Libertarianism.Org: The Open Mind With Richard Heffner- Milton Friedman on The Maintenance of a Free Society
What a free society or what I prefer to call a liberal democracy is, it's a country where the people are free to live their own lives. Not free to hurt innocent people, but free to live their own lives. Which are two different things that Progressives and Neoconservatives don't seem to understand. That we recognize that there are dangers in the country and there are consequences that come from making decisions in life. And that we accept that there isn't a perfect system, that there isn't a perfect society, but that there are liberal societies where people live in freedom. Authoritarian societies where people are subjects of the state and less freer societies where people live in freedom, but not as much as in a liberal society. Where government does have a role in protecting people from themselves at least to some degree, so then it's just a matter of which of these societies that people decide to live in. How much freedom do they want ,if any and what would they do with any freedom that they may have. Then we would be better off in deciding what type of country that we are and where we want to go in the future. That it's not about building a perfect society, but creating the best society that we can.
And again when I talk about free society, I'm talking about a liberal democracy where Americans would have the Freedom to live their own lives. To be self-sufficient and not have to depend on government to take care of them. That the role of government is to protect individual freedom. And to protect the innocent from predators, but not try to protect people from themselves. That individuals are free to live their own lives, as long as we not hurting innocent people with what we are doing. That we accept that there are dangers in life and people will do things that are not in their best interest. Like drink, smoke, do drugs, sleep with people they don't know, to use as examples. But trying to prevent these things from happening, doesn't mean they'll go away or locking people up for doing these things, won't make them go away. They'll just be done underground. That if government wants to protect the people, then don't try to punish them when they do something that might be in their best interest.
But make sure we have all the relevant and credible information that they we might need and then be able to make the best decisions for ourselves known what we need to know. And then have to deal with the consequences of our own decisions for better and for worst. To state the obvious, there really isn't a truly free society in any civilized country. Otherwise that would be anarchy where people could do whatever the hell that they want to, including hurting innocent people. And the only consequences that would come to them, would be how others retaliate against them when they hurt them. But what we can have is a liberal democracy where people are free to live their own lives but not hurt innocent people. Liberal democracy isn't just about voting. But it's also about individual rights and that inside constitutional rights where we can't lose our freedom simply because one more person than not believes that freedom isn't worth having and that freedom gets voted away. And that is what a free society in a liberal democratic society is.