The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when the fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.
more H. L. Mencken quotes
Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on "I am not too sure."
more H. L. Mencken quotes
And it is not difficult to show, by abundant instances, that to extend the bounds of what may be called moral police, until it encroaches on the most unquestionably legitimate liberty of the individual, is one of the most universal of all human propensities.
more John Stuart Mill quotes
If you do not specify and confront real issues, what you will do will surely obscure them. If you do not alarm anyone morally, you will yourself remain morally asleep. If you do not embody controversy, what you say will be an acceptance of the drift to the coming human hell.
more C. Wright Mills quotes
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.
more Octave Mirbeau quotes
We create an environment where it is alright to hate, to steal, to cheat, and to lie if we dress it up with symbols of respectability, dignity and love.
more Whitney Moore, Jr. quotes
The courts are not bound by mere forms, nor are they to be misled by mere pretences. They are at liberty — indeed, are under a solemn duty — to look at the substance of things, whenever they enter upon the inquiry whether the legislature has transcended the limits of its authority. If therefore, a statute purporting to have been enacted to protect the public health, the public morals, or the public safety, has no real or substantial relation to those objects, or is a palpable invasion of rights secured by the fundamental law, it is the duty of the courts to so adjudge, and thereby give effect to the Constitution.
more Mugler v. Kansas quotes
The State, both in its genesis and by its primary intention, is purely anti-social. It is not based on the idea of natural rights, but on the idea that the individual has no rights except those that the State may provisionally grant him. It has always made justice costly and difficult of access, and has invariably held itself above justice and common morality whenever it could advantage itself by so doing.
more Albert Jay Nock quotes
We are human and our lot is to learn and to be hurled into inconceivable new worlds.
more Novalis quotes
When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are.
more Ayn Rand quotes
Let me explain this.  There are, fundamentally, only two causes of the progress of the nineteenth century -- the same two causes which you will find at the root of any happy, benevolent, progressive era in human history.  One cause is psychological, the other existential -- or: one pertains to man's consciousness, the other to the physical conditions of his existence.  The first is reason, the second is freedom.  And when I say "freedom," I do not mean poetic sloppiness, such as "freedom from want" or "freedom from fear" or "freedom from the necessity of earning a living."  I mean "freedom from compulsion -- freedom from rule by physical force."  Which means: political freedom.
more Ayn Rand quotes
Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked: "Account Overdrawn."
more Ayn Rand quotes
It was not the tycoons of big business, it was not the working classes, it was the intellectuals who reversed the trend toward political freedom and revived the doctrines of the absolute State, of totalitarian government rule, of the government's right to control the lives of the citizens in any manner it pleases.  This time, it was not in the name of the "divine right of kings," but in the name of the divine right of the masses.  The basic principle was the same: the right to enforce at the point of a gun the moral doctrines of whoever happens to seize control of the machinery of government.
more Ayn Rand quotes
Make no mistake about it -- and tell it to your Republican friends: capitalism and altruism cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society.  Tell it to anyone who attempts to justify capitalism on the ground of the "public good" or the "general welfare" or "service to society" or the benefit it brings to the poor.  All these things are true, but they are the by-products, the secondary consequences of capitalism -- not its goal, purpose or moral justification.  The moral justification of capitalism is man's right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; it is the recognition that man -- every man -- is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others, not a sacrificial animal serving anyone's need.
more Ayn Rand quotes
Make no mistake about it -- and tell it to your Republican friends: capitalism and altruism cannot coexist in the same man or in the same society. Tell it to anyone who attempts to justify capitalism on the ground of the "public good" or the "general welfare" or "service to society" or the benefit it brings to the poor.  All these things are true, but they are the by-products, the secondary consequences of capitalism -- not its goal, purpose or moral justification.  The moral justification of capitalism is man's right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; it is the recognition that man -- every man -- is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others, not a sacrificial animal serving anyone's need.
more Ayn Rand quotes
Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.
more Ayn Rand quotes
The secret dread of modern intellectuals, liberals and conservatives alike, the unadmitted terror at the root of their anxiety, which all of their current irrationalities are intended to stave off and to disguise, is the unstated knowledge that Soviet Russia is the full, actual, literal, consistent embodiment of the morality of altruism, that Stalin did not corrupt a noble ideal, that this is the only way altruism has to be or can ever be practiced.  If service and self-sacrifice are a moral ideal, and if the "selfishness" of human nature prevents men from leaping into sacrificial furnaces, there is no reason -- no reason that a mystic moralist could name -- why a dictator should not push them in at the point of bayonets -- for their own good, or the good of humanity, or the good of posterity, or the good of the latest bureaucrat's five-year plan.  There is no reason that they can name to oppose any atrocity.  The value of a man's life?  His right to exist?  His right to pursue his own happiness?  These are concepts that belong to individualism and capitalism -- to the antithesis of the altruist morality.
more Ayn Rand quotes
The power of morality is the greatest of all intellectual powers -– and mankind’s tragedy lies in the fact that the vicious moral code men have accepted destroys them by means of the best within them.
more Ayn Rand quotes
The secret dread of modern intellectuals, liberals and conservatives alike, the unadmitted terror at the root of their anxiety, which all of their current irrationalities are intended to stave off and to disguise, is the unstated knowledge that Soviet Russia [was] the full, actual, literal, consistent embodiment of the morality of altruism, that Stalin did not corrupt a noble ideal, [but that his use of brutality was] the only way altruism has to be or can ever be practiced.
more Ayn Rand quotes
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.
more Theodore Roosevelt quotes
This assumption about religion being necessary for morality is recognized and used as a justification for religion. When atheists provide arguments showing that religious beliefs are incorrect and illogical, a frequent response is that religion is still good because it's needed for morality. The question of truth is dismissed as less important than the question of usefulness. If morality is a good thing, then atheist arguments fall on deaf ears. And more, the act of willfully ignoring evidence or argument is performed with a sense of moral pride. This position rests on the myth that morality requires religion, and that you have to accept religion despite any flaws or abandon morality. This justification of religion is just one more consequence of the myth.
more Joseph Rowlands quotes
People who create things nowadays can expect to be prosecuted by highly moralistic people who are incapable of creating anything. There is no way to measure the chilling effect on innovation that results from the threats of taxation, regulation and prosecution against anything that succeeds. We’ll never know how many ideas our government has aborted in the name protecting us.
more Joseph Sobran quotes
For more than six hundred years -- that is, since the Magna Carta in 1215 -- there has been no clearer principle of English or American constitutional law than that, in criminal cases, it is not only the right and duty of juries to judge what are the facts, what is the law, and what was the moral intent of the accused; but that it is also their right, and their primary and paramount duty, to judge the justice of the law, and to hold all laws invalid, that are, in their opinion, unjust, oppressive, and all persons guiltless in violating or resisting the execution of such laws.
more Lysander Spooner quotes
We want a society in which we are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. That is what we mean by a moral society – not a society in which the State is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the State.
more Margaret Thatcher quotes
Others -- as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders -- serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few -- as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men -- serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part ...
more Henry David Thoreau quotes
Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let man label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country- hold up your head! You have nothing to be ashamed of.
more Mark Twain quotes
[T]hough of all poses a moral pose is the most offensive, still to have a pose at all is something.
more Oscar Wilde quotes
Progressives understand that their program for a government-centered society becomes more plausible the more people believe that work -- individual striving -- is unavailing. Government grows as fatalism grows, and fatalism grows as progressivism inculcates in people the demoralizing -- make that de-moralizing -- belief that they are victims of circumstances.
more George Will quotes
How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively? Furthermore, does legality establish morality? Slavery was legal; apartheid is legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist urges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of moral people.
more Walter E. Williams quotes
An opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation. It may be mistaken; it may involve an absurdity, or a contradiction. It is a truth, or it is an error; it can never be a crime or a virtue.
more Frances Wright quotes
Academic freedom means the right, long accepted in the academic world, to study, discuss, and write about facts and ideas without restrictions, other than those imposed by conscience and morality.
more Yale University quotes
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