Leonard Read quotes

  • [S]tatism is but socialized dishonesty; it is feathering the nests of some with feathers coercively plucked from others - on the grand scale. There is no moral difference between the act of a pickpocket and the progressive income tax or any other social program.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Differences #Liberty #Nests

  • The proper and limited use of government is to invoke a common justice and keep the peace - and that is all.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Government #Justice #Liberty

  • The American people are becoming more and more afraid of, and are running away from, their own revolution.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Running #People #Liberty

  • Were it necessary to bring a majority into a comprehension of the libertarian philosophy, the cause of liberty would be utterly hopeless. Every significant movement in history has been led by one or just a few individuals with a small minority of energetic supporters.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Philosophy #Liberty #Movement

  • We need only take our heads out of the sand to see clearly that interventionism not only has failed to provide the promised something-for-nothing, but has led to all sorts of undesirable consequences. Indeed, many are just beginning to realize that we are moving towards disaster even though we have been on a wrong heading for decades.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Moving #Gold #Needs

  • Socialism takes and redistributes wealth, but it is utterly incapable of creating wealth.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Creating #Wealth #Socialism

  • What, actually, is the difference between communism and fascism? Both are forms of statism, authoritarianism. The only difference between Stalin's communism and Mussolini's fascism is an insignificant detail in organizational structure.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Differences #Details #Individualism

  • I would have government defend the life and property of all citizens equally; protect all willing exchange; suppress and penalize all fraud, all misrepresentation, all violence, all predatory practices; invoke a common justice under law; and keep the records incidental to these functions. Even this is a bigger assignment than governments, generally, have proven capable of. Let governments do these things and do them well. Leave all else to men in free and creative effort.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Letting Go #Men #Law

  • There is really nothing that can be done except by an individual. Only individuals can learn. Only individuals can think creatively. Only individuals can cooperate. Only individuals can combat statism.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Thinking #Done #Individual

  • Such terms as communism, socialism, Fabianism, the welfare state, Nazism, fascism, state interventionism, egalitarianism, the planned economy, the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier are simply different labels for much the same thing.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Egalitarianism #Labels #Nazism

  • There could be no greater error than to conclude that statism caused prosperity.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Errors #Prosperity #Greater

  • In market terms, one is entitled to what others will offer in willing exchange. That is all!
    -- Leonard Read

    #Term #Willing #Offers

  • Governments resort to inflation with popular support because the people apparently are na├»ve enough to believe that they can have their cake and eat it, too.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Believe #Government #Cake

  • The advancement of freedom is not a matter of who wields political power over creative actions; rather, it depends upon the disassembling of such power.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Creative #Political #Liberty

  • The Constitution was definitely and specifically designed to hobble all people who are so foolish as to think themselves capable of leading others by compulsion. It so functions today to an extent exasperating to the authoritarians - which is why they want to get rid of it.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Thinking #People #Want

  • The more complex our economy, the more we should rely on the miraculous, self-adapting processes of men acting freely. No mind of man nor any combination of minds can even envision, let alone intelligently control, the countless human energy exchanges in a simple society, to say nothing of a complex one.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Simple #Men #Self

  • The welfare state destroys the market mechanisms - lessens free choice and willing exchange. Simultaneously creating unnatural specializations, it must, granted statism's premise, resort to welfarism; that is, it must assume the responsibility for the people's welfare: their employment, their old age, their income, and the like. As this is done, man loses his wholeness; he is dispossessed of responsibility for self, the very essence of his manhood. The more dependent he becomes, the less dependable!
    -- Leonard Read

    #Responsibility #Men #Essence

  • Whenever government assumed responsibility for the security, welfare, and prosperity of citizens, the costs of government rise beyond the point where it is politically expedient to cover them by direct tax levies.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Responsibility #Government #Citizens

  • ...the greatest political problem facing the world today is...how to curb the oppressive power of government, how to keep it within reasonable bounds.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Government #Political #World

  • Statism, which forces all of us within its orbit, is nothing but a political system of organized plunder, managed by every conceivable type of pressure group.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Pressure Groups #Political #Orbit

  • If we remove the hope of profit as a means to alleviate misfortune - poverty, illness, misery, disaster - we shall increase our misfortunes and make them permanent.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Mean #Poverty #Misery

  • Once an activity has been socialized, it is impossible to point out, by concrete example, how men in a free market could better conduct it. How, for instance, can one compare a socialized post office with private postal delivery when the latter has been outlawed?
    -- Leonard Read

    #Men #Office #Example

  • The free market opens the way for men to operate at their moral best, and all observation confirms that the poor fare better under these circumstances than when the way is closed, as it is under socialism.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Men #Way #Moral

  • Assume that a surgeon has discovered how to do brain surgery, that he can do only one a month, that 1,000 persons a year need such an operation if they are to survive. How is the surgeon's scarce resource to be allocated? Charge whatever price is necessary to adjust supply and demand, say $50,000! 'For shame,' some will cry. 'Your market system will save only wealthy people.' For the moment, yes. But soon there will be hundreds of surgeons who will acquire the same skill; and, as in the case of the once scarce and expensive 'miracle drugs,' the price then will be within reach of all.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Years #Skills #People

  • Insecurity must follow the transfer of responsibility from self to others, particularly when transferred to arbitrary and capricious government. Genuine security is a matter of self-responsibility, based on the right to the fruits of one's own labor and freedom to trade.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Responsibility #Government #Self

  • Coercion is as much the tool of the welfare state as it is of communism. The programs and edicts of both are backed by the police force. All of us know this to be true under communism, but it is equally true under our own brand of welfare statism.
    -- Leonard Read

    #Police #Tools #Coercion