"It has often been found that profuse expenditures, heavy
taxation, absurd commercial restrictions, corrupt tribunals,
disastrous wars, seditions, persecutions, conflagrations,
inundation, have not been able to destroy capital so fast as the
exertions of private citizens have been able to create it."
by:
Thomas Babington Macaulay
(1800-1859) [Lord Macaulay] 1st Baron Macaulay, British historian
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Reader comments about this quote:
kinda cute ;-)
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    That's because the expenditures couldn't exist if they catch up with or surpass the exertions of private citizens because like cancer if it destroys the host it destroys itself.
     -- Anon     
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    It's amazing that our economy has survived as well as it has with all the restrictions placed on business by the government. If our politicians would just get out of the way the economy would boom.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    Successful private citizens operate within a parameter and learn to make use of the established system set up by society and government. Thus Wm Penn's beautifully conceived and laid out town in the woods Philadelphia became the "workshop of the world" and the second largest city in the world (2d to London) as early as 1776. This commercial success would not have occurred without the foresight, planning and organizational ability of the Quakers. A Philadelphia motto describes Quaker success as "from the meeting house to the counting house". Most of what Babbington says seems of course true but society lays down the peace and securtiy in which private citizens may thrive.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    Waffler, you cite 1776 Philadelphia, which is interesting, since the Government at the time was British and was thrown out. The Royal Governors retreated, the Royal Magistrates and Judges-gone. And not just in Penn., but throughout the 13 colonies. And the people thrived, to the point of being able to successfully resist the British Empire. At the time, Edmund Burke was warning the British Parliment that they should end the War, before the people in Britian see how they can get along without government. I am reducing a star for this quote, for it does not flow off the tounge well.
     -- Chris, Rougemont, NC     
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    Good Wm Penn quote: "Thirdly. I know what is said by the several admirers of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, which are the rule of one, a few, and many, and are the three common ideas of government, when men discourse on the subject. But I choose to solve the controversy with this small distinction, and it belongs to all three: Any government is free to the people under it (whatever be the frame) where the laws rule, and the people are a party to those laws, and more than this is tyranny, oligarchy, or confusion." (William Penn - "Frame of Government of Pennsylvania"). Penn's foundation for his "workshop of the world" stemmed from the philosophy of the Enlightenment; how does man work in a state of nature? "Society" is largely artificial and arbitrary (depending on the cultural beliefs, traditions, etc. of the people) as man reasons upon which legitimate foundation he is to interact with his neighbor in a state of society; our society was originally established on a reasoned principle of finding the "natural" process by which man would interact with each other in a "state of nature". Penn tried it, and it appears to have worked for him and the people as he forwarded Locke's idea and theory of "natural rights".
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    It just goes to show that it is the PEOPLE that hold the power. Let us therefore resolve to keep it in our own hands, not dictated by some 'authority.'
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    The Colinies had a government called the Continental Congress which organized and won the war, then they had the Articles which did not work to well, then they had the Constitution. Exactly when was it that these people were totally devoid of government. We now look to progress in Iraq and Afganistan because of an evolving functioning governmental framework.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    The Articles of Confederation, adopted in 1777 by the Second Continental Congress, were apparently strong enough to beat the world's most powerful empire. I say that we were "devoid of government" from 1775 to 1777, then the 60+ members of the Continental Congress served a nation of 2 million plus.
     -- Chris, Rougemont     
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    The Whiskey Rebellion is a good example of a central government not being able to stifle the entrepreneurial spirit by unfair, heavy taxation and regulation. The government never was able to enforce the tax on small producers who were simply out of reach of the government because the people were on the producers side, and the tax was soon repealed. Prohibition never stifled the entrepreneurial spirit of Al Capone either. Taxes and regulation can have very serious unexpected consequences. People will do what they have to do be it rebellion or organized crime if they are left with no legal alternative to make a living.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Are we to assume that you sypathize with and support the cartels and the poppy growers ad nausema. Drug trade is just another honest living, just like porn and prostitution. Chris lets cut to the chase for one reason or another man has always had "government" and these colonies were no different. The pilgrims and the puritans, the Quakers too were highly organized and regulated societies. What after all is government and governance than organization and a common set of rules, standards, practices etcetera. To be factual the Articles were only propsed in 1777 and not adopted until 1781 even though they were the de facto constitution before final adoption.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    I researched the Whiskey Rebellion. The article concluded with these words, "As soon as the militia (13,000 men assembled by the states of Pa, NJ, Maryland, Va. and turned over to the US) crossed the mountains, all resistance collapsed. Oaths of allegiance to the federal laws were obtained. The insurrection was important in its demonstration for the first time of the power of the federal government and prerogatives of the president."
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
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    I prefer that people be left with a legal alternative to cheating and lawbreaking. The rebellion "ended" but the illicit distilleries moved to areas of Kentucky and other western states that were beyond the reach of the militia. Thus the flow of untaxed liquor never stopped and the government finally gave up on what it could not do.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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