Quote of the Day

Dave Killion — March 20, 2012

Lawrence Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education, in a recent interview

“I’m happy to say that while FEE’s core principles have never wavered in our 65 years, we are placing a greater emphasis these days on the personal character component. We believe that for a free society to flourish, it’s not enough to understand economics. Practicing the virtues of character in our individual lives is just as indispensable. Any bum can live down to the standards of┬ásocialism; all that is required is that you demand something that doesn’t belong to you and be willing to support the use of force to get it. Our challenge, if we want to be free, is to live up to the lofty standards that liberty requires. That means we must be people of character, people who put a premium on honesty, patience, humility (in the sense that there will always be a universe of information we don’t yet know or understand), courage, responsibility, self-discipline, optimism and self-reliance.”

Like Reed, it is my view that our current culture suffers primarily as a result of bad character. I have long believed that there will have to be a cultural revolution before a libertarian society can be realized, a revolution in which envy, dependency, and short-term gratification are rejected in favour of ambition, independence, and patience. Although the erosion of good character is a predictable and rational response to the welfare state and public education, if we wait for circumstances to incentivize us to change our behaviour, it may be too late to prevent disasters like Greece from occurring on a global level. It is comforting to have read “A Renegade History of the United States“, because author Thaddeus Russell provides historical accounts of Italian and Irish immigrants to the US undertaking just such a revolution, and succeeding. So long as libertarians continue to make the case for respecting individual sovereignty, we can hope for a peaceful transition.

Leave a Comment

Disclaimer: The articles and opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Libertarian Book Club.