GOVERNMENT

"There will never be a 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, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" (1849)

Men and governments must act to the best of their ability. There is no such thing as absolute certainty but there is assurance sufficient for the purposes of human life.
        - John Stuart Mill

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
        - Justice Louis Brandeis, "Olmstead v United States" (1928)

Goodness without wisdom always accomplished evil.
        - Robert A. Heinlein, "Stranger in a Strange Land"

What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven.
        - F Hoelderlin

The circumstanes are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind.
        - Edmund Burke

It is in the power of government to prevent much evil; it can do very little positive good.
        - Edmund Burke

The ancient insanity of governments: the mania of wishing to govern too much.
        - Maximilien Robespierre

"Love your country but fear its government."

"Where is it written in the Constitution, in what section or clause is it contained, that you may take children from their parents and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battle in any war in which the folly or the wickedness of government may engage it?"

"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 (1782-1852) "Liberty without obedience is confusion, and obedience without liberty is slavery... Rule the meek meekly, and those that will not be ruled, rule with authority."

        - William Penn, "Frame of Government"

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

The greatest danger to liberty today comes from the men who are most needed and most powerful in modern government, namely, the efficient expert administrators exclusively concerned with what they regard as the public good. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. - Thomas Jefferson It is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error. - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, 1950. "Do the dayís work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. If it be to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do that. Expect to be called a standpatter, but donít be a standpatter. Expect to be called a demagogue but donít be a demagogue. Donít hesitate to be as revolutionary as science. Donít hesitate to be as reactionary as the multiplication table. Donít expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. Donít hurry to legislate. Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation."
        - Calvin Coolidge

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever - and remember that it is forever. - George Orwell "The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster." 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.'... Everything about it is false; it bites with stolen teeth. - Frederich Nietzsche, from "Thus Spake Zarathustra" "By far the most numerous and most flagrant violations of personal liberty and individual rights are performed by governments. The major crimes throughout history, the ones executed on the largest scale, have been committed not by individuals or bands of individuals but by governments, as a deliberate policy of those governments, that is, by the official representatives of governments, acting in their official capacity." One of the many reasons for the bewildering and tragic character of human existence is the fact that social organization is at once necessary and fatal. Men are forever creating such organizations for their own convenience and forever finding themselves the victims of their home-made monsters.

        - Aldous Huxley

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they have resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress."

"We must accept legitimate authority. Else society ablates itself until people welcome the warlord who will enforce a brutal kind of order that at least gives them security. The problem is not what makes a government legitimate. There have been many ways in history, royal or noble birth, priestliness, popular vote, a sociological theory, et cetera, et cetera. The problem is, how does a government keep legitimacy? How does it lose it? I say the breakdown comes when it begins doing more to people than *for* them. This has happened, it is happening, in more and more countries on Earth. In space, the disorder that soon or late follows breakdown, it would mean extinction."
        - Edmond Beynac, in "The Stars Are Also Fire" by Poul Anderson

Government: An organization that has the privilege of using force on persons who have not harmed anyone.
        - Richard Maybury

If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.

- Frank Herbert, "The Dosadi Experiment" An important art of politcians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public. - Talleyrand "The past has lobbyists who protect what they already have; the future is unrepresented unless citizens engage."
        - Newt Gingrich

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some trans-Atlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us with a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined with a Bonaparte at their head and disposing of all the treasure of the earth, our own excepted, could not by force make a track on the Blue Ridge or take a drink from the Ohio in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up from amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we must live through all times, or die by suicide."

"If Big Brother (of Orwell's 1984) comes to America, he will not be a fearsome, foreboding figure with a heart-chilling, omnipresent glare as in 1984. He will come with a smile on his face, a quip on his lips, a wave to the crowd, and a press that (a) dutifully reports the suppressive measures he is taking to save the nation from internal chaos and foreign threat; and (b) gingerly questions whether he will be able to succeed." "Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness." "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end."
        - Lord Acton (1887)

The less a government does, the fewer reasons there are for individuals, businesses, universities, and state and local governments to petition their government for special favors.
        - National Review

The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations.

Force always attracts men of low morality. "The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted." "Power corrupts. But it does more than that. Power attracts the corrupt, then corrupts them further." The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern. - Lord Acton Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche You know, if government were a product, selling it would be illegal. Government is a health hazard. Governments have killed many more people than cigarettes or unbuckled seat belts ever have. - PJ O'Rourke, "The Liberty Manifesto" Government does not cause affluence. Citizens of totalitarian countries have plenty of government and nothing of anything else. "The object of all government is roast mutton, potatoes, claret, a stout constable, an honest justice, clear highways, a free chapel."
        - Syndey Smith

Government can do something for the people only in proportion as it can do something to the people.

A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away. - Barry Goldwater It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones. You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered. - Lyndon B. Johnson Whatever power you give to the good cops, goes to the bad ones, too. Never forget that. - Phillip J. Birmingham Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, that don't hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous. - Will Rogers A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them. LIMITED GOVERNMENT

Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?

- Count Oxenstierna History suggests that the cause of national decline is, as a rule, that the state in the nation concerned has sought to do too much rather than too little. This applies as much to the Roman Empire as to the Spanish. - Hugh Thomas, "An Unfinished History of the World" Collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrranical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisition never dreamt of.

        - George Orwell

"A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."

"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.That government is best which governs least."

- Thomas Jefferson That government is best which governs not at all. - Henry David Thoreau. 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 Government exists to protect us from each other. Where Government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves. - Ronald Reagan The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed - and hence clamorous to be led to safety - by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. - H. L. Mencken Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals - that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government - that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizens' protection against the government. - Ayn Rand The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man's rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense, and, as such, may only resort to force only against those who start the use of force. - Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged" "The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods." - H. L. Mencken "The preservation of freedom is the protective reason for limiting and decentralizing governmental power. But there is also a constructive reason. The great advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science or in literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government."

"Government power must be dispersed. If government is to exercise power, better in the county than in the state, better in the state than in Washington. If I do not like what my local community does, be it in sewage disposal, or zoning, or schools, I can move to another local community, and though few may take this step, the mere possibility acts as a check. If I do not like what Washington imposes, I have few alternatives in this world of jealous nations."

- Milton Friedman, "Capitalism and Freedom" Think of what big governments have gotten up to in this century : not one, but two world wars, the gulag, the holocaust, aerial bombing of civilian population centers, the Berlin Wall, nuclear explosions, the post office. A wicked individual might want these, but he wouldn't have the cash and connections to get them. A villainous corporation could afford them but has to market the products. The Vietnam draft would be a tough sell for even the most fiendish businessmen. "Get shot! Get killed! Get diseases from foreign women who despise you in their hearts!"

Politics doesn't work. Look at the parts of America where government has had the most power, where government has spent the most money. Look at the housing projects we've got the poor people in.

- Pj O'Rourke, "Age And Guile" "Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness." - Thomas Paine Can you imagine working at the following Company? It has a little over 500 employees with the following statistics: 29 have been accused of spousal abuse. 7 have been arrested for fraud. 19 have been accused of writing bad checks. 117 have bankrupted at least two businesses. 3 have been arrested for assult. 71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit. 14 have been arrested on drug-related charges. 8 have been arrested for shoplifting. 21 are current defendants in law suits. 84 were stopped for drunk driving in 1998 alone.
Can you guess which organization this is? Give up? It's the 535 members of your United States Congress. The same group that perpetually cranks out hundreds upon hundreds of new laws designed to keep the rest of us in line. #

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