The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.
Government does not cause affluence. Citizens of totalitarian countries have plenty of government and nothing of anything else.
[P]rosperity follows from the rule of law, respect for private property, and the other institutional mechanisms on which the market order rests.
If an American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs.
I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people, and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either. This country is in big trouble. We don’t win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico, both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody.
The preservation of freedom is the protective reason for limiting and decentralizing governmental power. But there is also a constructive reason. The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.
Any serious look at the history of human beings over the millennia shows that the species began in poverty. It is not poverty, but prosperity, that needs explaining. Poverty is automatic, but prosperity requires many things – none of which is equally distributed around the world or even within a given society.
Prosperity requires liberty: to be productive we must be free.
The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition is so powerful that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations; though the effect of these obstructions is always more or less either to encroach upon its freedom, or to diminish its security.
There are a number of ways by which the federal government can meet its responsibilities to aid economic growth. We can and must improve American education and technical training. We can and must expand civilian research and technology. One of the great bottlenecks for this country’s economic growth in this decade will be the shortages of doctorates in mathematics, engineering, and physics — a serious shortage with a great demand and an undersupply of highly trained manpower. We can and must step up the development of our natural resources.
Continue reading “The path to prosperity”