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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from page 63 of Vol. 19 (Ideas, Persons, and Events [2] [2001]) of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan; specifically, it’s from Jim’s 1992 essay “Virginia Political Economy: Some Personal Reflections”; note that Buchanan came to call the research project that he co-founded and led “Virginia Political Economy”; he did so for two reasons: Buchanan deeply admired the political ideas of 18th-century Virginians, especially those of James Madison, and, save for his one year on the faculty at UCLA, Jim spent the final 57 of his 93 years in Virginia (at UVA, then Virginia Tech, and finally – and for the single longest period – at George Mason University):

Underneath its abstract analysis, the Virginia research program has always embodied a moral passion that our adversaries have fully appreciated.  This program has advanced our scientific understanding of social interaction, but the science has been consistently applied to the normatively chosen question: How can individuals live in social order while preserving their own liberties?  Scholars associated with the program have consistently eschewed the question: How can the state exert more effective control over individuals?  Those scholars who associate themselves with the interests of “the state” have never found, and will not find, Virginia Political Economy congenial.

DBx: Only the most childishly uninformed or ideologically blinkered of people interpret the asking of the normative question “How can individuals live in social order while preserving their own liberties?” to be evidence of some heinous wish or plot to sacrifice the well-being of the many to the greedy appetites of the few.

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