… is from page 75 of my colleague Peter Boettke’s 2007 paper “Liberty vs. Power in Economic Policy in the 20th and 21st Centuries,” as this paper is reprinted in Pete’s 2021 book, The Struggle for a Better World:
[W]henever ideas that argue that liberty must give way to power in human affairs become dominant, the consequences are dire to the social progress of humanity. Reliance on power makes us worse off, not better off.
To too many people, power appears active while liberty appears indolent. Yet the reality is quite the opposite. Liberty allows everyone to pursue his or her goals with experimental ways of enticing others voluntarily to assist. This assistance typically comes through market exchange, but sometimes through voluntary organizations such as clubs and churches. Power overrides the countless adjustments and creative moves made by private actors – and of course overrides also private actors’ preferences. Power substitutes the preferences and limited knowledge of the power-wielder for the preferences and much greater, although dispersed, knowledge of the multitude – the multitude each of whom must obey the power-wielder or be (if the disobedience persists) slaughtered.