Friday, October 20, 2006

Quote of the Day

Via Andrew Sullivan, comes this gem of a quote from Milton Friedman in 1975. It is even more relevant today than ever before.

"The maintenance of a free society is a very difficult and complicated thing. And it requires a self-denying ordinance of the most extreme kind. It requires a willingness to put up with temporary evils on the basis of the subtle and sophisticated understanding that if you step in to try to do them, you not only may make them ... worse, but you will spread your tentacles and get bad results elsewhere ...

The argument for collectivism, for government doing something is simple. Anybody can understand it. If there's something wrong, pass a law. If somebody is in trouble, get Mr. X to help him out. The argument for a free - for voluntary cooperation, for a free market is not nearly so simple. It says, you know, if you allow people to cooperate voluntarily and don't interfere with them, indirectly through the operation of the market, they will improve matters more than you can improve it directly by appointing somebody. That's a subtle argument, and it's hard for people to understand,"