Keep All Hombres Neutered

by Don Boudreaux on May 19, 2010

in Civil Society, Hubris and humility, Politics

Woody Allen thinks that “It would be good … if he [Barack Obama] could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.

Contrast Mr. Allen’s fetish for political strongmen with Milton Friedman‘s attitude.  When asked by an interviewer what he (Friedman) would do if he (Friedman) were dictator for a day, this great and good man answered “I don’t like dictators….  If we can’t persuade the public that it’s desirable to do these things, we have no right to impose them even if we had the power to do it.”  (Friedman gives this response starting at about the 24:20 mark in this taped interview. [HT Reuvain Borchardt])

Correct or incorrect, right or wrong, wise or foolish, informed or ignorant, smart or stupid, insightful or benighted – classical liberals and libertarians have none of the fetish for power that infects the minds and souls of so many people on the political left.  And this fact alone goes a very long way to recommending classical liberalism (or libertarianism) over alternative ideologies.  Indeed, fear of concentrated power – and the recognition that power is never remotely as concentrated or as dangerous as when it is in the hands of the state – might well be the single most important reason why persons become classical liberals or libertarians.

(Arnold Kling has this recent, related post.)

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