"Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated [in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution]." - Thomas Jefferson
"All the purposes for which [the federal government] can pay a single dollar are specified by law." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Joel Barlow, 1808
"Our tenet ever was that Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were to those specifically enumerated; and that, as it was never meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Albert Gallatin, 16 June 1817
"If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of the public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress... Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America." - James Madison, in a speech opposing the Cape Cod fishery subsidy bill before Congress, 1789
"This will forever settle the meaning of the phrase ['promote the general welfare'] which, by a mere grammatical quibble, has countenanced the general government in a universal claim of power." - Thomas Jefferson, on Congress' rejection of the Cape Cod fishery subsidy bill, 1789
"Have Congress the right to raise and appropriate the money to any and to every purpose according to their will and pleasure? They certainly have not. The Government of the United States is a limited Government, instituted for great national purposes, and for those only." - James Monroe, President, commenting on his veto of a bill to maintain the Cumberland Road, 1822
"If the power exist, it must be either because it has been specifically granted to the United States or that it is incidental to some power which has been granted. If we examine the specific grants of power [enumerated in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution] we do not find it among them, nor is it incidental to any power which has been specifically granted... [Specifically, this power cannot be traced to the clause] 'to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare'." - James Monroe, President, commenting on his veto of a bill to maintain the Cumberland Road, 1822
"The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified and enumerated in the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers... To refer the power in question to the clause 'to provide for the common defense and general welfare' would be contrary to the established and consistent rules of interpretation, as rendering the special and careful enumeration of powers which follow the clause nugatory and improper. Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them." - James Madison, President, commenting on his veto of a bill for making internal improvements such as roads and canals, 1817
"With respect to the two words 'general welfare' [in the U.S. Constitution], I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. If the words obtained so readily a place in the 'Articles of Confederation', and received so little notice in their admission into the present Constitution, and retained for so long a time a silent place in both, the fairest explanation is, that the words, in the alternative of meaning nothing or meaning everything, had the former meaning taken for granted." - James Madison, in a letter to James Robertson
"Money cannot be applied to the General Welfare, otherwise than by an application of it to some particular measure conducive to the General Welfare. Whenever, therefore, money has been raised by the general Authority, and is to be applied to a particular measure, a question arises whether the particular measure be within the enumerated authorities vested in Congress. If it be, the money requisite for it may be applied to it; if it be not, no such application can be made." - James Madison, in "Report of 1800"
"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions." - James Madison, in a Letter to Edmund Pendleton, 21 January 1792
"I see, as you do, and with the deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch of our government is advancing towards the usurpations of all the rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of all powers, foreign and domestic; and that too, by constructions which, if legitimate, leave no limits to their power... Under the power to regulate commerce, they assume indefinitely that also over agriculture and manufactures, and call it regulation to take the earnings of one of these branches of industry, and... put them into the pockets of the other... Under the authority to establish post roads, they claim that of cutting down mountains for the construction of roads, of digging canals, and aided by a little sophistry on the words 'general welfare', a right to do, not only the acts to effect that, which are specifically enumerated and permitted, but whatsoever they shall think, or pretend, will be for the general welfare." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William B. Giles, 26 December 1825
"It is an established rule of construction, where a phrase will bear either of two meanings to give it that which will allow some meaning to other parts of the instrument, and not that which will render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given to them. [The Constitution] was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect." - Thomas Jefferson, in "Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank", 1791
"I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people'. To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power not longer susceptible of any definition." - Thomas Jefferson, in "Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank", 1791
"If we set out with... a scrupulous regard to the Constitution, the government will acquire a spirit and a tone productive of permanent blessings to the community. If on the contrary,... the Constitution is slighted, or explained away, upon every frivolous pretext, the future of government will be feeble, distracted and arbitrary. The rights of the subjects will be the sport of every party vicissitude. There will be no settled rule of conduct, but everything will fluctuate with the alternate prevalency of contending factions." - Alexander Hamilton
"We must confine ourselves to the powers described in the Constitution, and the moment we pass it, we take an arbitrary stride towards a despotic Government." - James Jackson, in "Annals of the 1st Congress"
"The greatest [calamity] which could befall [us would be] submission to a government of unlimited powers." - Thomas Jefferson, in "Declaration and Protest of Virginia", 1825
"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which grant[s] a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents... The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government." - James Madison, in a speech before the U.S. House of Representatives, 10 January 1794
"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, [such] as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people." - James Madison, in "Federalist Paper Number 45", 1788
"Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force." - Thomas Jefferson, in "Draft Kentucky Resolutions", 1798
"[The purpose of a written constitution is] to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights." - Thomas Jefferson, in Notes on Virginia Q.XIII, 1782
"Our safety, our liberty depends on preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution" - Abraham Lincoln, in the Ohio speeches, 1859
"The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." - Daniel Webster
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests." - Patrick Henry
"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizens from falling into error; it is the function of the citizens to keep government from falling into error." - Fred Moore Vinson, Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, in American Communications Association v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382, 1950
"The government was set to protect man from criminals - and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government." - Ayn Rand
"The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of the people." - William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"The Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals. It does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government. It is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizens' protection against the government." - Ayn Rand
"Our legislators are not sufficiently apprised of the rightful limits of their power; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Francis W. Gilmer, 7 June 1816
"Can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn't even get out of committee." - F. Lee Bailey, April 1967
"It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow, by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard urged against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the 4th resolution [the 9th Amendment]." - James Madison, proposing the "Bill of Rights" to the House, 1789
"What an augmentation of the field for jobbing, speculating, plundering, office-building and office-hunting would be produced by an assumption of all the State powers into the hands of the General Government!", Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Granger, 1800
"I believe the States can best govern our home concerns and the Federal government our foreign ones." - Thomas Jefferson
"[States and the Federal government are] coordinate departments of one simple and integral whole... The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government." - Thomas Jefferson
"I see,... and with the deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch of our government is advancing towards the usurpation of all the rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of all powers, foreign and domestic; and that, too, by constructions which, if legitimate, leave no limits to their power... It is but too evident that the three ruling branches of [the Federal government] are in combination to strip their colleagues, the State authorities, of the powers reserved by them, and to exercise themselves all functions foreign and domestic." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Branch Giles, 1825
"[T]he consolidation of the states into one vast republic, [is] sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home... [and] will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those [governments] that have preceded it." - Robert E. Lee, in a letter to Lord Acton, 15 December 1866
"[A] single consolidated government would become the most corrupt government on earth." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Granger, 1800
"You seem... to consider the judges the ultimate arbiters of all Constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges... and their power [are] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and are not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William C. Jarvis, 28 September 1820
"At the establishment of our Constitution the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the Government. Experience, however, soon showed us in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions... nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping little by little the foundations of the Constitution, and work its change by construction, before any one has perceived that the invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life if secured against all liability to account." - Thomas Jefferson, 1826
"The Constitution... is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they may please. It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only, at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law..." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Spencer Roane, 6 September 1819
"Congress has a responsibility to protect the states from threats to their republican form of government, whether by a foreign power or one of the other two branches. Government by judiciary is incompatible with republican government. Therefore, Congress must act to rein in the out-of-control judiciary." - Ron Paul, 2007
"Wise men wrote the Constitution, but clever judges have been destroying it, bit by bit, turning it into an instrument of arbitrary judicial power, instead of a limitation on all government power." - Thomas Sowell
"No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words "no" and "not" employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights." - Edmund A. Opitz
"About seventy-five years ago I learned that I was not God. And so, when the people of the various States want to do something and I can't find anything in the Constitution expressly forbidding them to do it, I say, whether I like it or not: Damn it, let 'em do it." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Wilson Nicholas, 7 September 1803
"I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation... If the meaning of the text be sought in the changeable meaning of the words composing it, it is evident that the shape and attributes of the Government must partake of the changes to which the words and phrases of all living languages are constantly subject. What a metamorphosis would be produced in the code of law if all its ancient phraseology were to be taken in its modern sense." - James Madison, in a letter to Henry Lee, 25 June 1824
"On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Johnson, 12 June 1823
"The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it." - James Wilson, in "Of the Study of Law in the United States", c. 1790
"The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now." - U.S. Supreme Court, in South Carolina v. United States, 1905
"Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government." - James Madison
"Oh, how I hate the phrase we have - a 'living document.' We now have a Constitution that means whatever we want it to mean. The Constitution is not a living organism, for Pete's sake." - Antonin Scalia, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"Saying that the Constitution is a living document is the same as saying we don't have a Constitution. For rules to mean anything, they must be fixed. How many people would like to play me poker and have the rules be "living"? Depending on "evolving standards," maybe my two pair could beat your flush." - Walter E. Williams
"A Bill of Rights that means what the majority wants it to mean is worthless." - Atonin Scalia
"The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself and not what we have said about it." - Felix Frankfurter, in Graves v. New York, 1939
"All the great laws of society are laws of nature. Those of trade and commerce, whether with respect to the intercourse of individuals or of nations, are laws of mutual and reciprocal interest. They are followed and obeyed, because it is the interest of the parties so to do, and not on account of any formal laws their governments may impose or interpose." - Thomas Paine, in "The Rights of Man", 1791
"And yet the average man, confirmed and inveterate statute-buster though he be, is law-abiding; he is well-meaning and decent, though from the tone adopted by our moral monitors one might not suspect it. Show him a law that is really a law, something that measurably reflects the common conscience of mankind, and he is quite likely to obey it." - Albert Jay Nock, in "Officialism and Lawlessness", 1929
"A social system is a code of laws which men observe in order to live together... The starting point is the question: Is the power of society limited or unlimited? Individualism answers: The power of society is limited by the inalienable, individual rights of man. Society may make only such laws as do not violate these rights. Collectivism answers: The power of society is unlimited. Society may make any laws it wishes, and force them upon anyone in any manner it wishes." - Ayn Rand, in "Textbook of Americanism"
"One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation." - Thomas B. Reed, 1886
"It is not the business of the law to make anyone good or reverent or moral or clean or upright." - Murray Rothbard
"In existing States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. If the road between two villages is impassable, the peasant says, 'There should be a law about parish roads.' If a park-keeper takes advantage of the want of spirit in those who follow him with servile obedience and insults one of them, the insulted man says, 'There should be a law to enjoin more politeness upon the park-keepers.' If there is stagnation in agriculture or commerce, the husbandman, cattle-breeder, or corn-speculator argues, 'It is protective legislation which we require.' Down to the old clothesman there is not one who does not demand a law to protect his own little trade. If the employer lowers wages or increases the hours of labor, the politician in embryo explains, 'We must have a law to put all that to rights.' In short, a law everywhere and for everything! A law about fashions, a law about mad dogs, a law about virtue, a law to put a stop to all the vices and all the evils which result from human indolence and cowardice." - Peter Kropotkin, in "Law and Authority"
"What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don't expect freedom to survive very long." - Thomas Sowell
"But how is ... legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals." - Frédéric Bastiat
"The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws." - Tacitus
"A great many laws in a country, like many physicians, is a sign of malady." - Voltaire
"If you have ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law." - Winston Churchill
"Hence the less government we have the better—the fewer laws and the less confided power." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, in "Politics"
"The end of the law is, not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom." - John Locke
"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato
"Probably all laws are useless, for good men do not want laws at all, and bad men are made no better by them." - Demonax of Cyprus, circa 150 A.D.
"Legality alone is no guide for a moral people. There are many things in this world that have been, or are, legal but clearly immoral. Slavery was legal. Did that make it moral? South Africa's apartheid, Nazi persecution of Jews, and Stalinist and Maoist purges were all legal, but did that make them moral?" - Walter E. Williams
"When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law." - Frédéric Bastiat, in "The Law"
"[To judge the morality of a law] See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime." - Frédéric Bastiat
"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws." - Ayn Rand
"Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny." - Edmund Burke
"Laws do not persuade just because they threaten." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
"The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all." - H.L. Mencken
"The more laws that are written, the more thieves and robbers there will be." - Lao-Tse
"America needs fewer laws, not more prisons." - James Bovard
"Unnecessary laws are not good laws, but traps for money." - Thomas Hobbes, in "Leviathan", 1651
"It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones." - Calvin Coolidge
"Useless laws weaken the necessary laws." - Montesquieu
"It will be of little avail to the people, that the are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?" - James Madison, in "Federalist Paper Number 62", 27 February 1788
"For more than six hundred years - that is, since Magna Carta, in 1215 - there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law, than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust or oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating, or resisting the execution of, such law." - Lysander Spooner, in "The Right of Juries"
"The jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy." - John Jay, 1st Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, in Georgia v. Brailsford, 1794
"The juries [are] our judges of all fact, and of law when they choose it..." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Samuel Kercheval, 12 July 1816
"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void." - U.S. Supreme Court, in Marbury v. Madison, 1803
"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Ludlow, 1824
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." - Frédéric Bastiat, in "The Law"
"Seen from the point of view of the particular group interests of the bureaucrats, every measure that makes the government's payroll swell is progress." - Ludwig von Mises
"The bureaucrat as voter is more eager to get a raise than to keep the budget balanced. His main concern is to swell the payroll." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Bureaucracy"
"Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody." - Calvin Coolidge
"A most powerful objection always arises to propositions of [public works]. It is that public undertakings are carelessly managed and much money spent to little purpose." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to George Washington, 1784
"In public administration there is no connection between revenue and expenditures." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Bureaucracy"
"The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other." - Ronald Reagan
"Once upon a time, government budgets were balanced, our money was sound, the streets were safe, and taxes imposed by all levels of government took less than 10% of our income." - Harry Browne
"When a man spends his own money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about how much he spends and how he spends it. When a man spends his own money to buy something for someone else, he is still very careful about how much he spends, but somewhat less what he spends it on. When a man spends someone else's money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about what he buys, but doesn't care at all how much he spends. And when a man spends someone else's money on someone else, he does't care how much he spends or what he spends it on. And that's government for you." - Milton Friedman
"The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our money for unexplained projects forbids it in the disposition of the public moneys." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Shelton Gilliam, 1808
"A rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Lafayette, 1823
"I view [a proposition respecting post roads] as a source of boundless patronage to the executive, jobbing to members of Congress and their friends, and a bottomless abyss of public money. You will begin by only appropriating the surplus of the post office revenues; but the other revenues will soon be called into their aid, and it will be a source of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest. We have thought, hitherto, that the roads of a State could not be so well administered even by the State legislature as by the magistracy of the county, on the spot. How will they be when a member of New Hampshire is to mark out a road for Georgia?" - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to James Madison, 1796
"The government's War on Poverty has transformed poverty from a short-term misfortune into a career choice." - Harry Browne
"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic." - Benjamin Franklin
"The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money." - Alexis de Tocqueville
"The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits." - Plutarch
"I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple, applying all the possible savings of the public revenue to the discharge of the national debt; and not for a multiplication of officers and salaries merely to make partisans, and for increasing by every device the public debt on the principle of its being a public blessing." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Elbridge Gerry
"We are endeavoring... to reduce the government to the practice of a rigorous economy, to avoid burthening the people and arming the magistrate with a patronage of money, which might be used to corrupt and undermine the principles of government." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Mr. Pictet, 1803
"Private fortunes are destroyed by public as well as by private extravagance. And this is the tendency of all human governments." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Samuel Kercheval, 1816
"The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Spencer Roane, 9 March 1821
"I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of the Constitution: I mean an additional article taking from the federal government the power of borrowing." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Taylor, 26 November 1798
"The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Taylor, 1816
"I place economy among the first and most important virtues and public debt as the greatest dangers to be feared... We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude... The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the disposition of public money. We are endeavoring to reduce the government to the practice of rigid economy to avoid burdening the people..." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Shelton Gilliam, 1808
"The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit... Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do... He does not keep "protecting" you by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that." - Lysander Spooner
"There are people who think that plunder loses all its immorality as soon as it becomes legal. Personally, I cannot imagine a more alarming situation." - Frédéric Bastiat
"Public works are not accomplished by the miraculous power of a magic wand. They are paid for by funds taken away from the citizens." - Ludwig von Mises
"Conservatives and liberals are kindred spirits as far as government spending is concerned. First, let's make sure we understand what government spending is. Since government has no resources of its own, and since there's no Tooth Fairy handing Congress the funds for the programs it enacts, we are forced to recognize that government spending is no less than the confiscation of one person's property to give it to another to whom it does not belong - in effect, legalized theft." - Walter E. Williams
"Never forget that no government has wealth of its own to spend. The money has to come from taxation, monetary inflation, or debt expansion that must be paid later. And government's spending choices will always be uneconomic relative to how society would spend that wealth. That is to say, the money will be wasted." - Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr., in "The Market Works in Recession", 2008
"You can use all the fancy words you want, but in the end government has no money. Everything government has it gets from you. That is the most fundamental lesson of political economy, without which no clear thinking takes place. And yet it seems to be the most covered- up truth of our times." - Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr., in "Rich Uncle Pays Your Mortgage", 2009
"Another of the great illusions is that the government gives the people free much of what they get from its services... The painful truth is this: the government produces nothing of itself. Whatever it spends for people it must previously take from the people in the form of taxes." - Douglas MacArthur, in a speech in New York City, 30 July 1957
"Another strange notion pervading whole peoples is that the State has money of its own; and nowhere is this absurdity more firmly fixed than in America. The State has no money. It produces nothing. It existence is purely parasitic, maintained by taxation; that is to say, by forced levies on the production of others. 'Government money,' of which one hears so much nowadays, does not exist; there is no such thing." - Albert Jay Nock, in "Memoirs of a Superfluous Man"
"[Governments] all want maximum power and money for themselves, and can only obtain it at the expense of the people, since government itself produces nothing." - Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr., in "The Work of Freedom"
"Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer." - Ludwig von Mises
"Conservative politicians pat us on the head at election time and tell us how much worse it would be if they hadn't been there to hold back the tide of socialism. But the fact is that they haven't held back the tide of socialism. Government has grown relentlessly." - Harry Browne
"Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program." - Milton Friedman
"Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" - Ronald Reagan
"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." - Ronald Reagan, 1986
"Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them." - Ronald Reagan
"Have you ever noticed how statists are constantly "reforming" their own handiwork? Education reform. Health-care reform. Welfare reform. Tax reform. The very fact that they're always busy 'reforming' is an implicit admission that they didn't get it right the first 50 times." - Lawrence W. Reed, in The Freeman (journal)
"Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under." - H.L. Mencken
"No one who's seen it in action can say the phrase 'government help' without either laughing or crying." - Mark Twain
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help'." - Ronald Reagan, 1986
"The only thing that saves us from bureaucracy is its inefficiency." - Eugene McCarthy
"Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity by which it got out of its way." - Henry David Thoreau
"Things in our country run in spite of government, not by aid of it." - Will Rogers
"Good order results spontaneously when things are let alone." - Chuang-tzu, circa 300 B.C.
"It is not by consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected...Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread." - Thomas Jefferson, in his autobiography, 1821
"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand." - Milton Friedman
"Everything government touches turns to crap." - Ringo Starr
"Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins... Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer." - Thomas Paine, in "Common Sense", 1776
"The greatest security against the introduction of corrupt practices and principles into our government, which can be relied on in practice, is to make the continuance of an administration depend on their keeping the public expenses down to their minimum" - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Albert Gallatin, 1804
"The more power a government has the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, and the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more constrained the power of governments, the more power is diffused, checked, and balanced, the less it will aggress on others and commit democide." - R.J. Rummel, in "Death by Government"
"[The state is] the common enemy of all honest, industrious and decent men." - H.L. Mencken
"If we look at the black record of mass murder, exploitation, and tyranny levied on society by governments over the ages, we need not be loath to abandon the Leviathan State and... try freedom." - Murray Rothbard, in "For a New Liberty"
"The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War"
"Only if the modern State can be held within a strictly limited agenda of duties and powers can it be prevented from regimenting, conquering, and ultimately devouring the society which gave it birth." - Henry Hazlitt, in "Man Versus The Welfare State"
"Whether we want it or not, we pay now for almost unlimited government; a government which limits our lives by dictating how we are fed and clothed and housed; how to provide for old age; how the national income, which is the product of our labor, shall be divided among us; how we shall buy and sell; how long and how hard and under what circumstances we shall work. There is only scorn for the one who dares to say, 'The government shall not be infinite.'" - Douglas MacArthur, in a speech in New York City, 30 July 1957
"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government." - Thomas Jefferson
"Regulations have been made in yearly growing numbers, restraining the citizen in directions where his actions were previously unchecked, and compelling actions which previously he might perform or not as he liked; and at the same time heavier public burdens... have further restricted his freedom, by lessening that portion of his earnings which he can spend as he pleases, and augmenting the portion taken from him to be spent as public agents please." - Herbert Spencer, in "The Man Versus The State"
"If you want government to intervene domestically, you're a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you're a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you're a moderate. If you don't want government to intervene anywhere, you're an extremist." - Joseph Sobran, 1995
"The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War"
"Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient." - Henry David Thoreau, in "Civil Disobedience" 1849
"Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure." - Robert LeFevre
"Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem. ...We've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?" - Ronald Reagan
"During the suspension of the old governments in America, both prior to and at the breaking out of hostilities, I was struck with the order and decorum with which everything was conducted, and impressed with the idea that a little more than what society naturally performed was all the government that was necessary, and that monarchy and aristocracy were frauds and impositions upon mankind." - Thomas Paine, in "The Rights of Man", 1791
"Great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government. It has its origin in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man. It existed prior to government, and would exist if the formality of government was abolished. The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all the parts of civilized community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together. The landholder, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation, prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the whole. Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their law; and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence than the laws of government. In fine, society performs for itself almost everything which is ascribed to government." - Thomas Paine, in "The Rights of Man", 1791
"I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive." - Thomas Jefferson
"That government is best which governs least." - Thomas Jefferson (attributed)
"I heartily accept the motto, 'That government is best which governs least'; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe, 'That government is best which governs not at all'; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have." - Henry David Thoreau, in "Civil Disobedience" 1849
"Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice." - Adam Smith, in "The Wealth of Nations"
"There is no limit to the ingenuity of man if it is properly and vigorously applied under conditions of peace and justice." - Winston Churchill
"Government should stay the hell out of people's business." - Barry Goldwater
"Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the ease with which the many are governed by the few." - David Hume
"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." - Thomas Jefferson
"A State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes - will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished." - John Stuart Mill
"By the time we had finished with them they were only the shells of men. There was nothing left in them except sorrow for what they had done, and love of Big Brother. It was touching to see how they loved him." - George Orwell, in "1984"
"Let the people think they govern and they will be governed." - William Penn, 1693
"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire
"Political correctness is tyranny with manners." - Charlton Heston, speaking before the Arizona State Legislature
"Political language - and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind." - George Orwell, in "Politics and the English Language"
"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." - Thomas Jefferson
"The most esteemed journalists are precisely the most servile. For it is by making themselves useful to the powerful that they gain access to the "best" sources." - Walter Karp
"[T]he number one reason to privatize public broadcasting is the separation of news and state. We wouldn't want the federal government to publish a national newspaper. Why should we have a government television network and a government radio network?" - David Boaz
"When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon." - Thomas Paine
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson
"[T]he subject which will be of most importance politically is Mass Psychology.... The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen." - Bertrand Russell, in "The Impact of Science on Society"
"To collect little plastic lumps of human dough from private households and shape them on the social kneading-board... And so it happens that the role of the schoolmaster in the social economy is just beginning." - Edward Ross, in "Social Control: A Survey of the Foundations of Order", 1901
"The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality." - H.L. Mencken
"Whenever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to ensure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery." - Benjamin Disraeli, 1874
"Love your country, but never trust its government." - Robert A. Heinlein
"A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody." - Thomas Paine
"Government ought to be as much open to improvement as anything which appertains to man, instead of which it has been monopolized from age to age, by the most ignorant and vicious of the human race. Need we any other proof of their wretched management, than the excess of debts and taxes with which every nation groans, and the quarrels into which they have precipitated the world?" - Thomas Paine
"Our Government is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence. The engine of consolidation will be the Federal Judiciary; the other two branches the corrupting and corrupted instruments." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Nathaniel Macon, 1821
"I fear for our nation. Nearly half of our people receive some kind of government subsidy. We have grown weak from too much affluence and too little adversity. I fear that soon we will not be able to defend our country from our sure and certain enemies. We have debased our currency to the point that even the most loyal citizen no longer trusts it." - Unknown [a Roman Senator], A.D. 63
"When extraordinary power and extraordinary pay are allotted to any individual in government, he becomes the center, round which every kind of corruption generates and forms. Give any man a million a year, and add thereto the power of creating and disposing of places, at the expense of a country, and the liberties of that country are no longer secure... [Government] is made up of a band of parasites, living in luxurious indolence, out of public taxes. When once such a system is established it becomes the guard and protection of all inferior abuses. The man who is in the receipt of a million a year is the last person to promote a spirit of reform, lest, in the event, it should reach to himself. It is always in his interest to defend inferior abuses, as so many out-works to protect the citadel; and in this species of political fortification, all parts have such a common dependence that it is never expected they will attack each other." - Thomas Paine
"You will have noticed that while we are all under the thumb of authority, authority becomes composed of those who, lacking the courage to stand on their own feet and accept their share of personal responsibility, seek the safety of official positions where they escape the consequences of error and failure. Active, energetic, and progressive persons, instead of leading the rest, are allowed to move only by the grace and favor of that section of the population which from its very nature lacks all the qualities needed to produce the desired results. Authority is the power to say no, which requires little or no ability." - Sir Ernest Benn, from an article in "Essays on Liberty", volume 1, 1952
"When the government fears the people, there is freedom; when people fear the government, there is tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson (attributed)
"Power concedes nothing without a demand... It never did... and it never will... Find out just what the people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." - Frederick Douglas, 1857
"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." - Edward R. Murrow
"Our free society has been terribly tampered with by bureaucracy. And as we become less free, for some reason we lose our virtues." - John Wayne
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin, in the Pennsylvania Assembly's 11 November 1755 reply to the Governor
"You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream - the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order - or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path." - Ronald Reagan, 27 October 1964
"The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home." - James Madison
"Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson, 1779
"You can't give the government the power to do good without also giving it the power to do bad - in fact, to do anything it wants." - Harry Browne
"Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." - James Madison, in The Federalist No. 10
"Power gradually extirpates from the mind every humane and gentle virtue." - Edmund Burke, in "A Vindication of Natural Society"
"Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, can never willingly abandon it." - Edmund Burke
"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree." - James Madison
"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." - The Wizard of Oz, in the book of the same name by Frank Baum
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." - Lord Acton, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887
"Nobody can be trusted with unlimited power. The more power a regime has, the more likely people will be killed. This is a major reason for promoting freedom." - R.J. Rummel
"The arts of power and its minions are the same in all countries and in all ages. It marks its victim; denounces it; and excites the public odium and the public hatred, to conceal its own abuses and encroachments." - Henry Clay
"Every variety of tyranny rests upon the belief that some persons have a right - or even a duty - to impose their wills upon other people. Tyranny may be fastened upon others by the mere whim of one man, such as a king or dictator under various names. Or tyranny may be imposed upon a minority "for their own good" by a democratically elected majority. But in any case, tyranny is always a denial - or a misunderstanding - of the mandates of an authority or law higher than man himself." - Edmund A. Opitz
"'Tis a Mistake to think this Fault [tyranny] is proper only to Monarchies; other Forms of Government are liable to it, as well as that. For where-ever the Power that is put in any hands for the Government of the People, and the Preservation of their Properties, is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the Arbitrary and Irregular Commands of those that have it: There it presently becomes Tyranny, whether those that thus use it are one or many." - John Locke
"[W]e are obliged to recognize that no group of men can be completely trusted with power. All power is liable to be abused, and the greater the power the greater the likelihood of abuse. For that reason, only minimum powers should be granted to government. But the tendency of government everywhere has been to use even minimum powers to increase its powers." - Henry Hazlitt
"Abuse of power isn't limited to bad guys in other nations. It happens in our own country if we're not vigilant." - Clint Eastwood, in Parade Magazine, 12 January 1997
"Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation." - James Madison, in a speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." - William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"Freedom dies in small pieces." ["Freiheit stirbt in kleinen teilen."] - Anonymous, old German saying
"A democratic government that respects no limits on its power is a ticking time bomb, waiting to destroy the rights it was created to protect." - James Bovard
"In the long run even the most despotic governments with all their brutality and cruelty are no match for ideas. Eventually the ideology that has won the support of the majority will prevail and cut the ground from under the tyrant's feet. Then the oppressed many will rise in rebellion and overthrow their masters." - Ludwig von Mises
"The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, and intolerable..." - H.L. Mencken
"Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons." - Douglas MacArthur
"Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." - Thomas Jefferson
"It is the public belief in liberty - originating with the intellectual class - that ultimately restrains the state. If the population is passive and uninformed by any contrary voices, the state can succeed in its evil aims." - Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr., in "The Work of Freedom"
"[O]ne of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in their struggle for independence." - Charles A. Beard
"The ultimate decision about what is accepted as right and wrong will be made not by individual human wisdom but by the disappearance of the groups that have adhered to the 'wrong' beliefs." - Friedrich A. Hayek
"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong." - Voltaire
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences." - C. S. Lewis, in "God in the Dock"
"It is indeed probable that more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out a moral evil than by men intent on doing evil." - Friedrich A. Hayek
"The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience." - Albert Camus
"This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs: when he first appears he is a protector." - Plato, c. 400 B.C.
"The trees said to the bramble, come reign over us." - Judges 9:15, in the Bible
"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose." - William Shakespeare
"Most of the tyrants, despots, and dictators are sincerely convinced that their rule is beneficial for the people, that theirs is government for the people." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Bureaucracy"
"A man's liberties are none the less aggressed upon because those who coerce him do so in the belief that he will be benefitted." - Herbert Spencer, in "Social Statics", 1850
"The greatest danger to liberty today comes from the men who are... most powerful in modern government, namely, the efficient expert administrators exclusively concerned with what they regard as the public good." - Friedrich von Hayek
"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Daniel Webster
"The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." - Robert Heinlein
"The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it." - H. L. Mencken
"When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader." - Plato, 347 B.C.
"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." - James Madison
"The arts of power and its minions are the same in all countries and in all ages. It marks its victim; denounces it; and excites the public odium and the public hatred, to conceal its own abuses and encroachments." - Henry Clay, 1834
"They [the Marxists] maintain that only a dictatorship - their dictatorship, of course - can create the will of the people, while our answer to this is: No dictatorship can have any other aim but that of self-perpetuation, and it can beget only slavery in the people tolerating it; freedom can be created only by freedom, that is, by a universal rebellion on the part of the people and free organization of the toiling masses from the bottom up." - Mikhail Bakunin, in "Statism and Anarchism"
"A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years." - Lysander Spooner
"To change masters is not to be free." - Jose Marti y Perez
"Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one's government is not necessarily to secure freedom." - Friedrich A. Hayek
"It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there is service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be master." - Ayn Rand
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." - William Pitt, 1783
"Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it." - Milton Friedman
"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?" - Mahatma Gandhi
"Once you admit that the individual is merely a means to serve the ends of the higher entity called society or the nation, most of those features of totalitarian regimes which horrify us follow of necessity. From the collectivist standpoint intolerance and brutal suppression of dissent, the complete disregard of the life and happiness of the individual, are essential and unavoidable consequences of this basic premise." - Friedrich A. Hayek, in "The Road to Serfdom"
"[T]he State is the general substance, whereof individuals are but accidents." - Georg Wilhelm Frederich Hegel
"[S]tatism is the occupational disease of rulers, warriors, and civil servants." - Ludwig von Mises
"What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment and death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment ... inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose." - Thomas Jefferson
"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to E. Carrington, 1788
"It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also..." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Judge Spencer Roane, 1819
"If there are no limits placed on government, if our freedom under law is not guaranteed as an absolute principle, the final result is that government will have all power and all property, and we will have none. That is the way the world works, from the ancient times until the end of time." - Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr., in "The Work of Freedom"
"Full government control of all activities of the individual is virtually the goal of both national parties..." - Ludwig von Mises, in "America"
"All government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery." - Jonathan Swift
"Slavery is slavery whether it be voluntary or involuntary, nor is its character at all altered by the nature of the agency that exercises it." - Albert Jay Nock, in "Life, Liberty and ..."
"Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry." - Thomas Jefferson
"Instead of being a protector of man's rights, the government is becoming their most dangerous violator; instead of guarding freedom, the government is establishing slavery; instead of protecting men from the initiators of physical force, the government is initiating physical force in any manner and issue it pleases;... instead of protecting men from injury by whim, the government is arrogating itself the power of unlimited whim - so that we are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage when government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force." - Ayn Rand, in "The Nature of Government"
"When the government's boot is on your throat, whether it is a left boot or a right boot is of no consequence." - Gary Lloyd
"The evils of tyranny are rarely seen but by him who resists it." - John Hay, 1872
"[Government] is not God. It is simply compulsion and coercion; it is the police power." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War"
"It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action. Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen. The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Economic Freedom and Interventionism"
"The difference between private action and governmental action - a difference thoroughly ignored and evaded today - lies in the fact that a government holds a monopoly on the legal use of force." - Ayn Rand
"Be it or be it not true that Man is shaped in inequity and conceived in sin, it is unquestionably true that government is begotten of aggression, and by aggression." - Herbert Spencer
"The state is essentially an apparatus of compulsion and coercion. The characteristic feature of its activities is to compel people through the application or the threat of force to behave otherwise than they would like to behave." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War"
"How soon we forget history... Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." - George Washington (attributed), in a speech on 7 January 1790, in the Boston Independent Chronicle, 14 January 1790
"The less freedom people have, the greater the violence. The more freedom people have, the less the violence. I offer this proposition here as the Power Principle: power kills, and absolute power kills absolutely." - R.J. Rummel, in "Death by Government", 1994
"What is the basic, the essential, the crucial principle that differentiates freedom from slavery? It is the principle of voluntary action versus physical coercion or compulsion." - Ayn Rand
"The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Human Action"
"A government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims." - Ayn Rand
"[T]he State alone possesses rights because it is the strongest." - Georg Wilhelm Frederich Hegel
"It was easy to cross the mountains. It was easy to climb the peaks. The level roads on the plain turned out to be harder to travel. I met tigers in the mountains. They did not harm me. I met a man on the plain, and he arrested me." - Ho Chi Minh, "The Roads of Life", in "Prison Poems"
"Democracy means that when there's a knock in the door at 3 am, it's probably the milkman." - Winston Churchill
"It is better, so the Fourth Amendment teaches us, that the guilty sometimes go free than the citizens be subject to easy arrest." - William O. Douglas, in Henry v. United States, 1959
"Force is the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism." - Thomas Jefferson
"He who says 'state' means coercion and compulsion. He who says: There should be a law concerning this matter, means: The armed men of the government should force people to do what they do not want to do, or not to do what they like. He who says: This law should be better enforced, means: The police should force people to obey this law. He who says: The state is God, deifies arms and prisons. The worship of the state is the worship of force." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War"
"The State's behavior is violence, and it calls its violence 'law'; that of the individual, 'crime'. Crime, then - so the individual's violence is called; and only by crime does he overcome the State's violence when he thinks that the State is not above him, but he is above the State." - Max Stirner (Johann Caspar Schmidt), in "The Ego and His Own" [Der Einzige und Sein Eigentum], 1844
"No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent." - Abraham Lincoln
"A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away." - Barry Goldwater
"You can make a throne of bayonets, but you can't sit on it for long." - Boris Yeltsin
"Governments need armies to protect them from their enslaved and oppressed subjects." - Leo Tolstoy
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." - George Orwell, in "1984"
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - John F. Kennedy
"Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day. But a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of Ministers, too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery." - Thomas Jefferson
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty - power is ever stealing from the many to the few... The hand entrusted with power becomes... the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continual oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot: only by unintermitted Agitation can a people be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity." - Wendell Phillips, in a speech before the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, Boston, MA 28 January 1852
"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through his sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back again into bondage." - Alexander Tytler, in "The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic", late 1700's
"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." - Thomas Jefferson (attributed)
"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for." - Thomas Jefferson
"The voice of the majority is no proof of justice." - Johann von Schiller
"Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic." - Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn
"We are now forming a Republican form of government. Real liberty is not found in the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments. If we incline too much to democracy, we shall soon shoot into a monarchy, or some other form of dictatorship." - Alexander Hamilton
"No fact is more incontestable and conspicuous than the love of democracy for authoritative regulation." - W.E.H. Lecky, in "Democracy and Liberty", 1896
"Wherever the real power in a government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our governments the real power lies in the majority of the community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts of government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents." - James Madison, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1788
"[I]t should never be forgotten that majorities are no less exposed to error and frustration than kings and dictators. That a fact is deemed true by the majority does not prove its truth. That a policy is deemed expedient by the majority does not prove its expediency. The individuals who form the majority are not gods, and their joint conclusions are not necessarily godlike." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War"
"[O]ne of the primary dangers of majority rule is that it confers an aura of legitimacy and respectability on acts that would otherwise be deemed tyrannical. Liberty and democracy are not synonymous and could actually be opposites." - Walter E. Williams
"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." - John Adams
"Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos." - John Marshall, Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
"When the Founders thought of democracy, they saw democracy in the political sphere - a sphere strictly limited by the Constitution's well-defined and enumerated powers given the federal government. Substituting democratic decision making for what should be private decision making is nothing less than tyranny dressed up." - Walter E. Williams
"No body of men can be said to authorize a man to act as their agent, to the injury of a third person." - Lysander Spooner
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" - Benjamin Franklin
"Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority." - James Madison, in "Federalist Paper Number 10"
"Mankind will in time discover that unbridled majorities are as tyrannical and cruel as unlimited despots." - John Adams, 1793
"The worst and most dangerous form of absolutist rule is that of an intolerant majority." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Theory and History"
"The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816
"It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom resist. But from the absolute will of an entire people there is no appeal, no redemption, no refuge but treason." - Lord Acton
"The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities." - Lord Acton
"Individual rights are not subject to a public vote: a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority. The political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities - and the smallest minority on earth is the individual." - Ayn Rand
"It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny." - James Fenimore Cooper, in "The American Democrat", 1838
"A Bill of Rights that means what the majority wants it to mean is worthless." - Atonin Scalia
"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the party that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections." - Lord Acton
"If ever the free institutions of America are destroyed, that event will arise from the unlimited tyranny of the majority." - Alexis De Tocqueville
"[A] pure democracy... can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by the majority of the whole;... and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths." - James Madison, in "Federalist Paper Number 10", 23 November 1787
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship." - Alexander Tytler, in "The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic", late 1700's
"Democracy is the road to Socialism." - Karl Marx
"Democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor." - James Russell Lowell
"Democracy is a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses." - H.L. Mencken
"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." - Winston Churchill
"Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance." - H.L. Mencken
"It is a poor mind that will think with the multitude because it is a multitude: truth is not altered by the opinions of the vulgar or the confirmation of the many. It is more blessed to be wise in truth in face of opinion than to be wise in opinion in face of truth." - Giordano Bruno
"Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people." - Oscar Wilde
"If you establish a democracy, you must in due time reap the fruits of a democracy. You will in due season have great impatience of public burdens, combined in due season with great increase of public expenditure. You will in due season have wars entered into from passion and not from reason; and you will in due season submit to peace ignominiously sought and ignominiously obtained, which will diminish your authority and perhaps endanger your independence. You will in due season find your property is less valuable, and your freedom less complete." - Herbert Spencer, in "The Man Versus The State", 1884
"Democracy is more cruel than wars or tyrants." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca, c. 4 B.C. - 65 A.D.
"Liberty instead of democracy!" - Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in an interview in the German newspaper Junge Freiheit, June 2005
"Democracy is necessarily despotism." - Immanuel Kant, 1795
"Society... practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression,... penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs to be protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development and, if possible, prevent the formation of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own." - John Stewart Mill, in "On Liberty", 1859
"Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end." - Lord Acton, in a lecture, 26 February 1877
"Liberty! Thou art a prize truly and indeed invaluable, for never canst thou be too dearly bought." - Robert Burns, Scottish bard, c. 1795
"A constitution of government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever." - John Adams
"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves..." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William C. Jarvis, 28 September 1820
"The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits." - Thomas Jefferson
"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise." - John Stuart Mill, in "On Liberty", 1859
"It rankles me when somebody tries to force somebody to do something." - John Wayne
"The government's only proper job is to protect individual rights against violence by force or fraud... to protect men from foreign invaders... to settle disputes among men according to objective laws... The greatness of the Founding Fathers was how well they understood this issue and how close some of them came to understanding it perfectly." - Ayn Rand
"I believe that every individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other men's rights." - Abraham Lincoln
"Liberty, then, is the sovereignty of the individual, and never shall man know liberty until each and every individual is acknowledged to be the only legitimate sovereign of his or her person, time, and property, each living and acting at his own cost" - Josiah Warren
"We prefer poverty in freedom to riches in slavery." - Sekou Toure, Guinean independence leader, to France's Charles de Gaule, 1958
"The problem is [government] power. The solution is democracy. The course of action is to foster freedom." - R.J. Rummel, in "Death by Government", 1994
"I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it." - Alexis De Toqueville
"We know that if we put government in charge of regulating our freedoms, it is only a matter of time before we have no freedom left. Government wants us to do what it wants to do, not what we want to do." - Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr., in "The Work of Freedom"
"'Statism' means any system that concentrates power in the state at the expense of individual freedom... Some statists nationalize the means of production; others allow the facade of private ownership but give the state control over the use and disposal of property. Some righteously practice a caste system; others, who also practice it, deny that they do. Some hold that free countries should move toward omnipotent government peacefully, by 'evolution'; others cry for revolution. Some uphold statism on intrinsicist grounds (e.g., the divine right of kings, ayatollahs, or witch doctors); others invoke social subjectivism, citing the needs of the race, the nation, the class, mankind, or the tribe... Whatever the point of entry of such governments, the essence of their policy is the same: war against man - against his mind, body, and property alike." - Leornard Peikoff, in "Objectivism"
"The fundamental and ultimate issue at stake therefore is not merely our money, it is liberty, itself; the excessive taxation of an overgrown government versus personal freedom; a least common denominator of mediocrity against the proven progress of pioneering individualism; the free enterprise system or the cult of blind conformity; the robot or the free man." - Douglas MacArthur, in a speech in New York City, 30 July 1957
"No people and no part of a people shall be held against its will in a political association that it does not want." - Ludwig von Mises, 1919
"The object and practice of liberty lies in the limitation of governmental power." - Douglas MacArthur
"The history of liberty is the history of limitations on the power of government, not the increase of it. When we resist, therefore, the concentration of power, we are resisting the processes of death, because concentration of power is what always precedes the destruction of human liberties." - Woodrow Wilson
"When economic freedom goes, the other freedoms will soon follow, to be replaced by centralized control over the economy, over workers, over speech, and finally over thought." - John Hospers, in "Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy Whose Time Has Come", 1971
"The true remedy for most evils is none other than liberty, unlimited and complete liberty, liberty in every field of human endeavor." - Gustave de Molinari
"The degree of a country's freedom is the degree of its prosperity." - Ayn Rand
"Whatever the issue, let freedom offer us a hundred choices, instead of having government force one answer on everyone." - Harry Browne
"Man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts." - Ronald Reagan, in his Farewell Address, 1 November 1989
"Government is the negation of liberty." - Ludwig von Mises
"Freedom is the absence of restraint. Government cannot give freedom, it can only take it away. The more power the government exercises the less freedom will the people enjoy. And when government has a monopoly of power the people have no freedom. That is the definition of absolutism - monopoly of power." - Frank Chodorov, in "The Income Tax: Root of All Evil", 1954
"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom or the virtue to do so. To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished." - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, in "General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century", 1851 (Translation by John Beverly Robinson, Freedom Press, London, 1923)
"Power over a man's subsistence is power over his will." - Alexander Hamilton
"What is freedom? Freedom is the right to choose; the right to create for yourself the alternative of choice. Without the responsibility and exercise of choice a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing." - Archibald Macleish, 12 April 1937
"The definition of freedom is not complicated. Freedom means that which the government does not control. You are free when the government cannot steal your income, when it cannot tell you what to say or with whom you may or may not associate. You are free when the government cannot take your kids and send them to far-flung wars to kill and be killed. You are free when you control your life, your property, your church, your business, and your future. You are free when the government cannot inflate away your savings, tax away your profits, lay waste to your dividends by regimenting corporate life, or control how much of what you buy and sell and from where." - Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr., in "The Work of Freedom"
"He is free who lives as he wishes to live; who is neither subject to compulsion nor to hindrance, nor to force; whose movements to action are not impeded, whose desires attain their purpose, and who does not fall into that which he would avoid." - Epictetus, in "Discourses", c. 100 A.D.
"You are free if you are the master of your life, if you own it, if you have your right to it fully respected and protected. Otherwise you aren't free and the society in which you live isn't a free one. Ask any former slave whether freedom means not having others intrude on one’s life or whether it means that others intrude only, say, 40 percent." - Tibor Machan, in "Has Capitalism Been Invalidated?", 2009
"The American heritage was one of individual liberty, personal responsibility and freedom from government... Unfortunately that heritage has been lost. Americans no longer have the freedom to direct their own lives... Today, it is the government that is free - free to do whatever it wants. There is no subject, no issue, no matter... that is not subject to legislation." - Harry Browne
"And now that the legislators and do gooders have futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun. May they reject all systems. And try liberty..." - Frédéric Bastiat, 1850
"Whenever men are allowed liberty, or freedom of choice, they will make mistakes. Liberty is not a guarantee of omniscience. But neither are the mistakes of free men a valid excuse to take away their liberty, and impose government controls in its stead, on the grounds that all wisdom and disinterestedness resides in the people who are going to do the controlling." - Henry Hazlitt, in "The Failure of the 'New Economics'"
"When the same man, or set of men, holds the sword and the purse, there is an end of liberty." - George Mason
"The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty - and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies." - H.L. Mencken, in the Baltimore Evening Sun, 12 February 1923
"Liberty is meaningless if it is only the liberty to agree with those in power." - Ludwig von Mises
"My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular." - Adlai Stevenson
"The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best." - Thomas Sowell
"There are those inclined to liberty - freedom of the individual to live his or her life in any peaceful way. And there are those who are inclined to mastery - permitting others to live their lives only as another sees fit." - Louis Carabini, in "Inclined to Liberty", 2009
"Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth." - Mohatma Gandhi
"When everyone has a distinct interest, men will not complain of one another, and they will make more progress, because every one will be attending to his own business." - Aristotle, in "Politics"
"Individuality is the aim of political liberty. By leaving the citizen as much freedom of action and of being as comports with order and the rights of others, the institutions render him truly a freeman. He is left to pursue his means of happiness in his own manner." - James Fenimore Cooper
"An individualist is a man who says: 'I will not run anyone's life - nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule or be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone - nor sacrifice anyone to myself.'" - Ayn Rand
"Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, no matter what name it is called." - John Stuart Mill
"Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty." - Calvin Coolidge
"Man exists for his own sake and not to add a laborer to the State." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his Journal, 1839
"At the heart of western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man is the touchstone of value, and all society, groups, the state, exist for his benefit. Therefore, the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and abiding practice of any western society." - Robert F. Kennedy, in a speech, University of Capetown, 6 June 1966
"I am not a number, I am a free man. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own." - Number Six (TV character in "The Prisoner")
"Liberty is not a battle that requires the conversion of others in order to win. Liberty is won when you accept the idea that you are the sole master of your life, when your life is subordinate to none, and no other life is subordinate to yours. When you accept that idea, you are liberated. There will always be those who will claim to be your master, but you will know otherwise." - Louis Carabini, in "Inclined to Liberty", 2009
"Another current catch-phrase is the complaint that the nations of the world are divided into 'haves' and the 'have-nots.' Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." - Ayn Rand
"Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society." - Thomas Jefferson
"Freedom is an intellectual achievement which requires disavowal of collectivism and embrace of individualism." - Onkar Ghate
"I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone." - H.L. Mencken
"Live and let live." - Friedrich von Schiller
"[I]f we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion." - Friedrich Hayek
"Man must have the right of choice, even to choose wrong, if he shall ever learn to choose right." - Josiah C. Wedgwood
"If you are not free to choose wrongly and irresponsibly, you are not free at all." - Jacob Hornberger, 1995
"Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have." - Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick
"To argue against any breach of liberty from the ill use that may be made of it, is to argue against liberty itself, since all is capable of being abused." - Lord George Lyttleton, c. 1770
"Any time we deny any citizen the full exercise of his constitutional rights, we are weakening our own claim to them." - Dwight David Eisenhower, in Reader's Digest, December 1963
"It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon a supposition that he may abuse it." - Oliver Cromwell, in a speech, First Protectorate Parliament, 1654
"The care of every man's soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or his estate, which would more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills." - Thomas Jefferson
"If men use their liberty in such a way as to surrender their liberty, are they thereafter any the less slaves?" - Herbert Spencer, on unions, in "The Man Versus The State", 1884
"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. When it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it." - Learned Hand, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master." - Sallust, c. 50 B.C.
"Without freedom of choice, there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no life. The body [society] dies." - Captain James T. Kirk (TV character in "Star Trek")
"There are...only three possible political and economic conditions: liberty, tyranny or chaos." - Richard Maybury
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"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." - Thomas Jefferson, in "The Declaration of Independence", 1776
"The whole of the Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals... It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of." - Albert Gallatin, 1789
"Reason...teaches all Mankind, who would but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his Life, Health, Liberty, or Possessions." - John Locke
"Equal rights for all, special privileges for none." - Thomas Jefferson
"The society that puts equality [of outcome] before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality [of outcome] will in large measure get both." - Milton Friedman, in "Free to Choose"
"[A] bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular; and what no just government should refuse, or rest upon inference." - Thomas Jefferson
"Man holds these rights [life, liberty and property], not from the Collective nor for the Collective, but against the Collective - as a barrier which the Collective cannot cross... these rights are man’s protection against all other men." - Ayn Rand
"Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature." - Benjamin Franklin
"A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate." - Thomas Jefferson, in Rights of British America, 1774
"A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you." - Ramsey Clark, in the New York Times, 2 October 1977
"The U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself." - Benjamin Franklin
"The right to the pursuit of happiness means man's right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own, private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement. Each individual is the sole and final judge in this choice. A man's happiness cannot be prescribed to him by another man or by any number of other men. ... These rights are the unconditional, personal, private, individual possession of every man, granted to him by the fact of his birth and requiring no other sanction. Such was the conception of the founders of our country, who placed individual rights above any and all collective claims." - Ayn Rand
"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the law', because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." - Thomas Jefferson
"The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A - and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life." - Ayn Rand
"Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law." - Ayn Rand
"No man can have a right to impose an unchosen obligation, an unrewarded duty or an involuntary servitude on another man. There can be no such thing as the right to enslave." - Ayn Rand
"A society that puts equality ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom." - Milton Friedman
"It's not an endlessly expanding list of rights - the 'right' to education, the 'right' to health care, the 'right' to food and housing. That's not freedom, that's dependency. Those aren't rights, those are the rations of slavery - hay and a barn for human cattle." - P.J. O'Rourke, in a speech at the Cato Institute, 6 May 1993
"Every man has freedom to do all he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man." - Herbert Spencer, in "Social Statics", 1850
"The most important element of a free society, where individual rights are held in the highest esteem, is the rejection of the initiation of violence. All initiation of force is a violation of someone else's rights, whether initiated by an individual or the state, for the benefit of an individual or group of individuals, even if it's supposed to be for the benefit of another individual or group of individuals. Legitimate use of violence can only be that which is required in self-defense." - Ron Paul
"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." - Thomas Jefferson
"Protecting the rights of even the least individual among us is basically the only excuse the government has for even existing." -Ronald Reagan
"However insignificant the minority, and however trifling the proposed trespass against their rights, no such trespass is permissible." - Herbert Spencer, in "The Right to Ignore The State"
"The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." - Ayn Rand
"Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations - entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the general government in its whole constitutional vigour, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad;... freedom of religion; freedom of the press; freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected - these principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. ...a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." - Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address, 1801
"A slave is he who cannot speak his thought." - Euripides, c. 450 B.C.
"Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can." - Samuel Adams, in "Statement of the Rights of Colonists", 1772
"No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent." - John Jay
"Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist." - John Adams
"The system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not." - Friedrich A. Hayek, in "The Road to Serfdom"
"It is nevertheless certain, that there are various ways in which the rich may oppress the poor; in which property may oppress liberty; and that the world is filled with examples. It is necessary that the poor should have a defense against the danger. On the other hand, the danger to the holders of property cannot be disguised, if they be undefended against a majority without property." - James Madison, speaking in favor of the House of Representatives being elected by the people at large and the Senate elected by property owners
"Either you have the right to own property, or you are the property of a tyrannical government." - Wayne Hage, Sr.
"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If 'Thou shalt not covet' and 'Thou shalt not steal' were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free." - John Adams, in "A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America", 1787
"The poorest man may, in his cottage, bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake; the wind may blow though it; the storm may enter; the rain may enter; but the King of England may not enter; all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement." - William Pitt
"It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot be separated." - James Madison, in a Speech at the Virginia Convention, 2 December 1829
"Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place" - Frédéric Bastiat
"Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one harms the person or property of another." - Lysander Spooner
"The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property" - John Locke
"Government can never have a Power to take to themselves the whole or any part of the Subjects Property, without their own consent." - John Locke
"The program of [classical] liberalism, condensed into a single word, would have to read: property." - Ludwig von Mises
"The right to life is the source of all rights - and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave." - Ayn Rand
"Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions." - James Madison, in the "National Gazette", 1792
"Just as man can't exist without his body, so no rights can exist without the right to translate one's rights into reality, to think, to work and keep the results, which means: the right of property." - Ayn Rand
"Every man has a property in his own person this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say are properly his... The great and chief end therefore, of Mens uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the Preservation of their Property." - John Locke, in "The Second Treatise On Civil Government"
"You'll learn to build for yourselves, think for yourselves, work for yourselves, and what you create is yours. That's what we call freedom. You'll like it alot." - Captain James T. Kirk (TV character in "Star Trek")
"For if Men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter...; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter." - George Washington, in a speech to the officers of the Army, 1783
"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us all." - William O. Douglas
"The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree." - Ayn Rand
"I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire
"Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself. The labor of his body and the work of his hands are properly his." - John Locke, 1690
"Over himself, over his own mind and body, the individual is sovereign" - John Stuart Mill, in "On Liberty", 1859
"A 'right' is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self- generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self- sustaining and self-generated action - which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)... Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive - of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights." - Ayn Rand
"The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom." - William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
"The concept of individual rights is so prodigious a feat of political thinking that few men grasp it fully - and two hundred years have not been enough for other countries to understand it. But this is the concept to which we owe our lives - the concept which made it possible for us to bring into reality everything of value that any of us did or will achieve or experience." - Ayn Rand
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"O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone...Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation...inflicted by those who had no power at all?" - Patrick Henry, at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
"Arms are the only true badge of liberty. The possession of arms is the distinction of a free man from a slave." - Andrew Fletcher, 1698
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined. The main thing is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able must have a gun." - Patrick Henry, in a speech, 5 June 1788
"No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms." - Thomas Jefferson, in the Proposed (2nd draft) Virginia Constitution, 1 June 1776
"The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms." - Samuel Adams
"Their swords, and every other terrible instrument of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American... The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or the state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." - Tench Coxe, in the "Pennsylvania Gazette", 1788
"Sad news: Charlton Heston has died. I guess they can take his guns now. The cowards waited until he died." - Rebecca Iocca, 5 April 2008
"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." - Richard Henry Lee, 1788
"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Peter Carr, 1785
"I learn with great concern that [one] portion of our frontier so interesting, so important, and so exposed, should be so entirely unprovided with common fire-arms. I did not suppose any part of the United States so destitute of what is considered as among the first necessaries of a farm-house." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Jacob J. Brown, 1808
"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to George Washington, 1796
"This hand, unfriendly to tyrants, seeks with the sword placid repose under liberty." - Algernon Sidney, in "The Life and Memoirs of Algernon Sidney"
"[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation... [where] the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." - James Madison, in "Federalist Paper Number 46"
"A government that does not trust its law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is itself unworthy of trust." - James Madison, in the "Federalist Papers"
"As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article [the Second Amendment] in their right to keep and bear their private arms." - Tench Coxe, in "Remarks on the First Part of the Amendments to the Federal Constitution", under the pseudonym "A Pennsylvanian", in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 18 June 1789
"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme powers in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States." - Noah Webster, in "An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution", 10 October 1787
"None but an armed nation can dispense with a standing army. To keep ours armed and disciplined is therefore at all times important." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter, 1803 (ME 10:365)
"A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government." - George Washington (attributed)
"Only an armed people can be the real bulwark of popular liberty." - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, in "The Beginning of the Revolution in Russia"
"The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it's good-by to the Bill of Rights." - H.L. Mencken
"The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun." - R. Buckminster Fuller
"Every good Communist should know that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, and that gun must remain firmly in the hands of the state." - Mao Tsetung, 1938
"Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party." - Mao Tsetung, in "Problems of War and Strategy", 1938
"The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military. The hired servants of our rulers. Only the government - and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws." - Edward Abbey, in "The Right to Arms", 1979
"No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion." - James Burgh, in "Political Disquisitions; or, An Enquiry into Public Errors, Defects, and Abuses", London, 1775
"Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... Horrid mischief would ensue were the law abiding deprived the use of them." - Thomas Paine, 1775
"You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass." - Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief, Imperial Japanese Navy, April 1943
"When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace." - Jesus, to his disciples, as quoted in Luke 11:21
"He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." - The Bible, Luke 22:36
"Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state." - Thomas Jefferson
"An armed republic submits less easily to the rule of one of its citizens than a republic armed by foreign forces. Rome and Sparta were for many centuries well armed and free. The Swiss are well armed and enjoy great freedom. Among other evils caused by being disarmed, it renders you contemptible. It is not reasonable to suppose that one who is armed will obey willingly one who is unarmed; or that any unarmed man will remain safe among armed servants." - Niccolo Machiavelli, in "The Prince", 1532
"The laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Cesare Beccaria, in "On Crimes and Punishment", 1764
"An armed society is a polite society." - Robert A. Heinlein
"[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually." - George Mason, at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest." - Mahatma Ghandi, in "Ghandi, An Autobiography"
"The people of the various provinces are strictly forbidden to have in their possession any swords, bows, spears, or other types of firearms. The possession of these elements makes difficult the collection of taxes and dues, and tends to permit uprising. Therefore, the heads of provinces, official agents, and deputies are ordered to collect all the weapons mentioned above and turn them over to the government." - Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Shogun, 1558
"One man with a gun can control 100 without one... Make mass searches and hold executions for found arms." - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
"Ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State." - Heinrich Himmler, 1935
"There is no doubt in my mind that millions of lives could have been saved if the people had not been 'brainwashed' about gun ownership and they had been well armed. Hitler's thugs and goons were not very brave when confronted by a gun. Gun haters always want to forget the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which is a perfect example of how a ragtag, half starved group of Jews took up 10 handguns and made asses out of the Nazis." - Theodore Haas, survivor of Dachau Nazi death camp
"Before Adolf Hitler came to power, there was a black market in firearms, but the German people had been so conditioned to be law abiding that they would never consider buying an unregistered gun. The German people really believed that only hoodlums own guns. What fools we were. It truly frightens me to see how the government, media and some police groups in America are pushing for the same mind set." - Theodore Haas, survivor of Dachau Nazi death camp
"A sword never kills anybody; it is but a tool in the killer's hand." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
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"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." - George Washington
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it." - Thomas Paine, in "The American Crisis, No. 4", 1777
"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." - Douglas MacArthur
"A decent and manly examination of the acts of government should not only be tolerated, but encouraged." - William Henry Harrison, in his inaugural address
"On every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power to them? If so, how many rebellions should we have had already?" - Thomas Jefferson
"Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the State becomes lawless or, which is the same thing, corrupt." - Mahatma Gandhi
"Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance." Woodrow Wilson
"Here in America we are descended in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine." - Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a speech at Columbia University, 1954
"The right of revolution is an inherent one. When people are oppressed by their government, it is a natural right they enjoy to relieve themselves of oppression, if they are strong enough, whether by withdrawal from it, or by overthrowing it and substituting a government more acceptable." - Ulysses S. Grant
"Whenever the Legislators endeavor to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience, and are left to the common Refuge... against Force and Violence. Whensoever therefore the Legislative shall transgress this fundamental Rule of Society; and either by Ambition, Fear, Folly or Corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other an Absolute Power over the Lives, Liberties, and Estates of the People; By this breach of Trust they forfeit the Power, the People had put into their hands, for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty." - John Locke
"I shall exert every faculty I possess in aiding to prevent the Constitution from being nullified, destroyed, or impaired; and even though I should see it fail, I will still, with a voice feeble, perhaps, but earnest as ever issued from human lips, and with extinguish, call on the people to come to its rescue." - Daniel Webster
"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it." - Abraham Lincoln, 4 April 1861
"No man can suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer or if he fall in defense of the liberties and Constitution of his country." - Daniel Webster
"Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils." - John Stark, Revolutionary War officer, 1809
"My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders." - Mark Twain
"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Abigail Adams, 22 February 1787
"If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution." - Abraham Lincoln, in his First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1861
"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." - Edward Abbey
"The true patriot challenges the state when the state embarks on enhancing its power at the expense of the individual." - Ron Paul, 2007
"It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority." - Benjamin Franklin
"It is dissent from government policies that define the true patriot and champion of liberty." - Ron Paul
"God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it." - Daniel Webster, 1834
"I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Thomas Jefferson, 1800
"But the written word alone gives only indirect protection to the rights and privileges which it ordains. Such protection resides actually in the resolute will of the people in whom the sovereign power dwells. And no man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation and vigorous in its defense." - Douglas MacArthur, in a speech, 3 May 1948
"The path of peace is the path of guarantees for the rights of peoples and the peoples' readiness to defend those rights." - Fidel Castro, to UN Secretary-General U Thant, over the Bay of Pigs Crisis, 1962
"And what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms...The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Col. William S. Smith, 1787
"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their 'constitutional' right of amending it, or their 'revolutionary' right to dismember, or overthrow it." - Abraham Lincoln, in his First Inaugural Address, 1861
"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to James Madison, 1787
"If the happiness of the mass of the people can be secured at the expense of a little tempest now and then, or even of a little blood, it will be a precious purchase. Malo libertatem periculosam quam quietem servitutem." - Thomas Jefferson, in his Yale College speech, 1787
"The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage." - Thucydides, circa 400 B.C.
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" - Marcus Tullius Cicero
"Liberty is independence backed up by force." - Voltaire
"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Archibald Stuart, 1791
"Liberty means responsibility; that is why most men dread it." - George Bernard Shaw
"Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." - Thomas Paine, in "American Crisis Number 1", 19 December 1776
"Freedom is not synonymous with an easy life... There are many difficult things about freedom: It does not give you safety, it creates moral dilemmas for you; it requires self-discipline; it imposes great responsibilities; but such is the nature of Man and in such consists his glory and salvation." - Margaret Thatcher
"Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grand-children are once more slaves." - D.H. Lawrence, 1915
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." - Ronald Reagan
"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy." - John Adams, in a letter to Abigail Adams, 12 May 1780
"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" - Patrick Henry, in a speech to the Virginia Convention, 1775
"Freedom requires bold action." - Harry Browne, in "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: A Handbook for Personal Liberty"
"[T]he libertarian must never advocate or prefer a gradual, as opposed to an immediate and rapid, approach to his goal. For by doing so, he undercuts the overriding importance of his own goals and principles. And if he himself values his own goals so lightly, how highly will others value them?" - Murray Rothbard, in "The Case for Radical Idealism"
"The achievements of freedom should speak for themselves, but sadly they do not. Freedom needs courageous individuals who are willing to stand apart from the mob and state an unconventional truth." - Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., in "The Marvel that is Capitalism"
"No one can find a safe way out for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result." - Ludwig von Mises
"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." - Thomas Jefferson (attributed)
"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance..." - John Philpot Curran, in a speech before the Privy Council, 10 July 1790
"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams
"What we lack is... a truly liberal radicalism which does not spare the susceptibility of the mighty, which is not too severely practical and which does not confine itself to what appears today as politically possible. We need intellectual leaders who are prepared to resist the blandishments of power and influence and who are willing to work for an ideal, however small may be the prospects of its early realization. They must be men who are willing to stick to principles and to fight for their full realization, however remote." - Friedrich A. Hayek
"It is precisely the strategic role of the 'extremist' to keep pushing the matrix of day-to-day action further and further in his direction... If we look at the socialist program advanced sixty, or even thirty years ago, it will be evident that measures considered dangerously socialistic a generation or two ago are now considered an indispensable part of the 'mainstream' of the American heritage. In this way, the day-to-day compromises of supposedly 'practical' politics get pulled inexorably in the collectivist direction." - Murray Rothbard, in "The Case for Radical Idealism"
"The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other - until one day when they are suddenly declared to be the country's official ideology. That is the way welfare statism came to be accepted in this country [America]." - Ayn Rand
"[P]ractically very little is done to preserve the system of private enterprise. There are only middle-of-the-roaders who think they have been successful when they have delayed for some time an especially ruinous measure. They are always in retreat. They put up today with measures which only ten or twenty years ago they would have considered as undiscussable. They will in a few years acquiesce in other measures which they today consider as simply out of the question." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Planning for Freedom"
"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground." - Frederick Douglas, 1857
"No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause." - Theodore Roosevelt
"The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage." - Thucydides, c. 430 B.C.
"We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed." - Thomas Jefferson
"They that are on their guard and appear ready to receive their adversaries, are in much less danger of being attacked than the supine, secure and negligent." - Benjamin Franklin
"Liberty is generally born in stormy weather." - Alexis de Tocqueville
"Whoever will be free must make himself free. Freedom is no fairy gift to fall into a man's lap." - Max Stirner (Johann Caspar Schmidt)(attributed)
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." - Thomas Paine
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth fighting for is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares about more than his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." - John Stuart Mill
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our country men." - Samuel Adams, 1776
"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin (attributed), at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776
"You may think your actions are meaningless and that they won't help, but that is no excuse, you must still act." - Mahatma Gandhi
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
"That is not to say that we can relax our readiness to defend ourselves. Our armament must be adequate to the needs, but our faith is not primarily in these machines of defense but in ourselves." - Admiral Chester Nimitz
"The times call for courage. The times call for hard work. But if the demands are high, it is because the stakes are even higher. They are nothing less than the future of human liberty, which means the future of civilization." - Henry Hazlitt
"The people know that they can have their Republic back if they want it enough to fight for it and to pay the price. The only point is that no leader has yet appeared with the courage to make them choose." - Garet Garrett, in "The People's Pottage", 1953
"With reasonable men I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but with tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will be certainly be lost." - William Lloyd Garrison
"Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it." - Virgil
"If vice and corruption prevail, liberty cannot subsist; but if virtue have the advantage, arbitrary power cannot be established." - Algernon Sidney
"Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces." - Étienne de La Boétie, in "The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude", c. 1552
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
"It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees." - Emiliano Zapata
"Some must stand up to oppression so we all won't end up kneeling before it." - Elliot Shaikin, privacy expert and activist
"One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised." - Chinua Achebe, Nigerian writer, in "Things Fall Apart", 1959
"From the beginning of our history the country has been afflicted with compromise. It is by compromise that human rights have been abandoned." - Charles Sumner
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." - Thomas Jefferson
"If everything isn't black and white, I say, "Why the hell not?" - John Wayne
"Instead of principle, the neo-libertarians give us political alliances; instead of intellectually robust ideas, they give us marketable platitudes." - Lew Rockwell
"One should never compromise. If you concede that just 1% of the warfare-welfare state is acceptable, you've compromised the principle by 100%." - Ron Paul, in a speech, 10 July 2009
"Compromise is usually a sign of weakness, or an admission of defeat. Strong men don't compromise, it is said, and principles should never be compromised." - Andrew Carnegie
"The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles." - Ayn Rand, in "The Anatomy of Compromise", 1964
"In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit." - Ayn Rand, in "Atlas Shrugged"
"The contest is not between us and them, but between good and evil, and if those who would fight evil adopt the ways of evil, evil wins." - Thomas Jefferson
"When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." - Jonathan Swift
"In the beginning of a change, the Patriot is a scarce man and brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a Patriot." - Mark Twain
"Silence is Golden, but when it threatens your freedom, it's yellow." - Sir Edmund Burke
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." - Abraham Lincoln
"An appeaser is the one who feeds the beast in the hopes of being the last one eaten." - Winston Churchill
"Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you." - Benjamin Franklin
"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." - Thomas Jefferson
"There are two kinds of people... in the United States today: sheep and wolves. Sheep stay in their herd and follow their shepherd without questioning where he is leading them. Sheep trust that the shepherd looks out for their safety... Wolves, on the other hand, do not aimlessly follow a shepherd... Wolves question the shepherd and act in a way that forces the shepherd also to question his decisions. Wolves challenge government regulations, reject government assistance, and demand that the government recognize and protect their natural rights. They are rugged individualists." - Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, in "A Nation of Sheep", 2008
"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." - Winston Churchill
"War is horrible, but slavery is worse." - Winston Churchill
"When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out." - Pastor Martin Niemöller, 1946
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"Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy." - Winston Churchill
"The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else." - Frédéric Bastiat, in "The State"
"Everyone wants to live at the expense of the State. They forget that the State lives at the expense of everyone." - Frédéric Bastiat
"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Joseph Milligan, 1816
"To lay with one hand the power of government on the property of a citizen, and with the other to bestow it on favored individuals... is none the less robbery because it was done under the forms of law and is called taxation." - Samuel Freeman Miller, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1874
"We might think of dollars as being 'certificates of performance.' The better I serve my fellow man, and the higher the value he places on that service, the more certificates of performance he gives me. The more certificates I earn, the greater my claim on the goods my fellow man produces. That's the morality of the market. In order for one to have a claim on what his fellow man produces, he must first serve him. Contrast that moral standard to Congress' standing offer, 'Vote for me and I'll take what your fellow man produces and give it to you.'" - Walter E. Williams
"Three-fifths to two-thirds of the federal budget consists of taking property from one American and giving it to another. Were a private person to do the same thing, we'd call it theft. When government does it, we euphemistically call it income redistribution, but that's exactly what thieves do - redistribute income. Income redistribution not only betrays the founders' vision, it's a sin in the eyes of God." - Walter E. Williams
"If you're a Christian or simply a moral human being, you should be against... so-called rights [to education, healthcare, and housing]. After all, when God gave Moses the Eighth Commandment, 'Thou shalt not steal', I'm sure that he didn't mean thou shalt not steal unless there was a majority vote in Congress. Moreover, I'm sure that if you were to have a heart to heart conversation with God and asked him, 'God, is it okay to be a recipient of stolen property, property that Congress has taken from another American?' I'm guessing He'd say that being a recipient of stolen property is also sinful." - Walter E. Williams
"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain." - Frédéric Bastiat, in "The Law"
"Liberals believe government should take people's earnings to give to poor people. Conservatives disagree. They think government should confiscate people's earnings and give them to farmers and insolvent banks. The compelling issue to both conservatives and liberals is not whether it is legitimate for government to confiscate one's property to give to another, the debate is over the disposition of the pillage." - Walter E. Williams
"Depending on what criteria are used, you can have as much official poverty as you want, regardless of whether it bears any relationship to reality. Those who believe in an expansive, nanny state government need a large number of people in 'poverty' to justify their programs. They also need a large number of people dependent on government to provide the votes needed to keep the big nanny state going." - Thomas Sowell, in "The 'Hunger' Hoax", 5 October 2011
"If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Thomas Cooper, 29 December 1802
"Though the people support the government, the government should not support the people." - Grover Cleveland
"Love work, hate domination, and seek not intimacy with the government." - The Hebrew Fathers
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." - Thomas Jefferson
"The liberty to have and hold property is not one that [today's so-called 'Liberals'] recognize. They believe only in the liberty to envy, hate and loot the man who has it." - H. L. Mencken
"The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First you take people's money away quietly and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly." - Thomas Sowell
"They have the usual Socialist disease; they have run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher
"A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money." - G. Gordon Liddy
"Highly graduated taxation realizes most completely the supreme danger of democracy, creating a state of things in which one class imposes on another burdens which it is not asked to share, and impels the State into vast schemes of extravagance, under the belief that the whole costs will be thrown upon others." - W.E.H. Lecky, 1899
"Socialism is a form of tyranny... we have to recognize the only way the government can get one American citizen one dollar is to first through intimidation, threats and coercion confiscate that dollar from some other American." - Walter E. Williams
"When the State goes beyond its proper functions of maintaining law and order at home and providing protection against foreign aggression, and starts to assume the role of a universal provider and regulator, it never knows when to stop. One arrogation of power leads to another, and the planned economy quickly develops into the totalitarian State." - William Henry Chamberlin, in the Freeman (journal), 1959
"The leadership of the State in economic affairs which advocates of Planned Economy want to establish is, as we have seen, necessarily connected with a bewildering mass of government interferences of a steadily cumulative nature. The arbitrariness, the mistakes and the inevitable contradictions of such policy will, as daily experience shows, only strengthen the demand for a more rational coordination of different measures and, therefore, for unified leadership. For this reason Planned Economy will always develop into Dictatorship." - Gustav Cassel, 1933
"No society has ever thrived with a large and growing class of parasites living off of those who produce." - Thomas Sowell, in "The Thomas Sowell Reader"
"There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide." - Ayn Rand, in the Los Angeles Times newspaper, 9 February 1962
"Communism is the death of the soul. It is the organization of total conformity - in short, of tyranny - and it is committed to making tyranny universal." - Adlai Stevenson
"The only difference between a welfare state and a police state is time." - Ayn Rand
"The goal of socialism is communism." - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
"Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition." - Thomas Jefferson, in "Notes on the State of Virginia", 1787
"If you protect a man from folly, you will soon have a nation of fools." - William Penn
"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools." - Herbert Spencer
"Subsidies create more of whatever is being subsidized." - Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
"If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's free." - P.J. O'Rourke
"A traffic jam is a collision between free enterprise and socialism. Free enterprise produces automobiles faster than socialism can build roads and road capacity." - Andrew Galambos
"Nobody spends somebody else's money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else's resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property." - Milton Friedman
"The more numerous public instrumentalities become, the more is there generated in citizens the notion that everything is to be done for them, and nothing by them. Every generation is made less familiar with the attainment of desired ends by individual actions or private agencies; until, eventually, governmental agencies come to be thought of as the only available agencies." - Herbert Spencer, in "The Man Versus The State", 1884
"[A]rbitrary power is being multiplied daily by the now practically unchallenged assumption that wherever there is any problem of any kind to be solved, government is the agency to step in and solve it. Government lawmakers or officials either already have or demand the power to tell us just how much oil or sugar we may import, just how many acres we me plant to what crops, just how foodstuffs should be packed and labeled, just how steel and copper and drugs should be priced, just what interest rates should be charged and how they should be calculated, just how automobiles should be made, just what kind of artificial eyes should be permitted, just what one group of people must do and another group must not do, just what groups should be subsidized, and by how much, and just which groups should be forced to subsidize them." - Henry Hazlitt, in "Man vs. The Welfare State", 1969
"The will of men is not shattered [by the welfare state], but softened, bent, and guided. Men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence. It does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, until each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." - Alexis de Tocqueville
"Socialism is a workers' hell, not a workers' paradise. It is, though, a parasites' paradise propagated by the biggest parasites of all, politicians and bureaucrats." - Rebecca Iocca, August 2008
"In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free." - Edward Gibbon
"The essential notion of a capitalist society... is voluntary cooperation, voluntary exchange. The essential notion of a socialist society is force." - Milton Friedman
"The man who produces while others dispose of his product is a slave." - Ayn Rand
"It is easy to be conspicuously 'compassionate' if others are being forced to pay the cost." - Murray Rothbard
"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first." - Mark Twain
" A government which robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw
"The dog barks where he eats." - Anonymous, old Cypriot saying
"All socialism involves slavery... That which fundamentally distinguishes the slave is that he labors under coercion to satisfy another's desires." - Herbert Spencer, in "The Man Versus The State", 1884
"The type and formula of most schemes of philanthropy or humanitarianism is this: A and B put their heads together to decide what C shall be made to do for D... I call C the Forgotten Man...The state cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man." - William Graham Sumner, in "What Social Classes Owe to Each Other", 1883/1927
"Those who take the most from the table, teach contentment. Those for whom the taxes are destined, demand sacrifice. Those who eat their fill, speak to the hungry, of wonderful times to come. Those who lead the country into the abyss, call ruling difficult, for ordinary folk." - Bertolt Brecht
"What has made the State a hell on earth has been that man has tried to make it his heaven." - Friedrich Hölderlin
"Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good." - Ayn Rand
"Do not consider Collectivists as 'sincere but deluded idealists'. The proposal to enslave some men for the sake of others is not an ideal; brutality is not 'idealistic', no matter what its purpose. Do not ever say that the desire to 'do good' by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives." - Ayn Rand
"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." - Robert Heinlein
"I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me and yet assure others that I am sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means - except by getting off his back." - Leo Tolstoy
"The necessity of every one paying in his own labor for what he consumes, affords the only legitimate and effectual check to excessive luxury, which has so often ruined individuals, states and empires; and which has now brought almost universal bankruptcy upon us." - Josiah Warren
"There are two methods, or means, and only two, whereby man's needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means." - Albert Jay Nock
"What's 'just' has been debated for centuries, but let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you - and why?" - Walter E. Williams
"The degree of [a man's] slavery varies according to the ratio between that which he is forced to yield up and that which he is allowed to retain; and it matters not whether his master is a single person or a society. If, without option, he has to labour for the society, and receives from the general stock such portion as the society awards him, he becomes a slave to the society." - Herbert Spencer, in "The Man Versus The State", 1884
"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude." - Alexis de Tocqueville, 1848
"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery." - Winston Churchill
"The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others. Never under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weakness, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects - his laziness, incompetence, improvidence, or stupidity." - Henry Hazlitt
"Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: the communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: 'No man should have so much.' The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: 'All men should have as much.'" - Phelps Adams
"There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal." - Friedrich A. Hayek
"[I]n a free-enterprise economy every individual is free to construct and implement his own plans to the best of his ability, and as far as his initiative will carry him; whereas in a centrally planned [socialist] economy, the planner eliminates everyone's plan except his own... whether they like it or not." - John Hospers, in "Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy Whose Time Has Come", 1971
"What is called 'planning' is the forcible suppression of millions of people's plans by a government-imposed plan." - Thomas Sowell
"The Individualist thinks of millions of single human souls, each with a spark of divine genius, and visualizes that genius applied to the solution of his own problems. His conception is infinitely higher than that of the politician or planner who at best regards these millions as material for social or political experiment or, at worst, cannon fodder." - Sir Ernest Benn, from an article in "Essays on Liberty", volume 1, 1952
"Planning is socialism." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Planning for Freedom"
"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." - Friedrich Hayek, in "The Fatal Conceit"
"It is amazing how many people delight to indulge in armchair planning, fitting everybody into the plan like pawns on their own private chessboard. They never think of themselves as victims of other people's plans; no, as they imagine it, everyone is to be subjected to their plan. But, of course, different people will have different plans... The chances are millions to one that instead of being able to impose your plan on other people, you will become the victim of someone else's plan, the pawn on someone else's chessboard." - John Hospers, in "Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy Whose Time Has Come", 1971
"The plans differ; the planners are all alike..." - Frédéric Bastiat
"[Socialism and Statism] embrace an essential idiocy, that individuals who, as private citizens, are not to manage the disposition of their own earnings, become in public office supermen who can manage the affairs of the world." - Douglas MacArthur, in a speech in New York City, 30 July 1957
"When 'the common good' of a society is regarded as something apart from and superior to the individual good of its members, it means that the good of some men takes precedence over the good of others, with those others consigned to the status of sacrificial animals." - Ayn Rand
"Since there is no such entity as 'the public,' since the public is merely a number of individuals, the idea that 'the public interest' supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others." - Ayn Rand, in "The Pull Peddlers"
"Who is society? There is no such thing. There are individual men and women, and there are families." - Margaret Thatcher
"To be a socialist is to submit the I to the thou; socialism is sacrificing the individual to the whole." -- Joseph Goebbels
"Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group - whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called 'the common good'." - Ayn Rand
"[Altruism] is a moral system which holds that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the sole justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, value and virtue. This is the moral base of collectivism, of all dictatorships." - Ayn Rand
"There are people in need of help. Charity is one of the nobler human motivations. The act of reaching into one's own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else's pocket is despicable and worthy of condemnation." - Walter E. Williams
" I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." - Benjamin Franklin, in "On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor", 1776
"[A]lthough many people speculate on what the priorities of the society in which they live should be, a community that recognizes the significance of human individuality constitutionally affirms that no ranking of priorities for society can be achieved apart from the rankings possible to specific individuals." - Tibor Machan, in "Liberty and Research and Development", 2002
"Only individuals have a sense of responsibility." - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
"You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln
"Men are wicked and will not keep faith with you... unless [they] are compelled to be good, they will inevitably turn out bad." - Niccolo Machiavelli, in "The Prince"
"The constitution and laws established in a republic at its very origin, when men were still pure, no longer suit when men have become corrupt and bad." - Niccolo Machiavelli, in "Discourses"
"There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War"
"Occupants of public offices love power and are prone to abuse it." - George Washington, in his Farewell Address
"It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellowmen." - George E. MacDonald
"Our public economy is such as to offer drudgery and subsistence only to those entrusted with its administration - a wise and necessary precaution against the degeneracy of the public servants." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to M. de Meunier, 1795
"When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself public property." - Thomas Jefferson (attributed)
"Few men have the virtue to withstand the highest bidder." - George Washington, in a letter to Robert Howe, 17 August 1779
"Public influence is the real government of the world." - Josiah Warren
"To model our political system upon speculations of lasting tranquility, is to calculate on the weaker springs of the human character." - Alexander Hamilton
"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." - Samuel Adams
"A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired." - Alexander Hamilton, in "The Farmer Refuted", 1775
"[T]he plebeian nobles have all been taken into the camp by the old aristocrats. When they are no longer looked down upon by the old nobles, they begin to look down on the plebeians." - Anonymous Roman leader, on the new practice of allowing commoners to join the Senate, 2nd century B.C., quoted by Livy
"In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." - Thomas Jefferson, in the Draft Kentucky Resolutions, 1798
"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse." - James Madison, in a speech at the Virginia Constitutional Convention, 1829
"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have... a desire to know;... that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge. I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers." - John Adams, in "A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law", 1765
"A politician will do anything to keep his job, even become a patriot." - William Randolph Hearst
"Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question." - Thomas Jefferson, in his inaugural address, 1801
"Men by their constitution are naturally divided into two parties: Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. Secondly those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests." - Thomas Jefferson, 1824
"We do not have two political parties in this country, America. We have one party, called the Big Government Party. The Republican wing likes deficits, war, and assaults on civil liberties. The Democrat wing likes wealth transfer, taxes, and assaults on commercial liberties. Both parties like power; and neither is interested in your freedoms." - Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
"Bi-partisanship? What's that? Bi-partisanship would presume that we have two political parties, with two different views of the proper role of government in a free society. We now know that we don't have two parties - we have just one political party in this country. It's the Big Government Party. The Republican wing of Big Governemnt likes war and deficits and corporate welfare and assaults on civil rights, and the Democrat wing of Big Government likes war and taxes and individual welfare and assaults on commercial liberties. Both wings love big government, and that love affair is indisputable since both wings have delivered it to us year after year without exception since FDR." - Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, in the Fox television show "Freedom Watch", 15 February 2011
"[W]e find here [in the United States] two great gangs of political speculators, who alternately take possession of the state power and exploit it by the most corrupt means and for the most corrupt ends - and the nation is powerless against those two great cartels of politicians, who are ostensibly its servants, but in reality dominate and plunder it." - Friedrich Engels, 1891
"The nest of office being too small for all of them to cuddle into at once, the contest is eternal which should crowd thd other out. For this purpose they are divided into two parties, the Ins and the Outs." - Thomas Jefferson
"When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Charles Hammond, 1821
"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule--and both commonly succeed, and are right... The United States has never developed an aristocracy really disinterested or an intelligentsia really intelligent. Its history is simply a record of vacillations between two gangs of frauds." - H.L. Mencken
"You can effect a change of robbers every four years. Inestimable privilege to pull off the glutted leech and attach the lean one! And you cannot even choose among the lean leeches, but must accept those designated by the programmers and showmen who have the reptiles on tap." - Ambrose Bierce
"A democracy is a place where numerous elections are held, at great cost, without issues, and with interchangeable candidates." - Gore Vidal
"[The Republicans and Democrats] have converged onto their common highway to one-doctrine, one-party dictatorship, under which... the people are permitted only a choice of men, never a choice of political philosophies." - T. Coleman Andrews, Commissioner of Internal Revenue (1953-1955)
"Our two-party system is a fraud, a sham, a delusion. On foreign policy, trade, immigration, big government, we have one-party government, one party press; and conservatives are being played for suckers." - Patrick J Buchanan
"[N]ewly seated 'revolutionary' politicians will betray those who put them in power. It happens like clockwork, same as day turns to night. Some good can still come out of the results, if only because former ideologues can serve as some resistance to really bad policy... But avoiding greater evil is not the same as doing good. We can state with confidence, all else being equal, that even the best electoral outcome will not lead to actual cuts in the power of government over our lives." - Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., speaking of the "Tea Party" candidates, in "Prepare to Be Betrayed", 22 September 2010
"The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern." - Lord Acton, in a letter to Mary Gladstone, 1881
"You cannot adopt politics as a profession and remain honest." - Ambrose Gwinett Bierce
"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine, "Dissertation on First Principles of Government", 1791
"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." - Plato
"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you." - Pericles, 430 B.C.
"I personally think that if we chose the president of the United States at random, we'd get a better president than any president since Ronald Reagan." - Walter E. Williams, in The Washington Times, 9 February 2007
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair, in "I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked", 1935
"What if you were an idiot, and what if you were a member of Congress? But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain
"In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress." - John Adams
"The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a bit longer." - Henry Kissinger
"If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else's expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves." - Thomas Sowell, 1992
"'[S}cientists' gather around the pots of money, like bees around pots of honey, eagerly seeking as best they can to slurp up some of the money by means of writing whatever kind of grant proposals they think will promote the agenda of whichever officials have the power to determine the award of the grants." - George Reisman, in "Free-Market Science vs. Government Science", 2006
"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - Mark Twain, 1866
"This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as we do when the baby gets hold of a hammer." - Will Rogers
"We suffer most when the White House busts with ideas." - H.L. Mencken
"A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?" - Marcus Tullius Cicero
"If you're going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you, but the bureaucracy won't." - Hyman G. Rickover
"The bureaucrat's first objective, of course, is preservation of his job - provided by the big-government system, at the taxpayers expense. Whether real world problems get solved or not is of secondary importance. It doesn't take much cynicism, in fact, to see that the bureaucrats have a vested interest in not having problems solved. If the problems did not exist or had not been invented, there would be no reason for the bureaucrat to have a job." - William Simon
"The power which a multiple millionaire, who may be my neighbor and perhaps my employer, has over me is very much less than that which the smallest 'functionaire' possesses who wields the coercive power of the state, and on whose desecration it depends whether and how I am allowed to live or to work." - Friedrich A. Hayek, in "The Road to Serfdom"
"When politicians say 'I'm in politics', it may or may not be possible to trust them, but when they say, 'I'm in public service', you know you should flee." - Albert Jay Nock
"Powerful government tends to draw into it people with bloated egos, people who think they know more than everyone else and have little hesitance in coercing their fellow man. Or as Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek said, 'in government, the scum rises to the top'." - Walter E. Williams
"Men who have greatness within them don't go in for politics." - Albert Camus
"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." - G.K. Chesterton
"I am interested in politics so that one day I will not have to be interested in politics." - Ayn Rand
"There is nothing so bad that politics cannot make it worse." - Thomas Sowell
"When politics are used to allocate resources, the resources all end up being allocated to politics." - P.J. O'Rourke
"The politician attempts to remedy the evil by increasing the very thing that caused the evil in the first place: legal plunder." - Frédéric Bastiat
"Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan
"The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning." - Adlai Stevenson
"Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles." - Ambrose Bierce, in "Devil's Dictionary"
"Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it." - Davy Crockett
"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress." - Mark Twain, 1894
"[I]f in any given circumstances one went on the assumption that [politicians & government bureaucrats] were a professional criminal class, one could predict with accuracy what they would do and what would happen; while on any other assumption one could predict almost nothing." - Albert Jay Nock, in the essay "Anarchist's Progress", in "On Doing the Right Thing", 1928
"Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." - H.L. Mencken
"One should not look too closely at how sausages or laws are made." - Otto von Bismark
"Where is the politician who has not promised to fight to the death for lower taxes - and who has not proceeded to vote for the very spending projects that make tax cuts impossible?" - Barry Goldwater
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." - H.L. Mencken
"The imposition of the [income] tax will corrupt the people. It will bring in its train the spy and the informer. It will necessitate a swarm of officials with inquisitorial powers. It will be a step toward centralization... It breaks another canon of taxation in that it is expensive in its collection and cannot be fairly imposed;... and, finally, it is contrary to the traditions and principles of republican government." - Robert Adams, U.S. Representative, 26 January 1894
"The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing." - Jean Baptiste Colbert, Minister of Finance under Louis XIV
"[I]t may be the pleasure and pride of an American to ask what farmer, what mechanic, what labourer, ever sees a tax-gatherer of the United States." - Thomas Jefferson, 1804 [Tom's note: Oh, how times have changed!]
"The suppression of unnecessary offices, of useless establishments and expenses enabled us to discontinue internal taxes. These covering our land with officers and opening our doors to their intrusions, had already begun that process of domiciliary vexation which, once entered, is scarcely to be restrained from reaching successively every article of produce and property." - Thomas Jefferson, in his 2nd Inaugural Address, 1805
"Considering the general tendency to multiply offices and dependencies, and to increase expense to the ultimate term of burden which the citizen can bear, it behooves us to avail ourselves of every occasion which presents itself for taking off the surcharge; that it may never be seen here that, after leaving to labor the smallest portion of its earnings on which it can subsist, government itself shall consume the residue of what it was instituted to guard." - Thomas Jefferson, First Annual Message to Congress, 8 December 1801
"The Founders did not permit the federal government to impose an income tax. At the time of the founding and for 150 years later, the government was paid for by user fees and the sale of federal land. Only after the passage of the 16th Ammendment in 1913 were income taxes seen as constitutional. But income taxes are not merely a change in the way that government pays for itself. They suggest a change to the presumption that you do not truly own your property, that instead it belongs to the government, which decides what portion of it you are permitted to keep. We won't be truly free until we can keep what we earn!" - Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
"The current tax code is a daily mugging." - Ronald Reagan
"It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one tenth part." - Benjamin Franklin
"Liberals love to say things like, 'We're just asking everyone to pay their fair share'. But government is not about asking. It is about telling. The difference is fundamental. It is the difference between making love and being raped, between working for a living and being a slave. The Internal Revenue service is not asking anybody to do anything. It confiscates your assets and puts you behind bars if you don't pay." - Thomas Sowell, in Forbes Magazine, July 1994
"No human being understands [our tax code]. The current code, which runs over 8,000 pages and countless thousands more pages of IRS rulings and interpretations, is beyond redemption... Incalculable amounts of the nation's intellectual brainpower are devoted to the dead-end task of coping with the current tax code. Over one-half million people in the U.S. make their living off it, whether in lobbying, lawyering, tax preparing, or accounting... Americans spend five and one-half billion hours a year filling out tax forms... and spend between $100 billion and $300 billion to comply with the current code." - Malcolm S. Forbes
"I don't like the income tax. Every time we talk about these taxes we get around to the idea of 'from each according to his capacity and to each according to his needs'. That's socialism. It's written into the Communist Manifesto. Maybe we ought to see that every person who gets a tax return receives a copy of the Communist Manifesto with it so he can see what's happening to him." - T. Coleman Andrews, Commissioner of Internal Revenue (1953-1955), in U.S. News & World Report, 25 May 1956
"To tax the larger incomes at a higher percentage than the smaller, is to lay a tax on industry and economy; to impose a penalty on people for having worked harder and saved more than their neighbors." - John Stuart Mill
"I place economy among the first and most important virtues and public debt as the greatest dangers to be feared... We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds... we [will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers. And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery. And the foreshores of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression." - Thomas Jefferson
"Taxes should be continued by annual or biennial reenactments, because a constant hold by the nation of the strings of the public purse is a salutary restraint from which an honest government ought not to wish, nor a corrupt one to be permitted, to be free." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Wayles Eppes, 11 September 1813
"It was not until the Abraham Lincoln administration that an income tax was imposed on Americans. Its stated purpose was to finance the war, but it took until 1872 for it to be repealed. During the Grover Cleveland administration, Congress enacted the Income Tax Act of 1894. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1895. It took the Sixteenth Amendment (1913) to make permanent what the Framers feared - today's income tax." - Walter E. Williams
"We still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute." - Thomas Paine, in "Rights of Man", 1791
"The chances of your being harmed by terrorists are mathematically minute. The chance of your being robbed by your own government? That’s easy: 100 per cent." - Joseph Sobran, 1 January 2004
"There are only three ways to obtain money. One is through inheritence, if one is fortunate. Another is by selling services, goods, or knowledge to a willing buyer. And the last is by theft. Now, I ask, how does the government get its money?" - Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, on the TV show "Stossel", 8 April 2010
"Speaking for a moment in the techincal terms of economics, there are two general means whereby human beings can satisfy their needs. One is by work - i.e., by applying labour and capital to natural resources for the production of wealth, or to facilitating the exchange of labour-products. This is called the economic means. The other is by robbery - i.e., the appropriation of the labour-products of others without compensation. This is called the political means. The State, considered functionally, may be described as the organization of the political means, enabling a comparatively small class of beneficiaries to satisfy their needs and desires through various delegations of the taxing power, which have no vestige of support in natural right, such as provate land-ownership, tariffs, franchises, and the like." - Albert Jay Nock, in the essay "Anarchist's Progress", in "On Doing the Right Thing", 1928
" If taxation without consent is not robbery, then any band of robbers have only to declare themselves a government, and all their robberies are legalized." - Lysander Spooner
"Unnecessary taxation is unjust taxation." - Abram Stevens Hewitt, Democratic party platform, 1884
"When more of the people's sustenance is exacted through the form of taxation than is necessary to meet the just obligations of government and expenses of its economical administration, such exaction becomes ruthless extortion and a violation of the fundamental principles of a free government." - Grover Cleveland
"Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed." - Robert A. Heinlein
"Tax cuts to many Americans mean just one thing: they pose a threat to the federal handouts they receive." - Walter E. Williams, in "Taxes and Voting", April 2010
"Having 121 million Americans completely outside the federal income tax system, it's like throwing chum to political sharks. These Americans become a natural spending constituency for big-spending politicians. After all, if you have no income tax liability, how much do you care about deficits, how much Congress spends and the level of taxation? Political calls for tax cuts and spending restraints have little appeal." - Walter E. Williams, in "Taxes and Voting", April 2010
"The proliferation of bureaucrats and its invariable accompaniment, much heavier tax levies on the productive part of the population, are the recognizable signs, not of a great, but of a decaying society." - William Henry Chamberlin
"The state's most fundamental purpose, the activity without which it cannot even exist, is robbery. The state gains its very sustenance from robbery, which it pretties up ideologically by giving it a different name (taxation) and by striving to sanctify its intrinsic crime as permissible and socially necessary." - Robert Higgs, in "How the State Leads People to Destruction"
"Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by production." - Ayn Rand
"We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes non-work." - Milton Friedman
"The power to tax involves the power to destroy." - John Marshall, Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court
"[The income tax] is a devouring evil [that is] slowly but surely destroying the middle class. It will penalize outstanding ability and success until the will to achieve has been destroyed throughout the nation and we’ve all been reduced to the aimless status of an indifferent conglomerate of bone, tissue, and blood." - T. Coleman Andrews, Commissioner of Internal Revenue (1953-1955)
"No nation ever taxed itself into prosperity." - Ronald Reagan
"We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much." - Ronald Reagan
"A government debt is a government claim against personal income and private property - an unpaid tax bill." - Hans F. Sennholz, in 'Debts and Deficits"
"Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." - Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 13 November 1789
"Make the soldiers rich, and do not trouble with the rest." - Septimius Severus, Roman emperor, on the practice of enriching the military, the bureaucracy and those receiving government welfare, by ruthlessly taxing the general populace and devaluing the currency.
"Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery." - Calvin Coolidge
"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." - Thomas Jefferson
"The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin." - Mark Twain
"Who the hell is FICA, and who said he could have any of my paycheck?" - Anonymous, from the movie "Ferris Buehler's Day Off"
"A penny earned is a penny taxed." - Sheriff Andy Taylor (TV character in the Andy Griffith Show), in response to the comment "A penny saved is a penny earned."
"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." - Albert Einstein
"You know, gentlemen, that I do not owe any personal income tax. But nevertheless, I send a small check, now and then, to the Internal Revenue Service out of the kindness of my heart." - David Rockefeller, before a Congressional Committee
"The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets" - Will Rogers
"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow citizens." - Adam Smith, in "The Wealth of Nations"
"Every man seeks his own interest." - Adam Smith, in "The Wealth of Nations"
"Self-interest is not myopic selfishness. It is whatever it is that interests the participants, whatever they value, whatever goals they pursue. The scientist seeking to advance the frontiers of his discipline, the missionary seeking to convert infidels to the true faith, the philanthropist seeking to bring comfort to the needy - all are pursuing their interests, as they see them, as they judge them by their own values." - Milton Friedman
"[E}very individual serves his own private interest... The great Saints of history have served their 'private interest' just as the most money-grubbing miser has served his interest. The private interest is whatever it is that drives an individual." - Milton Friedman, in "The Line We Dare Not Cross", Encounter, November 1976
"The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition is so powerful that it is alone, and without any assistance, capable not only of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting 100 impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations." - Adam Smith
"Poverty... is not very difficult to explain. There are three basic causes: People are poor because they cannot produce anything highly valued by others. They can produce things highly valued by others but are hampered or prevented from doing so [by government]. Or, they volunteer to be poor." - Walter E. Williams, in "Self-Inflicted Poverty", 16 February 2011
"The desire of each man to improve his circumstances, to reap the full reward of superior talent, or energy, or thrift, is the very mainspring of the production of the world. Take these motives away; persuade men that by superior work they will receive no superior reward; cut off all of the hopes that stimulate, among ordinary men, ambition, enterprise, invention, and self-sacrifice, and the whole level of production will rapidly and inevitably sink." - W.E.H. Lecky, in "Democracy and Liberty", 1896
"Every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of society as great as he can. He generally neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. He intends only his own gain, and he is, in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was not part of his intention." - Adam Smith, in "The Wealth of Nations"
"Socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that today is at the basis of all human labor and effort, enterprise and new activity." - William Howard Taft
"The greatest productive force is human selfishness." - Robert Heinlein
"It's no accident that capitalism has brought with it progress, not merely in production but also in knowledge. Egoism and competition are, alas, stronger forces than public spirit and sense of duty." - Albert Einstein
"The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another." - Milton Friedman
"Where monopoly cannot prevent it, success is ever the breeder of competition, and therefore of better and better service." - Frank Chodorov, in "One is a Crowd: Reflections of an Individualist", 1952
"Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. Capitalism made it possible to become wealthy by serving your fellow man." - Walter E. Williams, in "Capitalism and the Common Man"
"If an exchange between two parties is voluntary, it will not take place unless both believe they will benefit from it. Most economic fallacies derive from the neglect of this simple insight, from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another." - Milton Friedman
"Adam Smith's key insight was that both parties to an exchange can benefit and that, so long as cooperation is strictly voluntary, no exchange can take place unless both parties do benefit." - Milton Friedman
"Abundance was created not by public sacrifices to 'the common good', but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America's industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance - and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way." - Ayn Rand
"All creation is a mine, and every man a miner. In the beginning the mine was unopened and the miner stood naked and knowledge less upon it... Man is not the only animal that labors, but he is the only one that improves his workmanship." - Abraham Lincoln, in the Lyceum Lectures, 1860
"It is not to the State that we owe the multitudinous useful inventions from the spade to the telephone; it is not the State which made possible extended navigation by a developed astronomy; it was not the State which made the discoveries in physics, chemistry, and the rest, which guide modern manufacturers; it was not the State which devised the machinery for producing fabrics of every kind, for transferring men and things from place to place, and for ministering in a thousand ways to our comforts. The worldwide transactions conducted in merchants' offices, the rush of traffic filling our streets, the retail distributing system which brings everything within easy reach and delivers the necessaries of life daily at our doors, are not of governmental origin. All these are results of the spontaneous activities of citizens, separate or grouped." - Herbert Spencer, in "The Man Versus The State", 1884
"Profit is a signal that valuable services are being rendered to people on a voluntary basis." - Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
"Profit tells the entrepreneur that the consumers approve of his ventures; loss, that they disapprove." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Human Action"
"Profit is vital to human well-being. Profit is the payment to entrepreneurs just as wages are payments to labor, interest to capital and rent to land. In order to earn profits in free markets, entrepreneurs must identify and satisfy human wants and do so in a way that economizes on society's scarce resources." - Walter E. Williams, in "Profit versus Nonprofit", 22 September 2010
"Government does not have the power to encourage one branch of production except by curtailing other branches. It withdraws the factors of production from those branches in which the unhampered market would employ them and directs them into other branches." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Human Action"
"The economic miracle that has been the United States was not produced by socialized enterprises, by government-union-industry cartels or by centralized economic planning. It was produced by private enterprises in a profit-and-loss system. And losses were at least as important in weeding out failures, as profits in fostering successes. Let government succor failures, and we shall be headed for stagnation and decline." - Milton Friedman
"It is a socialist idea that making profits is a vice; I consider the real vice is making losses." - Winston Churchill
"The state, unlike a participant in the free market, gains its market share and resources through violence. The more it spends, the more it expands and the more it is able to spend... the state's resources are not its own and its very success as an institution is determined largely by how much it spends. It is eager to spend money, to expand its operations and to reward its privileged class of individuals with jobs and other benefits. Whatever it has spent, it has already effectively extracted from the productive sector... The state is not leery of debt, since it's not responsible for its own solubility; instead, one way or another, it burdens the taxpayer with its spending habits. The state has every incentive to expand its activity into nearly any area that the people will tolerate, regardless of whether such activity makes economic or moral sense." - Anthony Gregory, of the Independent Institute
"In a totalitarian system social competition manifests itself in the endeavors of people to court the favor of those in power. In the market economy competition manifests itself in the facts that the sellers must outdo one another by offering better or cheaper goods and services and that the buyers must outdo one another by offering higher prices." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Human Action"
"Whenever the sovereign authority invades the marketplace, it is inevitable that what we naively call "corruption" - which is but the political means of acquiring economic goods - will pollute the economy. History is so emphatic on this point that one wonders at the persistence of the pollyanish hopes of public-ownership advocates; in the final analysis these hopes must rest on sublime faith in the miraculous mutation of human nature by public office." - Frank Chodorov, in "One is a Crowd: Reflections of an Individualist", 1952
"Fundamentally, there are only two ways of coordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion - the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary cooperation of individuals - the technique of the marketplace." - Milton Friedman
"One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary." - Ayn Rand, 1975
"The difference between a free-enterprise economy and a centrally planned [socialist] one is that in a free-enterprise economy every individual is free to construct and implement his own plans to the best of his ability, and as far as his initiative will carry him; whereas in a centrally planned economy, the planner eliminates everyone's plan except his own... whether they like it or not." - John Hospers, in "Libertarianism: A Political Philosophy Whose Time Has Come", 1971
"Leave them be, that should be the motto of every public authority, according to which the world is civilized... A detestable principle that which would not wish us to grow except by lowering our neighbors! There is nothing but mischief and malignity of heart in those satisfied with that principle, and interest is opposed to it. Leave them be, damn it! Leave them be!" - René de Voyer, Marquis d'Argenson, French minister, c. 1680
"Anything other than free enterprise always means a society of compulsion and lower living standards, and any form of socialism strictly enforced means dictatorship and the total state. That this statement is still widely disputed only illustrates the degree to which malignant fantasy can capture the imagination of intellectuals." - Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
"When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators." - P.J. O'Rourke
"Economic history is a long record of government policies that failed because they were designed with a bold disregard for the laws of economics." - Ludwig von Mises
"There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen." - Frédéric Bastiat, in his pamphlet "What is Seen and What is Not Seen"
"For a person who has read in economics, and absorbed its essential lessons, the world around us becomes vivid and clear, and certain moral imperatives strike us. We know now that commerce deserves defense. We see entrepreneurs as great heroes. We sympathize with the plight of producers. We see unions not as defenders of rights but as privileged cartels that exclude people who need work. We see regulations not as consumer protection but rather cost-raising rackets lobbied for by some producers to hurt other producers. We see antitrust not as a safeguard against corporate excess, but as a bludgeon used by big players against smarter competitors. In short, economics helps us see the world as it is." - Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., in a speech, 19 May 2008
"Energy is essential for all economic growth, and fossil fuels provide today's principal global energy source. In a world in which poverty is the greatest social pollutant, any restriction on energy use that inhibits economic growth should be viewed with caution. For this reason, we consider 'carbon taxes' and other drastic control policies... to be ill-advised, premature, wrought with economic danger, and likely to be counterproductive." - The Leipzig Declaration on Global Climate Change, 1995
"Capitalism has created the highest standard of living ever known on earth. The evidence is incontrovertible. The contrast between West and East Berlin is the latest demonstration, like a laboratory experiment for all to see. Yet those who are loudest in proclaiming their desire to eliminate poverty are loudest in denouncing capitalism. Man's well-being is not their goal." - Ayn Rand, in "Theory and Practice"
"[I]f laissez-faire had not begotten the richest world that ever existed, there would have been much less for the welfare state to distribute." - Garet Garrett, in "The Wild Wheel", 1952
"What can prevent the coming of totalitarian socialism is only a thorough change in ideologies. What we need is neither anti-socialism nor anti-communism but an open positive endorsement of that system [i.e. capitalism] to which we owe all the wealth that distinguishes our age from the comparatively straitened conditions of ages gone by." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Planning for Freedom"
"The free market punishes irresponsibility. Government rewards it." - Harry Browne
"If credit expansion, protectionism, and government spending were a path to prosperity, mankind would have long ago created heaven on earth." - Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., in "The Marvel that is Capitalism" (speech), 4 April 2002
"Private enterprise creates; government destroys. That is the great economic lesson of our times and all times." - Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
"When all the capital in the country is in the hands of the government, then all of us must work for the government under the conditions it prescribes - and that is slavery." - Frank Chodorov, in "The Income Tax: Root of All Evil", 1954
"All people, however fanatical they may be in their zeal to disparage and to fight capitalism, implicitly pay homage to it by passionately clamoring for the products it turns out." - Ludwig Von Mises
"[I]f there seems to be a shortage of supply to meet an evident demand, then look to the government as the cause of the problem." - Murray Rothbard
"Clearly the biggest monopolist of all is the U.S. government. No competition is allowed, the quality of output is continually falling, the prices are continually rising and the consumer is treated shabbily." - Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
"Capitalism is the keen cutting edge of business; always shaving away at costs." - Henry Ford
"There ain't no rules around here! We're trying to accomplish something!" - Thomas Edison
"We'll lower the cost of living for everyone, not just in America, but we'll give the world an opportunity to see what it's like to save and have a better lifestyle, a better life for all." - Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart
"The highest level of prosperity occurs when there is a free-market economy and a minimum of government regulations." - Adam Smith, in the "The Wealth of Nations"
"Trade, if left alone, will ever make its own way best, and like an irresistable river, will ever run safest, do least mischief and do most good, suffered to run without obstruction in its own free natural channel." - Pelatiah Webster, 1780
"No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous." - Benjamin Franklin, in "Principles of Trade", 1774
"I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good." - Adam Smith
"You don't need a treaty to have free trade." - Murray Rothbard
"I think all the world would gain by setting commerce at perfect liberty." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams, 7 July 1785
"There is no security on earth; there is only opportunity." - Douglas MacArthur
"Free enterprise means 'do your own thing', and if you really put your heart and soul into it, you'll have a pretty good chance at a good life." - John Wayne
"Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself." - Milton Friedman
"History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom." - Milton Friedman, in "Capitalism and Freedom"
"If capitalism did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it - and its discovery would be rightly regarded as one of the great triumphs of the human mind." - Henry Hazlitt, in "Time Will Run Back", 1966
"Capitalism is not the system of the past; it is the system of the future - if mankind is to have a future." - Ayn Rand
"What we call the market is really a democratic process involving millions, and in some markets billions, of people making personal decisions that express their preferences. When you hear someone say that he doesn't trust the market, and wants to replace it with government edicts, he's really calling for a switch from a democratic process to a totalitarian one." - Walter E. Williams
"Free markets are simply millions upon millions of individual decision-makers, engaged in peaceable, voluntary exchange pursuing what they see as their best interests. People who denounce the free market and voluntary exchange, and are for control and coercion, believe they have more intelligence and superior wisdom than the masses. What's more, they believe they've been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Of course, they have what they consider good reasons for doing so, but every tyrant that has ever existed has had what he believed were good reasons for restricting the liberty of others. Tyrants are against the free market because it implies voluntary exchange. Tyrants do not trust that people acting voluntarily will do what the tyrant thinks they ought to do. Therefore, they want to replace the market with economic planning, which is quite simply the forcible superseding of other people's plans by the powerful elite." - Walter E. Williams
"Fundamentally, there are only two ways of coordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion - the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary cooperation of individuals - the technique of the marketplace." - Milton Friedman
"The 'private sector' of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and the 'public sector' is, in fact, the coercive sector." - Henry Hazlitt
"If a detailed, factual study were made of all of those instances in the history of American industry which have been used by the statists as an indictment of free enterprise and as an argument in favor of a government-controlled economy, it would be found that the actions blamed on businessmen were caused, necessitated and made possible only by government intervention in business. The evils, popularly ascribed to big industrialists, were not the result of unregulated industry, but of government power over industry. The villain in the picture was not the businessman, but the legislator, not free enterprise, but government controls." - Ayn Rand, in "Notes on the History of American Free Enterprise", 1959
"Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demand for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen." - Ayn Rand
"Manufacturing and commercial monopolies owe their origin not to a tendency imminent in a capitalist economy, but to governmental interventionist policy directed against free trade and laissez faire." - Ludwig Von Mises
"The art of economics consists of looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists of tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups." - Henry Hazlitt, in "Economics in One Lesson"
"Take a 'free' library; is it really free? The answer is no. Had the library not been built, that $50 million could have purchased something else. That something else sacrificed is the cost of the library. While users of the library might pay a zero price, zero price and free are not one and the same." - Walter E. Williams
"The idea of weighing the costs of doing something against its benefits are part and parcel of intelligent decision-making. If we only look to benefits, we'll do darn near anything because everything has some kind of benefit." - Walter E. Williams, in "Economic Thinking", August 2007
"It is obviously futile to attempt to eliminate unemployment by embarking upon a program of public works that would otherwise not have been undertaken. The necessary resources for such projects must be withdrawn by taxes or loans from the application they would otherwise have found. Unemployment in one industry can, in this way, be mitigated only to the extent that it is increased in another." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Liberalism"
"It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a 'dismal science'. But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance." - Murray Rothbard
"Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that economics cannot remain an esoteric branch of knowledge accessible only to small groups of scholars and specialists. Economics deals with society's fundamental problems; it concerns everyone and belongs to all. It is the main and proper study of every citizen." - Ludwig von Mises
"Capitalism undoubtedly has certain boils and blotches upon it, but has it as many as government? Has it as many as marriage? Has it as many as religion? I doubt it. It is the only basic institution of modern man that shows any genuine health and vigor." - H.L. Mencken
"It is a free market that makes monopolies impossible." - Ayn Rand
"Every coercive monopoly was created by government intervention into the economy: by special privileges, such as franchises or subsidies, which closed the entry of competitors into a given field, by legislative action." - Ayn Rand
"To the grumbler who complains about the unfairness of the market system only one piece of advice can be given: If you want to acquire wealth, then try to satisfy the public by offering them something that is cheaper or which they like better... Equality under the law gives you the power to challenge every millionaire. It is in a market not sabotaged by government-imposed restrictions exclusively your fault if you do not outstrip the chocolate king, the movie star and the boxing champion." - Ludwig von Mises, in "The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality"
"Wealth comes from successful individual efforts to please one's fellow man - that's what competition is all about: "outpleasing" your competitors to win over the consumers." - Walter E. Williams
"It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages." - Henry Ford
"There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." - Sam Walton
"On the market of a capitalistic society, the common man is the sovereign consumer whose buying or abstention from buying ultimately determines what should be produced." - Ludwig von Mises
"If workers struggle for higher wages, this is hailed as 'social gains', if businessmen struggle for higher profits, this is damned as 'selfish greed'." - Ayn Rand
"The minimum wage law very cleverly is misnamed. The real minimum wage is zero. That is what many inexperienced and low skilled people receive as a result of legislation that makes it illegal to pay them what they are currently worth to an employer." - Thomas Sowell
"The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced. If the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt, people must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." - Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 B.C.
"In different periods of history, in different places, a variety of goods have served as media of exchange... Everywhere, however, the rise of civilization was accompanied by the triumph of gold and silver over all other contenders for the office of money." - George Reisman, in "Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics", 1996
"The gold standard alone makes the determination of moneys purchasing power independent of the ambitions and machinations of governments, of dictators, of political parties, and of pressure groups." - Ludwig von Mises, in "Planning for Freedom"
"[S]pecie [precious metal] is the most perfect medium, because it will preserve its own level; because, having intrinsic and universal value, it can never die in our hands, and it is the surest resource of reliance in time of war;... [a paper currency] is liable to be abused, has been, is, and forever will be abused, in every country in which it is permitted." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Wayles Eppes, 6 November 1813
"Step by step the federal government has assumed control over our monetary system. It thus captured a potent source of revenue and a vital command post over the economic lives of its people. This is why every friend of freedom is dedicated to the restoration of free money which is also sound money. It is the gold standard." - Hans Sennholz, in "The Lustre of Gold", 1995
"[T]he gold standard is incompatible with chronic deficit spending, [which is] the hallmark of the welfare state." - Alan Greenspan, in "Gold and Economic Freedom"
"No great nation that abandoned the gold standard has remained a great nation." - Ronald Reagan
"[Gold] is the anti-dollar: the anti-dote to financial engineering, debt, derivatives, and paper currencies generally. It is what people buy when they begin to doubt that their financial authorities know what they are doing." - Bill Bonner, 12 November 2007
"The value of paper money is precisely the value of a politician's promise, as high or low as you put that; the value of gold is protected by the inability of politicians to manufacture it." - Sir William Rees-Mogg
"No, it's not money. It's a precious metal." - Ben Bernanke, in response to Ron Paul's question, "Do you think gold is money?", during testimony before congressional committee, 14 July 2011
"Gold, if you pick up a coin minted 6,000 years ago, you'd still have your money. If you pick up a piece of paper printed a year ago, it might be worth half its value. So history is on my side of the argument." - Ron Paul, July 2011
"You have to choose between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the Government. And, with due respect for these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the Capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold." - George Bernard Shaw
"There is a long history of monetary experience. It tells us that government is at heart a counterfeiter and therefore cannot be trusted to control money, and that this is true of both autocratic and popular government. The record has been cumulative since the invention of money. Nevertheless it is not believed." - Garet Garrett, in "The Rule of Planned Money", in American Affairs, April 1948
"The monetary managers are fond of telling us that they have substituted 'responsible money management' for the gold standard. But there is no historic record of responsible paper money management... The record taken as a whole is one of hyperinflation, devaluation and monetary chaos." - Henry Hazlitt
"It is an economic axiom that goods and services can only be paid for with goods and services." - Albert Jay Nock
"The best way to destroy the Capitalist system is to debauch the currency. The process of inflation is so insidious that not one in a million can properly diagnose it, until it is too late." - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
"[M]any carry their money around on their backs, others on their heads, and larger sums are pulled on a horsecart. Four... would be a terrible punishment for me if I had to carry them a hundred steps; may none here become a thief. I shall take one of these Dalers back to you unless it is too heavy for me; I am now hiding it under my bed." - Anonymous, on Sweden's 43-pound 10-Daler copper slab money, when Sweden was on the copper standard, c1650
"There are plenty of good five-cent cigars in the country. The trouble is they cost a quarter. What this country needs is a good five-cent nickel." - Franklin P. Adams, early 20th century journalist
"With the exception only of the period of the gold standard, practically all governments of history have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the people." - Friedrich A. Hayek
"No desperately indebted people can long endure a regular, sober government." - Unknown, 1786, speaking of Shay's Rebellion
"We are in danger of being overwhelmed with irredeemable paper, mere paper, representing not gold nor silver; no sir, representing nothing but broken promises, bad faith, bankrupt corporations, cheated creditors and a ruined people." - Daniel Webster, in a speech before the U.S. Senate, 1833
"We have suffered more from this cause [inflation of the Continental Dollar] than from every other cause or calamity. It has killed more men, pervaded and corrupted the choicest interests of our country more, and done more injustice than even the arms and artifices of our enemy." - Pelatiah Webster, in "Political Essays", 1791
"For two or three years we constantly saw and were informed of creditors running away from their debtors, and the debtors pursuing them in triumph, and paying them without mercy." - John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration of Independence, on the hyper-inflation caused by government printing too many Continental Dollars
"Among the evils growing out of the rebellion, and not yet referred to, is that of an irredeemable currency. It is an evil which I hope will receive your most earnest attention. It is a duty, and one of the highest duties, of government to secure to the citizen a medium of exchange of fixed, unvarying value. This implies a return to a specie [precious metal] basis, and no substitute for it can be devised." - Ulysses S. Grant, in a speech before Congress, 22 April 1874
"Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value - zero." - Voltaire
"The first panacaea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency." - Ernest Hemingway
"They'll print money until we run out of trees." - Jim Rogers, on the federal government
"Paper money is like dram-drinking, it relieves for a moment by deceitful sensation, but gradually diminishes the natural heat, and leaves the body worse than it found it. Were not this the case, and could money be made of paper at pleasure, every sovereign in Europe would be as rich as he pleased... Paper money appears at first sight to be a great saving, or rather that it costs nothing; but it is the dearest money there is. The ease with which it is emitted by an assembly at first serves as a trap to catch people in at last. It operates as an anticipation of the next year's taxes." - Thomas Paine
"A disordered [inflated] currency is one of the greatest political evils. It undermines the virtues necessary for the support of the social system, and encourages propensities destructive to its happiness. It wars against industry, frugality, and economy, and it fosters the evil spirits of extravagance and speculation. Of all the contrivances for cheating the laboring classes of mankind, none has been more effectual than that which deludes them with paper money... Ordinary tyranny, oppression, excessive taxation, these bear lightly on the happiness of the mass of the community, compared with fraudulent currencies and the robberies committed by depreciated paper. Our own history has recorded for our instruction enough, and more than enough, of the demoralizing tendency, the injustice, and the intolerable oppression on the virtuous and well disposed, of a degraded paper currency, authorized by law, or any way countenanced by government." - Pelatiah Webster, 1832
"Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice." - George Washington, in a letter to J. Bowen, 9 January 1787
"Paper is poverty... it is only the ghost of money, and not money itself." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Edward Carrington, 1788
"It is said that our paper is as good as silver, because we may have silver for it at the bank where it issues. This is not true. One, two, or three persons might have it; but a general application would soon exhaust their vaults, and leave a ruinous proportion of their paper in its intrinsic worthless form." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Wayles Eppes, 6 November 1813
"Like a dropsical man calling out for water, water, our deluded citizens are clamoring for more banks, more banks. The American mind is now in that state of fever which the world has so often seen in the history of nations. We are under the bank bubble... We are now taught to believe that legerdemain tricks upon paper can produce as solid wealth as hard labor in the earth. It is vain for common sense to urge that nothing can produce but nothing; that it is an idle dream to believe in a philosopher's stone which is to turn everything into gold, and to redeem man from the original sentence of his Maker, 'in the sweat of his brow shall he eat his bread'." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Charles Yancy, 6 January 1816
"We are to be ruined now by the deluge of bank paper, as we were formerly by the old Continental paper." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Dr. T. Cooper, 1814
"This institution [Bank of the United States] is one of the most deadly hostility existing, against the principles and form of our Constitution." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Albert Gallatin, 1803
"The monopoly of a single [Federal] bank is certainly an evil." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Albert Gallatin, 1802
"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, 1802
"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance." - James Madison
"The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists." - Ernest Hemingway
"All he [Ben Bernanke] knows is to print money. His whole intellectual career has been spent studying the printing of money. America’s now given him the printing presses and all he knows to do is to run them. He doesn’t know about markets. He doesn’t know about foreign currencies. We know now he doesn’t even know about economics. I mean, he’s got a Ph.D. in economics and he was a professor of economics, but he doesn’t have a clue about economics." - Jim Rogers, on Ben Bernanke, in an interview with Resource Investor, 28 January 2008
"It is a cruel thought, that, when we feel ourselves standing on the firmest ground in every respect, the cursed arts of our secret enemies, combining with other causes, should effect, by depreciating our money, what the open arms of a powerful enemy could not." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Richard Henry Lee, 1779
"I now deny their [the United States Bank] power of making paper money... a legal tender." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Taylor, 26 November 1798
"As this body [Congress] has no authority to make anything whatever a tender in payment of private debts, it necessarily follows that nothing but gold and silver coin can be made legal tender for that purpose, and that Congress cannot authorize the payment, in any species of paper currency, of any other debts but those due to the United States." - Albert Gallatin, 1831, speaking against legal-tender laws
"The emitting of paper money by the authority of the government is wisely prohibited... Though paper emissions, under a general authority, might have some advantages... they are of a nature so liable to abuse - and, it may even be affirmed, so certain of being abused, - that the wisdom of the government will be shown in never trusting itself with the use of so seducing and dangerous an expedient... The stamping of paper is an operation so much easier than the laying of taxes, that a government in the practice of paper emissions would rarely fail, in any such emergency, to indulge itself too far in the employment of that resource... If it should not even be carried so far as to be rendered an absolute bubble, it would at least be likely to be extended to a degree which would occasion an inflated and artificial state of things, incompatible with the regular and prosperous course of the political economy." - Alexander Hamilton, as Secretary of the Treasury, in a communication to the House of Representatives, 13 December 1790
"The extension of the prohibition to bills of credit must give pleasure to every citizen, in proportion to his love of justice and his knowledge of the true springs of public prosperity. The loss which America has sustained since the peace, from the pestilent effects of paper money on the necesary confidence between man and man, on the necessary confidence in the public councils, on the industry and morals of the people, and on the character of republican government, constitutes an enormous debt against the States chargeable with this unadvised measure..." - James Madison, in The Federalist No. 44, 25 January 1788
"Revolutionary history has warned us of the probable moment when this baseless trash [paper money] is to receive its fiat. Whenever so much of the precious metals have turned into the circulation as that everyone can get some in exchange for his produce, paper, as in the revolutionary war, will experience at once an universal rejection." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Charles Yancy, 6 January 1816
"[I]f any of the gold or silver coins which shall be struck or coined at the said mint shall be debased or made worse as to the proportion of the fine gold or fine silver therein contained, or shall be of less weight or value than the same out to be pursuant to the directions of this act... every such officer or person who shall commit any or either of the said offenses, shall be deemed guilty of felony, and shall suffer death." - George Washington, in The Coinage Act of 2 April 1792
"It is not more absurd to attempt to impel faith into the heart of an unbeliever by fire and fagot, or to whip love into your mistress with a cowskin, than to force value or credit into your money by penal laws." - Pelatiah Webster, in "Political Essays", 1791
"[T]he scheme of supporting the money and regulating the price of things by penal statutes... always has and ever will be impracticable in a free country, because no law can be framed to limit a man in the purchase or disposal of property, but what must infringe those principles of liberty for which we are gloriously fighting." - Anonymous, in an editorial in The Connecticut Courant, 12 May 1777
"Four things have almost invariably followed the imposition of controls to keep prices below the level they would reach under supply and demand in a free market: (1) increased use of the product or service whose price is controlled, (2) Reduced supply of the same product or service, (3) quality deterioration, (4) black markets." - Thomas Sowell, in "Applied Economics"
"By substituting the rule of men for the rule of law and for voluntary cooperation in the marketplace, the [wage and price] controls threaten the very foundations of a free society. By encouraging men to spy and report on one another, by making it in the private interest of large numbers of citizens to evade the controls, and by making actions illegal that are in the public interest, the controls undermine individual morality." - Milton Friedman, in "An Economist's Protest", 1975
"[T]o put it [money] in the hands of an institution which is protected against competition, which can force us to accept the money, which is subject to incessant political pressure, such an authority will never give us good money." - Friedrich A. Hayek
"All the perplexities, confusion and distresses in America arise not from defects in the Constitution or confederation, nor from want of honor or virtue, as much from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation." - John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1787
"Here we have [John Maynard] Keynes, then: the twentieth century's most famous 'economist'. Out of false theories of employment, money, and interest, he has distilled a fantastically wrong theory of capitalism and of a socialist paradise erected out of paper money." - Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in "The Misesian case against Keynes", 1992
"From now on, depressions will be scientifically created." - Charles A. Lindbergh Sr., Congressman, 1913, upon the passing of the Federal Reserve Act
"We will not have any more crashes in our time." - John Maynard Keynes, 1927
"We are all Keynesians now." - Richard Nixon, 1971, upon the United States abandoning the Breton-Woods agreement
"The central fallacy of Keynesianism, as with all inflationary nostrums, is that they chronically confuse 'income' in terms of paper money with real income in goods and services. It is possible to increase paper-money income to any amount by debasing the currency. But real income can only be increased by working harder or more efficiently, saving more, investing more, and producing more." - Henry Hazlitt, in "Man Versus The Welfare State"
"One of the most stubborn fallacies about inflation is the assumption that it is caused, not by an increase in the quantity of money, but by a 'shortage of goods'." - Henry Hazlitt
"[I]nflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon, in the sense that it cannot occur without a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output." - Milton Friedman
"When you or I write a check there must be sufficient funds in our account to cover that check, but when the Federal Reserve writes a check, it is creating money." - Boston Federal Reserve Bank, in its brochure "Putting It Simply"
"We make money the old fashioned way. We print it." - Art Rolnick, former Chief Economist, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank
"Give me control of a nation's money supply, and I care not who makes its laws." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild
"The destiny of a currency is, and always will be, the destiny of a nation." - Franz Pick
"If you control the money, you control the entire world." - Henry Kissinger
"Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce." - James A. Garfield
"The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money and control credit." - Sir Josiah Stamp (attributed), Director of the Bank of England, in a speech at the University of Texas, 1927; reputed to be the 2nd wealthiest man in England at that time.
"A baited banker thus desponds, from his own hand foresees his fall, they have his soul, who have his bonds." - Jonathan Swift, in "The Banker", 1720
"The bank hath the benefit of interest on all moneys which it creates out of nothing." - William Patterson
"It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning." - Henry Ford
"The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from its profits or so dependent on its favors, that there will be no opposition from that class." - Mayer Amschel Rothschild, London, 1863
"The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." - Abraham Lincoln, on the National Banking Act of 1863
""I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is now controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the Nation and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the world - we are no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men."" - Woodrow Wilson, on his creation of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, 1919
"Most Americans have no real understanding of the operation of the international money lenders. The accounts of the Federal Reserve System have never been audited. It operates outside the control of Congress and manipulates the credit of the United States." - Barry Goldwater
"This [Federal Reserve Act] establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President [Wilson] signs this bill, the invisible government of the monetary power will be legalized... the worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency bill." - Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr., 1913
"The financial system has been turned over to the Federal Reserve Board. That Board as ministers the finance system by authority of a purely profiteering group. The system is Private, conducted for the sole purpose of obtaining the greatest possible profits from the use of other people's money"-- Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr., 1923
"The Federal Reserve bank buys government bonds without one penny..." - Wright Patman, Congressman, 30 Sept 1941
"We have, in this country, one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board. This evil institution has impoverished the people of the United States and has practically bankrupted our government. It has done this through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it." - Louis T. McFadden, Congressman, 1932
"The Federal Reserve banks are one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever seen. There is not a man within the sound of my voice who does not know that this nation is run by the International bankers" - Louis T. McFadden, Congressman, c. 1932
"These twelve corporations [the Federal Reserve Banks] together cover the whole country and monopolize and use for private gain every dollar of the public currency..." - Mr. Crozier of Cincinnati, before the Senate Banking and Currency Committee, 1913
"The [Federal Reserve Act] as it stands seems to me to open the way to a vast inflation of the currency... I do not like to think that any law can be passed that will make it possible to submerge the gold standard in a flood of irredeemable paper currency." - Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr., 1913
"Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are U.S. government institutions. They are not... they are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign and domestic swindlers, and rich and predatory money lenders. The sack of the United States by the Fed is the greatest crime in history. Every effort has been made by the Fed to conceal its powers, but the truth is the Fed has usurped the government. It controls everything here and it controls all our foreign relations. It makes and breaks governments at will." - Charles McFadden, Congressman & Chairman, House Banking and Currency Committee, 10 June 1932
"Think of the Soviet system applied to the banking industry and you have the Fed." - Ron Paul, in "End the Fed", 2009
"The justifications for Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was to prevent bank failure and maintain price stability. Simple before and after analysis demonstrates that the Federal Reserve Bank has been a failure. In the century before the Federal Reserve Act, wholesale prices fell by 6 percent; in the century after they rose by 1,300 percent. Maximum bank failures in one year before 1913 were 496 and afterward, 4,400. During the 1930s, inept money supply management by the Federal Reserve Bank was partially responsible for both the depth and duration of the Great Depression. It is not wise for us to permit a few people on the Federal Reserve Board to have life and death power over our economy." - Walter E. Williams, in "Counterfeiting versus Monetary Policy", 17 December 2008
"At times like the present, when the evils of unsound finance threaten us, the speculator may anticipate a harvest gathered from the misfortune of others, the capitalist may protect himself by hoarding or may even find profit from the fluctuations of values, but the wage earner - the first to be injured by a depreciated currency - is practically defenseless." - Grover Cleveland
"Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt." - Herbert Hoover
"Where would we be if we had I.O.U.'s, scrip and certificates floating all around the country?... The Federal Reserve Act lets us print all we'll need. And it won't frighten the people. It won't look like stage money. It'll be money that looks like real money." - William Woodin, U.S. Treasury Secretary, 3 July 1933 [Tom's note: But it won't be real money. History and the Constitution tell us that the only real money is gold and silver.]
"Inflation can be pursued only so long as the public still does not believe it will continue. Once the people generally realize that the inflation will be continued on and on and that the value of the monetary unit will decline more and more, then the fate of the money is sealed. Only the belief, that the inflation will come to a stop, maintains the value of the notes." - Ludwig von Mises, in "On the Manipulation of Money and Credit"
"All persons are hereby required to deliver on or before May 1, 1933, to a Federal Reserve bank or a branch or agency thereof or to any member bank of the Federal Reserve System all gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates now owned by them or coming into their ownership on or before April 28, 1933... Whoever willfully violates any provision of this Executive Order... may be fined not more than $10,000, or... may be imprisoned for not more than ten years or both." - Franklin D. Roosevelt, in Executive Order 6102
"No person other than a Federal Reserve bank shall after the date of this order acquire in the United States any gold coin, gold bullion, or gold certificates except under license therefor issued pursuant to this Executive order... After 30 days from the date of this order no person shall hold in his possession or retain any interest, legal or equitable, in any gold coin, gold bullion, or gold certificates situated in the United States... except under license therefor issued pursuant to this Executive order." - Franklin D. Roosevelt, in Executive Order 6260
"All safe deposit boxes in banks or financial institutions have been sealed... and may only be opened in the presence of an agent of the Internal Revenue Service" - Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933
"[The] abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit... In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holdings illegal, as was done in the case of gold... The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves... [This] is the shabby secret of the welfare statist's tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the 'hidden' confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard." - Alan Greenspan, in "Gold and Economic Freedom", 1966
"Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none." - Thomas Jefferson
"It is our true policy to steer clear of entangling alliances with any portion of the foreign world. The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible." - George Washington
"When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader." - Plato, 347 B.C.
"[I]n a militia, the character of the labourer, artificer, or tradesman, predominates over that of the soldier; in a standing army, that of the soldier predominates over every other character." - Adam Smith
"In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful." - Leo Tolstoy
"War is the health of the State." - Randolph Bourne
"Nations in general will go to war whenever there is a prospect of getting something by it." - John Jay
"The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists." - Ernest Hemingway
"I believe if we had, and would, keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own... not one crammed down their throats by the Americans." - David Shoup, Commandant of the Marine Corps, May 1966
"I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be." - Thomas Jefferson
"I know not whether taxes are raised to fight wars, or wars are fought in order to raise taxes." - Thomas Paine
"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world." - Thomas Jefferson
"We will bankrupt ourselves in our vain search for absolute security." - Dwight Eisenhower
"War is horrible, but slavery is worse." - Winston Churchill
"When goods cannot cross borders, armies surely will." - Frédéric Bastiat
"To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers." - Adam Smith
"A nation without borders is no nation at all." - Ronald Reagan
"[Is] rapid population [growth] by as great importations of foreigners as possible... founded in good policy?... They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty. These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their number, they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its direction, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass." - Thomas Jefferson, in Notes on Virginia Q.VIII, 1782
"Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave?" - John Wayne
"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls who live under tyranny." - Thomas Jefferson, 1782
"When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe." - Thomas Jefferson
"To know nothing of what happened before you were born is to remain ever a child." - Marcus Tullius Cicero
"For all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been!'" - John Greenleaf Whittier
"Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it." - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter, 12 October 1786
"First, God created idiots. That was just for practice. Then He created school boards." - Mark Twain
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