Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why Kennedy's "Ask Not" was wrong...

In 1962, Mr. Friedman took on President John F. Kenney's popular inaugural exhortation, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." In an introduction to his classic book, "Capitalism and Freedom," a collection of his writings and lectures, he said "President Kennedy] had got it wrong: You should ask neither.

"What your country can do for you," Mr. Friedman said, implies that the governnment is the patron, the citizen the ward; and "what you can do for your country" assumes that the government is the master, the citizen the servant. Rather, he said, you should ask, "What I and my compatriots can do through government to help discharge our individual responsiblities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom."

--Cato Institute, on death of Friedman in October 2006

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