The Freedom We Have Lost

“Ask yourself, what corners of your daily life, in its most mundane and important aspects, are not controlled, regulated, planned, and overseen by the guiding hand of government?”

“Americans are free to say whatever they want — as long as it does not offend any ethnic, gender, or racial group. They can pursue any career they choose — as long as they have been certified or licensed and have successfully passed inspection by an army of state regulators.”

“Americans may come and go as they please — as long as they have been approved for a government-issued international passport, declared whether they are carrying more than $10,000 in currency, reported all taxable or forbidden items they wish to bring into the country, and have not attempted to visit any foreign lands declared off-limits by the state.”

“They may buy whatever satisfies their fancy — as long as it has been manufactured, packaged, and priced according to government standards of safety, quality, and fairness, and as long as it has not been produced by a foreign supplier who exceeds his import quota or who offers to sell it below the state-mandated “fair market price.”

“Americans may go about their own affairs — as long as they send their children to government schools or private schools approved by the state; as long as they do not attempt to employ too many of a particular ethic, gender, or racial group; as long as they do not attempt to plan fully for their own old age rather than pay into a mandatory government social security system.”

“They may enter into market relations with others — as long as they do not pay an employee less than the government-imposed minimum wage; as long as they do not attempt to construct on their own property a home or a business in violation of zoning and building ordinances; that is, as long as they do not try to live their lives outside the permissible edicts of the state.”

“And Americans freely take responsibility for their own actions and pay their own way — except when they want the state to guarantee them a job or a “living wage”; except when they want the state to protect their industry or profession from competition either at home or abroad; except when they want the state to subsidize their children’s education or their favorite art or the preservation of some wildlife area, or the medical research into the cure of some hated disease or illness; or except when they want the state to ban some books, movies, or peaceful acts between consenting adults rather than trying to change the behavior of their fellow men through peaceful persuasion or by personal example.”

‘That many who read such a list of lost freedoms in the United States will be shocked that anyone should suggest that the state should not be concerned with many or all of those matters shows, I would suggest, just how far we have come and are continuing to go down a road to serfdom.”

Austrian Economics & Pubic Policy–Restoring Freedom and Prosperity, pp. 125-126, Richard Ebeling


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