Friedrich August von Hayek quote

"The importance of our being free to do a particular thing has nothing to do with the question of whether we or the majority are ever likely to make use of that particular possibility. To grant no more freedom than all can exercise would be to misconceive its function completely. The freedom that will be used by only one man in a million may be more important to society and more beneficial to the majority than any freedom that we all use."

Friedrich August von Hayek

Born: May 8, 1899

Die: March 23, 1992

Occupation: Economist

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More quotes of Friedrich August von Hayek

Friedrich August von Hayek

From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Hayek was making us think of the productive process as a process in time, inputs coming before outputs.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

We must show that liberty is not merely one particular value but that 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...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The power which a multiple millionaire, who may be my neighbor and perhaps my employer, has over me is very much less than that which the smallest "functionaire" possesses who wields the coercive power...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

One need not be a prophet to be aware of impending dangers. An accidental combination of experience and interest will often reveal events to one man under aspects which few yet see.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Socialism has never and nowhere been at first a working-class movement.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The great aim of the struggle for liberty has been equality before the law.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The chief evil is unlimited government, and nobody is qualified to wield unlimited power.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Nobody with open eyes can any longer doubt that the danger to personal freedom comes chiefly from the left.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Once wide coercive powers are given to governmental agencies for particular purposes, such powers cannot be effectively controlled by democratic assemblies.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It is possible for a dictator to govern in a liberal way. And it is also possible for a democracy to govern with a total lack of liberalism. Personally I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

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 of his actions.... Liberty and responsibility are inseparable.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Inflation is probably the most important single factor in that vicious circle wherein one kind of government action makes more and more government control necessary. For this reason all those who wish...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

To rest the case for equal treatment of national or racial minorities on the assumption that they do not differ from other men is implicitly to admit that factual inequality would justify unequal treatment,...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Conservatism is only as good as what it conserves.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The history of government management of money has, except for a few short happy periods, been one of incessant fraud and deception.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

To create conditions in which competition will be as effective as possible, to prevent fraud and deception, to break up monopolies- these tasks provide a wide and unquestioned field for state activity.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The idea of social justice is that the state should treat different people unequally in order to make them equal

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Few are ready to recognize that the rise of fascism and naziism was not a reaction against the socialist trends of the preceding period but a necessary outcome of those tendencies.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

A society that does not recognise 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.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Our faith in freedom does not rest on the foreseeable results in particular circumstances, but on the belief that it will, on balance, release more forces for the good than for the bad ... Freedom granted...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

No human mind can comprehend all the knowledge which guides the actions of society.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Civilization enables us constantly to profit from knowledge which we individually do not possess and because each individual's use of his particular knowledge may serve to assist others unknown to him...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The argument for liberty is not an argument against organization, which is one of the most powerful tools human reason can employ, but an argument against all exclusive, privileged, monopolistic organization,...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends. And whoever has sole control of the means must also...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Socialism can only be put into practice only by methods which most socialists disapprove.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

We did not realise how fragile our civilisation was.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

While an equality of rights under a limited government is possible and an essential condition of individual freedom, a claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It is only because the majority opinion will always be opposed by some that our knowledge and understanding progress... it is always from a minority acting in ways different from what the majority would...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The more the state "plans" the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Freedom can be preserved only if it is treated as a supreme principle which must not be sacrificed for particular advantages.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It is because freedom means the renunciation of direct control of individual efforts that a free society can make use of so much more knowledge than the mind of the wisest ruler could comprehend.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Our submission to general principles is necessary because we cannot be guided in our practical action by full knowledge and evaluation of the consequences. So long as men are not omniscient, the only way...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The importance of our being free to do a particular thing has nothing to do with the question of whether we or the majority are ever likely to make use of that particular possibility. To grant no more...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It is because every individual knows little and, in particular, because we rarely know which of us knows best best that we trust the independent and competitive efforts of many to induce the emergence...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Many of the greatest things man has achieved are not the result of consciously directed thought, and still less the product of a deliberately coordinated effort of many individuals, but of a process in...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Any man who is only an economist is unlikely to be a good one.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Competition is like experimentation in science, a discovery process, and it must rely on the self interest of producers, it must allow them to use their knowledge for their purposes, because nobody else...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The idea that human kind can shape the world according to wish is what I call the fatal conceit

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The central problem of management is how spontaneous interaction of people within a firm, each possessing only bits of knowledge, can bring about the competitive success that could only be achieved by...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

To be controlled in our economic pursuits means to be controlled in everything.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Socialism has never and nowhere been at first a working-class movement. It is by no means an obvious remedy for the obvious evil which the interests of that class will necessarily demand. It is a construction...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Socialist thought owes its appeal to the young largely to its visionary character; the very courage to indulge in Utopian thought is in this respect a source of strength for socialism which traditional...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It is perhaps the most characteristic feature of the intellectual that he judges new ideas not by their specific merits but by the readiness with which they fit into his general conceptions, into the picture...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

All political theories assume, of course, that most individuals are very ignorant. Those who plead for liberty differ from the rest in that they include among the ignorant themselves as well as the wisest....

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Friedrich August von Hayek

By giving the government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal; and in this way a democracy may set up the most complete despotism imaginable.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

With the exception only of the period of the gold standard, practically all governments of history have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the people.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It is indeed probable that more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out a moral evil than by men intent on doing evil.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The chief difference [between totalitarian and free countries] is that only the totalitarians appear clearly to know how they want to achieve that result, while the free world has only its past achievements...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage.... Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue,...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

I am certain, however, that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

I was quite depressed two weeks ago when I spent an afternoon at Brentano's Bookshop in New York and was looking at the kind of books most people read. Once you see that you lose all hope.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It is true that the virtues which are less esteemed and practiced now--independence, self-reliance, and the willingness to bear risks, the readiness to back one's own conviction against a majority, and...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It is one of the saddest spectacles of our time to see a great democratic movement support a policy which must lead to the destruction of democracy and which meanwhile can benefit only a minority of the...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The word 'truth' itself ceases to have its old meaning. It describes no longer something to be found, with the individual conscience as the sole arbiter of whether in any particular instance the evidence...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Everything which might cause doubt about the wisdom of the government or create discontent will be kept from the people. The basis of unfavorable comparisons with elsewhere, the knowledge of possible alternatives...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It is not difficult to deprive the great majority of independent thought. But the minority who will retain an inclination to criticize must also be silenced....Public criticism or even expressions of doubt...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one's government is not necessarily to secure freedom.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Even the striving for equality by means of a directed economy can result only in an officially enforced inequality - an authoritarian determination of the status of each individual in the new hierarchical...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It seems to me that socialists today can preserve their position in academic economics merely by the pretense that the differences are entirely moral questions about which science cannot decide.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

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.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Freedom granted only when it is known beforehand that its effects will be beneficial is not freedom.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

I do not think it is an exaggeration to say history is largely a history of inflation, usually inflations engineered by governments for the gain of governments.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

We must face the fact that the preservation of individual freedom is incompatible with a full satisfaction of our views of distributive justice.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Our moral traditions developed concurrently with our reason, not as its product.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

I have arrived at the conviction that the neglect by economists to discuss seriously what is really the crucial problem of our time is due to a certain timidity about soiling their hands by going from...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

I regard it in fact as the great advantage of the mathematical technique that it allows us to describe, by means of algebraic equations, the general character of a pattern even where we are ignorant of...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only those individuals know.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The progress of the natural sciences in modern times has of course so much exceeded all expectations that any suggestion that there may be some limits to it is bound to arouse suspicion.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

This means that to entrust to science - or to deliberate control according to scientific principles - more than scientific method can achieve may have deplorable effects.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

If most people are not willing to see the difficulty, this is mainly because, consciously or unconsciously, they assume that it will be they who will settle these questions for the others, and because...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

We know, in other words, the general conditions in which what we call, somewhat misleadingly, an equilibrium will establish itself: but we never know what the particular prices or wages are which would...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

We know: of course, with regard to the market and similar social structures, a great many facts which we cannot measure and on which indeed we have only some very imprecise and general information.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

It can hardly be denied that such a demand quite arbitrarily limits the facts which are to be admitted as possible causes of the events which occur in the real world.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The credit which the apparent conformity with recognized scientific standards can gain for seemingly simple but false theories may, as the present instance shows, have grave consequences.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Why should we, however, in economics, have to plead ignorance of the sort of facts on which, in the case of a physical theory, a scientist would certainly be expected to give precise information?

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Friedrich August von Hayek

We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

That democratic socialism, the great utopia of the last few generations, is not only unachievable, but that to strive for it produces something so utterly different that few of those who wish it would...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

We shall never prevent the abuse of power if we are not prepared to limit power in a way which occasionally may prevent its use for desirable purposes.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Many who think themselves infinitely superior to the aberrations of Nazism, and sincerely hate all manifestations, work at the same time for ideals whose realization would lead straight to the abhorred...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another. But if we face a monopolist we are at his absolute mercy. And...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The mind cannot foresee its own advance.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Personally I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking liberalism.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

..where effective competition can be created, it is a better way of guiding individual efforts than any other... regards competition as superior not only because it is in most circumstances the most efficient...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Planning leads to dictatorship because dictatorship is the most effective instrument of coercion and the enforcement of ideals and, as such, essential if central planning on a large scale is to be possible.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Money is one of the greatest instruments of freedom ever invented by man. It is money which in existing society opens an astounding range of choice to the poor man, a range greater than that which not...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

What our generation has forgotten is that 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. It is only...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

And who will deny that a world in which the wealthy are powerful is still a better world than one in which only the already powerful can acquire wealth?

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The younger generation of today has grown up in a world in which in school and press the spirit of commercial enterprise has been represented as disreputable and the making of profit as immoral, where...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Once you admit that the individual is merely a means to serve the ends of the higher entity called society or the nation, most of those features of totalitarianism which horrify us follow of necessity

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Friedrich August von Hayek

...the case for individual freedom rests largely on 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...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

All political theories assume, of course, that most individuals are very ignorant. Those who plead for liberty differ from the rest in that they include among the ignorant themselves as well as the wisest.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The ultimate decision about what is accepted as right and wrong will be made not by individual human wisdom but by the disappearance of the groups that have adhered to the "wrong" beliefs.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Justice, like liberty and coercion, is a concept which, for the sake of clarity, ought to be confined to the deliberate treatment of men by other men.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

What a free society offers to the individual is much more than what he would be able to do if only he were free.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Human envy is certainly not one of the sources of discontent that a free society can eliminate. It is probably one of the essential conditions for the preservation of such a society that we do not countenance...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Capitalism is not only a better form of organizing human activity than any deliberate design, any attempt to organize it to satisfy particular preferences, to aim at what people regard as beautiful or...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The principle that the end justifies the means is in individualist ethics regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics it becomes necessarily the supreme rule.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The greatest danger to liberty today comes from the men who are most needed and most powerful in modern government, namely, the efficient expert administrators exclusively concerned with what they regard...

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Friedrich August von Hayek

There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

Competition means decentralized planning by many separate persons.

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Friedrich August von Hayek

The importance of our being free to do a particular thing has nothing to do with the question of whether we or the majority are ever likely to make use of that particular possibility. To grant no more...

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We must show that liberty is not merely one particular value but that 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...

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. . .nothing is more important than freedom. Nothing is more sacred than freedom. Nothing is greater than freedom. Nothing. . .can be permitted to stand in the way of freedom. Freedom. . .is all that makes...

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I remained a socialist for several years, even after my rejection of Marxism; and if there could be such a thing as socialism combined with individual liberty, I would be a socialist still. For nothing...

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If we do not use great care to mortify our will, there are many things which can deprives us of the holy freedom of spirit that we are seeking in order to fly more freely to our Creator, without always...

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It is wrong and dangerous to extol freedom by telling people that they will certainly be all right once they are free. ... The most we can say of democracy or freedom is that they give our personal abilities...

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Our submission to general principles is necessary because we cannot be guided in our practical action by full knowledge and evaluation of the consequences. So long as men are not omniscient, the only way...

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Peter Koestenbaum

Some people are more talented than others. Some are more educationally privileged than others. But we all have the capacity to be great. Greatness comes with recognizing that your potential is limited...

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I believe it to be of particular importance that the scientist have an articulate and adequate social philosophy, even more important than the average man should have a philosophy. For there are certain...

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When a legislature decides to steal some of our rights and plans to use police force to accomplish it, what's the real difference between them and the thief? Darn little! They hide behind the excuse that...

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I believe that it would be almost impossible to find anywhere in America a black man who has lived further down in the mud of human society than I have; or a black man who has been any more ignorant than...

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In the 21st Century, the community of nations may see more and more of this very kind of threat that Iraq poses now - a rogue state with biological and chemical weapons. If we fail to respond, Saddam and...

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Despite the fact that in America we incarcerate more juveniles for life terms than in any other country in the world, the truth is that the vast majority of youth offenders will one day be released. The...

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That Americans are entitled to freedom is incontestable on every rational principle. All men have one common original: they participate in one common nature, and consequently have one common right. No...

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We cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion or infanticide...t here is no cause more important for preserving that freedom...

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We want our children to become who they are- and a developed person is, above all, free. But freedom as we define it doesn't mean doing what you want. Freedom means the ability to make choices that are...

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If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would. [. . .] Only 7% of Americans are hunters. That means there are more of us than there are of them. It is simply a matter of democracy. The...

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Our work has only begun. In our time we have an historic opportunity to shape a global balance of power that favors freedom and that will therefore deepen and extend the peace. And I use the word power...

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No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore...

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Do not expect to be hailed as a hero when you make your great discovery. More likely you will be a ratbag-maybe failed by your examiners. Your statistics, or your observations, or your literature study,...

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A man is not merely a man but a man among men, in a world of men. Being good at being a man has more to do with a man’s ability to succeed with men and within groups of men than it does with a man’s...

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