"What a free society offers to the individual
is much more than what he would be able to do
if only he were free."
Friedrich August von Hayek
(1899-1992), Nobel Laureate of Economic Sciences 1974
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Reader comments about this quote:
A true genius.

We need to listen to him.

Will we?

 -- bruski, naples FL     
    I don't get it.
    Somebody explain this to me. Could there be a type-oh here. Maybe it should be "if he were only free" or better yet.... a free society is more than a collection of people not being interfered with.
     -- Walter Clark, Fullerton CA     
    Walter, I'm with you. There could be a type- o here.
     -- jim k, austin tx     
    Spoken like a true economist, only wanting to capitalize on the productivity and labors of the slaves and their relationships with the government that already exist.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
    "If only he were free" means he would be the sole free individual in a society of slaves (everyone else was not). A hypothetical that can't really be addressed.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Y'all should learn to speak the English Lanuage. There's no "type-oh" (LOL; typeogrphical error?). Von Hayek's meaning is not unclear: The individual is only truly free when the chains of society's moores no longer bind them. That means being free from religious, ethnical or moral stygma with whitch any given society may casting.
     -- L. Hanson, Edmonton, Canada     
    Hanson, are you a good secular socialist ? Or just a secular capitalist ? Maybe both.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
    In order to protect my own freedom, I have to respect others freedoms as well. Liberty requires free individuals to stand together -- either we hang together or hang separately.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    There is only one true freedom, to seek after that which good is. This we are chastised for, being upright.
     -- Ron w13, Or     
    Mr. Hanson.
    You may have a point. But insulting me that I should learn to speak English, makes me think that what follows is from an 8th grader? You didn't mean to do that, did you? I just can't help but think so, so rather than consider your logic I'm compelled to work hard to find fault with it.
    From what I know about Hayek, religion, or any other ground up self-ordering institution creates the kind of moral guidelines we should live by. Religions in this country do not compel like laws on behavior do. The best ideas will emerge.
    I still think that something was lost in translation. His interviews reveal such a deep accent that indicates to me that he is still thinks in German. I think we should forgive the great man the occasional confusion.
     -- Walter Clark, Fullerton CA     
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