I just started reading Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom. It’s already too good not to share.
In the introduction Friedman comments on that very famous line by John Kennedy
"Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country."
Friedman notes the paternalistic view of asking what your country can do for you. It implies that government is a “patron,” and the “citizen the ward,” or that government is a servant to the citizen, a caretaker, a provider, and “a grantor of favors and gifts.” This view is very much at odds with a free mans view of his own individual responsibility and control over his own destiny.
Conversely, asking what you can do for your country implies that government is an organism or a “master;” a powerful deity over man to be “blindly worshiped or served.”
Friedman goes on to state that “a free man will neither ask what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country” because to a free man our country is merely a collection of individuals, not some thing over or above him, and not some thing to care for and provide for him. Government is a collection of citizens with a "common heritage and loyal to common traditions."
He notes that a free man will ask “what can I and my compatriots do through government to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes and, above all, to protect our freedom?” "And how can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect?"
He goes on to state that concentration of power is a great threat to freedom.
“Let us provide us a road to get here and there. Enabling each to greet all we see, merchandizing to earn a fee, and bringing our families closer to we” Unknown.