Crises and Power
U.S. Foreign Policy

Quotes on Power

About the book Crisis and Leviathan

Center on Peace & Liberty “S” Quotes
On Power


Antoine-Marie-Roger de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944)
French Novelist

“True, it is evil that a single man should crush the herd, but see not there the worse form of slavery, which is when the herd crushes out the man.”

“War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus.”

Carl Sandburg (1900-1944)
American Poet and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Biographer

“Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.”

Santana [Set’tainte, White Bear] (1820?-1878)
Native American Chief of the Kiowa

“I have heard you intend to settle us on a reservation near the mountains. I don’t want to settle. I love to roam over the prairies. There I feel free and happy, but when we settle down we grow pale and die.”

“A long time ago this land belonged to our fathers, but when I go up to the river I see camps of soldiers on its banks. These soldiers cut down my timber, they kill my buffalo and when I see that, my heart feels like bursting.”

George Santayana (1863-1952)
American Philosopher and Poet

“Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.”

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
French Philosopher and Author

“When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.”

George Savile [1st Marquess of Halifax] (1633-1695)
Member of Parliament

“There is . . . no fundamental, but that every supreme power must be arbitrary.”

Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832)
French Economist

“[Slavery as that] which thus violates the most indisputable of properties.”

“It [consciption] is the most scandalous violation of property and of all natural rights.”

“I will say that we can violate a man’s property rights not only by seizing the products of his lands, capital and industry, but also by hindering him in the free use of these means of production. For the right to property as it is defined by the jurisconsults is the right to use, and even to abuse.”

“Taxes, even when authorized by the public, are a violation of property . . . a theft.”

“Under free competition, the better an industrious man defends his own interests, the better he serves the national wealth. The meddling interference of authority cannot comprehend these interests any better than the individual. Each regulation is fatal, because it can never take the place of the intelligence of producers and it hinders their actions, the principal means of their successes.”

“If equity commands that consumption be paid for by those who have enjoyed it, then in this respect the best administered countries are those where each class supports the cost of public expenses to the extent that they have benefited from them.”

“The price of goods based upon a monopoly is, by virtue of this privilege, higher than its cost of production and is to that extent an assault upon the property of the buyer. A tax which is raised higher than the cost necessary to procure the taxpayer the security he desires is likewise an assault upon the property of the taxpayer.”

“[Adam] Smith wished to have civil suits paid for by the parties involved. This idea would be even more practical if judgments were made not by officially chosen tribunals but by arbiters chosen by the parties from among those men singled out by public confidence. If these arbiters, acting as a jury of equity, were paid in proportion to the sum in dispute without regard to the length of the proceeding, they would be motivated to simplify and shorten the procedure in order to save their own time and to judge fairly in order to assure their continued employment.”

“Arbiters would be paid by the parties, or perhaps by the losing party only, according to the importance of the interests in question not of the length of the trial. The parties would or would not employ the services of lawyers and advocates as they pleased. . . . Thus, the honorarium of the judge would be composed: (l) of a fixed sum for each province, a very moderate sum paid simply to have a man keep himself at the disposition of the public, (2) an ad hoc premium when he is called to be an arbiter, and (3) an honorarium proportional to the value in dispute, payable after judgment.”

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-)
American Historian and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author

“The Imperial Presidency was essentially the creation of foreign policy. A combination of doctrines and emotions--belief in permanent and universal crisis, fear of communism, faith in the duty, and the right of the United States to intervene swiftly in every part of the world--had brought about the unprecedented centralization of decisions over war and peace in the Presidency. With this came an unprecedented exclusion of the rest of the executive branch, of Congress, of the press and of public opinion in general from these decisions. Prolonged war in Vietnam strengthened the tendencies toward both centralization and exclusion. So the Imperial Presidency grew at the expense of the constitutional order. Like a cowbird, it hatched its own eggs and pushed the others out of the nest. And as it overwhelmed the traditional seperation of powers in foreign affairs, it began to aspire toward an equivalent centralization of power in the domestic polity.”

“The Imperial Presidency, born in the 1940s and 1950s to save the outer world from perdition, thus began in the 1960s and 1970s to find nurture at home. Foreign policy had given the President the command of peace and war. Now the decay of the parties left him in command of the political scene, and the Keynesian revelation placed him in command of the economy. At this extraordinary historical moment, when foreign and domestic lines of force converged, much depended on whether the occupant of the White House was moved to ride the new tendencies of power or to resist them.”

Joseph A. Schumpeter (1883-1950)
American Economist, Sociologist and Author

“Bureaucracy is not an obstacle to democracy but an inevitable complement to it.”

“We always plan too much and always think too little.”

“Entrepreneurial profit . . . is the expression of the value of what the entrepreneur contributes to production.”

“Democracy is a political method, that is to say, a certain type of institutional arrangement for arriving at political--legislative and administrative--decisions and hence incapable of being an end in itself.”

“First, ‘war economy’ essentially means switching the economy from production for the needs of a peaceful life to production for the needs of warfare. This means in the first place that the available means of production are used in some part to produce different final goods, chiefly of course war materials, and in the most part to produce the same products as before but for other customers than in peacetime. This means, furthermore, that the available means of production are mainly used to produce as many goods for immediate consumption as possible to the detriment of the production of the means of production--particularly machinery and industrial plant--so that part of production that in peacetime takes up so much room, namely the production for the maintenance and expansion of the productive apparatus, decreases more and more. The possibility to do just this, that is to use for immediate consumption goods, labor, and capital which previously had made producer’s goods and thus only indirectly contributed to the production of consumer’s goods (i.e., which made ‘future’ rather than ‘present’ goods to use the technical terminology), this possibility was our great reserve which has saved us so far and which has prevented the stream of consumer’s goods from drying up completely. . . . Our poverty will be brought home to us to its full extent only after the war. Only then will the worn-out machines, the run-down buildings, the neglected land, the decimated livestock, the devastated forests, bear witness to the full depth of the effects of war.”

“Yet the danger persists that power asserted during authentic emergencies may create precedents for transcendent executive power during emergencies that exist only in the hallucinations of the Oval Office and that remain invisible to most of the nation. The perennial qustion is: How to distinguish real crises threatening the life of the republic from bad dreams conjured up by paranoid presidents spurred on by paranoid advisers? Necessity, as Milton said, is always ‘the tyrants’s plea.’”

“We must expect that anti-imperialist tendencies will show themselves wherever capitalism penetrates the economy and, through the economy, the mind of modern nations.” [Imperialism and Social Classes, p. 69-70]

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
French Philosopher, Physician, Humanitarian,
and 1952 Nobel Prize-Winner in Peace

“Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind independent of the one prevalent among the crowd and in opposition to it, a tone of mind which will gradually win influence over the collective one, and in the end determine its character. It is only an ethical movement which can rescue us from the slough of barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.”

“A new public opinion must be created privately and unobtrusively. The existing one is maintained by the press, by propaganda, by organization, and by financial and other influences which are at its disposal. The unnatural way of spreading ideas must be opposed by the natural one, which goes from man to man and relies solely on the truth of the thoughts and the hearer’s receptiveness for new truth.”

“Revenge . . . is like a rolling stone, which, when a man hath forced up a hill, will return upon him with a greater violence, and break those bones whose sinews gave it motion.”

Lucius Annaneus Seneca (4 B.C.-65 A.D.)
Roman Playwright and Philosopher

“Freedom can’t be kept for nothing. If you set a high value on liberty, must set a low value on everything else.”

“Laws do not persuade just because they threaten.”

“A sword never kills anyone; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.”

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
British Author, Philosopher and 1925 Nobel Prize-Winner in Literature

“Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.”

“Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.”

“The art of government is the organisation of idolatry.”

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”

“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the
support of Paul.”

“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”

“You have to choose [as a voter] between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability and intelligence of the members of the government. And with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.”

“War can so easily be gilt with romance and heroism and solemn national duty and patriotism and the like by persons whose superficial literary and oratorical talent covers an abyss of Godforsaken folly.”

“Our way of getting an army able to fight the German army is to declare war on Germany just as if we had such an army, and then trust to the appalling resultant peril and disaster to drive us into wholesale enlistment.”

“There may they dig each other's graves, and call the sad work glory.”

“Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.”

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)
English Author and Women’s Rights Advocate

“Independence I have long considered as the grand blessing of life, the basis of every virtue; and independence I will ever secure by contracting my wants, though I were to live on a barren heath.”

“I do not wish them to have power over men, but over themselves.”

“Every political good carried to the extreme must be productive of evil.”

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
English Poet and Philosopher

“Man has no right to kill his brother. It is no excuse that he does so in uniform: he only adds the infamy of servitude to the crime of murder.”

“Change is certain. Peace is followed by disturbances; departure of evil men by their return. Such recurrences should not constitute occasions for sadness but realities for awareness, so that one may be happy in the interim.”

“The man of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys.”

“There may they dig each other’s graves, and call the sad work glory.”

“War is the statesmans game, the priests delight,
The lawyers jest, the hired assassins trade.” [from the poem, “Queen Mab,” pt. 4]

General William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891)
Union Military Leader, U.S. Civil War

“The Government of the United States has . . . . any and all rights which they choose to enforce in war - to take their lives, their homes, their lands, their everything . . . . war is simply power unrestrained by constitution . . . . To the persistent secessionist, why, death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better . . .”

“Freedom of speech and freedom of the press, precious relics of former history, must not be construed too largely.”

“There is a class of people (Southerners) men, women, and children, who must be killed or banished before you can hope for peace and order.”

“We will remove every obstacle--if need be, take every life, every acre of land, every particle of property, everything that to us seems proper.”

“To the petulent and persistent secessionists, why, death is mercy.”

“We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children. Nothing less will reach the toot of the cause.” [1866, in a letter to Ulysses S. Grant]

“During an assault [on an Indian village] the soldiers can not pause to distinguish between male and female, or even discriminate as to age. As long as resistance is made, death must be meted out.” [Instructions to the U.S. Army for the war against the Plains Indians, begun three months after Robert E. Lee’s surrender in the U.S. Civil War]

“War is cruelty and you cannot refine it.”

“War is simply power unrestrained by constitution or compact.”

Algernon Sidney (1622-1683)
English Political Theorist

“For as there is no happiness without liberty, and no man more a slave than he that is overmastered by vicious passions, there is neither liberty, nor happiness, where there is not virtue.”

“Justice is that virtue which ought to be the perpetual director of all our actions in the world and the rule of commerce.”

“Commonwealths or civil societies are constituted for the attaining of justice, that everyone living in them may enjoy that which justly belongs to him and suffer nothing of others but what he has justly deserved. The links of these societies are the respective laws. These laws are either compacts made by men, or are given by God, who has a true sovereign power about all. All laws made by men ought to tend to the preservation of those societies in doing justice to all the individuals thereof. Every man is to see that he shall not suffer what he would not, if he do what he ought not.”

“When the law is good, it directs how it should be rightly administered. The observation of such rules we call just government. This good government still refines and betters the law. The melioration of the law strengthens that which is good in the government, and still adds something better than what was before. Where things are in this right order, there is a perpetual advance in all that is good, until such nation attains unto the political perfection of liberty, security, and happiness, which were the ends for which government was constituted.”

William E. Simon (1927-2000)
63rd U.S. Secretary of the Treasury;
Chairman of Council on Wage and Price Stability;
and U.S. Governor, International Monetary Fund,
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development,
Inter-American Development Bank, and Asian Development Bank

“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.”

“The fact throughout history is that whenever government dominates the economic affairs of its citizenry, a free society is eroded, then destroyed, and a minority government ensues. Personal liberty without economic liberty is an absolute contradiction; the one cannot exist without the other.”

“The bureaucrat’s first objective, of course, is preservation of his job--provided by the big-government system, at the taxpayers expense. . . .Whether real world problems get solved or not is of secondary importance. It doesn’t take much cynicism, in fact, to see that the bureaucrats have a vested interest in not having problems solved. If the problems did not exist (or had been invented), there would be no reason for the bureaucrat to have a job.”

Louis Simpson (1923-)
American Poet and Author

“The aim of military training is not just to prepare men for battle, but to make them long for it.”

“Being shelled is the main work of an infantry soldier, which no one talks about. Everyone has his own way of going about it. In general, it means lying face down and contracting your body into as small a space as possible.”

Sitting Bull [Tatanka-Iyotanka] (1831-1890)
Native American Chief of the Hunkpapa Sioux

“I am a red man. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. He put in your heart certain wishes and plans, in my heart he put other and different desires. Each man is good in his sight. It is not necessary for Eagles to be Crows. We are poor..but we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die...we die defending our rights.”

Adam Smith (1723-1790)
Scottish Economist, Philosopher and Author

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”

“There is no art which one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from the pockets of the people.”

“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.”

The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition is so powerful that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations.

“Men desire to have some share of the management of public affairs chiefly on account of the importance which it gives them.”

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

“Those ten persons, therefore, could make among them upwards of forty-eight thousand pins in a day. Each person, therefore, making a tenth part of forty-eight thousand pins, might be considered as making four thousand eight hundred pins in a day. But if they had all wrought separately and independently, and without any of them having been educated to this peculiar business, they certainly could not each of them have made twenty, perhaps not one pin in a day; that is, certainly, not the two hundred and fortieth, perhaps not the four thousand eight hundredth part of what they are at present capable of performing, in consequence of a proper division and combination of their different operations.”

“As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.”

“The produce of the soil maintains at all times nearly that number of inhabitants which it is capable of maintaining. The rich only select from the heap what is most precious and agreeable. They consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity, though they mean only their own conveniency, though the sole end which they propose from the labours of all the thousands whom they employ, be the gratification of their own vain and insatiable desires, they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species.”

“The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security is so powerful a principle that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often incumbers its operations; though the effect of these obstructions is always more or less either to encroach upon its freedom, or to diminish its security.”

“How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.”

“The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder.”

“A true party-man hates and despises candour. . . .”

“To found a great Empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may, at first sight, appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers, but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers. Such statesmen, and such statesmen only, are capable of fancying that they find some advantage in employing the blood and treasure of their fellow-citizens to found and maintain such an empire.”

Joseph Sobran (1946-)
American Journalist and Author

“War is just one more big government program.”

“If you want government to intervene domestically, you’re a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you’re a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you’re a moderate. If you don’t want government to intervene anywhere, you’re an extremist.”

“Politicians never accuse you of ‘greed’ for wanting other people’s money--only for wanting to keep your own money.”

“Tyranny seldom announces itself. . . . In fact, a tyranny may exist without an individual tyrant. A whole government, even a democratically elected one, may be tyrannical.”

“Altering the Constitution has become the daily business of the Federal Government which the document is supposed to guide and limit. Both Congress and the judiciary assume, and exercise, countless powers they aren't entitled to.”

“...[T]he Constitution conferred only a few specific powers on the federal government, all others being denied to it (as the Tenth Amendment would make plain). Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of the U.S. population today can grasp such nuances. Too bad. The Constitution wasn't meant to be a brain-twister.”

Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn (1918-)
Russian Author and 1970 Nobel Prize-Winner for Literature

“Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method inexorably must choose lying as his principle.”

“I don’t see any difference in the behavior of NATO and of Hitler. . . . NATO wants to erect its own order in the world, and it needs Yugoslavia simply as an example: ‘We’ll punish Yugoslavia, and the whole rest of the planet will tremble. . . ’”

“Woe to that nation whose literature is cut short by the intrusion of force. This is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up of a nation’s heart, the excision of its memory.”

“It is not simply a question of checking the encroachments of totalitarianism; we must first overcome our own lack of resolve.”

“Violence does not and cannot exist by itself; it is invariably intertwined with the lie.”

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

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

“In their own country, Roosevelt and Churchill are honored as embodiments of statesmanlike worship. To us, in our Russian prison conversations, their consistent shortsightedness and stupidity stood out as astonishingly obvious . . . what was the military or political sense in their surrendering to destruction at Stalin’s hands hundreds of thousands of armed Soviet citizens determined not to surrender.”

“He [Churchill] turned over to the Soviet command the Cossack corps of 90,000 men. Along with them he also handed over many wagonloads of old people, women, and children. . . . This great hero, monuments to whom will in time cover all England, ordered that they, too, be surrendered to their deaths.”

“The mistake must be at the root, at the very basis of human thinking in the past centuries. I refer to the prevailing Western view of the world which was first born during the Renaissance and found its political expression starting in the period of the Enlightenment. It became the basis for government and social science and could be defined as rationalistic humanism or humanist autonomy: the proclaimed and enforced autonomy of man from any higher force above him.” [1978 Commencement Address at Harvard]

Thomas Sowell (1930-)
American Economist and Author

“What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don’t like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don’t expect freedom to survive very long.”

“Freedom. . . refer[s] to a social relationship among people- namely, the absence of force as a prospective instrument of decision making. Freedom is reduced whenever a decision is made under threat of force, whether or not force actually materializes or is evident in retrospect.”

“What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race.”

“What is politically defined as economic ‘planning’ is the forcible superseding of other people’s plans by government officials.”

“Blacks were not enslaved because they were black but because they were available. Slavery has existed in the world for thousands of years. Whites enslaved other whites in Europe for centuries before the first black was brought to the Western hemisphere. Asians enslaved Europeans. Asians enslaved other Asians. Africans enslaved other Africans, and indeed even today in North Africa, blacks continue to enslave blacks.”

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
English Philosopher, Sociologist and Author

“The more numerous public instrumentalities become, the more is there generated in citizens the notion that everything is to be done for them, and nothing by them. Every generation is made less familiar with the attainment of desired ends by individual actions or private agencies; until, eventually, governmental agencies come to be thought of as the only available agencies.”

“Volumes might be written upon the impiety of the pious.”

“The freest form of government is only the least objectionable form. The rule of the many by the few we call tyranny: the rule of the few by the many is tyranny also; only of a less intense kind.”

“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”

“If every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man, then he is free to drop connection with the state --to relinquish its protection, and to refuse paying toward its support.”

“If men use their liberty in such a way as to surrender their liberty, are they thereafter any the less slaves? If people by a plebiscite elect a man despot over them, do they remain free because the despotism was of their own making?”

“Be it or be it not true that Man is shaped in inequity and conceived in sin, it is unquestionably true that government is begotten of  aggression, and by aggression.”

Benedict (Baruch) Spinoza (1632-1677)
Dutch Philosopher and Author

“He who regulates everything by laws, is more likely to arouse vices than reform them.”

“Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.”

“He alone is free who lives with free consent under the entire guidance of reason.”

Lysander Spooner (1808-1887)
American Philosopher, Legal Scholar and Abolitionist

“Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one harms the person or property of another.”

“Man, no doubt, owes many other moral duties to his fellow men; such as to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, protect the defenseless, assist the weak, and enlighten the ignorant. But these are simply moral duties, of which each man must be his own judge, in each particular case, as to whether, and how, and how far, he can, or will perform them.”

“The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit . . . Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. . . He does not keep ‘protecting’ you by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that.”

“All governments, the worst on earth and the most tyrannical on earth, are free governments to that portion of the people who voluntarily support them.”

“No government knows any limits to its power except the endurance of the people.”

“Still another of the frauds of these men (Northern politicians) is, that they are now establishing, and that the (Civil) war was destined to establish, “a government of consent.’ The only idea they have ever manifested as to what is a government of consent, is this; that it is one to which everybody must consent, or be shot. This idea was the dominant one on which the war was carried on; and it is the dominant one, now that we have got what is called ‘peace.’”

“But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical fact. The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: ‘Your money, or your life.’ And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat. The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful. The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a ‘protector,’ and that he takes men’s money against their will, merely to enable him to ‘protect’ those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful ‘sovereign,’ on account of the ‘protection’ he affords you. He does not keep ‘protecting’ you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villanies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.”

“The ‘nations,’ as they are called, with whom our pretended ambassadors, secretaries, presidents, and senators profess to make treaties, are as much myths as our own. On general principles of law and reason, there are no such ‘nations.’ . . . Our pretended treaties, then, being made with no legitimate or bona fide nations, or representatives of nations, and being made, on our part, by persons who have no legitimate authority to act for us, have intrinsically no more validity than a pretended treaty made by the Man in the Moon with the king of the Pleiades.”

“And the so-called sovereigns, in these different governments, are simply the heads, or chiefs, of different bands of robbers and murderers.”

“The ballot . . . is a mere substitute for a bullet.”

“All these cries of having ‘abolished slvaery,’ of having ‘saved the country,’ of having ‘preserved the union,’ of establishing a ‘government of consent,’ and of ‘maintaining the national honor’ are all gross, shameless, transparent cheats—so transparent that they ought to deceive no one.” [Spooner, the great abolitionist, wrote in reference to the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction]

“The right and the physical power of the people to resist unjustice, are really the only securities that any people ever can have for their liberties.”

“No body of men can be said to authorize a man to act as their agent, to the injury of a third person.”

” . . . whoever desires liberty should understand these vital facts, viz.: 1. That every man who puts money in the hands of a ‘government’ (so called), puts into its hands a sword which will be used against himself, to extort more money from him, and also to keep him in subjection to its arbitrary will. 2. That those who will take his money, without his consent, in the first place, will use it for his further robbery and enslavement, if he presumes to resist their demands in the future.” [from No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority]

“The ostensible supporters of the Constitution, like the ostensible supporters of most other governments, are made up of three classes, viz.: 1. Knaves, a numerous and active class, who see in the government an instrument which they can use for their own aggrandizement or wealth. 2. Dupes--a large class, no doubt--each of whom, because he is allowed one voice out of millions in deciding what he may do with his own person and his own property, and because he is permitted to have the same voice in robbing, enslaving, and murdering others, that others have in robbing, enslaving, and murdering himself, is stupid enough to imagine that he is a ‘free man,’ a ‘sovereign‘; that this is a ‘free government‘; ‘a government of equal rights,‘ ‘the best government on earth,‘ and such like absurdities. 3. A class who have some appreciation of the evils of government, but either do not see how to get rid of them, or do not choose to so far sacrifice their private interests as to give themselves seriously and earnestly to the work of making a change.” [from No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority, p. 18]

Spotted Tail [Sinte-Galeska] (1823-1881)
Native American Chief of the Brule Sioux

“This war did not spring up on our land, this war was brought upon us by the children of the Great Father who came to take our land without a price, and who, in our land, do a great many evil things. . . . This war has come from robbery--from the stealing of our land.”

Henry St. John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke (1808-1887)
Member of Parliament, Philosopher and Author

“The great mistake is that of looking upon men as virtuous, or thinking that they can be made so by laws.”

Anne Louise Germaine de Stael (1766-1817)
Prench Philosopher and Writer

“Truth, and by consequence, liberty, will always be the chief power of honest men.”

“I was and still am convinced that women, being the victims of all social institutions, are destined to misery is they make the least concession to their feelings and if, in any way whatever, they lose control of themselves.”

“Innocence in genius, and candor in power, are both noble qualities.”

“He [Napoleon Bonaparte] was like an expert chess player, with the human race for an opponent, which he proposed to checkmate.”

Joseph Stalin [Iosif Vissarionovich Djugashvili] (1879-1953)
Premier, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

“…who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past.”

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”

“You kill one person it’s a tragedy, you kill ten thousand people it a statistic.”

“Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.”

“Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We wouldn’t let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?”

“If the [political] opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.”

“The United States should get rid of its militias.”

“A sincere diplomat is like dry water or wooden iron.”

“Death solves all problems--no man, no problem.”

“Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach.”

“If any foreign minister begins to defend to the death a ‘peace conference,’ you can be sure his government has already placed its orders for new battleships and airplanes.”

“If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.”

“In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance.”

“Print is the sharpest and the strongest weapon of our party.”

“Whoever occupies a territory also imposes on it his own social system [as far] as his army can reach.”

“History shows that there are no invincible armies.”

“To choose one’s victims, to prepare one’s plan minutely, to slake an implacable vengeance, and then to go to bed . . . there is nothing sweeter in the world.”

John Steinbeck (1902-1968)
American Author and 1962 Nobel Prize-Winner for Literature

“And this I must fight against: any idea, religion or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is the one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system.”

“This I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.”

Sir James Fitzjames Stephen (1829-1894)
English Jurist and Journalist

“The way in which the man of genius rules is by persuading an efficient minority to coerce an indifferent and self-indulgent majority.”

Potter Stewart (1915-1985)
Associate Justice, U. S. Supreme Court

“The right to defy an unconstitutional statute is basic in our scheme. Even when an ordinance requires a permit to make a speech, to deliver a sermon, to picket, to parade, or to assemble, it need not be honored when it’s invalid on its face.”

“The right to enjoy property without unlawful deprivation, no less than the right to speak out or the right to travel, is, in truth, a ‘personal right’.”

“The dichotomy between personal liberties and property rights is a false one. Property does not have rights. People have rights. . . . In fact, a fundamental interdependence exists between the personal right to liberty and the personal right in property.”

Max Stirner [Johann Kaspar Schmidt] (1806-1856)
German Philosopher and Author

“The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual crime.”

“Every State is a despotism, be the despot one or many.”

“Might is a fine thing, and useful for many purposes; for ‘one goes further with a handful of might than with a bagful of right.’”

I. F. [Isidor Feinstein] Stone (1907-1989)
Journalist and Author

“Governments lie.”

Charles Sumner (1811-1874)
U.S. Senator and Abolitionist

“Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens will be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth. I will crown every hillside with a place of worship consecrated to peace.”

William Graham Sumner (1840-1910)
Political Scientist and Author

“If all nations had free trade, no one of them would have any special gain from it, just as, if all men were honest, honesty would have no commercial value. Some say that a man cannot afford to be honest unless all men are honest. The truth is that, if there was one honest man among a lot of cheats, his character and reputation would reach their maximum value. So the nation that has free trade when the others do not have it gains the most by comparison with them. It gains while they impoverish themselves. If all had free trade all would be better off, but then no one would profit from it more than the others. If this were not true, if the man who first sees the truth and first acts wisely did not get a special premium for it, the whole moral order of the universe would have to be altered, for no reform or improvement could be tried until unanimous consent was obtained. If a man or a nation does right, the rewards of doing right are obtained. They are not as great as could be obtained if all did right, but they are greater than those enjoy who still do wrong.”

“The State, it cannot be too often repeated, does nothing and can give nothing which it does not take from somebody. The Forgotten Man works and votes--generally he prays--but his chief business in life is to pay.”

“We were told that we needed Hawaii in order to secure California. What shall we now take in order to secure the Philippines? No wonder that some expansionists do not want to ‘scuttle out of China.’ We shall need to take China, Japan, and the East Indies, according to the doctrine, in order to ‘secure’ what we have. Of course this means that, on the doctrine, we must take the whole earth in order to be safe on any part of it, and the fallacy stands exposed. If, then, safety and prosperity do not lie in this direction, the place to look for them is in the other direction: in domestic development, peace, industry, free trade with everybody, low taxes, industrial power.” [in reference to the Spanish-American war]

“We have beaten Spain in a military conflict, but we are submitting to be conquered by her on the field of ideas and policies. Expansionism and imperialism are nothing but the old philosophies of national prosperity which brought Spain to where she now is.” [The Conquest of the United States by Spain, p. 139]

Edgar A. Suter, M.D. (1952-)
American Physician and Second Amendment Advocate

“Governments should not possess instruments of coercion and violence denied to their citizens.”

”Citizens have the natural right and the common sense duty to protect themselves, their families, their communities, and their property . . . guns are the equalizing tools of self-protection, utopian lamentations notwithstanding.”

“The public may actually be endangered more by banning less deadly weapons, handguns and ‘assault weapons’. . . criminals have indicated they would substitute more deadly weapons (e.g. shotguns and rifles, which can be easily made concealable by using a hacksaw . . . ), rather than less deadly weapons.”

“‘Assault rifles’ are defined by widely accepted criteria. ‘Assault rifles’ are capable of machine-gun-like ‘automatic’ fire. They are designed to wound rather than kill. They fire intermediate power cartridges, more powerful than most pistols, but considerably less deadly than hunting rifles which, by definition, are designed to kill. In any other context, ‘assault rifle’ is a misnomer.”

George O. Sutherland (1862-1942)
Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court

“The saddest epitaph which can be carved in memory of a vanished liberty is that it was lost because its possessors failed to stretch forth a saving hand while yet there was time.”

“Arbitrary power and the rule of the Constitution cannot both exist. They are antagonistic and incompatible forces; and one or the other must of necessity perish whenever they are brought into conflict.”

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
British Author

“For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery.”

“Laws are like cobwebs which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.”

Thomas S. Szasz (1920-)
American Psychiatrist, Humanist and Author

“The Nazis said they had a Jewish problem. We say we have a drug abuse problem. Actually, ‘Jewish problem’ was the name the Germans gave to their persecution of the Jews; ‘drug abuse problem’ is the name we give to our persecution of people who use certain drugs.”

“Policemen receive bribes; politicians receive campaign contributions. Marijuana is sold by pushers; tobacco is sold by merchants. When the Swiss are for non-intervention in war, they are called ‘neutral’; when Americans are for non-intervention, they are called ‘isolationists’.”

“Although we may not know it, we have, in our day, witnessed the birth of the Therapeutic State.”

“Inasmuch as we have words to describe medicine as a healing art, but have none to describe it as a method of social control or political rule, we must first give it a name. I propose that we call it pharmacracy, from the Greek roots pharmakon, for ‘medicine’ or ‘drug,’ and kratein, for ‘to rule’ or ‘to control.’. . . As theocracy is rule by God or priests, and democracy is rule by the people or the majority, so pharmacracy is rule by medicine or physicians.”

“As befits the ministrations of a modern inquisitor, the persecutory practices of the institutional psychiatrist are couched in the vocabulary of medicine. Pretending to be diagnosing a measles-like illness during its incubation period in order the better to treat it, the psychiatrist actually imposes pseudomedical labels on society’s scapegoats in order the better to handicap, reject, and destroy them.””

“I object to psychiatric diagnostic terms not because they are meaningless, but because they are used to stigmatize, dehumanize, imprison and torture those to whom they are applied. To put it somewhat differently, I oppose involuntary psychiatry, or the rape of the patient by the psychiatrist, but I do not oppose voluntary psychiatry, or psychiatric activities between consenting adults.”

“I submit that the foregoing views consist of an approximately equal mixture of mendacity and nonsense. As a teacher in a medical school, I believe it is my duty to teach facts and theories as I see them, and not as the State, the American Medical Association, Alcoholics Anonymous, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the liquor industry, or any other group of special interests see them. In my judgement, the view that alcoholism is a disease is false; and the programs sponsored by the State and supported by tax moneys to ‘cure’ it are immoral and inconsistent with our political commitment to individual freedom and responsibility. . . . The misuse of alcohol--whatever the reason for it--is no more an illness than the misuse of any other product of human inventiveness, from language to nuclear energy.”