, 2000
796. (5-1-2010) The real price of everything, what everything really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it. What everything is really worth to the man who has acquired it, and who wants to dispose of it or exchange it for something else, is the toil and trouble which it can save to himself, and which it can impose upon other people. What is bought with money or with goods is purchased by labour [sic] as much as what we acquire by the toil of our own body. That money or those goods indeed save us this toil. They contain the value of a certain quantity of labour which we exchange for what is supposed at the time to contain the value of an equal quantity. Labour was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all the wealth of the world was originally purchased; and its value, to those who possess it, and who want to exchange it for some new productions, is precisely equal to the quantity of labour which it can enable them to purchase or command.
- Adam Smith – Wealth of Nations, 1776