… is from page 196 of the Timbro edition of Roger Tanner’s translation of Johan Norberg’s excellent 2001 book, In Defense of Global Capitalism; this quotation was called to mind by my reading this superb July 4th essay by Matt Ridley at Spiked (HT Walter Grinder):
If people feel stressed from too much responsibility and liberty, they can do something about it. If they suffer from stress due to lack of power, there is nothing they can do about it.
It’s really quite easy to divorce oneself from modern, commercial, bourgeois society: go live as a subsistence farmer somewhere. And even short of such a radical divorce from modernity, each of us has a great deal of freedom and much practical ability to govern the degree to which we are exposed to modernity. What no one has, though, is the ability to divorce oneself from whatever one regards as modernity’s downsides while continuing to enjoy all of what one regards (either consciously or not) as modernity’s upsides.