The Economic Foundations of Freedom–Ludwig von Mises

“Man’s eminence is to be seen in the fact that he chooses between alternatives. He regulates his be­havior deliberatively. He can mas­ter his impulses and desires; he has the power to suppress wishes the satisfaction of which would force him to renounce the attain­ment of more important goals. In short: man acts; he purposively aims at ends chosen. This is what we have in mind in stating that man is a moral person, responsible for his conduct.

All the teachings and precepts of ethics, whether based upon a religious creed or whether based upon a secular doctrine like that of the Stoic philosophers, presup­pose this moral autonomy of the individual and therefore appeal to the individual’s conscience. They presuppose that the individual is free to choose among various modes of conduct and require him to behave in compliance with defi­nite rules, the rules of morality. Do the right things, shun the bad things.”