Liberty Quotation: Lin Yutang on the Spirit of the Scamp

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Yu-t'ang Lin“My faith in human dignity consists in the belief that man is the greatest scamp on earth. . . . In this present age of threats to democracy and individual liberty, probably only the scamp and the spirit of the scamp alone will save us from being lost in serially numbered units in the masses of disciplined, obedient, regimented and uniformed coolies.  The scamp will be the last and most formidable enemy of dictatorships.  He will be the champion of human dignity and individual freedom, and will be the last to be conquered.  All modern civilization depends entirely upon him.”

Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living [1937]


Liberty Quotation: Milton Friedman on the Great Advances of Civilization

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Milton Friedman“The great advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science or literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.  Columbus did not set out to seek a new route to China in response to a majority directive of a parliament, though he was partly financed by an absolute monarch.  Newton and Leibnitz; Einstein and Bohr; Shakespeare, Milton, and Pasternak; Whitney, McCormick, Edison, and Ford; Jane Addams, Florence Nightingale, and Albert Schweitzer; no one of these opened new frontiers in human knowledge and understanding, in literature, in technical possibilities, or in the relief of human misery in response to governmental directives.   Their achievements were the product of individual genius, of strongly held minority views, of a social climate permitting variety and diversity.  Government can never duplicate the variety and diversity of individual action.”

Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom  [1962]