Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on September 2, 2013

in War

… is from page 467 of the first edition of Zechariah Chafee’s Free Speech in the United States; it is quoted favorably on page 302 of the first edition of Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr.’s classic and indispensable 1955 volume, The Decline of American Liberalism:

The truth is that the precise language of a sedition law is like the inscription on a sword.  What matters is the existence of the weapon.  Once the sword is placed in the hands of the people in power, then, whatever it says, they will be able to reach and slash at almost any unpopular person who is speaking or writing anything that they consider objectionable criticism of their policies.

Most conservatives correctly understand that venality, egoism, interest-group pressures, and knowledge limitations nearly always combine to make government interventions into the domestic economy not only counterproductive but often dangerous.  I beg these conservatives to consider that these same forces are at work in the NSA, the CIA, the Pentagon, and all other ‘national defense’ agencies.

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