Bonus Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on January 31, 2019

in Hayek, Myths and Fallacies, Philosophy of Freedom

… is from page 4 of the late Vincent Ostrom’s 1997 volume, The Meaning of Democracy and the Vulnerability of Democracies:

I have come to the conclusion, however, that democratic societies are necessarily placed at risk when people conceive of their relationships as being grounded on principles of command and control rather than on principles of self-responsibility in self-governing communities of relationships.

DBx: I agree. Self-government does not consist merely of one’s self casting a ballot in a political election. Any society populated with a large number of people who wish to command their fellow citizens – or who meekly submit to being commanded by their fellow citizens – is sick. Such a society is afflicted with the worst sort of hierarchy: rulers and subjects. And if the subjects “choose” their rulers through majoritarian-democratic voting, there is no softening of the reality that society is “controlled” through commands.

The belief that society has no life, no motive-force, no productive order unless these are designed consciously and imposed by force is not only false but also fatal.

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