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    The following is excerpted from a speech delivered on November 10, 1977, on the Hillsdale College campus as part of the Ludwig von Mises Lecture Series. Originally published in Imprimis in January 1978, the speech was reprinted in Educating for Liberty: The Best of Imprimis, 1972-2002 (Hillsdale College Press, 2002).

    How much are we to blame for what has happened? Beginning with the traumatic experience of the Great Depression, we the people have turned more and more to government for answers that government has neither the right nor the capacity to provide. Unfortunately, government as an institution always tends to increase in size and power, and so government attempted to provide the answers.

    The result is a fourth branch of government added to the traditional three of executive, legislative and judicial: a vast federal bureaucracy that is now being imitated in too many states and too many cities, a bureaucracy of enormous power which determines policy to a greater extent than any of us realize, very possibly to a greater extent than our own elected representatives. And it can’t be removed from office by our votes.

    More than anything else, a new political economic mythology, widely believed by too many people, has increased government’s ability to interfere as it does in the marketplace. Profit is a dirty word, blamed for most of our social ills. In the interest of something called consumerism, free enterprise is becoming far less free. Property rights are being reduced, and even eliminated, in the name of environmental protection. It is time that a voice be raised on behalf of the 73 million independent wage earners in this country, pointing out that profit, property rights, and freedom are inseparable, and you cannot have the third unless you continue to be entitled to the first two.

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    Rev. Robert A. Sirico is co-founder and president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. He received his Master of Divinity degree from the Catholic University of America, following undergraduate study at the University of Southern California and the University of London. He has written for a variety of journals, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the London Financial Times, the Washington Times, the Detroit News and National Review. A member of the Mont Pelerin Society, the American Academy of Religion, and the Philadelphia Society, he is also currently pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
    The following is adapted from a speech delivered at Hillsdale College on October 27, 2006, at the first annual Free Market Forum, sponsored by the College’s Center for the Study of Monetary Systems and Free Enterprise.

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