Quotes

All quotation are listed by category.

Constitution

John Adams

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

 Samual Adams

The utopian scheme of leveling and a community of goods, are as visionary and impractical as those which vest of all property in the crown (these ideas) are arbitrary, despotic, and in our government unconstitutional.

James Madison

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and infinite. -Federalist 45

Its jurisdiction (the general/federal government) is limited to certain enumerated objects -Federalist 39

Judiciary

Thomas Jefferson

You seem … to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions;  a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so.  They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.  Their maxim is “boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem,” and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves. If the legislature fails to pass laws for a census, for paying the judges and other officers of government, for establishing a militia, for naturalization as prescribed by the Constitution, or if they fail to meet in congress, the judges cannot issue their mandamus to them ;  if the President fails to supply the place of a judge, to appoint other civil or military officers, to issue requisite commissions, the judges cannot force him…The Constitution, in keeping three departments distinct and independent, restrains the authority of the judges to judiciary organs, as it does the executive and legislative to executive and legislative organs. Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Charles Jarvis, (28 September 1820).

The Constitution… meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch. Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1804. ME 11:51

In denying the right [the Supreme Court usurps] of exclusively explaining the Constitution, I go further than [others] do, if I understand rightly [this] quotation from the Federalistof an opinion that ‘the judiciary is the last resort in relation to the other departments of the government, but not in relation to the rights of the parties to the compact under which the judiciary is derived.’ If this opinion be sound, then indeed is our Constitution a complete felo de se [act of suicide]. For intending to establish three departments, coordinate and independent, that they might check and balance one another, it has given, according to this opinion, to one of them alone the right to prescribe rules for the government of the others, and to that one, too, which is unelected by and independent of the nation. For experience has already shown that the impeachment it has provided is not even a scare-crow… The Constitution on this hypothesis is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please. Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane, 1819. ME 15:212

This member of the Government was at first considered as the most harmless and helpless of all its organs. But it has proved that the power of declaring what the law is, ad libitum,by sapping and mining slyly and without alarm the foundations of the Constitution, can do what open force would not dare to attempt. Thomas Jefferson to Edward Livingston, 1825. ME 16:114

My construction of the Constitution is… that each department is truly independent of the others and has an equal right to decide for itself what is the meaning of the Constitution in the cases submitted to its action; and especially where it is to act ultimately and without appeal. Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane, 1819. ME 15:214

On Limited Government

Hilarie Belloc

The control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself.

Elie Halevy

The socialists believe in two things which are absolutely different and perhaps even contradictory: freedom and organization.

Friedrich Hayek

Planning leads to dictatorship because dictatorship is the most effective instrument of coercion and the enforcement of ideals and, as such, essential if central planning on a large scale is to be possible.

Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.

The interaction between morals and institutions may well have the effect that the ethics produced by collectivism will be altogether different from the moral ideals that lead to the demand for collectivism. (aka, the road to hell is paved with good intentions)

Individual freedom cannot be reconciled with the supremacy of one single purpose to which the whole of society must be entirely and permanently subordinated.

A movement whose main promise is the relief from responsibility cannot but be antimoral in its effect, however lofty the ideals to which it owes its birth.

It is true that the virtues which are less esteemed and practiced now – independence, self-reliance, and the willingness to bear risks, the readiness to back one’s own conviction against a majority, and the willingness to voluntary co-operation with one’s neighbors – are essentially those on which the workings of an individualist society rests. Collectivism has nothing to put in their place, and in so far as it has already destroyed them it has left a void filled by nothing but the demand for obedience and the compulsion of the individual to do what is collectively decided to be good.

Collectivism has no room for the wide humanitarianism of liberalism.

The principle that the end justifies the means is in individualist ethics regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics it becomes necessarily the supreme rule; there is literally nothing which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves “the good of the whole”.

Where there is one common all-overriding end, there is no room for any general morals or rules. To a limited extend we ourselves experience this in wartime.

Friedrich Holderlin

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

Thomas Jefferson

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men 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.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.

The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

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 of sudden usurpations…this danger ought to be wisely guarded against.

Every generation needs a new revolution.

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty.

To preserve their independence, we must not let our rules load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.

The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.

Mark Levin

As the administrative state grows, the vote is less effective and the individual is increasingly disenfranchised. -Ameritopia

Thomas Paine

Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness. -Common Sense

Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil. -Common Sense

Ronald Reagan

This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government, or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves. -A Time for Choosing

What does it mean whether you hold the deed or the title to your business or property, if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property?

Leon Trotsky

 In a country where the sole employer is the state, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat. (1937)

Publilius Syrius 

Debt is the slavery of the free.

Bastiat

Heavy government expenditures and liberty are incompatible. Woe to the people that cannot limit the sphere of action of the state. Freedom, private enterprise, wealth, happiness, independence, personal dignity — all vanish.

Calvin Coolidge

No method of procedure has ever been devised by which liberty could be divorced  from local self government. No plan f centralization has ever been adopted which did not result in bureaucracy, tyranny, reaction, and decline of all forms of government those administered by bureaus are about the least satisfactory for an enlightened and progressive people. Being irresponsible they become autocratic and being autocratic they resist all development. Unless bureaucracy is constantly resisted it breaks down representative government and overwhelms democracy. It is the one element in our institutions that sets up a pretense of having authority over everybody and being responsible to nobody.

On the Nature of Government

Aristotle

In democracies, justice is considered to mean equality. It does mean equality–but equality for those who are equal, and not for all.

Benjamin Franklin

There is a natural inclination in mankind to kingly government…

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters.

James Madison

 If men were angels, no government would be necessary.

You must fist enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.

Ronald Reagan

Governments don’t tax to get the money they need, governments will always find a need for the money they get.

Government doesn’t solve problems, it subsidizes them.

No government voluntarily reduces itself in size, so government programs once launched never disappear. Actually, a government buero is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.

As government expands, liberty contracts.

 George Washington

 There is a natural and necessary progression from the extreme of anarchy to the extreme of tyranny.

Winston Churchill

Democracy is the worst form of government except all others.

Thomas J. Curran

The moment our democracy ceases to respect God it will cease to respect your value as an individual. The moment it ceases to respect your value as an individual it ceases to be a democracy.

Bastiat

The state is the fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.

William Penn

If men be good government cannot then be bad.

On the Virtue of Free Market Capitalism

Mark Levin

Property right are the great equalizer–not of outcomes but of opportunity.

Calvin Coolidge

No enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others; or failing therein, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist.

Socialist Theory Explained

Karl Marx

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

Alexis de Tocqueville

There is, in fact, a manly and lawful passion for equality that incites men to wish all to be powerful and honored. This passion tends to elevate the humble to the rank of the great; but there exists also in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to equality with freedom…liberty is not the chief and constant object of their desires; equality is their idol. -Democracy in America

I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world…That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbitrator of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances; what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it everyday renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits. -Democracy in America

Mark Levin

Tyranny, broadly defined, is the use of power to dehumanize the individual and delegitimize  his nature. Political utopianism is tyranny disguised as a desirable, workable, and even paradisiacal governing ideology.

Charles E. Wilson

Some people seem to think that there is a great difference between socialism and communism. But Karl Marx used the two words as synonyms. The best definition of a communist I have heard is that a communist is a socialist in a hurry.

Edmund Burke

A perfect equality will indeed be produced — that is to say equal wretchedness, equal beggary, and on the part of partitioners a woeful, helpless and desperate disappointment. Such is the event of all compulsory equalizations. They pull down what is above; they never raise what is below; they depress high and low together, beneath the level of what was originally the lowest.

Winston Churchill

Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.

Nikita Khrushchev

Communism grows from socialism and its direct continuation.

Israeli Scientist

Those nations which have put liberty ahead of equality have ended up doing better by equality than those with the reverse principles.

Education

Aristotle

All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.

Thomas Jefferson

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.

G.K. Chesterton

Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.

Albert Einstein

Schools need not preach political doctrine to defend democracy. If they shape men capable of critical thought and trained in social attitudes, that is all that is necessary.

Second Amendment

Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

Taxes

Ronald Reagan

Governments don’t tax to get the money they need, governments will always find a need for the money they get.

JFK

Our economy stifled by restrictive taxes will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget.

A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget…As the national income grows, the federal government will ultimately end up with more revenues. Prosperity is the real way to balance our budget. By lowering tax rates, by increasing jobs and income, we can expand tax revenues and finally bring our budget into balance.

Radicalism, From the Radicals Themselves

Saul Alinsky

Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution.

War is not an intellectual debate, and in the war against social evils there are no rules of fair play.

Karl Marx

Religion is the opium of the masses.

Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion and all morality…The history of all past society has consisted in the development of class antagonisms that assumed different forms at different epochs.

In this sense the theory of communism may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.

Rev. Rauschenbusch, New Leader, Offical Socialist paper

The American people will never knowingly stage a revolution to bring about socialism. So we should promote the idea by increasing government…

Miscellaneous

Thomas Paine

Time makes more converts than reason. -Common Sense

Theodore Roosevelt

Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with those poor timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat.

Alexis de Tocqueville

The nations of our time cannot prevent the conditions of men from becoming equal, it depends upon  themselves whether the principle of equality is to lead them to servitude or freedom, to knowledge or barbarism, to prosperity or wretchedness. -Democracy in America

Edmund Burke

To make a government requires no great prudence; settle the seat of power, teach obedience, and the work is done. To give freedom is still more easy. It is not necessary to guide; it only requires to let go of the rein. But to form a free government, that is, to temper together the opposite elements of liberty and restraint in one conscious work, requires much thought; deep reflection; a sagacious, powerful, and combining mind.

Sydney Harris

One way to distinguish truth from all its counterfeits is by its modesty: truth demands only to be heard among others while its counterfeits demand that others be silenced.


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