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Freedom And Equality


Published: April 28, 2020

Equality of outcomes is in conflict with freedom, since it requires that the freedom of some people be restricted. Societies that put equality before freedom are left with neither. Societies that put freedom before equality are left with a great deal of both.

Discussion Questions

  1. A country that puts equality before freedom ends up with neither. Are there countries that have put equality before freedom? What was the result?
  2. How can we protect individual freedom? 

Additional Resources

  • Watch “Created Equal” on Free to Choose with Milton Friedman. Available here.
  • Read “What does ‘Created Equal’ Mean?” by Milton Friedman. Available here.
  • Watch “The Historical Threat to Freedom” with Milton Friedman. Available here.
View Transcript

In the 20th century, beginning especially abroad 

and, at a later date in this country, 

a very different concept, a very different ideal, has begun to emerge. 

That is the ideal that everyone should be equal in income, in level of living, in what he has; 

the idea that economic race should be so arranged that everybody ends at the finish line at the same time, 

This concept raises a very serious problem for freedom. 

It is clearly in conflict with it, since it requires that the freedom of some be restricted -in order to provide greater benefits to others. 

The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. 

The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.