Democracy and liberty are not the same. Democracy is little more than mob rule, while liberty refers to the sovereignty of the individual.
Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint; the more restraint on others to keep off from us, the more liberty we have.
Liberty means the security given to each man that … he shall dispose of the produce exclusively as he chooses. It is impossible to know whence any definition or criterion of justice can be derived, if it is not deduced from this view of things; or if it is not the definition of justice that each shall enjoy the fruit of his own labor and self-denial.
The reason why liberty … is a good thing is that it means leaving people to live out their own lives in their own way, while we do the same.
Leave each man to run his career in life in his own way, only guaranteeing to him that whatever he does in the way of industry, economy, prudence, sound judgment, etc., shall redound to his own welfare and shall not be diverted to someone else’s benefit.
Equality before the law … leaves each man to run the race of life for himself as best he can. The state stands neutral but benevolent. It does not undertake to aid some and handicap others … the servant of envy. I am entitled to make the most I can of myself without hindrance from anybody, but I am not entitled to any guarantee that I shall make as much of myself as somebody else makes of himself.
What the forgotten man needs, therefore, is that we come to a clearer understanding of liberty … Every step which we win in liberty will set the forgotten man free from some of his burdens and allow him to use his powers for himself.
There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man’s needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means.
To the frustrated, freedom from responsibility is more attractive than freedom from restraint. They are eager to barter their independence for relief from the burdens of willing, deciding and being responsible for inevitable failure. They willingly abdicate the directing of their lives to those who want to plan, command and shoulder all responsibility.
Freedom degenerates unless it has to struggle in its own defense.