Wordsmith

Quote of the day

Written by | Tuesday 5 February 2013

"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.

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Quote of the day

Written by | Tuesday 29 January 2013

"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."

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JS Mill on Europe

Written by | Wednesday 23 January 2013

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

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Quote of the day

Written by | Friday 11 January 2013

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

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On the morality of tax avoidance

Written by | Thursday 21 June 2012

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.

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Quote of the day

Written by | Tuesday 20 March 2012

If Christmas Day had an opposite, it would be Budget Day. On Christmas Day, a man in a red suit gives you presents. On Budget Day, a man with a red box tries to steal what he can from you.

-- John Stepek, MoneyWeek

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The messiness of freedom

Written by | Friday 28 October 2011

The future we face at the dawn of the twenty-first century is, like all futures left to themselves, “emergent, complex messiness.” Its “messiness” lies not in disorder, but in an order that is unpredictable, spontaneous, and ever shifting, a pattern created by millions of uncoordinated, independent decisions.

Virginia Postrel, The Future and Its Enemies.

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Quote of the day, 20th Oct 2011

Written by | Thursday 20 October 2011

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Quote of the day

Written by | Thursday 13 October 2011

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