Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on February 14, 2014

in Civil Society, Nanny State, Seen and Unseen

… is from page 504 of Richard Epstein’s 1992 book, Forbidden Grounds: The Case Against Employment Discrimination Laws:

It is difficult to see how discourse can go on in the present circumstances, when the use of language so constrains the nature of the debate that it is quite impossible to have an honest dialogue about the costs and benefits that derive from present civil rights laws. In the civil rights literature there is but scant, passing reference to intellectual excellence, personal dedication, effort, entrepreneurial zeal.  It is as though all benefits were a result of luck or impersonal social forces, and none the result of intelligence, initiative, creativity, or plain hard work.  One hears only constant complaints about why it is that some vague set of external forces, far short of state coercion and power, holds large classes of persons in its thrall.  There is a pervasive ethos of victimology, and an eagerness to destroy standards, to make excuses.  Taken together, the defeatist attitude and the lack of self-esteem sap the individual self-reliance that is necessary to ensure the safety and prosperity of a free and self-reliant nation.

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