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Quotational Therapy: Part 30 -- Friedrich A. Hayek

Friedrich Hayek On Responsibility And Freedom-

So often people misinterpret the meaning of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or even the concept of liberty itself, thinking that freedom of speech means immunity from criticism.

It manifests itself in the "don't question my patriotism" we hear so often from Democrats when they are criticized for their weakness (or worse) on the war on terror. As if they are supposed to be innoculated from the consequences of their words.

We see it in the media, and in popular culture. When Americans decide to boycott Dan Rather or the Dixie Chicks, we're told that we're somehow violating their liberty.

You've probably experienced it at some point, yourself, in a debate with someone online or elsewhere. It happens all too often. Well, let's put an end to that, shall we?

Friedrich A. Hayek elaborates on the role of responsibility in a free society:

Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions and will receive praise or blame for them. Liberty and responsibility are inseparable. A free society will not function of maintain itself unless its members regard it as right that each individual occupy the position that results from his actions and accept it as due to his own action....

This belief in individual responsibility, which has always been strong when people firmly believed in individual freedom, has remarkably declined, together with the esteem for freedom. Responsibility has become an unpopular concept, a word that experienced speakers or writers avoid because of the obvious boredom or animosity with which it is received by a generation that dislikes all moralizing.


-The Constitution of Liberty, 1960.

I hate to paraphrase a country song in a post about Hayek, but you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.

And when someone falls for something completely stupid (example: U.S. troops = Pol Pot), it is our responsibility to hold that person responsible.


Previous Quotational Therapy Session:

Margaret Thatcher.

The right quote can be therapeutic, so tune in to WILLisms.com for quotational therapy every Monday and Friday.

Posted by Will Franklin · 22 July 2005 09:48 AM


Has Will Franklin become a country western music fan?...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at July 22, 2005 07:02 PM

I hate to be gettin' all serious on a Saturday morning, but The Road To Serfdom should be required reading in high school American History. Great, great book. I didn't discover it until about 15 years ago.

Posted by: Giacomo at July 23, 2005 06:57 AM

OK?... What else has WILLisms.com have for us???

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at July 23, 2005 08:16 AM

Ha! All those ACLU types critical of the reactional conservative boycott of the Dixie Chics never made a peep when GLAAD criticized Dr. Laura off the tv airwaves.

Nice post.

Posted by: Darius at July 23, 2005 12:46 PM