If a multitude is to be subjected to a plan, it must be militarized. If individuals are allowed a free choice, the plan is thrown into confusion. Bureaucracy, under an absolute ruler, or rulers, is necessary. Popular consent can be secured only by rigorous censorship and prohibition of free discussion. Espionage is a necessary part of the system, and a considerable amount of terrorism. Since private expenditure must be controlled, it is wise to keep private incomes near a subsistence level and to dole out any surplus on collective pleasures such as free holidays. We shall not understand totalitarian tyranny unless we realize that it is the result of the planned economy.
Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own. The harm done by ordinary criminals, murderers, gangsters, and thieves is negligible in comparison with the agony inflicted upon human beings by the professional do-gooders, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others — with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means.
Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed.
[T]here are, at bottom, basically two ways to order social affairs, Coercively, through the mechanisms of the state — what we can call political society. And voluntarily, through the private interaction of individuals and associations — what we can call civil society … In a civil society, you make the decision. In a political society, someone else does … Civil society is based on reason, eloquence, and persuasion, which is to say voluntarism. Political society, on the other hand, is based on force.
The man who craves disciples and wants followers is always more or less of a charlatan. The man of genuine worth and insight wants to be himself; and he wants others to be themselves, also.
A wise man neither suffers himself to be governed, nor attempts to govern others.
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities.
It is the essence of the institutions of liberty that it be recognized that guilt is personal and cannot be attributed to the holding of opinions or to mere intent in the absence of overt acts.
Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth cannot be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society — the farmers, mechanics and laborers — who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government.
The patriot, like the Christian, must learn to bear revilings and persecutions as a part of his duty; and in proportion as the trial is severe, firmness under it becomes more requisite and praiseworthy. It requires, indeed, self-command. But that will be fortified in proportion as the calls for its exercise are repeated.