The Keys to Liberty

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
--Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4,
1777

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke


"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." -- John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Rigght of Election, 1790. (Speeches. Dublin, 1808.) as quoted in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, NY, 1953, p167 and also in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, Boston, 1968, p479

"But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government." -- Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Wendell Phillips, (1811-1884), abolitionist, orator and columnist for The Liberator, in a speech before the Massachusetts Antislavery Society in 1852, according to The Dictionary of Quotations edited by Bergen Evans

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)

“There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.” -- Edmund Burke

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." -- James Madison, Federalist no. 51.

"It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power." -- John Adams, 1788

"Those who have been once intoxicated with power and have derived any kind of emolument from it can never willingly abandon it." -- Edmund Burke

"Free government is founded in jealousy, not confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind those we are obliged to trust with power.... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." -- Thomas Jeffferson, 1799

Milton Friedman, PhD, Nobel Laureate, 1912-2006: Rest in Peace.

"Maybe I did well and maybe I led the battle but nobody ever said we were going to win this thing at any point in time. Eternal vigilance is required and there have to be people who step up to the plate, who believe in liberty, and who are willing to fight for it." -- Milton Friedman

"Freedom is never an achieved state; like electricity, we've got to keep generating it or the lights go out." -- Wayne LaPierre

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams

"The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes." -- Thomas Paine

"The attempt to make heaven on earth invariably produces hell." -- Karl Popper

"Voting is no substitute for the eternal vigilance that every friend of freedom must demonstrate towards government. If our freedom is to survive, Americans must become far better informed of the dangers from Washington -- regardless of who wins the Presidency." -- James Bovard in Voting is Overrated

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated."
-- Thomas Paine, “The Crisis”, December 23rd, 1776


"If we become a people who are willing to give up our money and our freedom in exchange for rhetoric and promises, then nothing can save us." -- Thomas Sowell

"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too." -- Somerset Maugham

"The trade-off between freedom and security, so often proposed so seductively, very often leads to the loss of both." -- Christopher Hitchens in the August, 2003 issue of Reason.

"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." -- General Douglas MacArthur

"FREEDOM IS NOT FOR THE TIMID." -- posted as an announcement outside a Unitarian Church in Texas on Sept. 17, 2001

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." -- Mark Twain

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, First Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1953

"The future doesn't belong to the faint-hearted. It belongs to the brave." -- Ronald Reagan

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave." -- Patrick Henry

"The land of the free will cease to be when it's no longer the home of the brave."-- Rick Gaber

"Perhaps the meek shall inherit the Earth, but they'll do it in very small plots . . . about 6' by 3'." -- Robert A. Heinlein

"Against us are... all timid men who prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty... We are likely to preserve the liberty we have obtained only by unremitting labors and perils." --Thomas Jefferson to Philip Mazzei, 1796. ME 9:336

"Patrick Henry did not say, 'Give me absolute safety or give me death.' " -- John Stossel, "20/20", ABC-TV, Aug. 3, 2001

"The Romans used to say that courage is not the only virtue, but it's the only one that makes the other virtues possible." -- Benjamin Netanyahu to Brian Lamb on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Sept. 21, 2001

"The secret of happiness is freedom. And the secret of freedom is courage." -- Thucydides

"One man with courage makes a majority." -- Andrew Jackson, 1832

"A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one!" -- Alexander Hamilton

"When you're taking flak, you must be over the target." -- Jim Robinson

"God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it." -- Daniel Webster (1834)

"Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

"For those looking for security, be forewarned that there's nothing more insecure than a political promise." -- Harry Browne

"Liberty without learning is always in peril and learning without liberty is always in vain." -- John F. Kennedy

"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people." -- John Adams

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free ... it expects what never was and never will be." -- Thomas Jefferson

"The greatest threat to mankind and civilization is the spread of the totalitarian philosophy. Its best ally is not the devotion of its followers but the confusion of its enemies. To fight it, we must understand it." -- Ayn Rand

"The tyranny of a principal in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy." --Montesquieu, 1748

"Tyranny is always better organized than freedom." -- Charles Peguy.

"A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both." -- James Madison

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” -- John F. Kennedy, 1963

"A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self- preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property, and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means." --Thomas Jefferson to John Colvin, 1810
"Life is a daily IQ test. Regarding liberty, it seems that most people are failing the test. It is up to those of us who can see what is right to make sure we do not give up the fight." -- J.B. Pruitt
"... in every generation the idea of liberty must be reasserted by those with the vision to see through the fog, and rediscovered by the young and courageous." -- Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

"It is not for glory or riches or honours that we fight, but only for liberty, which no good man will consent to lose but with his life." -- The Declaration of Arbroath, a reply to the Papal Bulls excommunicating Robert Bruce for recapturing Berwick, as sent to Pope John XXII on behalf of the community of the realm of Scotland, 1320 A.D.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. ... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion; what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling that thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -- John Stuart Mill

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt

"In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all -- security, comfort, and freedom. When ... the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free." -- Sir Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)

"The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." -- Teddy Roosevelt

"Personal responsibility is the price of liberty." -- Michael Cloud

"A free society cannot work unless people take charge of their lives and assume responsibility for their actions." -- Jim Powell

"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite." -- Thomas Jefferson

"Live free or die." -- Gen. John Stark, the hero of the battles of Bennington and Bunker Hill. Now the motto of the state of New Hampshire

"Anyone who needs to be persuaded to be free, doesn't deserve to be." -- L. Neil Smith

"A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions; in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty: and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it." -- John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, 1861

"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty." -- John Adams, 1772

"There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust." -- Demosthenes: Philippic 2, sect. 24

"All of history attests that the centralization and concentration of power breed despotism." -- H.A.Scott Trask

"Government is not compassion ... Government is nothing more than structured, widespread coercion ..." -- Glen Allport

"What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It's not good at much else." -- Tom Clancy on Kudlow and Cramer 9/2/03

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."-- Thomas Jefferson

"We've witnessed a fire sale of American liberties at bargain basement prices, in return for the false promise of more security... The America being designed right now won't resemble the America we've been defending... The danger isn't that Big Brother may storm the castle gates. The danger is that Americans don't realize that he is already inside the castle walls." -- Wayne LaPierre

"Tolerating imperfections is the price of freedom." -- Dr. Thomas Sowell

“I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air – that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.” -- H. L. Mencken, "Why Liberty?" January 30, 1927

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." – Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, 1791.

"[Oppose] with manly firmness [any] invasions on the rights of the people." -- Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776. Papers, 1:338

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined." -- Patrick Henry, Virginia's Ratification convention, 1788

"Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct." -- Thomas Carlyle

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." -- Elie Wiesel

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"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid." -- Ronald Wilson Reagan, 1982

"The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people." -- Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

"I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical." -- Thomas Jefferson, January 30, 1787

"The right to revolt has sources deep in our history." -- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

"Noncooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good." -- Gandhi

"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from
falling into error." -- U.S. Supreme Court in American Communications Association v. Douds

"In 1776, 1950, or now, there's never been a golden age of liberty, and there never will be. People who value freedom will always have to defend it from those who claim the right to wield power over others. ... And, in today's world, that means more than a musket by the door. It means being an active citizen." -- David Boaz

"Most authoritarians do not surrender power voluntarily." -- Victor Davis Hanson

"No one can find a safe way out for himself if socety is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result." -- Ludwig von Mises

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." -- Samuel Adams"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -- Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800. Inscribed in the Jefferson Memorial.

"A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on Earth... and what no just government should refuse." -- Thomas Jefferson in a Letter to James Madison, Paris, Dec. 20, 1787


See the Bill of Rights Enforcement Site
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt (the younger),
speech on the India Bill, Nov.1783

"The people never give up their liberty but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke, 1784

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins."
-- H.L. Mencken, 1923

"I've set my own rules to live by. The first one is: 'Never believe ANYthing the government says.' "
-- George Carlin

"There's nothing that does so much harm as good intentions."-- Dr. Milton Friedman, as interviewed in "Is America No. 1?" by John Stossel.

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of power. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."
-- Daniel Webster, as quoted in Hearings on the confirmation of Abe Fortas to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, p. 108

"Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind- in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own. The harm done by ordinary criminals, murderers, gangsters, and thieves is negligible in comparison with the agony inflicted upon human beings by the professional do-gooders, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others - with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means." -- Henry Grady Weaver

"When the freedom they wished for most was the freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and never was free again." -- Edith Hamilton

"Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic."-- Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

"There is scarcely a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh, get first all the people's money, then all their lands and then make them and their children servants forever."
-- Benjamin Franklin

"Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program."
--
Dr. Milton Friedman, Nobel-Prize-winning economist.

"Benevolence in public institutions has a short half-life no matter how noble its original intentions."
-- Richard A. Epstein, Principles for a Free Society

"There's seldom been control of a new federal agency that wasn't sold by the most efficient fund-raising politicians to the wealthiest pressure groups within four years of its inception." -- Bert Rand

"The problem with politics isn't the money; it's the power." -- Harry Browne

"The problem isn't the abuse of power; it's the power to abuse." -- Michael Cloud

"Give politicians power and it certainly will be abused eventually -- if not by today's politicians, then by ttheir successors." -- Harry Browne

"These things I believe:
That government should butt out.
That freedom is our most precious commodity and if we are not eternally vigilant, government will take it all away.
That individual freedom demands individual responsibility.
That government is not a necessary good but an unavoidable evil."
-- Franklyn C. "Lyn" Nofziger, Press Secretary for President Reagan

"Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it." -- Dr. Milton Friedman
.

"Government should be our servant, not our master." -- Doug Guetzloe

"The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them..." -- Mark Twain

"It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error." -- Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954), U.S. Judge, in American Communications Association v. Douds, May 1950

"Liberty is the sovereignty of the individual." -- Josiah Warren

"Liberty is a political firewall that limits the damage government can do to the individual." -- James Bovard

"When government does more than guard against the initiation of force, inevitably it becomes a means of theft and bamboozlement." -- Donald J. Boudreaux

"Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual."--Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819

"No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him." -- Thomas Jefferson to Franciis Gilmer, 1816.

"I have a right to nothing which another has a right to take away." -- Thomas Jefferson to Uriah Forrest, 1787. Papers, 12:477.

"Private property is the most important guarantee of freedom." -- F.A. Hayek

"The sacred rights of property are to be guarded at every point. I call them sacred, because, if they are unprotected, all other rights become worthless or visionary. What is personal liberty, if it does not draw after it the right to enjoy the fruits of our own industry? What is political liberty, if it imparts only perpetual poverty to us and all our posterity? What is the privilege of a vote, if the majority of the hour may sweep away the earnings of our whole lives, to gratify the rapacity of the indolent, the cunning, or the profligate, who are borne into power upon the tide of a temporary popularity?" -- Judge Joseph Story, 1852

"As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions." -- James Madison, National Gazzette, 1792

"The idea that political freedom can be preserved in the absence of economic freedom, and vice versa, is an illusion. Political freedom is the corollary of economic freedom." -- Ludwig von Mises, the great Austrian-Jewish economist, in the January 1949 issue of Plain Talk

"Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries."-- Ayn Rand, "For The New Intellectual," For The New Intellectual

"To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father's has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association--the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." -- Thomas Jefferson: Note in Tracy's "Political Economy," 1816.

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

"The man who produces while others dispose of his product is a slave." -- Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged

"Vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery." -- old Serbian proverb

"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, U.S. Congressman (1827-1835)

"Now what liberty can there be where property is taken without consent??" -- Samuel Adams, founding father and leaderr of the Boston Tea Party

“In the general course of human nature, a power over man's substance amounts to a power over his will.” -- Alexander Hamilton

"Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist." -- John Adams

"No freedom is secure if your property rights are not secure." -- Neal Boortz

"The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management." -- Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816.

"The moment the idea is admitted into society that Property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence." -- John Adams

"As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions." -- James Madison, National Gazzette, 1792

"[If government have] a right of demanding ad libitum and of taxing us themselves to the full amount of their demand if we do not comply with it, [this would leave] us without anything we can call property." -- Thomas Jefferson: Reply to Lord North, 1775. Papers, 1:233

"In a free government almost all other rights would become worthless if the government possessed power over the private fortune of every citizen."-- Chief Justice John Marshall

"The power to tax involves the power to destroy." -- Chief Justice John Marshall in the McCulloch v. Maryland ruling, 1819

"Rather than allow political power lusters to destroy the remnants of individual rights that still protect us, we should be eternally vigilant in protecting and restoring our inalienable rights." -- Glenn Woiceshyn

"If you don't have the right to do something wrong [to yourself], you don't have any rights at all." -- Gene Burns at Faneuil Hall, Boston, 9/29/1996

"Freedom requires tolerance of foolishness. ... Without this tolerance for the freedom of others, no one's freedoms are secure." -- Dr. Donald J. Boudreaux

"The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society." -- Thomas Jefferson to P. Dupont, 1816..

"Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression." -- Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801

"It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all." -- Thomas Jefferson to Francois D'Ivernois, 1795

"I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive." -- Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 12/20/1787

"We’re dealing with the oldest political error: the belief that because everyone wants something, government should or must provide it. If the error is pervasive, the result is the total state. If it is completely uprooted, the result is the purely free society." -- Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

"When your response to everything that is wrong with the world is to say, 'there ought to be a law,' you are saying that you hold freedom very cheap." -- Dr. Thomas Sowell

"Ambiguously-worded laws can be used against the innocent any time." -- Greg Perry

"Man is not free unless government is limited." -- Ronald Reagan: Farewell Speech, 1988

[The purpose of the Constitution is to] “keep the government off the backs of people.” -- Justice William O. Douglas

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

"Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." -- Frederick Douglass

"Abuse of power isn't limited to bad guys in other nations. It happens in our own country if we're not vigilant." -- Clint Eastwood in an essay he wrote for the January 12, 1997 issue of Parade Magazine

"When given power over others, some human beings (including women) will abuse that power in sickening ways. This is a fact of life." -- Cathy Young

"It's important to realize that whenever you give power to politicians or bureaucrats, it will be used for what they want, not for what you want."-- Harry Browne

"As government grows, its increased power to grant favors or inflict pain attracts more people who would abuse the system." -- John Fund

"...There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. ... Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence, I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men, and become the instruments of their own undoing." -- Daniel Webster, June 1, 1837

"If once [the people] become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions." -- Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787

"Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it." -- Milton Friedman

"The nation which reposes on the pillow of political confidence will sooner or later end its political existence in a deadly lethargy." -- James Madison

"All power in human hands is liable to be abused." -- James Madison, December 18, 1825

"We are asking the wrong question. The issue is not who should be trusted with all the power of the Presidency. Instead, we must ask how much power any candidate can be trusted with." -- James Bovard in No One Deserves the Power

"...every unjustifiable intrusion by the Government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Ammendment." -- Justice Louis Brandeis (Olmstead v. US)

"It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million human beings collected together are not under the same moral laws which bind them separately."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"We hold that what one man cannot morally do, a million men cannot morally do, and government, representing many millions of men, cannot do." -- Auberon Herbert

"The people cannot delegate to government the power to do anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves." -- John Locke

"If you would not confront your neighbor and demand his money at the point of a gun to solve every new problem that may appear in your life, you should not allow the government to do it for you." -- William E. Simon, former Treasury Secretary

"Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government" -- James Madison

"[Montesquieu wrote in Spirit of the Laws, VIII,c.12:] 'When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.'" -- Thomas Jefferson: copied into his Commonplace Book.

"We have too many lawyers making laws. We need some un-lawyers un-making some laws."-- Carl Strang, ex-mayor, Winter Haven, FL


"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." -- Justice Louis Brandeis,1928

"Eternal vigilance is only part of the price of freedom. The maturity to live with imperfections is another crucial part of the price of freedom." -- Dr. Thomas Sowell

"As long as human beings are imperfect, there will always be arguments for extending the power of government to deal with these imperfections. The only logical stopping place is totalitarianism -- unless we realize that tolerating imperfections is the price of freedom." -- Dr. Thomas Sowell

"If welfare and equality are to be primary aims of law, some people must necessarily possess a greater power of coercion in order to force redistribution of material goods. Political power alone should be equal among human beings; yet, striving for other kinds of equality absolutely requires political inequality." -- Tibor Machan in Private Rights and Public Illusions

"Any stray mediocrity rushes into print with plans to control the production of mankind -- and ... no one questions his right to enforce his plans by means of a gun." -- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

"A society that puts equality ... ahead of freedom will end up with neither ... " -- Milton Friedman

"The United States was supposed to have a limited government because the founders knew governmental power attracts swarms of crooks, demagogues and despots as surely as horse manure attracts swarms of horseflies." -- Rick Gaber

"As government grows, its increased power to grant favors or inflict pain attracts more people who would abuse the system." -- John Fund

"The coercive power of government is always a beacon to those who want to dominate others -- summoning the worst dregs of society to Washington to use that power to impose their will upon others." -- Harry Browne

"Well, who is more likely to volunteer to take a job in a bureaucracy that has little to recommend it except that it gives you the power to use government force to control the lives of others? A dispassionate scientist or a zealot? In government, the zealots eventually take over." -- John Stossel

"Force always attracts men of low morality." -- Albert Einstein

"Give government the weapons to fight your enemy and it will use them against you." -- Harry Browne

"Give a good man great powers and crooks grab his job." -- Rick Gaber

"Any time you give power to government, it will be abused, it will be enlarged, it will be used in ways you never intended." – Harry Browne on The Drudge Report 7-31-99

"Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." -- James Madison

"Political power is everywhere the most serious threat to liberty. The more power politicians have, and the more able they are to disregard constitutional rules, the more serious the threat. Precedents for expanding government power are sure to be exploited by politicians more dangerous than those who set the precedents." -- Jim Powell

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Prof. John E. E. D. Acton

"Power draws the corrupted; absolute power would draw the absolutely corrupted." -- Colin Barth

"Power kills; absolute power kills absolutely." -- Prof. R. J. Rummel

"The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse." -- Edmund Burke
.
"Grant no power to government you would not want your worst enemies to wield against you." -- "Smokin'" Joe Freeper

"Tell me please why this Patriot Act is being used for so many criminal investigations in this country, like petty drug cases, that have no connection with terrorism? Lesson: If you give the government power .. it will use that power. It will use 100% of that power, and more." -- Neal Boortz, 9/29/2003

"Any new power given to government will be abused." -- Gary Nolan

"People who think of government as the institution to entrust with enough power to right all the world's wrongs seem to never consider that they must thereby give it enough power to do wrong to all the world's rights. In fact, they seem NEVER to consider what the founders always thought was obvious: that the 'good guys' will NOT always be in charge!" -- Bert Rand

"There is no virtue in denying the law of gravity, and there should be no virtue in denying the limitations of government. ... The more we glorify government, the more liberties we will lose." -- James Bovard

"Overload the police with victimless crimes and other minutiae and eventually only creeps and bullies remain cops." -- Rick Gaber

"So many idealistic political movements for a better world have ended in mass-murdering dictatorships. Giving leaders enough power to create 'social justice' is giving them enough power to destroy all justice, all freedom, and all human dignity." -- Thomas Sowell

"For those looking for security, be forewarned that there's nothing more insecure than a political promise." -- Harry Browne

"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you." -- Pericles, 430 B.C.

"Free government is founded in jealousy, not confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind those we are obliged to trust with power.... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."-- Thomas Jefferson, 1799

"Defend EVERY ONE of your rights. When any one is given up none of the rest can last." -- Rick Gaaber

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined." -- Patrick Henry, Virginia's Ratification convention, 1788

"Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never, -- in nothing great or small, large or petty -- never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." -- Winston Churchill

"We are now paying the wages of the 1990s, our holiday from history ... The question before us is very large and very simple: Can--and will--the civilized part of humanity disarm the barbarians who would use the ultimate knowledge for the ultimate destruction?" -- Dr. Charles Krauthammer

"Civilization does not have to perish. The brutes are winning only by default." -- Ayn Rand

""The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." -- Albert Einstein

"Tyranny is always better organized than freedom." -- Charles Peguy

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free"-- Ronald Reagan

"Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and lost it, have never known it again." -- Ronald Reagan

"The Romans used to say that courage is not the only virtue, but it's the only one that makes the other virtues possible." -- Benjamin Netanyahu to Brian Lamb on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Sept. 21, 2001

"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." -- Winston Churchill

"Liberty, is one of the most precious gifts heaven has bestowed upon Man. No treasures the earth contains or the sea conceals can be compared to it. For liberty one can rightfully risk one's life." -- Miguel Cervantes

"Better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees." -- Emiliano Zapata, 1910, Dolores Ibarruri, 1936, Albert Camus, 1951, Joseph Heller, 1961, Mordechai Anielewicz,1943, Warsaw Ghetto, Poland

"Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be." -- James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name

"The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought." -- Samuel Adams

"The only limit to the oppression of government is the power with which the people show themselves capable of opposing it." -- Enrico Malatesta

- - -
"The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is
the most at risk. The government will challenge
our right to be shielded from unreasonable search
and seizure by trying to obtain the keys to our
encrypted communications. That way, at will, and
without a warrant, they will be able to read our
e-mail and other documents.
"Ah, you say, I have nothing to hide, so why do
I care? In this era of political correctness where
the ordinary practices of today become the crimes
of tomorrow, it is dangerous to have that view.
Perhaps you may want the government to have
access to your innermost views. But what do you
suppose will happen when you determine that the
government has become too repressive and it must
be replaced? What do you suppose will happen to
you when government officials find out your views
before you have had a chance to act upon them?"
-- Paul M. Weyrich, President of the
Free Congress Research and Education Foundation,
writing in the December, 2001 issue of Reason
- - -
"The more prohibitions there are, the poorer the people will be. The more laws are promulgated, the more thieves and bandits there will be." -- Lao-tzu, The Tao Te Ching (believed written in China, 6th century BC).

"An oppressive government is much worse than a man-eating tiger." -- Kong Fu-Dzuh ("Confucious")

"The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws." -- Tacitus, Roman senator and historian (A.D. c.56-c.115)

"There is no safe political refuge for those afraid to take responsibility for their own lives." -- James Bovard

"Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you." -- Benjamin Franklin

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." -- Bertrand de Jouvenal

"If once [the people] become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions." -- Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787

"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." -- Plato

"As soon as people drop the reins on government, government will leash the people." -- James Bovard

"It is absurd to expect governments to descend gradually, step-by-step into barbarism - as if there was a train schedule to political hell and people could get off at any stop along the way." -- James Bovard

"Government is not reason, and it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master: never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." -- A popular Americanism of unknown origin, usually attributed to George Washington, although no one I know of has proven his authorship. Nomatter, it's true, it's popular, and I won't let it die. You may as well attribute it to yourself to avoid getting sidetracked into arguments about quotations instead of about rights. Using unverifiable quotations plays into the hands of the enemies of individual rights, as they can then focus only on the quotations, and not the concepts.

"Government is not compassion ... Government is nothing more than structured, widespread coercion ..." --Glen Allport

"I was taught very early on that the state can be, and is, a liar and a murderer." -- Christopher Hitchens

"He that always gives way to others will end in having no principles of his own." -- Aesop

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by thegrace of God, I will do." -- Edward Everett Hale

"Not voting is just as bad as voting for evil men because it allows evil to succeed by default. Take a stand with people who support what you really support. Stop cowering and merely complaining about America's pending demise and act in such a way as to truly make a difference." -- Tom Ambrose

"If mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind." -- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

"I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- Voltaire, to Helvetius

"DO NOT KEEP SILENT when your own ideas and values are being attacked. ...If a dictatorship ever comes to this country, it will be by the default of those who keep silent. We are still free enough to speak. Do we have time? No one can tell." -- Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It

"It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others: or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own."-- Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, with a Syllabus, Washington, Apr. 21, 1803

"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." -- Thomas Paine

"It is common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own." -- Benjamin Franklin

"I think it was H. L. Mencken who once said that in America they go after the S.O.B.'s first. And nobody cares about them. They establish bad precedents on them, and then they go after the rest of us." -- Allan Dershowitz on Justice and the Citizen on the Achievement TV Network

"Place me not with those who are weak of mind and willingly give up the rights of others, for these poor ignorant souls know not that the rights they give up are their own!" -- Warren Friton

"If you want to get rich and/or stay that way, or if you want your kids or other loved ones to do so, you'd damn well better stand up for everyone else's right to do so too." -- Rick Gaber

"In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me."-- The statement was written by the Rev. Martin Niemoeller, a German Lutheran pastor who was arrested by the Gestapo in 1938. He was sent to the concentration camp at Dachau, where he remained until he was freed by the Allied forces in 1945.

"When they took the 4th amendment away, I was quiet because I didn't deal drugs. When they took the 6th amendment away, I was quiet because I had never been arrested. When they took the 2nd amendment away, I was quiet because I didn't own a gun. Now they've taken away the 1st amendment, and all I can do is be quiet." -- Fred Albury

"If you don't stand
for something, you
stand for nothing."
-- Mel Thompson

"Those who stand
for nothing fall for

anything."

-- Alexander Hamilton

"A moderate is
either someone who
has no moral code
of his own, or if he
does, then he's
someone who
doesn't have the
guts to take sides
between
good and evil."
-- Rick Gaber

"The only things you'll
find in the middle

of the road are

yellow streaks

and dead possums."

-- American folk saying

"People who
refuse to take a
stand wind up
appeasing evil,
feeding it, even
voting for it,
and finally,
dying from it."
-- Rick Gaber

"If some among you
fear taking a stand

because you are

afraid of reprisals

from customers,

clients, or even

government,

recognize that

you are just

feeding the

crocodile hoping

he'll eat you last."

-- Ronald Reagan

"If, in order to escape
the responsibility

of moral judgment,

a man closes his

eyes and mind, if

he evades the facts

of the issue and

struggles not to

know, he cannot

be regarded as

'gray'; morally,

he is as 'black'

as they come."

-- Ayn Rand

"There comes a time
to join the side

you're on."

-- Midge Decter

"When they came for the Branch Davidians, we did not say anything because we were not Branch Davidians." -- Doug Newman

"When the rights of just one individual are denied, the rights of all are in jeopardy!" -- Jo Ann Roach

"No one can find a safe way out for himself if socety is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle. None can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the result." -- Ludwig von Mises

"Given the low level of competence among politicians, every American should become a libertarian. The government that governs least is certainly the best choice when fools, opportunists and grafters run it. When power is for sale, then the government power should be severely limited. When power is abused, then the less power the better." -- Charley Reese

"..it does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.." -- Samuel Adams

"One man with courage makes a majority." -- Andrew Jackson, 1832

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."-- George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutions, 1903

“Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.” --Justice Learned Hand, 1944

"No matter who you are or what you believe, you have to understand that some day the worst control-freaks among your bitterest enemies will control the federal government, and you better have restored effective, working constitutional limitations on that government before that time arrives." -- Rick Gaber

"Do we really think that a government-dominated education is going to produce citizens capable of dominating their government, as the education of a truly vigilant self-governing people requires?" -- Alan Keyes

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to always be kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all." -- Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826

"It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthen itself by exercise, and
entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle." -- James Madison, A Memorial and Remonsttrance, 1785: Works 1:163

"To the American people I bid a fond farewell. Guard your liberties. It is the trust of each generation to pass a free republic to the next. And if I know you right, you will rouse yourself from slumber to ensure exactly that." -- Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

"Intellect annuls Fate. So far as a man thinks, he is free....The revelation of Thought takes man out of servitude into freedom." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Fate"

''Most people prefer to believe that their leaders are just and fair, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which he lives is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one's self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.'' -- Michael Rivero

"Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it -- that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life -- that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence." --- Ayn Rand. in Atlas Shrugged

"Never ignore evil." -- Jim Robinson

"Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it." -- Virgil

"Civilization does not have to perish. The brutes are winning only by default." -- Ayn Rand

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

"The World is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything." -- Albert Einstein

“The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum, whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.” -- Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 1966

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality." -- Dante, The Inferno

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Democracy is defended in 3 stages. Ballot Box, Jury Box, Cartridge Box." -- Ambrose Bierce

"Liberty is preserved with 4 boxes: soap, jury, ballot, and cartridge." -- Dan Skinner

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." -- General Douglas MacArthur

"I know not what course others may take but as for me: give me liberty or give me death." -- Patrick Henry

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive." -- Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1787

"If your most basic right is the right to life, then it seems obvious to me that you have the right to defend your life. Guns are, in this century, the most effective means of doing so - so effective that every genocide has only been carried out against victims who were disarmed by their governments." -- William G. Hartwell

"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." -- George Washington, in his First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. ... God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion; what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787

"Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience." -- John Locke, 1690

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." -- John Bradshaw (1602-1659)

"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." -- Edward Abbey

"O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth!" -- Thomas Paine, Common Sense

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock." -- Thomas Jefferson


TWELVE TRUTHS ABOUT LEGISLATION

1) Any law the electorate sees as being open to being perverted from its original intent will be perverted in a manner that exceeds the manner of perversion seen at the time.
2) Any law that is so difficult to pass it requires the citizens be assured it will not be a stepping stone to worse laws will in fact be a stepping stone to worse laws.
3) Any law that requires the citizens be assured the law does not mean what the citizens fear, means exactly what the citizens fear.
4) Any law passed in a good cause will be interpreted to apply to causes against the wishes of the people.
5) Any law enacted to help any one group will be applied to harm people not in that group.
6) Everything the government says will never happen will happen.
7) What the government says it could not foresee, the government has planned for.
8) When there is a budget shortfall to cover non-essential government services the citizens will be given the choice between higher taxes or the loss of essential government services.
9) Should the citizens mount a successful effort to stop a piece of legislation the same legislation will be passed under a different name.
10) All deprivations of freedom and choice will be increased rather than reversed.
11) Any government that has to build safeguards into a law so that it will not be abused is providing guidelines for abusing the law without violating it.
12) Any legislator up for re-election will vote against a bad law if and only if there are enough other votes to pass it.

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