File this under “Honest Reflections.” I’m not always optimistic about liberty in our lifetime. Truth be told I’m rather pessimistic. Even when Ron Paul is considered “the man to beat in the GOP” my hope is tinged with cynicism. On the journey toward freedom we can often feel overwhelmed or outright despondent. My hunch is that I’m not the only one because nobody can maintain a constant state of optimism.
I collect quotes. Over the years I’ve collected many that resurrect hope and evoke enough passion so as to convince me that this journey is worth it. While not every libertarian or Christian is trained or interested in the economic way of thinking, I’d like to share a few that I have collected over the past few years.
Although an unlikely source for Austro-Libertarians, John Maynard Keynes has a visionary perspective on the economist’s calling:
“To the economists—who are the trustees, not of civilization, but of the possibility of civilization.”
F.A. Hayek, in many ways the antidote to Keynes’s destructive economic theory, is more grounded in explaining its purpose:
“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”
Art Carden provides a useful critique of planners who desire worthy ends but may be short-sighted in achieving them:
“The important question in social science is not really evaluating the moral quality of the outcome, but evaluating the institutions that produce the outcome.”
C.S. Lewis explains that the tyranny of man lording over man is the worst of all:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive… [for] those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
Jonah Goldberg is even more succinct:
“An unwanted embrace from which you cannot escape is just a nicer form of tyranny.”
And Samuel Adams believed that liberty is spread by
“…an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.”
My hope is that quotes like these circulate in the minds of all who love liberty, because F.A. Harper observed that “the man who knows what freedom means will find a way to be free.”