Quote of the day

"It is only by recognizing the conflict between a given rule and the rest of our moral beliefs that we can justify our rejection of an established rule.  Even the success of an innovation by a rule-breaker, and the trust of those who follow him, has to be bought by the esteem he has earned by the scrupulous observation of most of the existing rules.  To become legitimized, the new rules have to obtain the approval of society at large – not by a formal vote, but by gradually speading acceptance.

"The successive changes in morals were therefore not a moral decline, even though they offended inherited sentiments, but a necessary condition to the rise of the open society of free men."

FA Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty

Quote of the day

"Wherever producers have secured any power, they have used it to limit production, to enhance prices, and, in a word, to rob the rest of us. Power in the hands of producers has never been employed except to limit the wealth of the whole community. No force known to economic science or to experience, except the force of competition, has ever done anything to keep producers in order, and without competition they have always contrived to limit their production and to diminish their contribution to the commonwealth."

Publisher Sir Ernest Benn (1875-1954), Why Freedom Works

JS Mill on Europe

What has made the European family of nations an improving, instead of a stationary portion of mankind? …Europe is, in my judgment, wholly indebted to this plurality of paths [of character and culture] for its progressive and many-sided development. But it already begins to possess this benefit in a considerably less degree. It is decidedly advancing towards the Chinese ideal of making all people alike.

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chapter 3

Quote of the day

How did we, as members of the academies and intelligentsia, come to be trapped in the romantic myth that politically organised authority could direct our lives so as to satisfy our needs more adequately than we might satisfy them ourselves through voluntary agreement, association and exchange, one with another?

– James M. Buchanan, John Bonython Lecture 1990

On the morality of tax avoidance

Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.

— Judge Learned Hand, U. S. Court of Appeals, 1935.