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|Quotes are organized by Name and Category.|
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Indexed quotes by Author or Speaker.
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|Dean Acheson||The limitations imposed by democratic political practices makes it difficult to conduct our foreign affairs in the national interest.|
|Lord Acton||The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.|
|Lord Acton||By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes is his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion.|
|Lord Acton||It is bad to be oppressed by a minority,|
but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority.
|John Adams||Were I to define the British constitution, therefore, I should say, it is a limited monarchy, or a mixture of the three forms of government commonly known in the schools, reserving as much of the monarchical splendor, the aristocratical independency, and the democratical freedom, as are necessary that each of these powers may have a control, both in legislation and execution, over the other two, for the preservation of the subject's liberty.|
|John Adams||If a majority are capable of preferring their own private interest, or that of their families, counties, and party, to that of the nation collectively, some provision must be made in the constitution, in favor of justice, to compel all to respect the common right, the public good, the universal law, in preference to all private and partial considerations... And that the desires of the majority of the people are often for injustice and inhumanity against the minority, is demonstrated by every page of history... To remedy the dangers attendant upon the arbitrary use of power, checks, however multiplied, will scarcely avail without an explicit admission some limitation of the right of the majority to exercise sovereign authority over the individual citizen... In popular governments [democracies], minorities [individuals] constantly run much greater risk of suffering from arbitrary power than in absolute monarchies...|
|John Adams||Democracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.|
|John Adams||Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.|
|John Adams||[N]o good government but what is republican...|
the very definition of a republic is
'an empire of laws, and not of men.'
|John Adams||Every citizen must look up to the laws, as his master, his guardian, and his friend; and whenever any of his fellow citizens, whether magistrates or subjects, attempt to deprive him of his right, he must appeal to the laws; if the aristocracy encroach, he must appeal to the democracy; if they are divided, he must appeal to the monarchical power to decide between them, by joining with that which adheres to the laws; if the democracy is on the scramble for power, he must appeal to the aristocracy, and the monarchy, which by uniting may restrain it. If the regal authority presumes too far, he must appeal to the other two. Without three divisions of power, stationed to watch each other, and compare each other's conduct with the laws, it will be impossible that the laws should at all times preserve their authority, and govern all men.|
|John Adams||[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.|
|John Quincy Adams||Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.|
|Samuel Adams||It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.|
|Saul Alinsky||A free and open society is an ongoing conflict, interrupted periodically by compromises.|
|Woody Allen||We stand today at a crossroads: One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice.|
|Fisher Ames||Liberty has never lasted long in a democracy, nor has it ever ended in anything better than despotism.|
|Fisher Ames||[O]ur sages in the great [constitutional] convention...|
intended our government should be a republic
which differs more widely from a democracy
than a democracy from a despotism.
The rigours of a despotism often... oppress only a few,
but it is the very essence and nature of a democracy,
for a faction claiming to oppress a minority, and
that minority the chief owners of the property
and truest lovers of their country.
|Fisher Ames||The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty.|
|Amnesty International||The USA was founded in the name of democracy, equality and individual freedom, but is failing to deliver the fundamental promise of protecting rights for all.|
|Aristotle||A democracy is a government in the hands of men of low birth, no property, and vulgar employments.|
|Aristotle||Democracy arose from men thinking that if they are equal in any respect they are equal in all respects.|
|Aristotle||It is the greatest inequality to try to make unequal things equal.|
|Aristotle||The basis of a democratic state is liberty.|
|Clement Atlee||Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking.|
|Marcus Aurelius||The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.|
|Walter Bagehot||A democratic despotism is like a theocracy: it assumes its own correctness.|
|Sarah Evans Barker||To permit every interest group, especially those who claim to be victimized by unfair expression, their own legislative exceptions to the First Amendment so long as they succeed in obtaining a majority of legislative votes in their favor demonstrates the potentially predatory nature of what defendants seek through this Ordinance.|
|William Barr||It is easier to run away from a local tyranny than a national one. … [I]f it is one size fits all – if every congressional enactment or Supreme Court decision establishes a single rule for every American – then the stakes are very high as to what that rule is.|
|William Barr||When the entire press ‘advances along the same track,’ as Tocqueville put it, the relationship between the press and the energized majority becomes mutually reinforcing. Not only does it become easier for the press to mobilize a majority, but the mobilized majority becomes more powerful and overweening with the press as its ally. This is not a positive cycle, and I think it is fair to say that it puts the press’s role as a breakwater for the tyranny of the majority in jeopardy. The key to restoring the press in that vital role is to cultivate a greater diversity of voices in the media.|
|William Barr||Today in the United States, the corporate – or ‘mainstream’ – press is massively consolidated. And it has become remarkably monolithic in viewpoint, at the same time that an increasing number of journalists see themselves less as objective reporters of the facts, and more as agents of change.|
|William Barr||Although totalitarian democracy is democratic in form, it requires an all-knowing elite to guide the masses toward their determined end, and that elite relies on whipping up mass enthusiasm to preserve its power and achieve its goals. Totalitarian democracy is almost always secular and materialistic, and its adherents tend to treat politics as a substitute for religion. Their sacred mission is to use the coercive power of the state to remake man and society according to an abstract ideal of perfection.|
|William Barr||These developments have given the press an unprecedented ability to mobilize a broad segment of the public on a national scale and direct that opinion in a particular direction.|
|William Barr||The Framers would have seen a one-size-fits-all government for hundreds of millions of diverse citizens as being utterly unworkable and a straight road to tyranny. That is because they recognized that not every community is exactly the same. What works in Brooklyn might not be a good fit for Birmingham. The federal system allows for this diversity. It also enables people who do not like a certain system to move to a different one.|
|Alan Barth||Thought that is silenced is always rebellious. Majorities, of course, are often mistaken. This is why the silencing of minorities is necessarily dangerous. Criticism and dissent are the indispensable antidote to major delusions.|
|Bruce Bartlett||Democrats will play the old Washington game of calling reductions in the rate of growth of spending for any program a 'cut'.|
|Georges Bernanos||Civilization exists precisely so that there may be no masses but rather men alert enough never to constitute masses.|
|Edward Bernays||The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.|
|Edward Bernays||The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.|
|Ambrose Bierce||Vote: The instrument and symbol of a free man's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.|
|Ambrose Bierce||Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.|
|Ambrose Bierce||An election is nothing more than the advanced auction of stolen goods.|
|Niels Bohr||The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy, but the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of openness.|
|Neal Boortz||I can’t think of anything that would do more toward putting us back on the road to liberty and personal responsibility than for the average American, and for the news media, to come to the understanding that we are not a democracy, nor were we supposed to be.|
|Neal Boortz||Our founding fathers detested the idea of a democracy and labored long to prevent America becoming one. Once again -- the word 'democracy' does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, or the constitution of any of the fifty states. Not once. Furthermore, take a look at State of the Union speeches. You won’t find the 'D' word uttered once until the Wilson years.|
|Kenneth Boulding||A world of unseen dictatorship is conceivable, still using the forms of democratic government.|
|James Bovard||Democracy must be something more than two|
wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
|Justice Louis D. Brandeis||We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.|
|David Broder||Anybody that wants|
the Presidency so much
that he'll spend two years
organizing and campaigning for it
is not to be trusted
with the office.
|Giordano Bruno||It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.|
|James Buchanan||I like the noise of democracy.|
|Patrick J. Buchanan||We are thus in the position of having to borrow from Europe to defend Europe, of having to borrow from China and Japan to defend Chinese and Japanese access to Gulf oil, and of having to borrow from Arab emirs, sultans and monarchs to make Iraq safe for democracy. We borrow from the nations we defend so that we may continue to defend them. To question this is an unpardonable heresy called 'isolationism.'|
|William F. Buckley, Jr.||We are so concerned to flatter the majority that we lose sight of how very often it is necessary, in order to preserve freedom for the minority, let alone for the individual, to face that majority down.|
|Justice Warren E. Burger||There can be no assumption that today’s majority is “right” and the Amish or others like them are “wrong.” A way of life that is odd or even erratic but interferes with no right or interests of others is not to be condemned because it is different.|
|Edmund Burke||To govern according to the sense and agreement of the interests of the people is a great and glorious object of governance. This object cannot be obtained but through the medium of popular election, and popular election is a mighty evil.|
|Edmund Burke||Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.|
|Edmund Burke||The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.|