What do you suppose was chiefly on the minds of our ancestors as they braved the seas to come to America? Did they come with hopes of building a “great society” (per Lyndon Johnson and so many of today’s “progressives”)? A society where all manner of men, regardless of their output, would be delivered an equal share of some national pie? Indeed, would they have risked their lives only to have the fruits of their sacrifice divvied up amongst the masses?

And what do you suppose explains the incomparable advancement of the human condition that has occurred on these shores during the life of this very young country? It’s the momentum from our nation’s genesis. It’s what happens when the human spirit meets with liberty. Our wealth is not the result of one collective ideal. It is the result of millions of individuals pursuing their own separate interests.

I pursue my separate interests when I assist you in pursuing yours. If I make pizza for a living, it is in my best interest to sell you the best tasting pie I can profitably produce. Competition with other establishments keeps me forever striving to be the best. If you like my pizza, it is in your best interest to tell all your friends so that I remain in business. Apply this simple logic to every profession (save for politics) and you understand how, as Adam Smith put it two-plus centuries ago in The Wealth of Nations, the freedom to pursue one’s own objectives promotes necessarily “an end” that is “most advantageous to society”:

 

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