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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]