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Quotations on Tyranny and Power

Experience [has] shown that, even under the best forms [of government],those entrusted with power have, in time and by slow operations, pervertedit into tyranny. Thomas Jefferson

Observe that any social movement which begins by redistributing income,ends up by distributing sacrifices. –Ayn Rand
Most of the presidential candidates’ economic packages involve ‘tax breaks,’which is when the government, amid great fanfare, generously decides notto take quite so much of your income. In other words, these candidates aretrying to buy your votes with your own money.–Dave Barry (1992)
Small men seeking great wealth or power have too often and too long turnedeven the highest levels of public service into mere personal opportunity. Senator Barry Goldwater, 1964
[Taxation is legal plunder] if the law benefits one citizen at theexpense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do withoutcommitting a crime. –Frederic Bastiat
Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain – and sincelabor is pain in itself – it follows that man will resort to plunderwhenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly.And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.It is evident, then, that the proper law (government) is to use thepower of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunderinstead of work. All the measures of the law should protect propertyand punish plunder. –Frederic Bastiat
In our America, most people still believed in the power of a better tomorrow. So together, we got the government off the backs of the American people. Wecreated millions of new jobs for Americans at all income levels. We cut taxesand freed the people from the shackles of too much government. As a result,the economy burst loose in the longest peacetime expansion ever. We broughtAmerica back — bigger and better than ever.– Ronald Reagan (1986), in Growth, Opportunity, Prosperity: Setting the Record Straight on the 80s
The income-tax return has made more liars out of Americans thanthe golf scorecard.–Will Rogers

Look at the United States. There is no country in the world where thelaw is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of everyperson’s liberty and property. –Frederic Bastiat, commenting on the United States of the past.
“The greatest good for the greatest number.”… Every dictator whoever lived has justified the enslavement of his people on the theory ofwhat was good for the majority.- Ronald ReaganIf you think health care is expensive now, wait until yousee what it costs when it’s free.. –P.J. O’Rourke
When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the firstthings to be bought and sold are legislators. –P.J. O’Rourke
Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politicswon’t take an interest in you. –Pericles (430 B.C.)
Prohibition only drives drunkenness behind doors and into dark places,and does not cure it, or even diminish it. –Mark Twain (1866)
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.But I repeat myself. –Mark Twain
Talk is cheap-except when Congress does it. The government is like a baby’salimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility atthe other. –Ronald Reagan

There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.–Mark TwainThe income tax is clearly an immoral tax. It basically says that aperson’s productive capacity belongs to the state, and [the state] willdecide how much of what he earns he can keep. David Kelley

Florida Supreme Court’s Disgrace

Florida Supreme Court’s Disgrace
December 1, 2000
A single sentence of the Florida Supreme Court’s decision on hand recounts states all you need to know about the complete and utter lack of jurisprudence and intelligence of the Florida Supreme Court: ‘The will of the people, not a hyper-technical reliance on statutory provisions, should be our guiding principle.’ With a rule like this, there are no laws, merely the whim of a majority of the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Supreme Court is an utter disgrace.

Christian H F Riley

The Rule of Law or the Rule of Whim?

November 20, 2000

The Florida Supreme Court faces a clear choice: Whether to act in place of the Florida Legislature and re-write a statute, thus ignoring the will of the people who voted for the legislators who enacted the legislation, or whether to follow the expressed will of the people by upholding the law as written. The choice is judicial activism versus constitutional jurisprudence. If the Florida Supreme Court does indeed re-write the statute, there will no longer be any such thing as a “law.” Continue reading The Rule of Law or the Rule of Whim?

World Population

July 12, 2000,

For the world is too crowded folk, here is an interesting fact. The entire world population could fit in the State of Texas with a population density of approximately 28 people per acre. That is 1500 square feet per person, assuming one story. Yes that might be somewhat crowded, but the point is that it could be done and that the world is not nearly as crowded as some would have you believe. The facts:

Total Land Area: 261,914 sq. miles (167,624,960 acres) (see

Approximate world population: 6,000,000 (6 billion)

World Total Land Area: 51,789,516 sq. miles. Texas is, in other words less than 0.5 percent of the world land area.

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

“Risk adjusted returns” stock are nonsense

The concept of “risk adjusted returns” are nonsense since “risk” is not defined as one might ordinarily think.  What investors should care about is maximizing total long term returns.  Volatility adjusted returns aren’t relevant to most long term investors.  Obviously this is different for short term investments that you might need in the next few (2-10) years.  The goal should be to invest in low cost stock indexes (e.g. mutual funds [edit: or now ETFs] from low cost providers such as Vanguard or Schwab) and letting your money compound over decades.  For someone in their 20s, 30s, 40s (or arguably even in their 50s) the optimal long term percentage for their investment portfolio is a 100% in stock mix. At those ages you have decades of compounded investment returns.   For people with larger portfolios in their 60s and up who can withstand volatility and not have it impact their lifestyle, a high (90+) percentage is also reasonable: if you are only withdrawing income from your portfolio, that will be much less volatile than prices.  Not completely non-volatile of course, just less.

When your time horizon is decades, you shouldn’t care about short term volatility.  For example, t-bills might be less volatile than stocks, but over any reasonable time period the total return of stocks has been much higher.

Obviously you should talk to a financial advisor about your specific scenario, but for people in the younger age range, time and compounding at the highest rate possible is critical.

Bucknell University Economics Department and Drinking

Re: Professor Sackrey’s March 27, 1997 letter in the Bucknellian, Bucknell University’s student paper.

Let me say that as a personal matter I support letting Bucknell seniors drink alcohol at “tent party.” By the time seniors graduate all (or most) are responsible adults. In fact, most 18 year olds who are responsible enough to vote and serve their country in the armed services are responsible enough to drink. However, given the current law, it is the University President’s decision regarding drinking on the Bucknell University campus. There is a big difference between the University saying Seniors can not drink on Bucknell property and a government saying someone can not do something anywhere and enforcing it at the point of a gun.

As for Professor Sackrey’s letter to the Bucknellian (March 27, 1997), comparing the Bucknell struggle to Che Guevara’s, it is outrageous to even hint that they might be in the same class of struggle. However, it is interesting to note that in the “inalienable rights” area, Sackery –typically– omits thought of property rights of the owner of the property, in this case, Bucknell University. He confuses what he wants with the belief that has he the right to force someone else to provide it for him through their labor.

Similarly, one would expect that the Bucknell University Economics department would recognize the “inalienable rights to food, shelter, medical care and the things people need to feel their life has dignity and purpose,” all come at a cost to someone. For someone to receive the inalienable rights that Sackery enumerates, someone else must produce them. And after someone else produces these goods, someone, probably the government, must take them from the producer by force. Forced labor being advocated by the Bucknell Economics Department over drinking? Without the concept of ownership of the products of ones actions, freedom can not exist, unless one means the freedom to make others slaves.

Professor Sackery, please note that Bucknell University owns the property and can proscribe what people may do upon that property. Of course, given the classes we had in the Economics Department, one would expect the Bucknell Economics department to have trouble with the concept of private property, let alone the concept of defending it.

So, is Professor Sackery really arguing that the Seniors should take their “inalienable right” to alcohol — since, perhaps, it gives “dignity and purpose” to their final meeting together — and just ignore the University’s rules? And the Bucknell Administration wonders why the alumni don’t support the University financially as much as they might.

Christian H.F. Riley, Esq.