Category Archives: big government

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

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. Recommended Readings


We provide this recommended list of readings for anyone who is seriously interested in politics, freedom, liberty in the United States or anywhere in the world. It is critical to read what the people who wrote the documents thought on the subject if one wants to be truly informed and knowledgeable.


Their views will likely enlighten you. The serious student should study them all in depth.


If you take the time to read these items you will have a much greater understanding of the structure of the United States government, the proper function of government in general, and the ways in which politicians manipulate the populace in order to maintain their own power.

Links are provided to’s catalog if you wish to

These also make great gifts for people for birthdays and


Frederic Bastiat, 19th century philosopher

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 Federalist Papers & Anti-federalist papers

Order a copy from Amazon [hardcover]

Papers in HTML

Papers in text format

Federalist Papers in
text format

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United States Constitution United
States Constitution and Amendments

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United States Declaration of Independence

The Declaration
of Independence

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Historical Links
18th century
sermons, political essays and documents


Some other Books of Quotations and Quotes that
might be of interest

Bill of Rights of the United States

The First Ten Amendments to theConstitution of the United States,The Bill of Rights:


1st Amendment. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

2nd Amendment. A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

3rd Amendment. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

4th Amendment. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

5th Amendment. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous, crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service, in time of war, or public danger; nor shall any person be subject, for the same offense, to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

6th Amendment. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law; and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

7th Amendment. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved; and no fact, tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re- examined in any court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law.

8th Amendment. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.

9th Amendment. The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

10th Amendment. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Declaration of Independence (of the United States)

Declaration of Independence

(Adopted in Congress 4 July 1776)

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers form the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.