“Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions and will receive praise or blame for them. Liberty and responsibility are inseparable.” -Friedrich Hayek on Liberty
I think that this quote Friedrich Hayek on liberty is an excellent one for Americans to hear right now. In fact, it might be even more important than his book, The Road to Serfdom. The entire nation is struggling because of a collective lack of responsibility; we don’t understand, or perhaps have simply forgotten, that there is another side of freedom: personal responsibility. In other words, is important to remember that liberty and responsibility are inseparable.
Liberty isn’t a one-sided affair. You don’t just do whatever you want without any consequences. Instead, as life confirms, there are consequences for actions. You can use drugs, but your life might quickly devolve into a mess. You can avoid getting a job, but you’ll be miserable and might starve. You can have meaningless sex and avoid the commitment of getting married, but you’ll never know the contentment that comes with marriage and will likely get an STD.
That’s what makes freedom work. If people use their freedom responsibly and make something of their lives, then the natural result is praise; others respect their actions and applaud them for using their freedom wisely. Or, at least they used to. Now, we are far too quick to praise and hope to emulate the nihilists who go through life without a value system. But still, among most people, we instinctively honor those that, like Elon Musk or Donald Trump, made something of themselves.
If, however, the opposite is the case and people don’t use their freedom and fritter away their lives on the pursuit of pleasure or sloth, then society is right to condemn them; sloth and gluttony are two of the seven deadly sins after all. In short, a free society can’t function if its citizens don’t treat freedom responsibly.
That’s the point of this quote by Friedrich Hayek on liberty and responsibility and it’s what Americans should force themselves to remember, especially now that it is increasingly obvious that Americans are willing to fritter their lives away in pursuit of pleasure.
Unfortunately, it seems to be the case in modern America that no one really cares if people use their freedom responsibly and do what they ought. Drug use, hedonist chasing of pleasure, and welfare queens that leech off the resources of their betters are all praised, or at least tolerated, while hard-working and economy-driving innovators and financiers are condemned as the root of all evil. The people who call them that obviously never read Francisco D’Anconia’s money speech in Atlas Shrugged. Money is not evil; the system of slavery that results when money does not exist is.
That’s the case because too few Americans understand the ideology behind the above quote by Friedrich Hayek on liberty and responsibility. The root of all evil isn’t money, it’s a love of money and the chasing of Earthly pleasures that that love of money implies.
Leftists don’t get that condemnation is the natural response of society toward those that fritter away their lives. Instead of demanding that people use their freedom responsibly and create the “city on a hill” that the Founders knew America should be, many citizens of America today lambast those that try to reign in the excesses of their fellow citizens! Just look at one leftist magazine and the many articles on “fat-shaming” and why we need more welfare that it invariably contains. We don’t need more welfare or for people to be constantly reaffirmed in their bad decisions. Instead, we need more responsible citizens that understand this quote by Friedrich Hayek on liberty and responsibility.
No one is perfect. But we should all strive to be better and use our freedom well, as those who read this quote by Friedrich Hayek on liberty and responsibility know they should. Those that love liberty need to use it wisely.
Even worse than those that overindulge, however, are those that don’t understand that they can’t use their liberty to engage in criminal behavior. The rioters that are supposedly burning our cities down in the name of George Floyd certainly don’t understand that; if they did, then they wouldn’t be rioting in support of a career criminal.
But no, the members of the radical left think that actions shouldn’t have consequences because they don’t understand the thoughts behind this quote by Friedrich Hayek on liberty. So, they are rioting and breaking more laws in defense of a man who broke many laws in his short life. That’s not using liberty wisely, nor is it even justified. A proper understanding of this quote by Friedrich Hayek on liberty would show people that it’s not wise or justified to go along with supporting the wrong side of this struggle. A free people do not riot in support of criminals.
A free people instead either a) only support those that actually deserve support or b) protest peacefully, if they feel they must protest. Liberty can only be kept alive if we use it responsibly. That means stopping those that would use it irresponsibly, including the absurd and evil rioters that are rampaging across America.
To the common American, however, not taking responsibility for one’s actions seems right as rain. We conservatives need to be the generation that changes that and teaches people that liberty and responsibility are inseparable.
This story syndicated with permission from The Liberty Leader