"Are we at last brought to such an humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms under our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?"
Patrick Henry
(1736-1799) US Founding Father
[3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 45, 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1836]
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Logan, Memphis, TN      
It is only secondly an issue of trust. It is above all an issue of right. (Although it would be rather interesting if we each had an amphibious tank parked in the driveway.)
 -- David L Rosenthal     
     -- Jeremy, Des Moines      
    The need to defend yourself comes from the same need as your country's need to defend itself against aggressors - while this mentality exists peoples will be of the same inclination. Though I am against individuals carrying guns until nations do the same I see no progress with this ideal - it's really a matter of logic.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    In a society of individual sovereign nobility with its representative republic being the rule of law, the sentiment here expressed makes perfect sense. In a system where a democratic oligarchy or other tyrannical system is supported, such sentiment is found nonsensical and fool hardy.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
     -- Dick, Fort Worth      
    To all those who wish to disarm the citizenry, let it be known that the primary respopnsibility of bearing arms is to serve as a check upon the State. The federal government's military forces were NEVER supposed to have become larger than the sum of all the state militias -- now militias are given a bad name and the National Guard is a federal attempt to put state militia under federal command permanently thus defeating its primary intent.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
     -- P.M., KS      
    Who was Patrick Henry again...? Golly its amazing at how little our "warm and fuzzy" humanitarian, all caring liberal friends are so wiling to have their brothers oppressed and victimized. Absolutely amazing.
     -- Michael , Houston, TX     
    "Humiliation and debasing degradation" is the ultimate goal of liberalism. That is why they have been trying to emasculate society with such fervor. Eunuchs are much easier to control. They make great slaves, I hear.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    Obviously there are many who still use the word “Liberal” to denigrate and to throw aspersions and yet have no idea that they are talking rubbish – it’s liberals that have made this country what it is to day otherwise it would still be a third world sovereignty with gun-slingers shooting it out. I am absolutely amazed of the ignorance to the achievement of a liberal government. There are fundamentalists in every political persuasion. I love Liberals, they are mostly kind, thoughtful, fare, giving, and understanding of others differences – I sure prefer that to despots, and the far-right movements who only believe in immediate and personal satisfaction. It will be Liberals that save your … when the fascists come knocking on your door. Have a great weekend…
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
    Hey Robert...I am glad you liberals finally are willing to take responsibility for the condition of our country as it is today... And BTW: when we fight for individual freedom, that means you too. Funny how that never seems to work both ways. Also funny why no one wants to call themselves a liberal any more...ashamed of what you are? Afraid people will reject you if they really know what you think? Come on..be honest now (try real hard!)
     -- Michael , Houston,T X     
     -- keel, thomasville      
    we must defend ourselves from OUR OWN Government
     -- FREESC, Salley SC     
     -- Bruce, Savannah, TN      
     -- Anonymous      
     -- Anonymous      
    Patrick Henry was a great man that understood that freedom is more important than life. To quote the late William Buckley; Conservatism isn't an ideology, it is a means of protecting us from one.
     -- Kevin, Richmond     
    I think Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine were two of the men whom inspired the people to take their country from the tyrants that lorded over them!
     -- libertyjack, anytown, NC     
     -- Minuteman, U.S.A.      
    Its our turn now. Get ready.
     -- Gideon, Waynesville     
    Robert, the funny thing about your kind, gentle, bunny huggin' liberals is that they are always front and center to give away someone else s rights or money as long as they aren't part of the crowd to give. They are takers PERIOD. Thank GOD that people are re-discovering history. Real history from original sources like Patrick Henry and John Locke, not the rewritten history in the classrooms of today. History and an understanding that this country was based on individual rights and responsibility...the right of the people to destroy a tyrannical government when it no longer protects personal property...that we loan authority to the government from freedom that is a right that was given to us by our God...that our founders understood and were fearful of the inevitable corruption that creeps into a central government like a cancerous tumor, sucking the freedom from its citizenry. Patrick Henry understood this and his words are more relevant today than probably any other time in American History outside of the founding.
     -- HeavyD, MN     
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