"The man of system…is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it… He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might choose to impress upon it."
by:
Adam Smith
(1723-1790) Scottish philosopher and economist
Source:
The Theory Of Moral Sentiments, Part VI, Section II, Chapter II, pp. 233-4
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Reader comments about this quote:
It is amazing how much insight an 18th Century philosopher has into 21st Century liberalism and liberal politicians out to give us 'hope and change'.
 -- Skip, San Antonio, TX     
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    WOW, very accurate. By definition, that system becomes the devotee's religion. A short time a go, I had a conversation with a Congressman's (professed conservative 'R') employee. He was disgusted with me because I, nor my family, would not join his system as demanded.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    This is one of the best (if not THE best) quotes I have received from this site, so far.
     -- C.King, Edmond, OK     
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    I agree with the sentiment that there is incredible arrogance on the part of folks who think they can do a better job of running my life, choosing my form of recreation, assessing my risks, picking my charities, negotiating my financial arrangements than I.
     -- Ross H. LIberty, Ukiah CA     
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    Generally, the libs are conceited domestically and the neo-cons are conceited internationally -- both always pushing their social planning on the rest. What happened to Liberty?
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Aha ! Mr. Smith has successfully encapsulated what I tried to say in my response to the first of the three quotations.
     -- Bobble, No. Ferrisburgh, VT     
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     -- jim k, Austin      
    Purity of insight, unobscured by ideology.
     -- Patrick Henry, Red Hill     
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    Harmony at natural law of economic Liberty. Seventh and Eighth Tenets of Austrian economic Thinking.
    7 ) Consumer Sovereignty. " The influence consumers have on effective demands for goods and services and, through the price which result in Free competitive markets, on the production plans of producers and investors, is not merely a Hard Fact but also an important objective, Attainable only by Complete Avoidance of governmental interference with the markets and of restrictions on the Freedom of sellers and buyers to follow their own Judgment regarding quantities, qualities and prices of products and services."
    8 ) Political Individualism. " Only when Individuals are given Full Economic Freedom will it be possible to Secure Political and Moral Freedom. Restrictions on economic Freedom lead, sooner or later, to an extension of the Coercive Activities of the State into the political domain, undermining and eventually destroying the Essential Liberties which the Capitalist societies were able to attain in the nineteenth century."
    Ludwig Von Mises
    First things First, the starting point.
     -- Ronw13, Logsden     
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