22 Aug

“For the libertarian of our tradition the main question will be how to regulate the enterprise of making a living in such a way that it does not destroy the freedom he prizes. He will, of course, recognize in our institution of private property a means of organizing this enterprise wholly friendly to liberty. All monopolies, or near monopolies, he knows as impediments to that liberty, and the greatest single institution that stands between us and monopoly is private property. Concerning monopolies he will have no illusions; he will not consider them optimistically, hoping they will not abuse their power. He will know that no individual, no group, no association or union can be entrusted with much power, and that it is mere foolishness to complain when absolute power is abused. It exists to be abused.”

Michael Oakeshott
“The Political Economy of Freedom”
Rationalism in Politics
p 47: 1962 ed


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