"Trade and commerce, if they were not made of Indian rubber,
would never manage to bounce over the obstacles
which legislators are continually putting in their way."
Henry David Thoreau
(1817-1862) American author, poet, philosopher, polymath, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and transcendentalist
"Civil Disobedience," 1849
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US      
To gain some insight on where our country is heading, I suggest "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. It points out what legislative obstacles are doing to us.
 -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
     -- Mike, Norwalk      
    Whenever Congress introduces something with the words 'free trade' in it, you can bet that it promotes monopolies and the exact opposite of what people believe the agreement represents. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is 20,000 pages long -- and no one in Congress who voted for it read it. The fineprint reveals that the treaty merely guarantees US government exclusivity to resources in Mexico and Canada under the pretense of 'free trade'.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    "Free trade" means that any individual is free to trade with any other individual (barring of course trade that jeopardizes the nation). Government should be confined to protecting that right. Once the government sets conditions, it is neither free nor fair.
     -- Allen Weingarten, Monroe Township, NJ     
    I am really puzzled by this quote. In Walden, Thoreau constantly stresses the importance of living simply, forgetting material needs, and the fallacy of mindless, industrialized work. Yet here he seems to be supporting laissez fair capitalism. I think Thoreau, who was Anarchist, probably had too much faith in people's ability to govern themselves, and didn't foresee the problems brought about by corporate control today. Indeed, government is best which governs least, but today the government is in bed with the corporations.
     -- Andrew L, OH     
    Totally out of context into days world....
     -- Robert, Somewhere in Europe     
    Laissez Faire, Financial system of Natural Liberty. Very good for the common man, as with all Gods natural laws. Plundering of the food stuffs and robing the ground right from under the sovereign's feet. Greediness of gain, is not embraced by all, but for the cheats and thieves wanting their cuff money by way of their plunder. Simplicity is the key to many things in life. Quality is always better in the long run.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
    Robert, you may have something there - there is nothing that will bounce high enough to get into free air.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- jim k, Austin      
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