Tuesday, 30 November 2021

"...when economic liberties are abridged or destroyed all other liberties are abridged or destroyed with them."


"Many of today's writers who are most eloquent in their arguments for liberty in fact preach philosophies that would destroy it. It seems to be typical of the books of our intelligentsia to praise one kind of liberty incessantly while disparaging or ridiculing another kind... [T]he liberty that they so foolishly denounce is economic liberty.…[T]hey seem to attach scant value to economic liberty because they think of it not as applying to themselves but to businessmen. Such a judgment may be uncharitable; but it is certainly fair to say that they misprize economic liberty because, in spite of their brilliance in some directions, they lack the knowledge or understanding to recognise that when economic liberties are abridged or destroyed all other liberties are abridged or destroyed with them. 'Power over a man's subsistence,' as Alexander Hamilton reminded us, 'is power over his will.' And if we wish a more modern authority, we can quote no less a one than Leon Trotsky, the colleague of Lenin, who in 1937, in a moment of candour, pointed out clearly that, 'In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation: The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat'.”
          ~ Henry Hazlitt, from his 'Introduction' to the 1958 Free Man's Library


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