Best life Quotes

Quotes to help you appreciate the best in your life

Best Life Quotes

The graveyards are full of indispensable men. — Charles de Gaulle

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. — Robert Heinlein

Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. Then all things are at risk. It is as when a conflagration has broken out in a great city, and no man knows what is safe, or where it will end. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles

The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions, whom we shall welcome to participate in all of our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment. — George Washington

Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions. — Gilbert Chesterton

I went into the business for the money, and the art grew out of it. If people are disillusioned by that remark, I can’t help it. It’s the truth. — Charlie Chaplin

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. — Abraham Lincoln

The gambling known as business looks with austere disfavor upon the business known as gambling. — Ambrose Bierce

Hatred is a luxury of the idle. — Will Spencer

In the mirrors of many judgements, my hands are the color of blood. I am a part of the evil which exists to oppose other evils. … on that Great Day of which the prophets speak but in which they do not truly believe, on that day when the world is completely cleansed of evil, then I, too, will go down into darkness, swallowing curses. Perhaps even sooner than that, I now judge. But whatever… Until that time, I shall not wash my hands nor let them hang useless. — Roger Zelazny, The Guns of Avalon

Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. — Winston Churchill

The greatest open-minded idea I’m aware of is to know that one does not know what is best for others, whether it’s in economic, social, or moral policy, or in the affairs of other nations. Believing one knows what is best for others represents the greatest example of a closed mind. — Ron Paul, A Wise Consistency

We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice—that is, until we have stopped saying, “It got lost,” and say, “I lost it.” — Sydney J. Harris

The history of the world is but the biography of heroes. — Thomas Carlyle

I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean. — G. K. Chesterson

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude. — William James

He who dares not to offend cannot be honest. — Thomas Paine

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. — Albert Einstein

Those who don’t read the newspapers are better off than those who do insofar as those who know nothing are better off than those whose heads are filled with half-truths and lies. — Thomas Jefferson

There’s so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets? — Dick Cavett

We are all full of weakness and errors, let us mutually pardon each other our follies it is the first law of nature. — Voltaire

It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism while the wolf remains of a different opinion. — William Ralph Inge

My kind of loyalty was to one’s country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death. — Mark Twain

Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage -the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors. Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas-or of inherited knowledge – which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men. Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination. — Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness

Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it. — Publilius Syrus

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure. — Mark Twain, Notebook, 1887

In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. — Theodore Roosevelt

I studied the lives of great men and famous women, and I found that the men and women who got to the top were those who did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm. — Henry Truman

The minute you read something that you can’t understand, you can almost be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer. — Will Rogers

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity. — Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food. — Erasmus

Always do what you say you are going to do. It is the glue and fiber that binds successful relationships. — Jeffrey Timmons

The Social Security Act does not require an individual (citizen) to have a Social Security number to live and work within the United States, nor does it require an SSN simply for the purpose of having one…. — Vincent Sanudo, Social Security Administration

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man. — Mark Twain

Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth. — Chuck Norris

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. — William James

The more he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions. — Frank Lloyd Wright

Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue. — Confucius

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Organization! Hell! I’m the organization! … Hell! There ain’t no rules around here! We are trying to accomplish some’pn’. – — Thomas Alva Edison, When asked what rules he ran his laboratory organization by; Wachhorst, Wyn, Thomas Alva Edison, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1981, pp. 180-83

It everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking. — George Patton

Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. — Robert Heinlein

The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it. — John Gilmore

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. — Andre Gide

(What is good in life?) To crush your enemies, to drive them before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women. — Conan, Conan the Barbarian

Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in their readiness to doubt. — H. L. Mencken

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else. — Theodore Roosevelt

Thinking well is wise; planning well, wiser; doing well, wisest and best of all. — Persian proverb

Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes. — Benjamin Disraeli

Everybody has asked the question … “What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! — Frederick Douglass, What the Black Man Wants

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. — Hubert Humphrey

The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money. — Thomas Jefferson

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid; to think and act for myself; enjoy the benefits of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, – This I have done, and this is what it means to be an American. — John Wayne

To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered. — Voltaire, 1764

What thinking rational human being has never been in conflict with his Gods? — Will Spencer

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. — Herbert Spencer

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats. — Howard Aiken

We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart. — H. L. Mencken

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. — Martin Luther King Jr.

Idiot, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling. — Ambrose Bierce

Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded, and the amount of eccentricity in a society has been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. — John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chapter 3

History teaches us that men and nations only behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives. — Abba Eben

Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless. — Thomas Edison

I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am. — Dr. Samuel Johnson

He who acts under an emotional impulse also acts. What distinguishes an emotional action from other actions is the valuation of input and output. Emotions disarrange valuations. Inflamed with passion, man sees the goal as more desirable and the price he has to pay for it as less burdensome than he would in cool deliberation. — Ludwig von Mises, Human Action

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. — Anne Frank

Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man. — Thomas Paine

If I knew for certain that a man was coming to my house to do me good, I would run for my life. — Henry David Thoreau

It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt. — John Philpot Curran, Speech upon the Right of Election (1790)

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them. — Samuel Butler

First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst. — Dale Carnegie

Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak. — Mark Twain

I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. — Helen Keller

There’s nothing in the middle of the road but a yellow stripe and dead armadillos. — Jim Hightower

At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child – miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats. — P.J. O’Rourke

Decalogue
Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
Never spend your money before you have it.
Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.
We never repent of having eaten too little.
Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
Take things always by their smooth handle.
When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred. — Thomas Jefferson

Creation is a drug I can’t do without. — Cecil B. Demille

You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them. — Malcolm Forbes

I know a lot of you believe that most people in the news business are liberal. Let me tell you, I know a lot of them, and they were almost evenly divided this time. Half of them liked Senator Kerry; the other half hated President Bush. — Andy Rooney

One should respect public opinion insofar as it is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny. — Bertrand Russell

Quotes on Liberty

In framing a government, which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. — James Madison

Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself. — Elie Wiesel

Why doesn’t everybody leave everybody else the hell alone? — Jimmy Durante

Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice. Without the possibility of choice and the exercise of choice a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing. — Archibald Macleish

No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him. …the idea is quite unfounded that on entering into society we give up any natural rights. — Thomas Jefferson

Appeasers believe that if you keep on throwing steaks to a tiger, the tiger will turn vegetarian. — Heywood Brown

It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed. — Albert Einstein

The objection to Puritans is not that they try to make us think as they do, but that they try to make us do as they think. — H. L. Mencken

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as they are injurious to others. — Thomas Jefferson

The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or to impede their efforts to obtain it. — John Stuart Mill

The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. — Edmund Burke

If we consider that each person owns his own body and can acquire ownership of other things by creating them, or by having ownership transferred to him by another owner, it becomes at least formally possible to define “being left alone” and its opposite, “being coerced”. Someone who forcibly prevents me from using my property as I want, when I am not using it to violate his right to use his property, is coercing me. A man who prevents me from taking heroin coerces me; a man who prevents me from shooting him does not. — David Friedman

A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity. — Robert Frost

Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.” — Abraham Lincoln, Speech to the Illinois House of Representatives; 18 Dec. 1840

Liberty not only means that the individual has both the opportunity and the burden of choice; it also means that he must bear the consequences of his actions and will receive praise or blame for them. — Friedrich Hayek

Let every nation know…whether it wishes us well or ill… that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty. — John F. Kennedy

Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of government power, not the increase of it. — Woodrow Wilson

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. — George Orwell

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 limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual. — Thomas Jefferson

Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race. — William Howard Taft

We are so concerned to flatter the majority that we lose sight of how very often it is necessary, in order to preserve freedom for the minority, let alone for the individual, to face that majority down. — William F. Buckley, Jr.

Force, violence, pressure or compulsion with a view to conformity, are both uncivilized and undemocratic. — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

No loss by flood and lightning, no destruction of cities and temples by hostile forces of nature, has deprived man of so many noble lives and impulses as those which his intolerance has destroyed. — Helen Keller

I hate people who are intolerant. — Dr. Laurence J. Peter

All government, of course, is against liberty. — H. L. Mencken

God forbid that any book should be banned. The practice is as indefensible as infanticide. — Rebecca West

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty – power is ever stealing from the many to the few. — Wendell Phillips, Speech to the Massachusetts Antislavery Soceity in 1852

The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts. — Edmund Burke

The individual can never escape the moral burden of his existence. He must choose between obedience to authority and responsibility to himself. Moral decisions are often hard and painful to make. The temptation to delegate this burden to others is therefore ever-present. Yet, as all of history teaches us, those who would take from man his moral burdens–be they priests or warlords, politicians or psychiatrists–must also take from him his liberty and hence his very humanity. — Thomas S. Szasz

One does not encourage “responsibility” by forcibly restricting the range of people’s authority over their own lives. — Butler Shaffer

The individual can never escape the moral burden of his existence. He must choose between obedience to authority and responsibility to himself. Moral decisions are often hard and painful to make. The temptation to delegate this burden to others is therefore ever-present. Yet, as all of history teaches us, those who would take from man his moral burdens–be they priests or warlords, politicians or psychiatrists–must also take from him his liberty and hence his very humanity. — Thomas S. Szasz

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression. — Thomas Paine

Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have. — Harry Emerson Fosdick

It is seldom that liberty of any kinds is lost all at once. — David Hume

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. — Albert Einstein

The policy of the American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits. — Thomas Jefferson

When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free. — Chief Justice Charles Evan Hughes

Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. — Thomas Jefferson

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. — Thomas Jefferson

I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death. — Patrick Henry

You can protect your liberties in this world only by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can be free only if I am free. — Clarence Darrow

I am for the First Amendment from the first word to the last. I believe it means what it says. — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black

We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a feather bed. — Thomas Jefferson

If we’ve learned anything in the past quarter century, it is that we cannot federalize virtue. — George H.W. Bush, 1991

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 to rest on inference. — Thomas Jefferson, Letter to James Madison December 20, 1787

[The Bill of Rights is] designed to protect individuals and minorities against the tyranny of the majority, but it’s also designed to protect the people against bureaucracy, against the government. — Judge Lawrence Tribe

Do what’s right for you, as long as it don’t hurt no one. — Elvis Presley

It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. — Justice Louis D. Brandeis

No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. — Abraham

Extremism in the defense of Liberty is no vice. And . . . moderation in the pursuit of Justice is no virtue. — Barry Goldwater

I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave. — H. L. Mencken

If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought— not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate. — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. — Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe — because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export. And with the spread of weapons that can bring catastrophic harm to our country and to our friends, it would be reckless to accept the status quo… The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country. From the Fourteen Points to the Four Freedoms, to the Speech at Westminster, America has put our power at the service of principle. We believe that liberty is the design of nature; we believe that liberty is the direction of history. We believe that human fulfillment and excellence come in the responsible exercise of liberty. And we believe that freedom — the freedom we prize — is not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind. — George W. Bush

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. — Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 1801

After 20 years on the bench I have concluded that federal drug laws are a disaster. It is time to get the government out of drug enforcement. — Judge Whitman Knapp, New York Times; May 14, 1993

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free … it expects what never was and never will be. — Thomas Jefferson

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

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously — Hubert H. Humphrey

It is not the business of the law to make anyone good or reverent or moral or clean or upright. — Murray Rothbard

To preserve the freedom of the human mind then and freedom of the press,
every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom. — Thomas Jefferson, June 18, 1799

The history of Liberty is a history of the limitations of governmental power not the increase of it. — Woodrow Wilson

We can foresee a time when . . . the only people at liberty will be prison guards who will then have to lock up one another. — Albert Camus

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God. — Thomas Jefferson

There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. — Henry David Thoreau

A people who extend civil liberties only to preferred groups start down the path either to dictatorship of the right or the left. — Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others. — William Allen White

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. — Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

The first thing to learn in intercourse with others is non-interference with their own particular ways of being happy, provided those ways do not assume to interfere by violence with ours. — William James

Let the people decide through the marketplace mechanisms what they wish to see and hear. Why is there this national obsession to tamper with this box of transistors and tubes when we don’t do the same for ‘Time’ magazine? — Mark Fowler

A free press is not a privilege but an organic necessity in a great society. — Walter Lippman

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

There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences. — P.J. O’Rourke

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. — William Pitt

A way of life that is odd or even erratic but interferes with no rights or interests of others is not to be condemned because it is different. — Chief Justice Warren E. Burger

We love peace, but not peace at any price. There is a peace more destructive of the manhood of living man, than war is destructive to his body. Chains are worse than bayonets. — Douglas Jerrold

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 sufficient warrant. — John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Chapter 1

Private property was the original source of freedom. It still is its main bulwark. — Walter Lippman

Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. — Thomas Jefferson, 1801

All that is good is not embodied in the law; and all that is evil is not proscribed by the law. A well-disciplined society needs few laws; but it needs strong mores. — William F. Buckley, Jr.

The right to be left alone is indeed the beginning of all freedoms. — Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

The dilemma … is between the democratic process of the market in which every individual has his share and the exclusive rule of a dictatorial body. Whatever people do in the market economy is the execution of their own plans. In this sense every human action means planning. What those calling themselves planners advocate is not the substitution of planned action for letting things go. It is the substitution of the planner’s own plan for the plans of his fellowmen. The planner is a potential dictator who wants to deprive all other people of the power to plan and act according to their own plans. He aims at one thing only: the exclusive absolute preeminence of his own plan. — Ludwig von Mises

To save a man’s life against his will is the same as killing him. — Horace

If we cannot end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. — John F. Kennedy

There is no slavery but ignorance. Liberty is the child of intelligence. — Robert G. Ingersoll

It’s easy for people to assume that the Bill of Rights will be, as somebody once called the Constitution, a machine that runs itself. I disagree. I think eternal vigilance is the price of keeping it in working order. — Judge Lawrence Tribe

Put no constrictions on the people. Leave ‘em ta Hell alone. — Jimmie Durante

Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another’s beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them. — Joshua Liebman

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular. — Adlai Stevenson

Liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint; the more restraint on others to keep off from us, the more liberty we have. — Daniel Webster, 1847

Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be. — James Baldwin

The argument for liberty is not an argument against organization, which is one of the most powerful tools human reason can employ, but an argument against all exclusive, privileged, monopolistic organization, against the use of coercion to prevent others from doing better. — Friedrich Hayek

So long as a man rides his hobbyhorse peaceably and quietly along the King’s highway, and neither compels you or me to get up behind him —pray, Sir, what have either you or I to do with it? — Laurence Stern, 1759

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. — Benjamin Franklin

Liberty is often a heavy burden on a man. It involves the necessity for perpetual choice which is the kind of labor men have always dreaded. — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood. — John Adams

The real freedom of any individual can always be measured by the amount of responsibility which he must assume for his own welfare and security. — Robert Welch

If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have a paradise in a few years — Bertrand Russell

It is asserted by the most respectable writers upon government, that a well regulated militia, composed of the yeomanry of the country, have ever been considered as the bulwark of a free people. Tyrants have never placed any confidence on a militia composed of freemen. — John Dewitt

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

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. — James Madison

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. — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too. — Thomas Jefferson

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression. — Thomas Paine, 1795

It is not only vain, but wicked, in a legislator to frame laws in opposition to the laws of nature, and to arm them with the terrors of death. This is truly creating crimes in order to punish them. — Thomas Jefferson, 1779

If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate. — Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Freedom and the power to choose should not be the privilege of wealth. They are the birthright of every American. — George Bush

Whenever they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn people. — Heinrich Heine

 

Quotes on Economics

The “private sector” of the economy is, in fact, the voluntary sector; and…the “public sector” is, in fact, the coercive sector. — Henry Hazlitt

The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics. — Thomas Sowell

Never appeal to a man’s ‘better nature.’ He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. — Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

The instinct of ownership is fundamental in man’s nature. — William James, The Variety of Religious Experience, 1902

The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition is so powerful that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations. — Adam Smith

The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. — Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

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 Hayek

When a government takes over a people’s economic life it becomes absolute, and when it has become absolute it destroys the arts, the minds, the liberties and the meaning of the people it governs. — Maxwell Anderson

What is called ‘capitalism’ might more accurately be called consumerism. It is the consumers who call the tune, and the capitalists who want to remain capitalists have to learn to dance to it. — Thomas Sowell

Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. — John Adams

The principle that both sides benefit from trade is readily visible when it involves two parties within a country; it somehow becomes confused when an invisible political barrier separates the parties. Neither the mercantilists of yesteryear nor those who fuss about the trade deficit today have ever satisfactorily answered this fundamental question: Since each and every trade is “favorable” to the individual traders, how is it possible that these transactions can be totaled up to produce something “unfavorable”? — Lawrence W. Reed, The Trade Deficit: Much Ado About Nothing

A panhandler is far more moral than corporate welfare queens….The panhandler doesn’t enlist anyone to force you to give him money. He’s coming up to you and saying, “Will you help me out?” The farmers, when they want subsidies, they’re not asking for a voluntary transaction. They go to a congressman and say, “Could you take his money and give it to us?” That’s immoral. — Walter E. Williams

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. — Adam Smith

The blame for [the national debt] lies with the Congress and the President, with Democrats and Republicans alike, most all of whom have been unwilling to make the hard choices or to explain to the American people that there is no such thing as a free lunch. — Warren R. Rudman

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. — Douglas Casey

The government deficit is the difference between the amount of money the government spends and the amount it has the nerve to collect. — Sam Ewing

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder. — Frederic Bastiat

Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon. — Winston Churchill

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage-earner by pulling down the wage-payer. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot establish security on borrowed money. You cannot build character and courage by taking away men’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves. — William Boetcker

There are no such things as limits to growth, because there are no limits on the human capacity for intelligence, imagination and wonder. — Ronald Reagan

When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. — Benjamin Franklin

Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race. — William Howard Taft

To be controlled in our economic pursuits means to be controlled in everything — Friedrich Hayek

Money, which represents the prose of life, and which is hardly spoken of in parlors without an apology, is, in its effects and laws, as beautiful as roses. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Economic ignorance is the breeding ground of totalitarianism — John Jewkes, British Economist

A glance at the economic system and methods of totalitarian states — of the Soviet bloc, for example — is enough to show that state-ownership of the means of production does not lead to an increase of wealth for the people but, on the contrary, to their exploitation, whereas the reverse is true of the free countries and peoples, which are denounced for their so-called capitalism but which clearly illustrates how private ownership of the means of production is contributing more and more to the general welfare. — Ludwig Erhard

I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared. — Thomas Jefferson

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. — Mark Twain

What is called “orthodox” economics is in most countries barred from the universities and is virtually unknown to the leading statesmen, politicians, and writers. The blame for the unsatisfactory state of economic affairs can certainly not be placed upon a science which both rulers and masses despise and ignore. — Ludwig von Mises, Human Action

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

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand. — Milton Friedman

Agriculture, manufacturers, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are then most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise. — Thomas Jefferson, First annual message to Congress; December 8, 1801

The common man is the sovereign consumer whose buying or abstention from buying ultimately determines what should be produced and in what quantity and quality. — Ludwig von Mises

Government is not the generator of economic growth; working people are. — U.S. Senator Phil Gramm

I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple. Were we directed from Washington when to sow, when to reap, we should soon want bread. — Thomas Jefferson

Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others. — Ayn Rand

Private property was the original source of freedom. It still is its main bulwark. — Walter Lippman

Sovereign ingredient for a happy marriage: Pay cash or do without. Interest charges not only eat up a household budget, awareness of debt eats up domestic felicity — Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer. — Ludwig von Mises

We cannot expect existing businesses to promote legislation that would harm them. It is up to the rest of us to promote the public interest by fostering competition across the board and to recognize that being pro-free enterprise may sometimes require that we be anti-existing business. — Milton Friedman

The free market is the only mechanism that has ever been discovered for achieving participatory democracy. — Milton Friedman, Introduction to the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of The Road to Serfdom

Don’t knock the rich. When did a poor person ever give you a job? — Dr. Laurence J. Peter

The policy of the American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits. — Thomas Jefferson

But how is this 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. — Frederic Bastiat

The dilemma … is between the democratic process of the market in which every individual has his share and the exclusive rule of a dictatorial body. Whatever people do in the market economy is the execution of their own plans. In this sense every human action means planning. What those calling themselves planners advocate is not the substitution of planned action for letting things go. It is the substitution of the planner’s own plan for the plans of his fellowmen. The planner is a potential dictator who wants to deprive all other people of the power to plan and act according to their own plans. He aims at one thing only: the exclusive absolute preeminence of his own plan. — Ludwig von Mises

The blame for [the national debt] lies with the Congress and the President, with Democrats and Republicans alike, most all of whom have been unwilling to make the hard choices or to explain to the American people that there is no such thing as a free lunch. — Senator Warren Rudman

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

What is wrong with our age is precisely the widespread ignorance of the role which these policies of economic freedom played in the technological evolution of the last two hundred years. People fell prey to the fallacy that the improvement of the methods of production was contemporaneous with the policy of laissez faire only by accident. — Ludwig von Mises, Human Action

National saving is the only way a country can have its capital and own it too. Models of the economic growth process identify national saving as one of the key policy variables in influencing a nation’s living standards in the long run. — Edward Gramlich

We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefitting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development — Ronald Reagan

In war, the stronger overcomes the weaker. In business, the stronger imparts strength to the weaker. — Frederic Bastiat

I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. — Thomas Jefferson

I champion an economic order ruled by free prices and markets…the only economic order compatible with human freedom. — Wilhelm Ropke

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess of the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. — Sir Alexander Fraser Tyler

One definition of an economist is somebody who sees something happen in practice and wonders if it will work in theory. — Ronald Reagan

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. — Marcus Tullius Cicero

There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it’s only a hundred billion. It’s less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers. — Richard Feynman

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free. — P.J. O’Rourke

The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits — Plutarch

 

Quotes on Courage

Some people mistake weakness for tact. If they are silent when they ought to speak and so feign an agreement they do not feel, they call it being tactful. Cowardice would be a much better name. Tact is an active quality that is not exercised by merely making a dash for cover. Be sure, when you think you are being extremely tactful, that you are not in reality running away from something you ought to face. — Sir Frank Medlicott

A “no” uttered from the deepest conviction is better and greater than a “yes” merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble. — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities, because it is the quality that guarantees all others. — Winston Churchill

Quotes on Education

It is time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy. It’s a bureaucratic system where everybody’s role is spelled out in advance, and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It’s not a surprise when a school system doesn’t improve. It more resembles a Communist economy than our own market economy. — Albert Shanker

Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. — Winston Churchill

There is, in fact, only one solution: the state, the government, the laws must not in any way concern themselves with schooling or education. Public funds must not be used for such purposes. The rearing and instruction of youth must be left entirely to parents and to private associations and institutions. — Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism

Scholarship is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge. The wise instructor accomplishes this by opening to his pupils precisely the attractions the study has for himself. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

What does education often do? It makes a straight cut ditch of a free meandering brook — Henry David Thoreau

There is no slavery but ignorance. Liberty is the child of intelligence. — Robert G. Ingersoll

The problem is not that public schools do not work well, but rather that they do. The first goal and primary function of schools is not to educate good people, but good citizens. It is the function which we normally label state indoctrination. — Wendy McElroy, Demystifying the State

The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it. — John Locke, 1693

What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know; it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so. — Yogi Berra

The highest result of education is tolerance. — Helen Keller

My grandmother wanted me to have an education so she kept me out of school. — Margaret Mead

Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. — Malcolm S. Forbes

It would be a mistake to assume that the present-day educational system is unchanging. On the contrary, it is undergoing rapid change. But much of this change is no more than an attempt to refine the existent machinery, making it ever more efficient in pursuit of obsolete goals. — Alvin Toffler

Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing. The rest is mere sheep-herding. — Ezra Loomis Pound

Quotes on Government

We both alike know that in the discussion of human affairs the question of justice only enters where there is equal power to enforce it, and that the powerful exact what they can, and the weak grant what they must. — Thucydides

Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race. — William Howard Taft

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 demands 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

We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefitting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people. This is the one irrefutable lesson of the entire postwar period contradicting the notion that rigid government controls are essential to economic development. — Ronald Reagan

The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition. The reasonings contained in these papers must have been employed to little purpose indeed, if it could be necessary now to disprove the reality of this danger. That the people and the States should, for a sufficient period of time, elect an uninterrupted succession of men ready to betray both; that the traitors should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment; that the governments and the people of the States should silently and patiently behold the gathering storm and continue to supply the materials until it should be prepared to burst on their heads must appear to everyone more like the incoherent dreams of a delirious jealousy, or the mis-judged exaggerations of a counterfeit zeal, than the sober apprehensions of genuine patriotism. Extravagant as the supposition is, let it, however, be made. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country to be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government: still it would not be going too far to say that the State governments with the people on their side would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five to thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near a half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the late successful resistance of this country against the British arms will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain that with this aid alone, they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will, and direct the national force; and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned, in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be able to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition, that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures, which must precede and produce it. — James Madison, Federalist Papers No. 46

The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself… Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable. — H. L. Mencken

The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object. — Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address; 1801

There is no distinctly native American criminal class – save Congress. — Mark Twain

Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it, as well as to that repose and confidence in the minds of the people, which are among the chief blessings of civil society. — James Madison

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. — Henry David Thoreau

What would you think of someone who said, “I would like to have a cat provided it barked”? Yet your statement that you favor a government provided it behaves as you believe desirable is precisely equivalent. The biological laws that specify the characteristics of cats are no more rigid than the political laws that specify the behavior of government agencies once they are established. The way the government behaves and the adverse consequences are not an accident, not a result of some easily corrected human mistake, but a consequence of its constitution in precisely the same way that a meow is related to the constitution of a cat. — Milton Friedman, Free to Choose

Outside of the Constitution we have no legal authority more than private citizens, and within it we have only so much as that instrument gives us. This broad principle limits all our functions and applies to all subjects. — President Andrew Johnson

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. — Abraham Lincoln

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation. — Henry Kissinger

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. — Albert Einstein

I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is “needed” before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents “interests,” I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can. — Barry Goldwater

The notion that the church, the press, and the universities should serve the state is essentially a Communist notion … In a free society these institutions must be wholly free — which is to say that their function is to serve as checks upon the state. — Alan Barth

Politics are a lousy way for a free man to get things done. — P.J. O’Rourke

The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people. — Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop — P.J. O’Rourke

Every increase in the size of government necessitates a decrease in an individual’s freedom. — Christian Harold Fletcher Riley

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth! — Ronald Reagan

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong. — Thomas Sowell

The blame for [the national debt] lies with the Congress and the President, with Democrats and Republicans alike, most all of whom have been unwilling to make the hard choices or to explain to the American people that there is no such thing as a free lunch. — Warren R. Rudman

Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for the law. — Justice Louis D. Brandeis

To model our political system upon speculations of lasting tranquility, is to calculate on the weaker springs of the human character. — Alexander Hamilton

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

The twentieth century was one in which limits on state power were removed in order to let the intellectuals run with the ball, and they screwed everything up and turned the century into an abattoir? We Americans are the only ones who didn’t get creamed at some point during all of this. We are free and prosperous because we have inherited political and value systems fabricated by a particular set of eighteenth-century intellectuals who happened to get it right. But we have lost touch with those intellectuals. — Neal Stephenson, In the Beginning Was the Command Line, p. 53

The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. — Ronald Reagan

In a democracy, the opposition is not only tolerated as constitutional, but must be maintained because it is indispensable. — Walter Lippman

If a society is to remain free, its government must be controlled. — Ayn Rand

Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious. — Lao Tsu

Whenever there is an interest and power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done and not less readily by a powerful and interested Party, than by a prince. — James Madison

Crisis is the rallying cry of the tyrant. — James Madison

That’s the difference between governments and individuals. Governments don’t care, individuals do. — Mark Twain

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

Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status. — Laurence J. Peter

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under. — H. L. Mencken

It’s easy for people to assume that the Bill of Rights will be, as somebody once called the Constitution, a machine that runs itself. I disagree. I think eternal vigilance is the price of keeping it in working order. — Judge Lawrence Tribe

Families, when a child is born Want it to be intelligent. I, through intelligence, Having wrecked my whole life, Only hope the baby will prove Ignorant and stupid. Then he will crown a tranquil life by becoming a Cabinet Minister — Su Tung-p’o

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

I had a copy of the Soviet Constitution and I read it with great interest. And I saw all kinds of terms in there that sound just exactly like our own: ‘Freedom of assembly’ and ‘freedom of speech’ and so forth. Of course, they don’t allow them to have those things, but they’re in there in the constitution. But I began to wonder about the other constitutions — everyone has one — and our own, and why so much emphasis on ours. And then I found out, and the answer was very simple — that’s why you don’t notice it at first. But it is so great that it tells the entire difference. All those other constitutions are documents that say, ‘We, the government, allow the people the following rights,’ and our Constitution says ‘We the People, allow the government the following privileges and rights.’ We give our permission to government to do the things that it does. And that’s the whole story of the difference — why we’re unique in the world and why no matter what our troubles may be, we’re going to overcome. — Ronald Reagan

Any excuse will serve a tyrant. — Aesop

Republic … it means people can live free, talk free, go or come, buy or sell, be drunk or sober, however they choose. — John Wayne

The policy of the American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits. — Thomas Jefferson

I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion. Enlighten the people generally and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day. — Thomas Jefferson

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

What this country needs is more unemployed politicians. — Edward Langley

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

The dilemma … is between the democratic process of the market in which every individual has his share and the exclusive rule of a dictatorial body. Whatever people do in the market economy is the execution of their own plans. In this sense every human action means planning. What those calling themselves planners advocate is not the substitution of planned action for letting things go. It is the substitution of the planner’s own plan for the plans of his fellowmen. The planner is a potential dictator who wants to deprive all other people of the power to plan and act according to their own plans. He aims at one thing only: the exclusive absolute preeminence of his own plan. — Ludwig von Mises

The dangers of a concentration of all power in the general government of a confederacy so vast as ours are too obvious to be disregarded. — Franklin Pierce

In 1940, 4 million Americans worked for government and 11 million worked in manufacturing. Today, there are 7 million more Americans working for government (21.5 million) than in all manufacturing industries (14.5 million). We have shifted from an economy of people who make things, to an economy of people who tax, regulate, subsidize and outlaw things. — Stephen Moore, Pricey Government Prize

It is not the business of the law to make anyone good or reverent or moral or clean or upright. — Murray Rothbard

After 20 years on the bench I have concluded that federal drug laws are a disaster. It is time to get the government out of drug enforcement. — Judge Whitman Knapp, New York Times; May 14, 1993

In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of. — Confucius

The general (federal) government will tend to monarchy, which will fortify itself from day to day, instead of working its own cures. — Thomas Jefferson

The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. — Charles-Louis De Secondat

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be… if we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed. — Thomas Jefferson

Tyranny seldom announces itself. … In fact, a tyranny may exist without an individual tyrant. A whole government, even a democratically elected one, may be tyrannical. — Joseph Sobran

Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. — Thomas Jefferson, 1801

Government is like fire. If it is kept within bounds and under the control of the people, it contributes to the welfare of all. But if it gets out of place, if it gets too big and out of control, it destroys the happiness and even the lives of the people. — Harold E. Stassen

…Societies exist under three forms, sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments, wherein the will of every one has a just influence; as is the case in Enngland, in a slight degree, and in our States, in a great one. 3. Under governments of force; as is the case in all other monarchies, and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existance under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep….The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that, enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has its evils, too; the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosum libertatum quam quietum servitutum. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. 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. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people, with have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government. — Thomas Jefferson

No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. — Mark Twain

It is not only vain, but wicked, in a legislator to frame laws in opposition to the laws of nature, and to arm them with the terrors of death. This is truly creating crimes in order to punish them. — Thomas Jefferson, 1779

A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. — Gerald Ford, An address to a joint session of Congress on August 12, 1974.

I don’t make jokes, I just watch the government and report the facts. — Will Rogers

… but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights .. — Alexander Hamilton

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

Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem. — Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address; January 20, 1981

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. — P.J. O’Rourke

Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster, and what has happened once in 6000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world. — Daniel Webster

When you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship. — Harry Trueman

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. — Mark Twain, A.B. Paine’s Mark Twain: A Biography (Harper, 1912, Vol. 2, page 724).

No man is wise enough, nor good enough to be trusted with unlimited power. — Charles Caleb Colton

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 to rest on inference. — Thomas Jefferson, Letter to James Madison December 20, 1787

The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies, too; and this lie creeps from its mouth; ‘I, the state, am the people.’ — Friedrich Nietzsche

The makers of the Constitution conferred, as against the government, the Right to be let alone; the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized men — Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead v. United States (1928)

When all government, 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

Only in a police state is the job of a policeman easy. — Orson Welles

When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property. — Thomas Jefferson

Therefore,
The sage does nothing and people govern themselves,
Provokes no one and people are peaceful,
Does not interfere and people prosper,
Is without desire and people fulfill themselves.

The more people are controlled, the less contented they become.
But when will leaders understand the significance of this? — Lao Tsu

We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert — J. Robert Oppenheimer

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. — Thomas Paine

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. — Plato

The State never intentionally confronts a man’s sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. — Henry David Thoreau

t is not my intention to do away with government. It is rather to make it work — work with us, not over us; stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it. — Ronald Reagan

[The Bill of Rights is] designed to protect individuals and minorities against the tyranny of the majority, but it’s also designed to protect the people against bureaucracy, against the government. — Judge Lawrence Tribe

Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.” — Abraham Lincoln, Speech to the Illinois House of Representatives; 18 Dec. 1840

It is a mistake to assume that government must necessarily last forever. The institution marks a certain stage of civilization — is natural to a particular phase of human development. It is not essential, but incidental. As amongst the Bushmen we find a state antecedent to government, so may there be one in which it shall have become extinct. — Herbert Spencer

The state represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual State. In a single State, if the persons entrusted with supreme power become usurpers, the different parcels, subdivisions, or districts of which it consists, having no distinct government in each, can take no regular measures for defense. The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair. — Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 29

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. — Voltaire

No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a certain portion of order and stability. — Federalist No. 62

I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus, building a wall of separation between Church and State. — Thomas Jefferson, Quoted in Andrew A. Lipscomb’s Writings 16:281

Must a citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desireable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think is right. — Henry David Thoreau

A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar — H. L. Mencken

Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. — Woodrow Wilson

…I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves. The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, and to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right:…Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves…. — Thomas Jefferson, A letter to Colonel Edward Carrington about the perpetrators of Shays’s Rebellion.

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

When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators. — P.J. O’Rourke

Elections are a good deal like marriages, there’s no accounting for anyone’s taste. Every time we see a bridegroom we wonder why she ever picked him, and it’s the same with Public Officials. — Will Rogers

Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned. — Milton Friedman

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)

Quotes on Science

Science never tells a man how he should act; it merely shows how a man must act if he wants to attain definite ends. — Ludwig von Mises, Human Action

There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors. — Robert Oppenheimer

In questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. — Galileo Galilei

Quotes on Democracy

The merit of our Constitution was, not that it promotes democracy, but checks it. — Horatio Seymour

Democracy can’t work. Mathematicians, peasants, and animals, that’s all there is – so democracy, a theory based on the assumption that mathematicians and peasants are equal, can never work. Wisdom is not additive; its maximum is that of the wisest man in a given group. — Robert A. Heinlein

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. — H. L. Mencken

People who object to weapons aren’t abolishing violence, they’re begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically ‘right.’ Guns ended that, and social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work. — L. Neil Smith

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

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. — H. L. Mencken

The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state controlled police and the military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an ‘equalizer.’ Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed –but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny — Edward Abbey

The free market is the only mechanism that has ever been discovered for achieving participatory democracy. — Milton Friedman, Introduction to the Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of The Road to Serfdom

Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom; socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. 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, Discours pronounce a l’assemblee constituante le 12 septembre 1848 sur la question du droit at travail

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

Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How’s that again? I missed something.
Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let’s play that over again, too. Who decides? — Robert A. Heinlein

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

Quotes on Morality

Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice. — Thomas Paine

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. — Albert Einstein

There is … only one categorical imperative. Is is: Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that is should become a universal law. — Immanuel Kant

True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding out the true path for ourselves and fearlessly following it. — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Give me chastity and self-restraint, but do not give it yet. — Saint Augustine

Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil. — Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

It is easy to perform a good action, but not easy to acquire a settled habit of performing such actions. — Aristotle

The meaning of good and bad, of better and worse, is simply helping or hurting. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have often thought that morality may perhaps consist solely in the courage of making a choice. — Leon Blum

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. — Henry David Thoreau

A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pleasures and pains of his species must become his own. — Percy Bysshe Shelly

Without doubt the greatest injury of all was done by basing morals on myth. For, sooner or later, myth is recognized for what it is, and disappears. Then morality loses the foundation on which it has been built. — Lord Herbert Louis Samuel

In nothing do humans approach so nearly to the gods as doing good to others. — Cicero

The moral sense is as much a part of our constitution as that of feeling, seeing, or hearing — Thomas Jefferson

Quotes on History

If we’re ignorant of the historical sacrifices that made our liberties possible, we will be less likely to make the sacrifices again so that those liberties are preserved for future generations. And, if we’re ignorant, we won’t even know when government infringes on our liberties. Moreover, we’ll happily cast our votes for those who’d destroy our liberties. — Walter E. Williams

The past is a source of knowledge, and the future is a source of hope. Love of the past implies faith in the future — Stephen Ambrose

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (generous gifts) 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, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilization has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this 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 into bondage. — Professor Alexander Tyler

History teaches us many things; we learn very few of them. — Will Spencer

On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us 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, Letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823, The Complete Jefferson, p322.

You need only reflect that one 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 the struggle for independence — Charles Austin Beard, The Blue Press

A generation which ignores history has no past and no future. — Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see. — Winston Churchill

Wise men say, and not without reason, that whosoever wished to foresee the future might consult the past. — Nicolo Machiavelli, The Prince

The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. — Charles-Louis De Secondat

Quotes on Activism

My country is the world. My religion is to do good. — Thomas Paine

The chief cause of problems is solutions. — Eric Sevareid

New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any reason but because they are not already common. — John Locke, Essay concerning Human Understanding, 1690

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men — Abraham Lincoln

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, for then it cost nothing to be a patriot. — Mark Twain

First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me. — Martin Niemoeller, From the Kirchenverwaltung der Evangelischen Kirche in Hessen and Darmstadt

Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority. — Thomas Huxley

One man can completely change the character of a country, and the industry of its people, by dropping a single seed in fertile soil. — John C. Gifford

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important. — Bertrand Russell

You may think your actions are meaningless and that they won’t help, but that is no excuse, you must still act. — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent … the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding. — Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States, United States Supreme Court (1928)

We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a feather bed. — Thomas Jefferson

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. — Edmund Burke

A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. — Thomas Jefferson

You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth. — Henrik Ibsen

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it. — Martin Luther King Jr.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has! — Margaret Meade

I love agitation and investigation and glory in defending unpopular truth against popular error. — James Garfield

Men are failures not because they are stupid but because they are not sufficiently impassioned — Struthers Burt

If one does not carefully trace the problems back to their roots in a previous intervention, it is very easy to believe that yet another intervention is just the ticket for rectifying them. — Gene Callahan

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. — Elie Wiesel

Extremism in the defense of Liberty is no vice. And . . . moderation in the pursuit of Justice is no virtue. — Barry Goldwater

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. — Edmund Burke

Those who choose not to empathise may enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy. — J.K. Rowling

Noncooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good. — Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

An individual, thinking himself injured, makes more noise than a State. — Thomas Jefferson, 1785

Nature intended me for the tranquil pursuits of science, by rendering them my supreme delight. But the enormities of the times in which I have lived have forced me to commit myself on the boisterous ocean of political passions. — Thomas Jefferson

The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest painis the pain of a new idea. — Martin Luther King Jr.

The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people — Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

The right to revolt has sources deep in our history. — Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

Attempts to create heaven on earth invariably produce hell. — Karl Popper

Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. — Frederick Douglass

The hottest seats in hell are reserved for those who, in time of great moral crises, choose to do nothing — Dante Alighieri

All that is essential for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing — Edmund Burke

This country belongs to the people and whenever they shall grow weary of their government they can exercise their constitutional right to amend it, or revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it. — Abraham Lincoln

Let them call me a rebel and I welcome it; I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of demons should I make a whore of my soul. — Thomas Paine

The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism…. It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn. — George Washington

Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important. — T.S.Elliot

Any formal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always
ready to defend their most precious possession —their ignorance. — Hendrick van Loon

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success and more dangerous to carry through, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has against him those who benefited from the old system; while those who should benefit from the new are only lukewarm friends, being suspicious, as men generally are, of something new and not yet experienced. In speaking of innovations, it is first necessary to establish whether the innovators depend upon the strength of others or their own…in the first case, things always go badly for them, in the second, they almost always succeed. From this comes the fact that all armed prophets were victorious and the unarmed came to ruin. — Nicolo Machiavelli

If we make peaceful revolution impossible, we make violent revolution inevitable — John F. Kennedy

As for Doing-good, that is one of the professions which are full. Moreover, I have tried it fairly, and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution. — Henry David Thoreau

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome. — Dr. Samuel Johnson

Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct. — Thomas Carlyle

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. — Robert F. Kennedy

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. … And what country can preserve its liberties, if it’s rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure — Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Stephens Smith, quoted in Padover’s Jefferson On Democracy

One determined person can make a significant difference; a small group of determined people can change the course of history — Sonia Johnson

We are descended in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels — men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. — Dwight David Eisenhower

The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations . . . This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution. — John Adams, February 13, 1818

Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. — Ayn Rand

It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error. — Robert Jackson, United States Supreme Court Decision: American Communications Association v. Douds

 

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