Truth is always the enemy of power. And power the enemy of truth.
The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state controlled police and the military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an equalizer. Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed--but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. . . If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government--and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.
Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
I saw in States rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. I believed that the example of that great Reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disordres of Republics. Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved as Waterloo. [1866, in a letter to General Robert E. Lee]
. . . in the new Code of Law which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. . . . If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
Let each planet shine in their own orbit, God and nature designed it so. If man is Lord, woman is Lordess--that is what I contend for, and if a woman does not hold the Reigns of Government, I see no reason for her not judging how they are conducted.
Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.
Practical politics consists in ignoring facts.
A friend in power is a friend lost.
You cant use tact with a Congressman! A Congressman is a hog! You must take a stick and hit him on the snout!
Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.
In plain words, Chaos was the law of nature Order was the dream of man.
It is always good men who do the most harm in the world.
Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces. The men become every year more and more creatures of force, massed about central powerhouses. The conflict is no longer between the men, but between the motors that drive the men, and the men tend to succumb to their own motive forces.
No man, however strong, can serve ten years as schoolmaster, priest, or Senator, and remain fit for anything else.
Politics are a very unsatisfactory game.
Power is poison. Its effect on Presidents had always been tragic.
The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant was alone evidence to upset Darwin.
Absolute liberty is absence of restraint; responsibility is restraint; therefore, the ideally free individual is responsible to himself.
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. If Thou shalt not covet and Thou shalt not steal were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.
A government of laws, and not of men.
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.
The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratic council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor.
I agree with you that in politics the middle way is none at all.
Fear is the foundation of most governments.
Posterity--you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.
The pretence of an absolute, irresistible, despotic power, existing in every government somewhere, is incompatible with the first principle of natural right. Take for example the right to life. The moment an infant is born, it has a right to the life which it has received from the Creator . . . no human being, no combination of human beings, has the power, I say not the physical, but the moral power, to take a life not so forfeited [by commission of a crime], unless in self-defense or by the laws of war .
Law logic--an artificial system of reasoning, exclusively used in courts of justice, but good for nothing anywhere else.
Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.
How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
If our trade may be taxed, why not our lands? Why not the produce of our lands, and every thing we possess, or use? This we conceive annihilates our charter rights to govern and tax ourselves. It strikes at our British privileges, which, as we have never forfeited, we hold in common with our fellow subjects, who are natives of Britain. If tastes are laid upon us in any shape, without our having a legal representation, where they are laid, we are reduced from the character of free subjects, to the state of tributary slaves. We, therefore, earnestly recommend it to you, to use your utmost endeavours to obtain from the general court, all necessary advice and instruction to our agent, at this most critical Juncture. . . . We also desire you to use your endeavours, that the other colonies, having the same interests and rights with us, may add their weight to that of this province; that by united application of all who areagreed, all may obain redress!
The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.
I am perfectly satisfied of the necessity of a public and explicit declaration of independence. I cannot conceive what good reason can be assigned against it. Will it widen the breach? This would be a strange question, after we have raised armies, and fought battles with the British troops; set up an American navy; permitted the inhabitants of these colonies to fit out armed vessels, to capture the ships, &c. belonging to any of the inhabitants of Great Britain; declaring them the enemies of the United Colonies; and torn into shivers their acts of trade, by allowing commerce, subject to regulations to be made by ourselves, with the people of all countries, except such as are subject to the British king. It cannot surely, after all this, be imagined that we consider ourselves, or mean to be considered by others, in any other state, than that of independence.
No oppression is so heavy or lasting as that which is inflicted by the perversion and exorbitance of legal authority.
In war, turth is the first casualty.
Confronted with the choice, the American people would choose the policemans truncheon over the anarchists bomb.
A tiny and closed fraternity of privileged men, elected by no one, and enjoying a monopoly sanctioned and licensed by government.
I didnt say I wouldnt go into ghetto areas. Ive been in many of them and to some extent I would say this; if youve seen one city slum, youve seen them all.
In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism.
The student now goes to college to proclaim rather than to learn. A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.
We can afford to separate [protesters] from our society with no more regret than we should feel over discarding rotten apples from a barrel.
A Nixon-Agnew administration will abolish the credibility gap and reestablish the truth--the whole truth--as its policy.
I think if the War were over, they would find something else to use as an excuse for throwing firebombs into the Bank of America. (In reaction to protests over the invasion of Cambodia on the day before the Kent State massacre)
Ultraliberalism today translates into a whimpering isolationism in foreign policy, a mulish obstructionism in domestic policy, and a pusillanimous pussyfooting on the critical issue of law n order.
All power is limited by definite boundaries and laws. No power is absolute, infinite, unbridled, arbitrary, and lawless. Every power is bound to laws, right, and equity.
Whats the point of having this superb military youre always talking about, if we cant use it?
I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it. [In response to a question from Leslie Stahl, We have heard that a half million children have died (as a result of sanctions against Iraq). I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?]
Our strategic dialogue with China can both protect American interests and uphold our principles, provided we are honest about our differences on human rights and other issues and provided we use a mix of targeted incentives and sanctions to narrow these differences.
Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on his own dunghill.
The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.
Life came cheap in the world of 1945. The Anglo-Americans at Dresden had slaughtered thousands of women and children in air raids that had no discernable military purpose.
Mr. Madison has introduced his long expected amendments. . . The rights of conscience, of bearing arms, of changing the government, are declared to be inherent in the people.
A monarchy is a merchantman which sails well, but will sometimes strike on a rock, and go to the bottom; whilst a republic is a raft which would never sink, but then your feet are always in the water.
Written laws are like spiders webs, and will, like them, only entangle and hold the poor and weak, while the rich and powerful easily break through them.
Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity, according to its very notion, causes peace.
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative on the day after the revolution.
It is in justice that the ordering of society is centered.
Therefore, the good of man must be the end [i.e. objective] of the science of politics.
Politicians also have no leisure, because they are always aiming at something beyond political life itself, power and glory, or happiness.
Of the tyrant, spies and informers are the principal instruments. War is his favorite occupation, for the sake of engrossing the attention of the people, and making himself necessary to them as their leader.
The tyrant, who in order to hold his power, suppresses every superiority, does away with good men, forbids education and light, controls every movement of the citizens and, keeping them under a perpetual servitude, wants them to grow accustomed to baseness and cowardice, has his spies everywhere to listen to what is said in the meetings, and spreads dissension and calumny among the citizens and impoverishes them, is obliged to make war in order to keep his subjects occupied and impose on them permanent need of a chief.
Social efficiency, if the expression has any meaning whatever, is to be associated with a society that allows full scope for free and voluntary exchange agreements. Social arrangements are efficient if they provide the widest opportunity for private plan fulfillment and private plan coordination. A free society is both the necessary and the sufficient condition for efficient action and efficient resource allocation. To attempt to prohibit certain merger agreements or price-fixing agreements in the name of enhancing social efficiency is a contradiction in terms. Such agreements are efficient since they represent explicit evidence of social coordination.
Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
It is quite clear that as long as the nations of the world spend most of their energy, money, and emotional strength in quarreling with words and weapons, a true offensive against the common problems that threaten human survival is not very likely.
You dont do anything automatically, simply because some authority (including me) says you should.
[John] Daltons records, carefully preserved for a century, were destroyed during the World War II bombing of Manchester. It is not only the living who are killed in war.
In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery?