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304 Quotations on Liberty, property rights, or related to the need to be free

From Prof. Cobin's files: Appetizers | Property | Enemies of freedom
From Prof. Charles Guatney's files: Presidents and Prime Ministers | Judges | A Pope | Economists and Social Scientists | Political Philosophers and Commentators | Novelists, Humorists, and Other Writers
From Prof. N. Stephan Kinsella's files: Libertarianism & Rights | Law & Politics | Economics | Philosophy & Miscellaneous


Other websites with quotations:
Myron A. Calhoun's abundance of quotations on liberty
Pierre Lemieux's pro-liberty and anti-liberty quotes page | Ten Jefferson quotations on liberty
Another dozen great quotations on liberty | James's liberty file | Libertarian party of Kentucky
Also try the SYNERGY Server Quotations Searcher


Here are a few good ones to begin with...

“The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.”
—James Madison, Speech in the Virginia State Convention of 1829-1830, on the Question of the Ratio of Representation in the two Branches of the Legislature, December 2, 1829 (Madison, 1865, IV, page 51)
 

“Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself.  Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?  Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.”
—Thomas Jefferson Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?”
—Thomas Sowell Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“Is it conceivable that a newly emancipated people can soar to the heights of liberty, and, unlike Icarus, neither have its wings melt nor fall into an abyss?  Such a marvel is inconceivable and without precedent. There is no reasonable probability to bolster our hopes.”
—Simon Bolivar
 

“Money is preferable to politics. It is the difference between being free to be anybody you want and to vote for anybody you want. And money is more effective than politics both in solving problems and in providing individual independence. To rid ourselves of all the trouble in the world, we need to make money. And to make money, we need to be free.”
—P. J. O'Rourke
 

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”
—Frederic Bastiat Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“...all are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights, of which when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, divide or divest their posterity.”
—George Mason, Virginia Declaration of Rights [quoted in Murray N. Rothbard, (1977), "Robert Nozick and the Immaculate Conception of the State," Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 46].
 

“...could we take of the dark covering of antiquity [pertaining to the origin of kings and of the State] and trace them to their first rise, we should find the first of them nothing better than the principle ruffian of some restless gang; whose savage manners or pre-eminence in subtlety obtained him the title of chief among plunderers; and who by increasing in power and extending his depredations, overawed the quiet and defenseless to purchase their safety by frequent contributions.”
—Thomas Paine, Common Sense [quoted in Murray N. Rothbard, (1977), "Robert Nozick and the Immaculate Conception of the State," Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 45].
 

“[T]he propensity of all single and numerous assemblies [is] to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions.
—James Madison, Federalist, no. 62
 

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”
—Thomas Sowell Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. . . by an inevitable chain of causes and effects Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.”
—George Mason, at the Constitutional Congress Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.”
—Edmund Burke Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“Those who complain about the high cost of government should be glad we're not getting all the government we're paying for!”
—Will Rogers Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“I am not well versed in history, but I will submit to your recollection, whether liberty has been destroyed most often by the licentiousness of the people, or by the tyranny of rulers? I imagine, Sir, you will find the balance on the side of tyranny: Happy will you be if you miss the fate of those nations, who, omitting to resist their oppressors, or negligently suffering their liberty to be wrested from them, have groaned under intolerable despotism. Most of the human race are now in this deplorable condition...”
—Patrick Henry, June 5, 1788 Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“When mankind was in its infancy, steeped in uncertainty, ignorance, and error, was it possible to foresee what system it would adopt for preservation.”
—Simon Bolivar
 

“It is harder to release a nation from servitude than to enslave a free nation.”
—Simon Bolivar
 

“Much of the strength and efficiency of any government, in procuring & securing happiness to the people, depends on . . . the general opinion of the goodness of that government.”
—Benjamin Franklin, Quoted in Robert J. Samuelson (1995), The Good Life and Its Discontents: The American Dream in the Age of Entitlement 1945-1995, New York: Times Books, p. 187.
 

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two-hundred years. These nations have progressed throught this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back again into bondage.”
—Alexander Fraser Tyler, 1700 Quotation found in SYNERGY Server [Note: The Professor wrote about the fall of the Athenian republic over a thousand years ago this when America was a British colony.]
 

“[Liberty] is the delicate fruit of a mature civilization . . . At all times sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities, that have prevailed by associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objects often differed from their own; and this association, which is always dangerous, has been sometimes disastrous . . . The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities... Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.”
—John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (Lord Acton), The History of Freedom, with an introduction by James C. Holland (1877. The Acton Institute, 1993)
 

“It turns out, of course, that Mises was right.”
—Robert Heilbroner (1990), "After Communism", The New Yorker, September 10: pp. 91-100, cite at p. 92
 

“Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. Government is force; like fire it is a dangerous servant -- and a fearful master.”
—George Washington, 1797
 

“Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
—Lord Acton
 

“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.”
—Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 1801
 

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
—Thomas Jefferson, letter to Archibald Stuart, 1791. ME 8:276
 

“We have rights, as individuals, to give as much of our own money as we please to charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of public money.”
—David Crockett, USA Congressman (1827-1835)
 

“The moral justification of capitalism does not lie in the altruist claim that it represents the best way to achieve the 'common good.' It is true that capitalism does--if that catch phrase has any meaning--but this is merely a secondary consequence. The moral justification for capitalism lies in the fact that it is the only system consonant with man's rational nature, that it protects man's survival qua man, and that its ruling principle is: justice.”
—Ayn Rand
 

“[S]elf-identified home-schoolers have bettered the national averages on the ACT for the past three years running [1997-1999], scoring an average 22.7 last year, compared with 21 for their more traditional peers, on a scale of one to 36. Home-schoolers scored 23.4 in English, well above the 20.5 national average; and 24.4 in reading, compared with a mean of 21.4. The gap was closer in science (21.9 vs. 21.0), and home-schoolers scored below the national average in math, 20.4 to 20.7.[new paragraph] On the SAT, which began its tracking last year, home-schoolers scored an average 1,083 (verbal 548, math 535), 67 points above the national average of 1,016. Similarly, on the 10 SAT2 achievement tests most frequently taken by home-schoolers, they surpassed the national average on nine, including writing, physics and French...[new paragraph] With average family incomes of $40,000 to $50,000, lower than the $50,000-to-$60,000 median rung, the home-schoolers defied the demographic correlation between high incomes and high SAT scores. They also contradict the stereotype that they are strictly rural white fundamentalists. Nearly 4% are black. Another 4% are Hispanic. And their parents have more education than the national norm.”
Daniel Golden, "Home-Schooled Kids Defy Stereotypes, Ace SAT Test", The Wall Street Journal (February 11, 2000).
 

“Public schools will never excel because they lack "intellectual capital" and have to compensate for too many social problems.”
Daniel Golden [paraphrasing homeschooler Jason Scoggins], "Home-Schooled Kids Defy Stereotypes, Ace SAT Test", The Wall Street Journal (February 11, 2000).
 

“Of government, at least in democratic states, it may be said briefly that it is an agency engaged wholesale, and as a matter of solemn duty, in the performance of acts which all self-respecting individuals refrain from as a matter of common decency.”
—H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), American Author, Critic & Humorist.
 

“The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.”
—Samuel Gompers
 

“Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.”
—Ayn Rand
 

Property: rights, lands, allodialism, etc. plus Georgism, fascism, communism...

“Hitler did not have Mussolini's revolutionary socialist background...Nevertheless, he shared the socialist hatred and contempt for the 'bourgeoisie' and 'capitalism' and exploited for his purposes the powerful socialist traditions of Germany. The adjectives 'socialist' and 'worker' in the official name of Hitler's party ('The Nationalist-Socialist German Workers' Party') had not merely propagandistic value...On one occassion, in the midst of World war II, Hitler even declared that 'basically National Socialism and Marxism are the same.'”
—Richard Pipes (1999), Property and Freedom, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, p. 220
 

“...the Domesday Book, the cadastre of English landed properties compiled under William the Conqueror, probably used the terms "feodum" (conditional tenure) and "alodium" (outright property) as equivalents to mean 'a heritable estate, as absolute an ownership of land as is conceivable'.”
—Richard Pipes (1999), Property and Freedom, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, p. 106 [Note from Dr. Cobin: While I doubt that this notion of Pipes is true, if for no other reason than that the English above all Europeans knew the meaning of absolute land rights and there is a stark difference between the two words, but then we might also consider the following quotation:]
 

“At the time of the Norman Conquest the landed estates of the English royalty stood at their zenith. The conquerors abolished allodial holdings: previous owners, if permitted to keep their estates, became royal tenants in chief. Normal royalty not only inherited the holdings of the deposed Anglo-Saxon kings but also the confiscated real properties from the lords who had offered them resistance, much of which the distributed among their tenants. The tenants in chief were required to provide the king with fixed quotas of cavalry. To ensure that they had the required number of horsemen, they, in turn, granted estates to knights. Thus the feudal chain was forged. But William the Conqueror assumed that all the land, secular as well as clerical, belonged to him and was held by his tenants on feudal terms. A tenant in chief who failed in his duties forfeited his lands to the crown.”
—Richard Pipes (1999), Property and Freedom, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, p. 126 [Note from Dr. Cobin: This statement by Pipes seems to contradict the one above. This one suggests that the people knew what allodium was and the conquering king abolished it in favor of setting up a feudal system.]
 

“Votchina land, whether donated by the prince for services rendered, inherited, or purchased, was allodial property: accords between the appanage [a term originally meaning land set aside for the upkeep of children] princes commonly contained a formula guaranteeing every every noble possession of his estate even if he did not serve the prince on whose territory it was located...The process of transforming allodial property into tenure conditional on state service began in earnest in the reign of Ivan III at the end of the fifteenth century...”
—Richard Pipes (1999), Property and Freedom, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, pp. 168-169
 

“As can be seen, the evolution in Russia of property in land ran in the diametrically opposite direction from the rest of Europe. At the time when Western Europe knew mainly conditional land tenure in the form of fiefs, Russia knew only allodial property. By the time conditional tenure in Western Europe yielded to outright ownership, in Russia allodial holding turned into royal fiefs and their onetime owners became the ruler's tenants in chief. No single factor in Russia's history explains better the divergence of her political and economic evolution from that of the rest of Western Europe, because it meant that in the age of absolutism in Russia, unlike most of Western Europe, property presented no barrier to royal power.”
—Richard Pipes (1999), Property and Freedom, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, p. 180
 

Note from Dr. Cobin: Leaving aside the flawed idea that Western Europeans enjoyed "outright ownership" (which Pipes himself seemed to contradict in the third chapter of his book), evidently, the fall of Russia to the Mongols (Genghis Khan and his son) ruined property rights in Russia, but in some places, notably the ancient Viking settlement of Novgorod (about 100 miles south-southeast of modern St. Petersburg), allodial property and liberty flourished. (It was too far north for Genghis Khan or his son's army to bother with evidently.) Pskov, near the borders of modern Latvia and Estonia, was another Russian city with similar circumstances, but not nearly as bright as Novgorod. Pipe's account of Novgorod is an important finding for real property theory and policy. It could suggest yet another example where allodialism fostered liberty naturally. Novgorod had the last and longest standing parliament in Russia, and had the best checks on princely power. Its best days occurred during the period 1200 to 1450 or a little later maybe, until it was ruined by Ivan the Terrible. As an aside, apparently allodial policy did not provide sufficient defense services given that it fell to Ivan. In Russia, "serfdom was eternal". (p. 183). The Tsar owned everything (as the sole allodiary) and there were not any nobles who held land as they did in England. No one wanted to produce and store anything for fear tht the Prince would confiscate it by force. What little the people did have was often hidden in forests or other secluded places. There was, in a word, economic death in Russia which persisted at least until 1991. At any rate, it seems that one could note Novgorod, in addition to pre norman England, as places where allodial policy flourished. There are also other paces where allodial thnking had some significant footing, perhaps Poland and Iceland and even medieval France (although I have seen little evidence from them other than a stray passage in a history text here or there), as well as the ante-bellum USA See my book dealing with allodial policy.
 

“Russia's experience indicates that freedom cannot be legislated: it has to grow gradually, in close association with property and law. For while acquisitiveness is natural, respect for the property--and the liberty--of others is not. It has to be inculcated until it sinks such deep roots in the people's consciousness that it is able to withstand all efforts to crush it.”
—Richard Pipes (1999), Property and Freedom, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, p. 208
 

And some apropos words from the enemies of freedom

The enemies of freedom are like rotten apples

“Democracy is not so much a form of government as a set of principles.”
—Woodrow Wilson Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance.”
—Woodrow Wilson Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.”
—Woodrow Wilson Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“Democracy, the practice of self-government, is a covenant among free men to respect the rights and liberties of their fellows.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

“For the bureaucrat, the world is a mere object to be manipulated by him.”
—Karl Marx Click here for a related link (where the quotation was taken)
 

Link to full online texts by Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky

Special thanks to Professor Charles Guatney for providing the quotations below...

Presidents and Prime Ministers

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
—USA President James Madison, Speech in the Virginia Convention (June 16, 1788)
 

“One man with courage makes a majority.”
—USA President Andrew Jackson
 

“My toast would be, may our country always be successful, but whether successful or otherwise, always right.”
—USA President John Q. Adams, Letter to John Adams (1816)
 

“When more of the people's sustenance is exacted through the form of taxation than is necessary to meet the just obligations of government and expenses of its economical administration, such exaction becomes ruthless extortion and a violation of the fundamental principles of a free government.”
—USA President Grover Cleveland, Second Annual Message (December, 1886)
 

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
—British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
 

“It must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”
—USA President Harry S Truman, speech on aid to Greece and Turkey (March 12, 1947)
 

“The Communist world has great resources, and it looks strong. But there is a fatal flaw in their society. Theirs is a godless system, a system of slavery; there is no freedom in it, no consent. The Iron Curtain, the secret police, the constant purges, all these are symptoms of a great basic weakness -- the rulers' fear of their own people. In the long run the strength of our free society, and our ideals, will prevail over a system that has respect for neither God nor man.”
—USA President Harry S Truman, Farewell Address (January 15, 1953)
 

“Americans, indeed all free men, remember that in the final choice a soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains.”
—USA President Dwight D. Eisenhower, First Inaugural Address (January 20, 1953)
 

“An economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance our budget, just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.”
—USA President John F. Kennedy, New York, (December 14, 1962)
 

“The family is the cornerstone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together, all the rest -- schools, playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern -- will never be enough.”
—USA President Lyndon Johnson (June 4, 1965)
 

“How do you tell a communist? Well, itís someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? Itís someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan
 

“Well I've said it before and I'll say it again -- America's best days are yet to come. Our proudest moments are yet to be. Our most glorious achievements are just ahead. America remains what Emerson called her 150 years ago, 'the country of tomorrow.' What a wonderful description and how true. And yet tomorrow might never have happened had we lacked the courage in the 1980's to chart a course of strength and honor.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan's Speech at the 1992 National Convention
 

“Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, Los Angeles Times (January 7, 1970)
 

“It 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.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, First Inaugural Address (January 20, 1981)
 

“This Administration's objective will be a healthy, vigorous, growing economy.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, First Inaugural Address (January 20, 1981)
 

“[N]o arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, First Inaugural Address (January 20, 1981)
 

“Cures were developed for which there were no known diseases.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, Commenting on Congress and the federal budget (1981)
 

“Please tell me you're Republicans.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, to surgeons as he entered the operating room (March 30, 1981)
 

“The years ahead are great ones for this country, for the cause of freedom.... The West won't contain communism. It will transcend communism. It will dismiss it as some bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, Notre Dame (May 17, 1981)
 

“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 benefiting 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.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan (September 29, 1981)
 

“The size of the federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, address to the National Alliance of Business (October 5, 1981)
 

“Government has an important role in helping develop a country's economic foundation. But the critical test is whether government is genuinely working to liberate individuals by creating incentives to work, save, invest, and succeed.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan (October 30, 1981)
 

“Government is the people's business and every man, woman and child becomes a shareholder with the first penny of tax paid.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, address to the New York City Partnership Association (January 14, 1982)
 

“We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, address to National Association of Realtors (March 28, 1982)
 

“It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history.... [It is] the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, speech to Britain's Parliament (1982)
 

“Let us beware that while they [Soviet rulers] preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination over all the peoples of the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world.... I urge you to beware the temptation ... to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of any evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong, good and evil.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, speech to the National Association of Evangelicals (March 8, 1983)
 

“I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering those nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, address to the Nation (March 23, 1983)
 

“There are no such things as limits to growth, because there are no limits on the human capacity for intelligence, imagination and wonder.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, address to the University of South Carolina, Columbia (September 20, 1983)
 

“History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, address to the nation (January 16, 1984)
 

“We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, Normandy, France (June 6, 1984)
 

“The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, Normandy, France (June 6, 1984)
 

“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them -- this morning, as they prepared for their journey, and waved good-bye, and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, speech about the Challenger disaster (January 28, 1986)
 

“Government growing beyond our consent had become a lumbering giant, slamming shut the gates of opportunity, threatening to crush the very roots of our freedom. What brought America back? The American people brought us back — with quiet courage and common sense; with undying faith that in this nation under God the future will be ours, for the future belongs to the free.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, State of the Union Address (February 4, 1986)
 

“[G]overnment'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.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, remarks to the White House Conference on Small Business (August 15, 1986)
 

“The other day, someone told me the difference between a democracy and a people's democracy. It's the same difference between a jacket and a straitjacket.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, remarks at Human Rights Day event (December 10, 1986)
 

“Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, speech near the Berlin Wall, 1987
 

“A friend of mine was asked to a costume ball a short time ago. He slapped some egg on his face and went as a liberal economist.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, February 11, 1988
 

“Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things. It is the continuous revolution of the marketplace. It is the understanding that allows to recognize shortcomings and seek solutions.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, address to students at Moscow State University (May 31, 1988)
 

“The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, attributed
 

“Republicans believe every day is 4th of July, but Democrats believe every day is April 15.”
—USA President Ronald Wilson Reagan, attributed
 

“They have the usual socialist disease; they have run out of other people's money.”
—Margaret Thatcher, speech to a Conservative Party Conference (October 10, 1975)
 

“Let our children grow tall, and some taller than others if they have it in them to do so.”
—Margaret Thatcher (1975)
 

“If we are safe today, it is because America has stood with us. If we are to remain safe tomorrow, it will be because America remains powerful and self-confident. When, therefore, the Americans face difficulties, we need to say to them more clearly: 'We are with you....'”
—Margaret Thatcher, address to the Pilgrim's Society (January 30, 1981)
 

“Wars are not caused by the buildup of weapons. They are caused when an aggressor believes he can achieve his objectives at an acceptable price.”
—Margaret Thatcher, address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress (February 20, 1985)
 

“The Labour Party believes in turning workers against owners; we believe in turning workers into owners.”
—Margaret Thatcher, Sunday Election Rally Speech (1987)
 

“Hope is no basis for a defense policy.”
—Margaret Thatcher, speech to a Conservative Party Conference (October 14, 1988)
 

“[C]ommunist regimes were not some unfortunate aberration, some historical deviation from a socialist ideal. They were the ultimate expression, unconstrained by democratic and electoral pressures, of what socialism is all about.... In short, the state [is] everything and the individual nothing.”
—Margaret Thatcher (March 8, 1991)
 

“Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot.”
—Margaret Thatcher, The Heritage Foundation (1991)
 

“With free trade you can have both large-scale economic efficiency and small-scale political decentralization.”
—Margaret Thatcher, The Heritage Foundation (1991)
 

“No Western nation has to build a wall round itself to keep its people in.”
—Margaret Thatcher, Right Thinking
 

“Freedom is not synonymous with an easy life.... There are many difficult things about freedom: It does not give you safety, it creates moral dilemmas for you; it requires self-discipline; it imposes great responsibilities; but such is the nature of Man and in such consists his glory and salvation.”
—Margaret Thatcher, Right Thinking
 

“Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to prosecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.”
—Czech President Vaclav Havel, The Power of the Powerless (1978)
 

“My dear fellow citizens: For forty years you have heard from my predecessors on this day different variations of the same theme: how our country flourished, how many millions of tons of steel we produced, how happy we all were, how we trusted our government, and what bright perspectives were unfolding in front of us. I assume you did not propose me for this office so that I, too, would lie to you...[W]e live in a contaminated moral environment. We have fallen morally ill because we became used to saying one thing and thinking another. We have learned not to believe in anything, to ignore each other, to care only about ourselves. Notions such as love, friendship, compassion, humility, or forgiveness have lost their depth and dimensions...The previous regime ... reduced man to a means of production and nature to a tool of production. Thus it attacked both their very essence and their mutual relationship. It reduced gifted and autonomous people to nuts and bolts in some monstrously huge, noisy, and stinking machine.”
—Czech President Vaclav Havel, New Year's (1990) address to the Czech and Slovak people
 

“[O]ur souls contain exactly the contrary of what [the communists] wanted. They wanted us not to believe in God, and our churches are full. They wanted us to be materialistic and incapable of sacrifices; we are anti-materialistic, capable of sacrifice. They wanted us to be afraid of the tanks, of the guns, and instead we don't fear them at all.”
—Polish President Lech Walesa, interview with the Washington Post
 

Judges


“[T]he ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself and not what we have said about it.”
—Felix Frankfurter, Graves v. New York, 306 US 466 (1939)
 

“[P]ersonal freedom is best maintained ... when it is ingrained in a people's habits and not enforced against popular policy by the coercion of adjudicated law.”
—Felix Frankfurter, Graves v. New York, 306 US 466 (1939)
 

“If the function of this Court is to be essentially no different from that of a legislature, if the considerations governing constitutional construction are to be substantially those that underlie legislation, then indeed judges should not have life tenure and they should be made directly responsible to the electorate.”
—Felix Frankfurter, Graves v. New York, 306 US 466 (1939)
 

“Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.”
—Learned Hand, Speech at 'I Am An American Day', Central Park, New York (May 20, 1945)
 

“The [Supreme] Court's authority -- possessed neither of the purse nor the sword -- ultimately rests on sustained public confidence in its moral sanction. Such feeling must be nourished by the Court's complete detachment, in fact and appearance, from political entanglements and by abstention from injecting itself into the clash of political forces and political settlements.”
Earl Warren: A Political Biography by Earl Katcher (1967)
 

“The right to enjoy property without unlawful deprivation, no less than the right to speak out or the right to travel, is, in truth, a 'personal right'.”
—Potter Stewart, Lynch vs. HFC (1972)
 

“In a constitutional democracy the moral content of law must be given by the morality of the framer or legislator, never by the morality of the judge.”
—Robert Bork, American Enterprise Institute (1984)
 

“Those who made and endorsed our Constitution knew man's nature, and it is to their ideas, rather than to the temptations of utopia, that we must ask that our judges adhere.”
—Robert Bork, The Tempting of America
 

“The judge's authority derives entirely from the fact that he is applying the law and not his personal values. That is why the American public accepts the decisions of its courts, accepts even decisions that nullify the laws a majority of the electorate or their representatives voted for.”
—Robert Bork, Opening statement at hearings to become associate justice of the US Supreme Court, 1987
 

“[W]hen a judge goes beyond [his proper function] and reads entirely new values into the Constitution, values the framers and ratifiers did not put there, he deprives the people of their liberty. That liberty, which the Constitution clearly envisions, is the liberty of the people to set their own social agenda through the process of democracy.”
—Robert Bork, Opening statement at hearings to become associate justice of the US Supreme Court, 1987
 

“There is a tendency among young upwardly mobile, intelligent minorities today to forget. We forget the sweat of our forefathers. We forget the blood of the marchers, the prayers and hope of our race. We forget who brought us into this world. We overlook who put food in our mouths and clothes on our backs. We forget commitment to excellence. We procreate with pleasure and retreat from the responsibilities of the babies we produce. We subdue, we seduce, but we don't respect ourselves, our women, our babies. How do we expect a race that has been thrown into the gutter of socio-economic indicators to rise above these humiliating circumstances if we hide from responsibility for our own destiny?”
—Clarence Thomas, Savannah State College (June 9, 1985)
 

“This is a circus. It is a national disgrace.... [I]t is a high-tech lynching for uppity-blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that, unless you kow-tow to an old order, this is what will happen to you, you will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree.”
—Clarence Thomas, Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee (1991)
 

Popes

“The fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decisions disappears.”
—Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
 

“The modern business economy has positive aspects. Its basis is human freedom exercised in the economic field.”
—Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
 

“There exists another form of ownership which is becoming no less important than land: the possession of know-how, technology and skill. The wealth of the industrialized nations is based much more on this kind of ownership than on natural resources.”
—Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
 

“Besides the earth, man's principal resource is man himself.”
—Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
 

“Where self-interest is suppressed, it is replaced by a burdensome system of bureaucratic control that dries up the wellsprings of initiative and creativity.”
—Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
 

“The first and fundamental structure for 'human ecology' is the family, in which man receives his first ideas about truth and goodness and learns what it means to love and be loved, and thus what it means to be a person.”
—Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
 

“If Socialism, like all errors, contains some truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”
—Encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, no. 120, On reconstruction of the social order, May 15, 1931 [contributed by Michael Etchison]
 

Economists and Social Scientists


“The program of [classical] liberalism, condensed into a single word, would have to read: property.”
—Ludwig von Mises
 

“There is simply no other choice than this: either abstain from interference in the free play of the market, or to delegate the entire management of production and distribution to the government. Either capitalism or socialism: there exists no middle way.”
—Ludwig von Mises, The Macmillan Book of Business and Economic Quotations, Michael--Jackman (1962)
 

“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.”
—Albert Einstein, Out Of My Later Years (1950)
 

“The power which a multiple millionaire, who may be my neighbor and perhaps my employer, has over me is very much less than that which the smallest functionaire possesses who wields the coercive power of the state, and on whose discretion it depends whether and how I am to be allowed to live or to work.”
—Friedrich von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944)
 

“I am certain that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.”
—Friedrich von Hayek, Economic Freedom and Representative Government (1973)
 

“It is of the essence of the demand for equality before the law that people should be treated alike in spite of the fact that they are different.”
—Friedrich von Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (1960)
 

“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.”
—Friedrich von Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (1960)
 

“The great aim of the struggle for liberty has been equality before the law.”
—Friedrich von Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (1960)
 

“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.... Liberty and responsibility are inseparable.”
—Friedrich von Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (1960)
 

“[W]here the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation.”
—Friedrich von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944)
 

“We shall all be the gainers if we can create a world fit for small states to live in.”
—Friedrich von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944)
 

“The more the state 'plans' the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.”
—Friedrich von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944)
 

“Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”
—Milton Friedman, favorite saying
 

“Governments never learn. Only people learn.”
—Milton Friedman, favorite saying
 

“History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom.”
—Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (1962)
 

“The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy.”
—Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (1962)
 

“Inflation is taxation without legislation.”
—Milton Friedman, Comment on President Carter's plan to raise taxes to--reduce inflation (1979)
 

“Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government.”
—Milton Friedman, PBS 'Firing Line' (October 9, 1988)
 

“What kind of a society isn't structured on greed? The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm.”
—Milton Friedman, The Macmillan Book of Business and Economic Quotations
 

“Most economic fallacies derive ... from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.”
—Milton Friedman with Rose Friedman, Free to Choose (1979)
 

“Self-interest is not myopic selfishness. It is whatever it is that interests the participants, whatever they value, whatever goals they pursue. The scientist seeking to advance the frontiers of his discipline, the missionary seeking to convert infidels to the true faith, the philanthropist seeking to bring comfort to the needy—all are pursuing their interests, as they see them, as they judge them by their own values.”
—Milton Friedman with Rose Friedman, Free to Choose (1979)
 

“There aren't any liberals left in New York. They've all been mugged by now.”
—James Q. Wilson, attributed
 

“In the long run, the public interest depends on private virtue.”
—James Q. Wilson, Public Interest (Fall 1985)
 

“Incentives to fail [i.e., a description of what the welfare system provides].”
—Charles Murray
 

“We tried to provide more for the poor and produced more poor instead. We tried to remove the barriers to escape poverty, and inadvertently built a trap.”
—Charles Murray, Losing Ground
 

“Many Americans who supported the initial thrust of civil rights, as represented by the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, later felt betrayed as the original concept of equal individual opportunity evolved toward the concept of equal group results.”
—Thomas Sowell
 

“[T]here are many reasons, besides genes and discrimination, why groups differ in their economic performances and rewards. Groups differ by large amounts demographically, culturally, and geographically — and all these differences have profound effects on incomes and occupations.”
—Thomas Sowell, Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?.
 

“Live people are being sacrificed because of what dead people did.”
—Thomas Sowell, New York Times (July 1, 1990), regarding affirmative action and reverse discrimination.
 

Political Philosophers and Commentators


“Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and trustees are created for the benefit of the people.”
—USA Presidential candidate Henry Clay, Speech at Ashland, Kentucky (1829)
 

“To watch self-styled 'conservatives' vie with one another in bending the knee at the shrine of Franklin Delano Roosevelt is to appreciate the rot at the core of a once-great movement. Have we no heroes that we must beg for folding chairs at the dedication of a monument to the amoral man who destroyed the Old Republic?”
—Pat Buchanan
 

“First radio, then television, have assaulted and overturned the privacy of the home, the real American privacy, which permitted the development of a higher and more independent life within democratic society. Parents can no longer control the atmosphere of the home and have lost even the will to do so. With great subtlety and energy, television enters not only the room, but also the tastes of old and young alike, appealing to the immediately pleasant and subverting whatever does not conform to it.”
—Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind
 

“I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth.”
—William F. Buckley Jr., Up From Liberalism
 

“Socialize the individual's surplus and you socialize his spirit and creativeness; you cannot paint the Mona Lisa by assigning one dab of paint to a thousand painters.”
—William F. Buckley Jr., Up From Liberalism
 

“I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.”
—William F. Buckley Jr., Rumbles
 

“The state is a divine institution. Without it we have anarchy, and the lawlessness of anarchy is counter to the natural law: so we abjure all political theories which view the state as inherently and necessarily evil. But it is the state which has been in history the principal instrument of abuse of the people, and so it is central to the conservatives' program to keep the state from accumulating any but the most necessary powers.”
—William F. Buckley Jr., The Catholic
 

“World War is the second worst activity of mankind, the worst being acquiescence in slavery.”
—William F. Buckley Jr., On the Right
 

“Modern liberalism, for most liberals is not a consciously understood set of rational beliefs, but a bundle of unexamined prejudices and conjoined sentiments. The basic ideas and beliefs seem more satisfactory when they are not made fully explicit, when they merely lurk rather obscurely in the background, coloring the rhetoric and adding a certain emotive glow.”
—James Burnham, Suicide of the West
 

“The economic egalitarianism of the liberal ideology implies ... the reduction of Westerners to hunger and poverty.”
—James Burnham, Suicide of the West
 

“[E]very sincere break with Communism is a religious experience, though the Communists fail to identify its true nature, though he fail to go to the end of the experience. His break is the political expression of the perpetual need of the soul whose first faint stirring he has felt within him, years, months or days before he breaks. A Communist breaks because he must choose at last between irreconcilable opposites — God or Man, Soul or Mind, Freedom or Communism.”
—Whittaker Chambers, Witness
 

“I see in Communism the focus of the concentrated evil of our time.”
—Whittaker Chambers, Witness
 

“The Communist vision is the vision of man without God.”
—Whittaker Chambers, Witness
 

“We refused to assume ... one of the central obligations of parenthood: to make ourselves the final authority on good and bad, right and wrong, and to take the consequences of what might turn out to be a lifetime battle.”
—Midge Decter, Liberal Parents, Radical Children
 

“[T]he Communist revolution, conducted in the name of doing away with classes, has resulted in the most complete authority of any single new class. Everything else is a sham and illusion.”
—Milovan Djilas, The New Class
 

“The man has the gradually sinking feeling that his role as provider, the definitive male activity from the primal days of the hunt through the industrial revolution and on into modern life, has been largely seized from him; he has been cuckolded by the compassionate state.”
—George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty
 

“Real poverty is less a state of income than a state of mind.”
—George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty
 

“A successful economy depends on the proliferation of the rich, on creating a large class of risk-taking men who are willing to shun the easy channels of a comfortable life in order to create new enterprise, win huge profits, and invest them again.”
—George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty
 

“The first priority of any serious program against poverty is to strengthen the male role in poor families.”
—George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty
 

“The welfare culture tells the man he is not a necessary part of the family; he feels dispensable, his wife knows he is dispensable, his children sense it.”
—George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty
 

“Capitalism begins with giving. Not from greed, avarice, or even self love can one expect the rewards of commerce, but from a spirit closely akin to altruism, a regard for the needs of others, a benevolent, outgoing, and courageous temper of mind.”
—George Gilder, Wealth and Poverty
 

“Those who seek to live your lives for you, to take your liberty in return for relieving you of yours, those who elevate the state and downgrade the citizen, must see ultimately a world in which earthly power can be substituted for divine will. And this nation was founded upon the rejection of that notion and upon the acceptance of God as the author of freedom.”
—Barry Goldwater, Speech to the Republican National Convention (June 16, 1964)
 

“Equality, rightly understood as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences; wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.”
—Barry Goldwater, Speech to the Republican National Convention (June 16, 1964)
 

“A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.”
—Barry Goldwater, October 1964
 

“Scratch an intellectual and you find a would-be aristocrat who loathes the sight, the sound, and the smell of common folk.”
—Eric Hoffer, First Things, Last Things (1970)
 

“I was guilty of judging capitalism by its operations and socialism by its hopes and aspirations; capitalism by its works and socialism by its literature.”
—Sidney Hook, Out of Step
 

“Those who say life is worth living at any cost have already written for themselves an epitaph of infamy, for there is no cause and no person they will not betray to stay alive.”
—Attributed to Sidney Hook
 

“To silence criticism is to silence freedom.”
—Sidney Hook, New York Times Magazine (September 30, 1951)
 

“[Conservatives have an] affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of human existence, as opposed to the narrowing uniformity, egalitarianism, and utilitarian aims of most radical systems.”
—Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind (1953)
 

“The twentieth-century conservative is concerned, first of all, for the regeneration of spirit and character — with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.”
—Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind
 

“[The conservative believes] in a transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience.”
—Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind
 

“[C]ivilized society requires orders and classes.... If natural distinctions are effaced among men, oligarchs fill the vacuum. Ultimate equality in the judgment of God, and equality before courts of law, are recognized by conservatives; but equality of condition, they think, means equality in servitude and boredom.”
—Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind
 

“Not by force of arms are civilizations held together, but by subtle threads of moral and intellectual principle.”
—Russell Kirk, Enlivening the Conservative Mind
 

“Privilege, in any society, is the reward of duties performed.”
—Russell Kirk, Enlivening the Conservative Mind
 

“The intelligent conservative combines a disposition to preserve with an ability to reform.”
—Russell Kirk, The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Conservatism
 

“When Marxist dictators shoot their way into power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies, they blame United States policies of one hundred years ago, but then they always blame America first.”
—Jean Kirkpatrick, Speech at the 1984 Republican Convention
 

“Traditional authoritarian governments are less repressive than revolutionary autocracies.... They are more susceptible of liberalization, and ... they are more compatible with U.S. interests.”
—Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Dictatorships and Double Standards
 

“People need religion. It's a vehicle for a moral tradition. A crucial role. Nothing can take its place.”
—Irving Kristol, Two Cheers for Capitalism
 

“[A neoconservative is] a liberal who has been mugged by reality.”
—Irving Kristol, Two Cheers for Capitalism
 

“A liberal is one who says that it's all right for an 18-year-old girl to perform in a pornographic movie as long as she gets paid the minimum wage.”
—Irving Kristol, Two Cheers for Capitalism
 

“[To believe that] no one was ever corrupted by a book, you almost have to believe that no one was ever improved by a book (or play, or a movie).... No one, not even a university professor, really believes that.”
—Irving Kristol, Reflections of a Neo-Conservative
 

“[The Founding Fathers] understood that republican self-government could not exist if humanity did not possess ... the traditional 'republican virtues' of self-control, self-reliance, and a disinterested concern for the public good.”
—Irving Kristol, Reflections of a Neo-Conservative
 

“His [Reagan's] posture was forward-looking, his accent was on economic growth rather than sobriety. All those Republicans with the hearts and souls of accountants -- the traditional ideological curse of the party -- were nervous, even dismayed.”
—Irving Kristol, Reflections of a Neo-Conservative
 

“A welfare state, properly conceived, can be an integral part of a conservative society.”
—Irving Kristol, American Spectator (1977)
 

“It was a new kind of class war -- the people as citizens versus the politicians and their clients in the public sector.”
—Irving Kristol, 'Comments on Prop 13,' Wall Street Journal, (1978) commenting on Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism.
 

“The Japanese inevitably will again play a major role in the world, and not just economically. They are a great people. They cannot and should not be satisfied with a world role that limits them to making better transistor radios and sewing machines, and teaching other Asians to grow rice.”
—Lee Kuan Yew, Quoted in Richard M. Nixon's Leaders
 

“We will put no impediment in your way, and we will be down at the dock bidding you a fond farewell as you sail off into the sunset.”
—Charles M. Lichenstein, Reply to a proposal to move the United Nations from New York City (September 19, 1983)
 

“I am for lifting everyone off the social bottom. In fact, I am for doing away with the social bottom altogether.”
—Clare Booth Luce, Time (February 14, 1964)
 

“Whenever a Republican leaves one side of the aisle and goes to the other, it raises the intelligence quotient of both parties.”
—Clare Booth Luce (1956)
 

“Much of what [Henry] Wallace calls his global thinking is, no matter how you slice it, still globaloney.”
—Clare Booth Luce, Speech to Congress (February 9, 1943)
 

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”
—Douglas MacArthur, Speech to the Republican National Convention (1952)
 

“By profession I am a soldier and take great pride in that fact, but I am prouder, infinitely prouder, to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentialities of death; the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still.”
—Douglas McArthur, Reminiscences
 

“Unless men are free to be vicious they cannot be virtuous.”
—Frank Meyer, In Defense of Freedom: A Conservative Manifesto
 

“There is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future -- that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, disorder -- most particularly the furious, unrestrained lashing out at the whole social structure -- that is not only to be expected; it is very near to inevitable. And it is richly deserved.”
—Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Family and Nation (1965)
 

“It [government] cannot provide values to persons who have none, or who have lost those they had. It cannot provide inner peace. It can provide outlets for moral energies, but it cannot create those energies.”
—Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Los Angeles Times (February 15, 1969)
 

“Somehow Liberals have been unable to acquire from birth what Conservatives seem to be endowed with at birth: namely, a healthy skepticism of the powers of government to do good. ”
—Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Post (May 14, 1969)
 

“The issue of race could benefit from a period of benign neglect.”
—Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Memo to President Nixon (1971)
 

“The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare.”
—Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Times (March 2, 1976)
 

“There is no principle in the conservative philosophy than that of the inherent and absolute incompatibility between liberty and equality.”
—Robert A. Nisbet, Twilight of Authority
 

“The successful leader does not talk down to people. He lifts them up.”
—Robert A. Nisbet, Leaders
 

“In assembling a staff, the conservative leader faces a greater problem than does the liberal. In general, liberals want more government and hunger to be the ones running it. Conservatives want less government and want no part of it. Liberals want to run other people's lives. Conservatives want to be left alone to run their own lives.... Liberals flock to government; conservatives have to be enticed and persuaded. With a smaller field to choose from, the conservative leader often has to choose between those who are loyal and not bright and those who are bright but not loyal.”
—Robert A. Nisbet, Leaders
 

“Only slowly did I come to the precise capitalist insight: creativity is more productive than rote labor; therefore, the primary form of capital is mind. 'Errand Into the Wilderness' Capitalism is ... a social order favorable to alertness, inventiveness, discovery, and creativity. This means a social order based upon education, research, the freedom to create, and the right to enjoy the fruit's of one's own creativity.”
—Michael Novak
 

“Where self-government is not possible in personal life, it remains to be seen whether it is possible in the republic. Every prognosis based on history would suggest that lack of self-government in the individual citizenry will lead to lack of restraint in the government of the republic.... Personal prodigality will be paralleled by public prodigality. As individuals live beyond their means, so will the state. As individuals liberate themselves from costs, responsibilities, and a prudent concern for the future, so will their political leaders. When self-government is no longer an ideal for individuals, it cannot be credible for the republic.”
—Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
 

“To be a conservative ... is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopia's bliss.”
—Michael Oakeshott, Rationalism in Politics
 

“But what is freedom? Freedom from what? There is nothing to take man's freedom away from him, save other men. To be free, a man must be free of his brothers.”
—Ayn Rand, Anthem
 

“If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose — because it contains all the others -- the fact that they were the people who created the phrase 'to make money.' No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity -- to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted, or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created.”
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
 

“We are on strike, we, the men of the mind. We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.”
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
 

“Competition is a by-product of productive work, not its goal. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
—Ayn Rand letter
 

“The motive [of egalitarianism] is not the desire to help the poor, but to destroy the competent. The motive is hatred of the good for being the good -- a hatred focused specifically on the fountainhead of all goods, spiritual or material; the men of ability.”
—Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It?
 

“Poverty doesn't cause crime. Crime causes poverty -- or more precisely, crime makes it harder to break out of poverty. The vast majority of poor people are honest, law-abiding citizens whose opportunities for advancement are stunted by the drug dealers, muggers, thieves, rapists, and murderers who terrorize their neighborhoods.”
—James K. Stewart, Policy Review (Summer 1986)
 

“Crime is the ultimate tax on enterprise. It must be reduced or eliminated before poor people can fully share in the American dream.”
—James K. Stewart, Policy Review (Summer 1986)
 

“Liberal relativism has its roots in the natural right tradition of tolerance or in the notion that everyone has a natural right to the pursuit of happiness as he understands happiness; but in itself it is a seminary of intolerance.”
—Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History
 

“[A]bsolute tolerance is altogether impossible; the allegedly absolute tolerance turns into ferocious hatred of those who have stated clearly and most forcefully that there are unchangeable standards founded in the nature of man and the nature of things.”
—Leo Strauss, Liberalism Ancient and Modern
 

“New Age Liberalism was in essence nothing more complicated or noble than a running argument with life as it was led by normal Americans.”
—R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., The Liberal Crackup
 

“'Tyrrellism ... the technique of blackening an opponent's reputation by quoting him. Viewed as vulgar'.”
—R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., The Liberal Crackup
 

“The absence of a literary sensibility among the conservatives abetted their proclivity for narrowness, for it shut them off from imagination and the capacity to dramatize ideas and personalities.”
—R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., The Conservative Crackup
 

“For four centuries every man has been not only his own priest but his own professor of ethics, and the consequence is an anarchy which threatens even that minimum consensus of value necessary to the political state.”
—Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences
 

“Man is constantly being assured today that he has more power than ever before in history, but his daily experience is one of powerlessness. If he is with a business organization, the odds are great that he has sacrificed every other kind of independence in return for that dubious one known as financial. Modern social and corporate organization makes independence an expensive thing; in fact, it may make common integrity a prohibitive luxury for the ordinary man.”
—Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences
 

“The theory is that election to Congress is tantamount to being dispatched to Washington on a looting raid for the enrichment of your state or district, and no other ethic need inhibit the feeding frenzy.”
—George Will, Oread Review
 

“The best use of history is as an inoculation against radical expectations, and hence against embittering disappointments.”
—George Will, The Pursuit of Happiness and Other Sobering Thoughts
 

“[A] determined assault on poverty is not only compatible with conservatism, but should be one of its imperatives in an urban, industrialized society.”
—George Will, The Pursuit of Happiness and Other Sobering Thoughts
 

“This age ... defines self-fulfillment apart from, even against, the community. The idea of citizenship has become attenuated and is now defined almost exclusively in terms of entitlements.”
—George Will, The Pursuit of Happiness and Other Sobering Thoughts
 

“[Freedom] is not only the absence of external restraints. It is also the absence of irresistible internal compulsions, unmanageable passion, and uncensorable appetites.”
—George Will, Statecraft as Soulcraft
 

“The essence of childishness is an inability to imagine an incompatibility between one's appetite and the world. Growing up involves, above all, a conscious effort to conform one's appetites to a crowded world.”
—George Will, Statecraft as Soulcraft
 

“The concern is less that children will emulate the frenzied behavior described in porn rock than they will succumb to the lassitude of the de-moralized.”
—George Will, 'Morning After The Cold War is over and the University of Chicago won it', editorial (December 9, 1991)
 

“There are no limits on our future if we don't put limits on our people.”
—Jack Kemp (April 6, 1987)
 

“America's mission to the world did not end when communism ended. Our mission is ongoing.... Our mission is to continue to tell the world that we are for the freedom and human rights of all men and women, for all time — and to do everything we can to transform the ancient dream and hope of freedom into a democratic reality everywhere! And with God's help we will.”
—Jack Kemp (November 30, 1990)
 

Novelists, Humorists, and Other Writers


“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.”
—C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
 

“[N]owhere on the planet, nowhere in history, was there a regime more vicious, more bloodthirsty, and at the same time more cunning than the Bolshevik, the self-styled Soviet regime.”
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago
 

“To reject this inhuman Communist ideology is simply to be a human being. Such a rejection is more than a political act. It is a protest of our souls against those who would have us forget the concepts of good and evil.”
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Warning to the West
 

“We have placed too much hope in politics and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life.”
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart
 

“Patriotism means unqualified and unwavering love for the nation, which implies not uncritical eagerness to serve, not support for unjust claims, but frank assessment of its vices and sins, and penitence for them.”
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, From Under the Rubble
 

“European democracy was originally imbued with a sense of Christian responsibility and self-discipline, but these spiritual principles have been gradually losing their force. Spiritual independence is being pressured on all sides by the dictatorship of self-satisfied vulgarity, of the latest fads, and of group interests.”
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, From Under the Rubble
 

“To coexist with communism on the same planet is impossible. Either it will spread, cancer-like, to destroy mankind, or else mankind will have to rid itself of communism (and even then face lengthy treatment for secondary tumors).”
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Mortal Danger
 

“Communism will never be halted by negotiations or through the machinations of detente. It can only be halted by force from without or by disintegration from within.”
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Mortal Danger
 

“If there is one profoundly reactionary sector in Latin America, it is the leftist intellectuals. They are a people without memory. I have never heard one of them admit he made a mistake. Marxism has become an intellectual vice. It is the superstition of the entire century.”
—Octavio Paz, Quoted by Alan Riding, New York Times (May 3, 1979)
 

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”
—P.J. O'Rourke, Parliament of Whores
 

“What is this oozing behemoth, this fibrous tumor, this monster of power and expense hatched from the simple human desire for civic order? How did an allegedly free people spawn a vast, rampant cuttlefish of dominion with its tentacles in every orifice of the body politic?”
—P.J. O'Rourke, Parliament of Whores
 

“Wealth is, for most people, the only honest and likely path to liberty. With money comes power over the world. Men are freed from drudgery, women from exploitation. Businesses can be started, homes built, communities formed, religions practiced, educations pursued. But liberals aren't very interested in such real and material freedoms. They have a more innocent — not to say toddlerlike — idea of freedom. Liberals want the freedom to put anything into their mouths, to say bad words and to expose their private parts in art museums.”
—P.J. O'Rourke, Give War a Chance
 

“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, Give War a Chance
 

“There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please.”
—P.J. O'Rourke, Speech to the Cato Institute (1993)
 

“There are just two rules of governance in a free society: Mind your own business. Keep your hands to yourself.”
—P.J. O'Rourke, Speech to the Cato Institute (1993)
 

“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.”
—P.J. O'Rourke, Speech to the Cato Institute (1993)
 

“Poverty and suffering are not due to the unequal distribution of goods and resources, but to the unequal distribution of capitalism.”
—Rush Limbaugh, Policy Review, Summer 1992
 

“I have come up with a new national symbol for the United States. I think we need to junk the eagle and come up with a symbol that is more appropriate for the kind of government we have today. We need to replace the eagle with a huge sow that has a lot of nipples and a bunch of fat little piglets hanging on them, all trying to suckle as much nourishment from them as possible.”
—Rush Limbaugh, The Way Things Ought to Be
 

“I prefer to call the most obnoxious feminists what they really are: feminazis.”
—Rush Limbaugh, The Way Things Ought to Be
 

“The argument that the West was somehow to blame for world poverty was itself a Western invention. Like decolonization, it was a product of guilt, the prime dissolvent of order and justice.”
—Paul Johnson, Modern Times
 

“By early 1933, therefore, the two largest and strongest of Europe were firmly in the grip of totalitarian regimes which preached and practiced, and indeed embodied, moral relativism, with all its horrifying potentialities.”
—Paul Johnson, Modern Times
 

“Throughout these years, the power of the State to do evil expanded with awesome speed. Its power to do good grew slowly and ambiguously.”
—Paul Johnson, Modern Times
 

Special thanks to N. Stephan Kinsella for providing the quotations below...

N. Stephan Kinsella 1999 

Libertarianism and Rights

“It is easier to commit murder than to justify it.”
—Papinian (Aemilius Papinianus), quoted in Barry Nicholas, An Introduction to Roman Law, p. 30 n.2 (1962).
 

Alternative quote to the above: “Papinian [a third-century Roman jurist, considered by many to be the greatest of Roman jurists] is said to have been put to death for refusing to compose a justification of Caracalla's murder of his brother and co-Emperor, Geta, declaring, so the story goes, that it is easier to commit murder than to justify it.”
—Barry Nicholas, An Introduction to Roman Law, p. 30 n.2 (1962).
 

“Whatever may be open to disagreement, there is one act of evil that may not, the act that no man may commit against others and no man may sanction or forgive. So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate—do you hear me? No man may start—the use of physical force against others.”
—Ayn Rand, "Galt's Speech," in For the New Intellectual 164 (p. 133, paperback edition) (1961), quoted in The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z (Harry Binswanger, ed. 1986), at 363.
 

“[T]he basic axiom of libertarian political theory holds that every man is a self-owner, having absolute jurisdiction over his own body. In effect, this means that no one else may justly invade, or aggress against, another's person. It follows then that each person justly owns whatever previously unowned resources he appropriates or 'mixes his labor with'. From these twin axioms— self-ownership and 'homesteading'—stem the justification for the entire system of property rights titles in a free market society.”
—Murray N. Rothbard, "Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution," Cato Journal, Vol. 2 (1982): 60-61.
 

“[O]ur existence is due to the fact that we do not, indeed cannot accept a norm outlawing property in other scarce resources next to and in addition to that of one's physical body. Hence, the right to acquire such goods must be assumed to exist.”
—Hans-Hermann Hoppe, The Economics and Ethics of Private Property: Studies in Political Economy and Philosophy (Kluwer: 1993): 185.
 

Old saying: “What you do speaks so loud I can't hear what you are saying.”
—Quoted in Clarence Carson, "Free Enterprise: The Key to Prosperity", in The Freedom Philosophy Vol. 27, 27 (1988).
 

“[T]he various values defended by liberalism are not arbitrary, a matter of mere personal preference, nor do they derive from some natural law . . . . Rather, they are nothing less and nothing more than what could be called the operative presuppositions or intrinsic features and demands of communicative rationality itself. In other words, they are values that are implicitly recognized and affirmed by everyone by the very fact of their engaging in communicative reason. This amounts to saying that no one can rationally deny them without at the same time denying reason, without self-contradiction, without in fact abandoning all attempts to persuade the other and to reach agreement. . . . [T]he notion of universal human rights and liberties is not an . . . arbitrary value, a matter of mere personal preference . . . . On the contrary, it is nothing less and nothing more than the operative presupposition or intrinsic feature and demand of communicative rationality itself.”
—G.B. Madison, The Logic of Liberty (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986): 266, 269.
 

“The only proof that can be offered for the validity of the liberal position is that we are discussing it and its acceptance is a presupposition of discussion, since discussion is the essence of the position itself.”
—Frank H. Knight, Freedom and Reform (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1982): 473=9674.
 

“[J]ust as one cannot win a game of chess against an opponent who will not make any moves—and just as one cannot argue mathematically with a person who will not commit himself to any mathematical statements—so moral argument is impossible with a man who will make no moral judgements at all . . . . Such a person is not entering the arena of moral dispute, and therefore it is impossible to contest with him. He is compelled also—and this is important—to abjure the protection of morality for his own interests.”
—R.M. Hare, Freedom and Reason (1963): A7 6.6
 

“[T]he victim is entitled to respond according to the rule ('The use of force is permissible') that the aggressor himself has implicitly laid down.”
—John Hospers, "Retribution: The Ethics of Punishment," in Assessing the Criminal: Restitution, Retribution, and the Legal Process, Randy E. Barnett and John Hagel III, eds., (Cambridge: Ballinger, 1977): p. 191.
 

“The injury [the penalty] which falls on the criminal is not merely implicitly just—as just, it is eo ipso his implicit will, an embodiment of his freedom, his right; on the contrary, it is also a right established within the criminal himself, i.e., in his objectively embodied will, in his action. The reason for this is that his action is the action of a rational being and this implies that it is something universal and that by doing it the criminal has laid down a law which he has explicitly recognized in his action and under which in consequence he should be brought as under his right.”
—G.W.F. Hegel, The Philosophy of Right A7 100 (T.M. Knox trans., 1969) (reprinted in Philosophical Perspectives on Punishment (Gertrude Ezorsky ed., 1972): 107 (Emphasis in last sentence added; brackets in Ezorsky)
 

“With him [an aggressor] we are returned to the first-stage state of nature and may use force against him. In so doing we do not violate his rights or in any other way violate the principle of right, because he has broken the reciprocity required for us to view such a principle [of rights] as binding. In this we find the philosophic grounding for the moral legitimacy of the practice of punishment. Punishment is just that practice which raises the price of violation of the principle of right so as to give us all good reason to accept that principle.”
—J. Charles King, A Rationale for Punishment, 4 J. Libertarian Stud. (1980): 154.
 

“In transgressing the law of Nature, the offender declares himself to live by another rule than that of reason and common equity . . . and so he becomes dangerous to mankind; . . . every man . . . by the right he hath to preserve mankind in general, may restrain, or where it is necessary, destroy things noxious to them, and so may bring such evil on any one who hath transgressed that law, as may make him repent of the doing of it . . . ." B6 11: A murderer "hath, by the unjust violence and slaughter he hath committed upon one, declared war against all mankind, and therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a tiger, one of those wild savage beasts with whom men can have no society nor security."; "It has been noted that one who wishes to extinguish or convey an inalienable right may do so by committing the appropriate wrongful act and thereby forfeiting it.”
—John Locke, The Second Treatise on Civil Government B6 8
 

“[W]hen someone is punished for having violated others' rights, it is not the case that the criminal has alienated or otherwise lost his rights; rather, it is the case that the criminal's choice to live in a rights-violating way is being respected.”
—Douglas B. Rasmussen & Douglas J. Den Uyl, Liberty and Nature: An Aristotelian Defense of Liberal Order (1991): 85
 

“[I]f someone attacks another, that act carries with it, as a matter of the logic of aggression, the implication that from a rational moral standpoint the victim may, and often should retaliate.”
—Tibor R. Machan, Individuals and Their Rights (1989): 176
 

“[T]hose who do not want peace, or want it only for others in relation to themselves rather than vice versa, are on their own and may in principle be dealt with by any degree of violence we like.”
—Jan Narveson, The Libertarian Idea (1988): 210
 

“What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.”
—Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, (D.F. Pears & B.F. McGuinness trans., London & New York: Routledge, 1961): ∂ 7.0 (p. 74).
 

“The socialist society would have to forbid capitalist acts between consenting adults.”
—Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974), p. 163.
 

“But when mankind increased in number, craft, and ambition, it became necessary to entertain conceptions of more permanent dominion; and to appropriate to individuals not the immediate use only, but the very substance of the thing to be used. Otherwise innumerable tumults must have arisen, and the good order of the world been continually broken and disturbed, while a variety of persons were striving to get the first occupation of the same thing, or disputing which of them had actually gained it. As human life also grew more and more refined, abundance of conveniences were devised to render it more easy, commodious, and agreeable; as, habitations for shelter and safety, and raiment for warmth and decency. But no man would be at the trouble to provide either, so long as he had only an usufructuary property in them, which was to cease the instant that he quitted possession; if, as soon as he walked out of his tent, or pulled off his garment, the next stranger who came by would have aright to inhabit the one, and to wear the other.”
—2 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (last emphasis added): *4.
 

“The right to enjoy property without lawful deprivation . . . is in truth a personal right . . . . In fact, a fundamental interdependence exists between the personal right to liberty and the personal right in property. Neither could have meaning without the other. That rights in property are basic civil rights has long been recognized.”
—United States Supreme Court, Lynch v. Household Fin. Corp., 405 U.S. 538, 552 (1972).
 

“When we say that one has the right to do certain things we mean this and only this, that it would be immoral for another, alone or in combination, to stop him from doing this by the use of physical force or the threat thereof. We do not mean that any use a man makes of his property within the limits set forth is necessarily a moral use.”
—James A. Sadowsky, "Private Property and Collective Ownership," in The Libertarian Alternative, ed. Tibor R. Machan (Chicago: Nelson-Hall Co., 1974), 120=9621.
 

“[L]ife for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stroke for stroke.”
—Exodus 21:23-25, in God, The Jerusalem Bible: Reader's Edition (1968). See also Deuteronomy 19:21; Leviticus 24:17-21.
 

“Having once the right to punish, we may modify the punishment according to the useful and the pleasant.”
—F.H. Bradley, Ethical Studies (2d ed. 1927): 26-27.
 

“[W]e must distinguish two questions commonly confused. They are, first Why do men in fact punish? This is a question of fact to which there may be many different answers . . . . The second question, to be carefully distinguished from the first, is What justifies men in punishing? Why is it morally good or morally permissible for them to punish?”
—H.L.A. Hart, Punishment and Responsibility (1968): 74.”

“[T]here is no affront [or injustice] where the victim consents.”
—[Roman jurist] Ulpian (Domitius Ulpianus), Edict, book 56, 4 The Digest of Justinian (Theodor Mommsen, Paul Krueger & Alan Watson eds., 1985), at Book 47, A7 10.1.5 (nulla iniuria est, quae in volentem fiat).
 

“The case for the recognition of consent as a defense in case of the deliberate infliction of harm can also be made in simple and direct terms. The self-infliction of harm generates no cause of action, no matter why inflicted. There is no reason, then, why a person who may inflict harm upon himself should not, prima facie, be allowed to have someone else do it for him.”
—Richard A. Epstein, Intentional Harms, J. Legal Stud. 4 (1975): 411.
 

“When men are judges in their own cases, it can be objected that "self-love will make men partial to themselves and their friends; and, on the other side, ill-nature, passion, and revenge will carry them too far in punishing others . . . .”
—John Locke, The Second Treatise on Civil Government at 13 (B6 11)
 

Law & Politics


“[I]t is perfectly possible, in theory and historically, to have efficient and courteous police, competent and learned judges, and a body of systematic and socially accepted law—and none of these things being furnished by a coercive government.”
—Murray N. Rothbard, For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto (reprint ed. 1985): 234.”
 

“[Jeremy Bentham] evinced no misgivings about the power or reason—in particular Bentham's reason—to decide any questions of policy de novo, without benefit of authority, consensus, precedent, etc. . . . Bentham is not a little the fanatic whose willingness to sweep aside the obstacles to implementation of his proposals draws sustenance from a boundless confidence in his own reasoning powers. . . . Bentham's blind spot about the problem of social order is of a piece with his enthusiasm for social planning. He worried about all monopolies except the most dangerous, the monopoly of political power.”
—Richard A. Posner, "Blackstone and Bentham," Journal of Law & Economics. 19 (1976): 594, 603-606
 

“The Nazi party was elected to office by the freely cast ballots of millions of German voters . . . . In the national election of July 1932, the Nazis obtained 37 percent of the vote and a plurality of seats in the Reichstag. On January 30, 1933, in full accordance with the country's legal and constitutional principles, Hitler was appointed Chancellor. Five weeks later, in the last (and semi-free) election of the pre-totalitarian period, the Nazis obtained 17 million votes, 44 percent of the total.”...[new paragraph]...The voters were aware of the Nazi ideology. Nazi literature, including statements of the Nazi plans for the future, papered the country during the last years of the Weimar Republic. Mein Kampf alone sold more than 200,000 copies between 1925 and 1932. The essence of the political system which Hitler intended to establish in Germany was clear.”
—Leonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America (1982): 5-6.
 

“No socialist author ever gave a thought to the possibility that the abstract entity which he wants to vest with unlimited power—whether it is called humanity, society, nation, state, or government—could act in a way of which he himself disapproves.”
—Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, 692 (rev'd ed. 1966)
 

“[T]he ballot . . . is a mere substitute for a bullet". ”
—Lysander Spooner, No Treason No. VI: The Constitution of No Authority at 15, in No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority and A Letter to Thomas F. Bayard (Ralph Myles Publisher ed n 1973) (1870); also reprinted in The Lysander Spooner Reader (1992): 71.
 

“For the law of Nature would, as all other laws that concern men in this world, be in vain if there were nobody that in the state of Nature had a power to execute that law, and thereby preserve the innocent and restrain offenders . . . .”
—John Locke, The Second Treatise on Civil Government (Prometheus Books ed n 1986) (1690), at B6 7.
 

Economics


“Less than seventy-five years after it officially began, the contest between capitalism and socialism is over: capitalism has won.”
—Robert Heilbroner (1989), "The Triumph of Capitalism", The New Yorker, January 23: p. 98
 

“Where there is no market there is no price system, and where there is no price system there can be no economic calculation.”
—Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis (Liberty Fund rev'd ed., trans. J. Kahane 1981): 113 (p. 131 of the 1936 J. Kahane translation).
 

“The paradox of planning is that it cannot plan, because of the absence of economic calculation. What is called a planned economy is no economy at all.”
—Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, p. 700.
 

“If we were to renounce monetary calculation, every economic computation would become absolutely impossible. . . . [The socialist society] must forgo the intellectual division of labor that consists in the cooperation of all entrepreneurs, landowners, and workers as producers and consumers in the formation of market prices. But without it, rationality, i.e., the possibility of economic calculation, is unthinkable.”
—Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism: In the Classical Tradition (trans. Ralph Raico, ed n 1985): 75.
 

“Mises demonstrated that, in any economy more complex than the Crusoe or primitive family level, the socialist planning board would simply not know what to do, or how to answer any of these vital questions. Developing the momentous concept of calculation, Mises pointed out that the planning board could not answer these questions because socialism would lack the indispensable tool that private entrepreneurs use to appraise and calculate: the existence of a market in the means of production, a market that brings about money prices based on genuine profit-seeking exchanges by private owners of these means of production. Since the very essence of socialism is collective ownership of the means of production, the planning board would not be able to plan, or to make any sort of rational economic decisions. Its decisions would necessarily be completely arbitrary and chaotic, and therefore the existence of a socialist planned economy is literally 'impossible' (to use a term long ridiculed by Mises's critics).”
—Murray N. Rothbard, "The End of Socialism and the Calculation Debate Revisited", Rev. Austrian Econ. 5 (1991): 52-53.
 

“It is . . . paradoxical that the very economists who support the free market at the present time do not seem to care to consider whether a free market could really last within a legal system centered on legislation.”
—Bruno Leoni, Freedom and the Law (Liberty Fund expanded . ed., Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1991) (1961): 23.
 

“[In a system where legislation is widely used to "make" law,] nobody can tell whether a rule may be only one year or one month or one day old when it will be abrogated by a new rule. All these rules are precisely worded in written formulae that readers or interpreters cannot change at their will. Nevertheless, all of them may go as soon and as abruptly as they came. The result is that, if we leave out of the picture the ambiguities of the text, We are always "certain" as far as the literal content of each rule is concerned at any given moment, But we are never certain that tomorrow we shall still have the rules we have today.”
—Bruno Leoni, Freedom and the Law (Liberty Fund expanded . ed., Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1991) (1961): 74-75.
 

“The legal system centered on legislation, while involving the possibility that other people (the legislators) may interfere with our actions every day, also involves the possibility that they may change their way of interfering every day. As a result, people are prevented not only from freely deciding what to do, but from foreseeing the legal effects of their daily behavior.”
—Bruno Leoni, Freedom and the Law (Liberty Fund expanded . ed., Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1991) (1961): 10.
 

“In a decentralized legal system, "[l]aw develops in a case by case manner during which judges fit and adapt existing law to circumstances so as to produce an overall order which, although it may not be efficient in a technical, rationalistic sense, . . . is more stable than that created by statute . . . . [S]tatute law is in fact much more capricious [than common law] precisely because, in the modern world especially, statutes change frequently according to the whims of legislatures . . . . A structure of law which is not the result of will and cannot be known in its entirety, paradoxically, displays more regularities than a written code.”
—Barry, The Tradition of Spontaneous Order, 5 Lit. of Liberty 7, 44 (1982), quoted in Peter H. Aranson, "Bruno Leoni in Retrospect," 11 Harv. J. Law & Publ. Policy (1988): at 723, n.40.
 

“Mass fabrication of laws ends by jeopardizing the other fundamental requisite of law—certainty.”
—Giovanni Sartori, Liberty and Law (1976): p. 38.
 

“[T]he mere fact of legislation—of democratic law-making—increases the degree of uncertainty. Rather than being immutable and hence predictable, law becomes increasingly flexible and unpredictable. What is right and wrong today may not be so tomorrow. The future is thus rendered more haphazard. Consequently, all around time preferences degrees will rise, consumption and short-term orientation will be stimulated, and at the same time the respect for all laws will be systematically undermined and crime promoted (for if there is no immutable standard of right , then there is also no firm definition of crime ).”
—Hans-Hermann Hoppe, "Time Preference, Government, and the Process of De-Civilization from Monarchy to Democracy," 5 J. des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines (1994): 340.
 

“Without legislative interference by non-judges, the "common law would grow gradually. It would grow and develop in the same way that all customary law grows and develops, particularly as a consequence of the mutual consent of parties entering into reciprocal arrangements. For example, two parties may enter into a contract, but something then occurs that the contract did not clearly account for. The parties agree to call upon an arbitrator or mediator to help lead them to a solution. The solution affects only those parties in the dispute, but if it turns out to be effective and the same potential conflict arises again, it may be voluntarily adopted by others. In this way, the solution becomes part of customary law.”
—Bruce L. Benson, The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State (1990), at 283 (endnote omitted).
 

“Great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of Government. It has its origin in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man. It existed prior to Government, and would exist if the formality of Government was abolished. The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all the parts of a civilised community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together. The landholder, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation, prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the whole. Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their law; and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence than the laws of Government. In fine, society performs for itself almost everything which is ascribed to Government.”
—Thomas Paine, "The Rights of Man" (Part II, Chapter 1, "Of Society and Civilisation"), in Common Sense, The Rights of Man, and Other Essential Writings of Thomas Paine, (Meridian 1984) (1792), at 228.
 

“For it is an established rule to abide by former precedents, where the same points come again in litigation: as well to keep the scale of justice even and steady, and not liable to waver with every new judge's opinion; as also because the law in that case being solemnly declared and determined, what before was uncertain, and perhaps indifferent, is now become a permanent rule, which it is not in the breast of any subsequent judge to alter or vary from, according to his private sentiments . . . .”
—1 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England: A7 83, at *69
 

“[W]hen laws are to be framed by popular assemblies, even of the representative kind, it is too Herculean a task to begin the work of legislation afresh, and extract a new system from the discordant opinions of more than five hundred counselors. A single legislator or an enterprising sovereign, a Solon or Lycurgus, a Justinian or a Frederick, may at any time form a concise, and perhaps an uniform, plan of justice; and evil betide that presumptuous subject who questions its wisdom or utility. But who that is acquainted with the difficulty of new-modeling any branch of our statute laws (though relating but to roads or to parish settlements) will conceive it ever feasible to alter any fundamental point of the common law, with all its appendages and consequents, and set up another rule in its stead?”
—3 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England: *267
 

Philosophy and Miscellaneous


Law of non-contradiction: “The same thing cannot at the same time both belong and not belong to the same object and in the same respect.”
—IV Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1005b 19-21
 

“Reason is man's only means of grasping reality and of acquiring knowledge—and, therefore, the rejection of reason means that men should act regardless of and/or in contradiction to the facts of reality.”
—Ayn Rand, "The Left: Old and New," in The New Left: The Anti-Industrialist Revolution at 84 (1971), quoted in The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z, (Harry Binswanger, ed. 1986) at 407.
 

Re a reported exchange “many years ago between the Chief Justice of Texas and an Illinois lawyer visiting that state. 'Why is it,' the visiting lawyer asked, 'that you routinely hang horse thieves in Texas but oftentimes let murderers go free?' 'Because,' replied the Chief Justice, 'there never was a horse that needed stealing!'”
People v. Skiles, 115 Ill.App. 816, 827, 450 N.E.2d 1212, 1220 (1983).
 

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