From a transcript of a lecture given in 1965 by the founder of the Foundation for Economic EducationHow to Advance Liberty – Leonard Read .

There would be no need to work for liberty were liberties not being lost. Most Americans are unaware of a decline in individual liberty, and the reason is obvious: the decline rarely takes the form of sudden personal deprivations but, instead, takes the form of unnoticed erosion, and thus we come, as do the Russians, to regard whatever state we are in as a normal condition.

No one can possibly be expected to give a top priority to the advancement of liberty unless he is keenly aware that liberty is important, and that it is in jeopardy. Each individual must make his own assessment but here is my appraisal of how precarious our situation is: While the returns of our own socialistic revolution — devolution is a more accurate word — toward political omnipotence are incomplete and the full extent of the blight far from evident, the devolution itself is a fait accompli, water over the dam. It is no longer an event of the future to be feared; it is a catastrophe of the past to be remedied — and remembered.

In short, the devolution was; that is, the socialistic objective has been achieved. Few people seem to appreciate the terrible fact that, already, we are subject to a centralized government of unlimited power. There now hangs over our economy a political apparatus with the authority to exercise control over the life and livelihood of every citizen; it can confiscate every dollar of our income. The principle of statism is accepted national policy; short of a successful intellectual and moral counterrevolution, all that remains is to await the filling in of the authoritarian details and to suffer the consequences.

The author goes on to develop a quite surprising approach to advancing liberty and I recommend reading the article in full.

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