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“Whenever we depart from voluntary cooperation and try to…

"Whenever we depart from voluntary cooperation and try to...

“Whenever we depart from voluntary cooperation and try to do good by using force, the bad moral value of force triumphs over good intentions. And you realize this is highly relevant to what I am saying, because the essential notion of a capitalist society, which I’ll come back to, is voluntary cooperation, voluntary exchange. The essential notion of a socialist society is fundamentally force. If the government is the master, if society is to be run from the center, what are you doing? You ultimately have to order people what to do.”

“What is your ultimate sanction? Go back a ways, take it on a milder level. Whenever you try to do good with somebody else’s money, you are committed to using force. How can you do good with somebody else’s money unless you first take it away from him? The only way you can take it away from him is by the threat of force. You have a policeman, a tax collector, who comes and takes it from him. This is carried much farther if you really have a socialist society. If you have an organization from the center, if you have government bureaucrats running things, that can only ultimately rest on force.”

“You must not question people’s motives. Maybe they are evil sometimes, but look at the results of what they do. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Assume their motives are good. You know, there’s an old saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions. You have to look at the outcome, and whenever you use force, the bad moral value of force triumphs over good intentions.”

“The reason is not only that famous aphorism of Lord Acton. You all know it, you’ve all heard it: “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That’s the whole aphorism. That is one reason why trying to do good with methods that involve force lead to bad results, because the people who set out with good intentions are themselves corrupted. And I may add, if they are not corrupted they are replaced by people with bad intentions who are more efficient at getting control of the use of force.”

“The fundamental reason is more profound: the most harm of all is done when power is in the hands of people who are absolutely persuaded of the purity of their instincts and of the purity of their intentions.”

Milton Friedman – Socialism is Force

Milton Friedman discusses the moral values encouraged by economic systems and explains that a primary difference between capitalism and socialism is the diff…


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