"I heartily accept the motto,
that government is best which governs least ...
Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe,
that government is best which governs not at all;
and when men are prepared for it,
that will be the kind of government which they will have."
Henry David Thoreau
(1817-1862) American author, poet, philosopher, polymath, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and transcendentalist
his book, On The Duty of Civil Disobedience, 1849
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Reader comments about this quote:
Amen and a great book also.
 -- KS, Somewhere,USA     
  • 1
    Less government ... PLEASE!
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
  • 1
    Good idea, but the kicker is "when men are prepared." Since they never will be, government remains necessary
     -- Jonathan, tucson, AZ     
  • 2 1
    Self-government is an ideal, to be sought and improved upon, rather than finalized. It is akin to a navigator who aims at the North Star, to help a ship toward its destination, rather than to reach the star.
     -- Allen Weingarten, Monroe Township, NJ     
  • 2
    Natural law exists with or without man. It is the de jure premise of the originally accepted jurisprudence. In representing the individual sovereign's inalienable rights, corporeal man uses such tools as codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. to define the law of nature and of nature's God for man's administrations - protecting rights. The term government does not fit such scenario but, no word in any language that I am aware of has developed to describe such representative body politic.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    " Government, even in it's best state, is but a necessary evil, in it's worse state an intolerable one." Thomas Paine.
     -- jim k, Austin     
  • 2
    Its a dream but, I wouldn't call it a pipedream.
     -- Warrdoc, Elk Grove,CA.     
  • 2
    An ideal worth aiming for.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
    A man is a "despotes to his slaves but a "kurios" to his wife and children. 
     -- Ronw13, OR     
    Once we were, for well tested eons, so surely we can be again.

     -- Felipe, São Paulo     
    Great quote, great author, great books!
    Amem to that.

     -- Felipe, São Paulo     
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