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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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|John Adams||There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.|
|Felix Adler||In a country of such recent civilization as ours, whose almost limitless treasures of material wealth invite the risks of capital and the industry of labor, it is but natural that material interests should absorb the attention of the people to a degree elsewhere unknown.|
|Aeschylus||I know how men in exile feed on dreams of hope|
|Astrid Alauda||People have become as processed as food.|
|Saul Alinsky||A free and open society is an ongoing conflict, interrupted periodically by compromises.|
|Hannah Arendt||No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.|
|Thurman Arnold||[The US has] developed two coordinate governing classes:|
the one, called ‘business,' building cities, manufacturing
and distributing goods, and holding complete and autocratic
power over the livelihood of millions;
the other, called ‘government,' concerned with preaching and
exemplification of spiritual ideals, so caught in a mass of
theory, that when it wished to move in a practical world it
had to do so by means of a sub rosa political machine.
|Isaac Asimov||Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.|
|Frederic Bastiat||A Fatal Tendency of Mankind. Self-preservation and self-development are common aspirations among all people. And if everyone enjoyed the unrestricted use of his faculties and the free disposition of the fruits of his labor, social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing. But there is also another tendency that is common among people. When they can, they wish to live and prosper at the expense of others. This is no rash accusation. Nor does it come from a gloomy and uncharitable spirit. The annals of history bear witness to the truth of it: the incessant wars, mass migrations, religious persecutions, universal slavery, dishonesty in commerce, and monopolies. This fatal desire has its origin in the very nature of man -- in that primitive, universal, and insuppressible instinct that impels him to satisfy his desires with the least possible pain.|
|Georges Bernanos||Civilization exists precisely so that there may be no masses but rather men alert enough never to constitute masses.|
|Napoleon Bonaparte||I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of people would die for Him.|
|Bill Bonner||The entire world economy rests on the consumer; if he ever stops spending money he doesn't have on things he doesn't need -- we're done for.|
|Edmund Burke||Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young peoples, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation.|
|Gilbert Keith Chesterton||We all have a little weakness, which is very natural but rather misleading, for supposing that this epoch must be the end of the world because it will be the end of us. How future generations will get on without us is indeed, when we come to think of it, quite a puzzle. But I suppose they will get on somehow, and may possibly venture to revise our judgments as we have revised earlier judgments.|
|Georges Clemenceau||America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to denigration without the usual interval of civilization.|
|William Damon||There has never in the history of the civilized world been a cohort of kids that is so little affected by adult guidance and so attuned to a peer world. We have removed grown-up wisdom and allowed them to drift into a self-constructed, highly relativistic world of friendship and peers.|
|Charles Darwin||The evolution of the human race will not be accomplished in the ten thousand years of tame animals, but in the million years of wild animals, because man is and will always be a wild animal.|
|Justice William O. Douglas||The Fifth Amendment is an old friend and a good friend. It is one of the great landmarks in men’s struggle to be free of tyranny, to be decent and civilized.|
|Frederick Douglass||I know no class of my fellowmen, however just, enlightened, and humane, which can be wisely and safely trusted absolutely with the liberties of any other class.|
|Will Durant||[H]istory assures us that civilizations decay quite leisurely.|
|Edward Everett||The man who stands upon his own soil, who feels, by the laws of the land in which he lives,--by the laws of civilized nations,--he is the rightful and exclusive owner of the land which he tills, is, by the constitution of our nature, under a wholesome influence, not easily imbibed from any other source.|
|Ronald Firbank||The world is so dreadfully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain.|
|Jerome D. Frank||Increasingly constructive doubt is the sign of advancing civilization.|
|Benjamin Franklin||All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation|
of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his
natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all
Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the
Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore
by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick
shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society
on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can
have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his
Club towards the Support of it.
|Milton Friedman||Phil Donohue: When you see around the globe the maldistribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in underdeveloped countries, when you see so few haves and so many have-nots, when you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism? And whether greed is a good idea to run on? |
Milton Friedman: Well first of all tell me, is there some society you know that doesn't run on greed? You think Russia doesn't run on greed? You think China doesn't run on greed? What is greed? Of course none of us are greedy. It's only the other fella that's greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The greatest achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn't construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn't revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty that you are talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it's exactly in the kind of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.
Phil Donohue: Seems to reward not virtue as much as the ability to manipulate the system.
Milton Friedman: And what does reward virtue? You think the Communist commissar rewards virtue? You think a Hitler rewards virtue? Do you think... American presidents reward virtue? Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of political clout? Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest? You know I think you are taking a lot of things for granted. And just tell me where in the world you find these angels that are going to organize society for us? Well, I don't even trust you to do that.
|Milton Friedman||Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.|
|Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi||I think it would be an excellent idea.|
|Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi||You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.|
|Jason Gardner||It's difficult to view the world outside our human context. Staying alive and paying the bills both require our attention squarely fixed on our own business. Our sprawling cities and suburbs are wonderful and frightening tributes to creative self-absorption. In them, we spend our microscheduled days bustling between work and the endless details of our private lives, turning in our moments of rest to the buzzing distractions of television and computers - all accelerating toward some ultimate, unseen fulfillment of convenience and hyperreality. Little encourages us to pause and look around, much less question the end goal of all our busyness. Anything slower than the quick cuts of TV commercials is overwhelmed by our impatience and short attention. Unfortunately, we might be missing something important - to our happiness and to our survival.|
|David Lloyd George||Who ordained that a few should have the land of Britain as a perquisite; who made ten thousand people owners of the soil and the rest of us trespassers in the land of our birth?|
|Friedrich August von Hayek||What a free society offers to the individual is much more than what he would be able to do if only he were free.|
|Friedrich August von Hayek||It is largely because civilization enables us constantly to profit from knowledge which we individually do not possess and because each individual's use of his particular knowledge may serve to assist others unknown to him in achieving their ends that men as members of civilized society can pursue their individual ends so much more successfully than they could alone.|
|Friedrich August von Hayek||Many of the greatest things man has achieved are not the result of consciously directed thought, and still less the product of a deliberately coordinated effort of many individuals, but of a process in which the individual plays a part which he can never fully understand.|
|Adolf Hitler||The great masses of the people ... will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.|
|Eric Hoffer||The aspiration toward freedom is the most essentially human of all human manifestations.|
|Aldous Huxley||Armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence - those are the three pillars of Western prosperity.|
|Thomas Jefferson||The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.|
|Thomas Jefferson||A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable.|
|Immanuel Kant||War itself requires no special motive but appears to be engrafted on human nature; it passes even for something noble, to which the love of glory impels men quite apart from any selfish urges. Thus among the American savages, just as much as among those of Europe during the age of chivalry, military valor is held to be of great worth in itself, not only during war (which is natural) but in order that there should be war. Often war is waged only in order to show valor; thus an inner dignity is ascribed to war itself, and even some philosophers have praised it as an ennoblement of humanity, forgetting the pronouncement of the Greek who said, "War is an evil inasmuch as it produces more wicked men than it takes away." So much for the measures nature takes to lead the human race, considered as a class of animals, to her own end.|
|Immanuel Kant||The greatest problem for the human species, the solution of which nature compels him to seek, is that of attaining a civil society which can administer justice universally.|
|Robert F. Kennedy||At the heart of western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man... is the touchstone of value, and all society, groups, the state, exist for his benefit. Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and abiding practice of any western society.|
|Soren Kierkegaard||Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion -- and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion ... while Truth again reverts to a new minority.|
|Rose Wilder Lane||Nothing whatever but the constitutional law, the political|
structure, of these United States protects any American from
arbitrary seizure of his property and his person, from the
Gestapo and the Storm Troops, from the concentration camp, the
torture chamber, the revolver at the back of his neck in a
|Harold J. Laski||[C]ivilization means, above all, an unwillingness to inflict unnecessary pain ... those of us who heedlessly accept the commands of authority cannot yet claim to be civilized men.|
|C. S. Lewis||Here, I think, lies our real dilemma. Probably we cannot, certainly we shall not, retrace our steps. We are tamed animals (some with kind, some with cruel, masters) and should probably starve if we got out of our cage. That is one horn of the dilemma. But in an increasingly planned society, how much of what I value can survive? That is the other horn.|
|C. S. Lewis||War creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice.|
|Walter Lippmann||When men are brought face to face with their opponents, forced to listen and learn and mend their ideas, they cease to be children and savages and begin to live like civilized men. Then only is freedom a reality, when men may voice their opinions because they must examine their opinions.|
|Henry Cabot Lodge||Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance, this great land of ordered liberty, for if we stumble and fall, freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin.|
|F. J. Lucas||Within seven centuries, [the ancient Greeks] invented for itself, epic, elegy, lyric, tragedy, novel, democratic government, political and economic science, history, geography, philosophy, physics and biology; and made revolutionary advances in architecture, sculpture, painting, music, oratory, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, anatomy, engineering, law and war... a stupendous feat for whose most brilliant state Attica was the size of Hertfordshire, with a free population (including children) of perhaps 160,000.|
|Thomas Babington Macaulay||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.
|Thomas Babington Macaulay||Institutions purely democratic must, sooner, or later, destroy liberty or civilization or both.|
|Donald S. McAlvaney||In every declining civilization there is a small "remnant" of people who adhere to the right against the wrong; who recognize the difference between good and evil and who will take an active stand for the former and against the latter; who can still think and discern and who will courageously take a stand against the political, social, moral, and spiritual rot or decay of their day.|
|Al McGuire||I think the world is run by 'C' students.|
|H. L. Mencken||For every problem there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong.|
|John Stuart Mill||The only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. ... Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.|
|Octave Mirbeau||You're obliged to pretend respect for people and institutions you think absurd. You live attached in a cowardly fashion to moral and social conventions you despise, condemn, and know lack all foundation. It is that permanent contradiction between your ideas and desires and all the dead formalities and vain pretenses of your civilization which makes you sad, troubled and unbalanced. In that intolerable conflict you lose all joy of life and all feeling of personality, because at every moment they suppress and restrain and check the free play of your powers. That's the poisoned and mortal wound of the civilized world.|
|Toni Morrison||Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations. Of all the institutions that purport to do this, free libraries stand virtually alone in accomplishing this.|
|C. E. M. Joad||In the most civilized and progressive countries freedom of discussion is recognized as a fundamental principle.|
|Albert Jay Nock||Many now believe that with the rise of the totalitarian State the world has entered upon a new era of barbarism. It has not. The totalitarian State is only the State; the kind of thing it does is only what the State has always done with unfailing regularity, if it had the power to do it, wherever and whenever its own aggrandizement made that kind of thing expedient. Give any State like power hereafter, and put it in like circumstances, and it will do precisely the same kind of thing. The State will unfailingly aggrandize itself, if only it has the power, first at the expense of its own citizens, and then at the expense of anyone else in sight. It has always done so, and always will.|
|Albert Jay Nock||Here is the Golden Rule of sound citizenship, the first and greatest lesson in the study of politics: You get the same order of criminality from any State to which you give power to exercise it; and whatever power you give the State to do things FOR you carries with it the equivalent power to do things TO you.|
|Albert Jay Nock||[T]he State's criminality is nothing new and nothing to be wondered at. It began when the first predatory group of men clustered together and formed the State, and it will continue as long as the State exists in the world, because the State is fundamentally an anti-social institution, fundamentally criminal. The idea that the State originated to serve any kind of social purpose is completely unhistorical. It originated in conquest and confiscation -- that is to say, in crime. It originated for the purpose of maintaining the division of society into an owning-and-exploiting class and a propertyless dependent class -- that is, for a criminal purpose. No State known to history originated in any other manner, or for any other purpose. Like all predatory or parasitic institutions, its first instinct is that of self-preservation. All its enterprises are directed first towards preserving its own life, and, second, towards increasing its own power and enlarging the scope of its own activity. For the sake of this it will, and regularly does, commit any crime which circumstances make expedient.|
|José Ortega y Gasset||Civilization is nothing else but the attempt to reduce force to being the last resort.|
|Thomas Paine||The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind.|
|Bertrand Russell||The earth becomes more crowded, and our dependence upon our neighbours becomes more intimate. In these circumstances life cannot remain tolerable unless we learn to let each other alone in all matters that are not of immediate and obvious concern to the community. We must learn to respect each other's privacy, and not to impose our moral standards upon each other. The Puritan imagines that his moral standard is the moral standard; he does not realize that other ages and other countries, and even other groups in his own country, have moral standards different from his, to which they have as good a right as he has to his. Unfortunately, the love of power which is the natural outcome of Puritan self-denial makes the Puritan more executive than other people, and makes it difficult for others to resist him. Let us hope that a broader education and a wider knowledge of mankind may gradually weaken the ardour of our too virtuous masters.|
|James C. Scott||The aspiration to such uniformity and order alerts us to the fact that modern statecraft is largely a project of internal colonization, often glossed, as it is in its imperial rhetoric, as a 'civilizing mission'.|
|George Bernard Shaw||The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essense of inhumanity.|
|Mark Skousen||Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure.|
|Socrates||I am not an Athenian or a Greek, I am a citizen of the world.|
|Dr. Thomas Sowell||Just as any moron can destroy a priceless Ming vase, so the shallow and ill-educated people who run our schools can undermine and destroy from within a great civilization that took centuries of dedicated effort to create and maintain.|
|Herbert Spencer||The Republican form of government is the highest form of government; but because of this it requires the highest type of human nature -- a type nowhere at present existing.|
|Lysander Spooner||...only those who have the will and the power to shoot down their fellow men, are the real rulers in this, as in all other (so-called) civilized countries; for by no others will civilized men be robbed, or enslaved.|
|Charles T. Sprading||The first great struggle for liberty was in the realm of thought. The libertarians reasoned that freedom of thought would be good for mankind; it would promote knowledge, and increased knowledge would advance civilization. But the authoritarians protested that freedom of thought would be dangerous, that people would think wrong, that a few were divinely appointed to think for the people.|
|Hunter S. Thompson||It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.|
|Arnold J. Toynbee||Civilization is a movement, not a condition; it is a voyage, not a harbor.|