Government and Power Quotations

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

James Madison

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.

Patrick Henry, Virginia’s Ratification convention, 1788

Every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of society as great as he can. He generally neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. He intends only his own gain, and he is, in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was not part of his intention.

Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Senator Barry Goldwater, 1964 (1909-1998)

Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel.

Ayn Rand

The whole notion that you can equalize opportunity in things that matter is utopian.

Dr. Thomas Sowell, Economist and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford, California, 1992

Its not charity if its at the point of a gun. Unknown Conditions in this country are improving gradually but I am not in accord with the Roosevelt Administration as I believe their policies are retarding the natural means of recovery. Spending, not balancing the budget and interference with business by the government at Washington are halting instead of helping.

William Henry Eglen, November 26, 1935, on the New Deal and its impact on prolonging the ‘Great Depression’

I made a speech by that title [A Time for Choosing] in 1964. I said, ‘We?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve been told increasingly that we must choose between left or right.’ But we?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢re still using those terms – left or right. And I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ll repeat what I said then in ?¢‚ǨÀú64. ?¢‚ǨÀúThere is no left or right. There?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s only an up or down?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢: up to the ultimate in individual freedom, consistent with an orderly society – or down to the totalitarianism of the ant heap. And those today who, however good their intentions, tell us that we should trade freedom for security are on that downward path.

Ronald Reagan, Mar 20, 1981

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream–the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order–or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path.

Ronald Reagan, October 27, 1964

It is tempting to believe that social evils arise from the activities of evil men and that if only good men (like ourselves, naturally) wielded power, all would be well. That view requires only emotion and self-praise. To understand why it is that ‘good’ men in positions of power will produce evil, while the ordinary man without power but able to engage in voluntary cooperation with his neighbors will produce good, requires analysis and thought, subordinating the emotions to the rational faculty.

Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize-winning economist International Herald Tribune, August 15, 1994

Discrimination on the basis of race is illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional, inherently wron
g, and destructive of democratic society.

William J. Bennett with Terry Eastland, Counting by Race, 1979

We’re not really going to get anywhere until we take the criminality out of drugs.

Secretary of State George P. Schultz, PBS, McNeil-Lehrer News Hour, December 18, 1989

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

Frederic Bastiat, Essays on Political Economy (1846) (Quotation varies slightly with translator)

I actually kind of like Janet Reno. She seems like a nice enough lady. But when you’re basically going through the entire phone book trying to find women lawyers who don’t have maids to pick the attorney general of the United States, how well can you do?

Dave Barry, Reason, Dec 1994

To rely on the Congressional Budget Office for your understanding of the Eighties is like relying on the Flintstones for your understanding of the Stone Age.

Rep. Dick Armey

Don’t I sometimes get called a Nazi? Yes, name-calling, in which conservatives such as myself are loathe to indulge, is a favorite tactic of the liberals. I have often been called a Nazi, and, although it is unfair, I don’t let it bother me. I don’t let it bother me for one simple reason. No one has ever had a fantasy about being tied to a bed and sexually ravished by someone dressed as a liberal.

P. J. O’Rourke, Give War A Chance: Eyewitness Accounts of Mankind’s Struggle Against Tyranny, Injustice and Alcohol-Free Beer

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of crisis, have no opinion.

Dante Alighieri

This country is being run by politicians who don’t understand anything about life. They control more and more people, and it’s disgusting.

Roger Daltrey of ‘The Who’ in ‘Le nouvel Observateur’ (July 12, 1994)

People just assume because you’re black and from the South that you’re a Democrat. But I don’t think, like Bill Clinton does, that you should penalize people for being successful.

Charles Barkley

The politicians don’t just want your money. They want your soul. They want you to be worn down by taxes until you are dependent and helpless.

James Dale Davidson

The Clinton Administration’s health care plan is a large down payment on socialism, with future installments certain to be larger than advertised, whether measured in money or in lost freedom to make our own decisions about medical care that are
literally questions of life and death.

Dr. Thomas Sowell, Economist and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford, California, Forbes,

January 17, 1994

A Constitutional Republic must protect the rights of all citizens — rich or poor — equally. Taxing one to provide for another makes a slave out of the first and a slave master of the second.

Christian H. F. Riley

[I]f they want to have a war let it begin here.

Captain John Parker, April 19, 1775, at Lexington Common, commanding the militia at the Battle of Lexington and Concord, at the start of the United States Revolutionary War. One of approximately 10 members of the Parker family fighting in the Revolutionary War.

When one person decides he can take from another merely because he is in need, he is called a thief. When a government does so, that civilization is on the road to ruin.

Christian H. F. Riley

An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.

Thomas Jefferson

The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.

Ronald Reagan

Captialism is the only economic system compatible with freedom as it is the only system that is based on non-coerced interaction between free people.

Charles H. Fletcher, 1836-1922

The U.S. government is now in the process of becoming a far worse monopoly than any private enterprise. This Act is vague and even the Congress can not determine what part of the Constitution gives them the authority to act. The result will be law that shifts over time.

On the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, Charles H. Fletcher, of Fletcher’s Castoria, 1836-1922, someone not impacted by the Act.

If the business [of manufacturing patent medicines] were an underhanded one or if in the preparation of these articles injurious substances were used, or if there were anything in the nature of fraud in respect to a large proportion of the well-known proprietary articles, there might be some excuse for special legislation against the manufactures. No such excuse now exists.

On the first general food and drug bill ever to pass a house of Congress, the Senate, in 1892, Charles H. Fletcher, of Fletcher’s Castoria, 1836-1922

New York Times, April 15, 1892

Like Bill Clinton of the 1990s, Jim Jeffords has shown himself to be the Catiline of America for 2001. Airot Parker,, 5/25/2001

[‘Catiline was the treacherous and degenerate character whose scheming nearly destroyed the Roman Republic and whose licentious ways inspired, by their very profligacy, Cicero’s eloquent oration on virtue, which was subsequently memorized by generations of American schoolboys. No one in the political leadership of the early American republic needed to
be reminded who Catiline was. He was the talented but malevolent

destroyer of republican government.’ Joseph J. Ellis , Founding Brothers, The Revolutionary Generation, 2000.]

If, as some suggest, captial punishment is legalized murder then jail is legalized kidnapping.

Airot Parker,, June 8, 2001