The great Friedrich Hayek: 10 quotations on the value of liberty

Tiego Thotse | Jul 09, 2022
Essentially, liberty is enabling individuals to be as authentically themselves as possible.

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The great Friedrich Hayek: 10 quotations on the value of liberty

As long as you stay within the bounds of an acceptable rule of law and without stepping on anybody else's toes, liberty refers to the freedom to be wholly yourself and to do anything you want, whenever you want. Essentially, liberty is enabling individuals to be as authentically themselves as possible.

Below are ten quotes by the late great Friedrich Hayek around the value of liberty; Hayek was an Austrian economist, legal theorist and philosopher who is best known for his defence of classical liberalism.

  1. “A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom.”
  2. “All political theories assume…that most individuals are very ignorant. Those who plead for liberty differ…in that they include among the ignorant themselves as well as the wisest.”
  3. “The system of private property is the most important guarantee of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not.”
  4. “The argument for liberty is…an argument…against the use of coercion to prevent others from doing better.”
  5. “It is because every individual knows little and, in particular, because we rarely know which of us knows best that we trust the independent and competitive efforts of many to induce the emergence of what we shall want when we see it.”
  6. “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.”
  7. “All political theories assume, of course, that most individuals are very ignorant. Those who plead for liberty differ from the rest in that they include among the ignorant themselves as well as the wisest. Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant.”
  8. “The chief difference [between totalitarian and free countries] is that only the totalitarians appear clearly to know how they want to achieve that result, while the free world has only its past achievements to show, being by its very nature unable to offer any detailed "plan" for further growth.”
  9. “If all had to wait for better things until they could be provided for all, that day would in many instances never come. Even the poorest today owe their relative material well-being to the results of past inequality.”

“At least insofar as the rules providing for coercion are not aimed at me personally but are so framed as to apply equally to all people in similar circumstances, they are no different from any of the natural obstacles that affect my plans.”

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