Government by idea tends to take in everything, to make the whole of society obedient to the idea. Spaces not so governed are unconquered, beyond the border, unconverted, a future danger.more Lord Acton quotes
The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.more Lord Acton quotes
Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society.more John Adams quotes
Be not intimidated... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.more John Adams quotes
[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.more John Adams quotes
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.more John Adams quotes
Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.more John Adams quotes
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.more John Adams quotes
A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.... While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.more Samuel Adams quotes
And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions.more Samuel Adams quotes
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.more Samuel Adams quotes
I’ve always felt that a person’s intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic.more Lisa Alther quotes
I am commonly opposed to those who modestly assume the rank of champions of liberty, and make a very patriotic noise about the people. It is the stale artifice which has duped the world a thousand times, and yet, though detected, it is still successful. I love liberty as well as anybody. I am proud of it, as the true title of our people to distinction above others; but ... I would guard it by making the laws strong enough to protect it.more Fisher Ames quotes
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.more Hannah Arendt quotes
...[W]e insist on the principle that no danger or crisis, foreign or domestic, will be solved by Americans surrendering more of their constitutional liberties, in the foolish hope that a bigger government will provide greater security.more Larry P. Arnn quotes
To those who scare peace loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: your tactics aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America’s enemies and pause to America’s friends.more John Ashcroft quotes
Aside from the most committed libertarians, few Americans would list a lack of freedom in their lives as their most pressing concern. That is not to deny that militant leftism, the administrative state, and the imperial judiciary threaten liberty—they most emphatically do. Nor is it to argue that conservatives should not care for liberty. Rather it is to recognize that the average American, including the average Republican voter, is not a libertarian, has come to expect quite a lot from the federal government, and cares as much, if not more, about security than liberty (or opportunity for that matter, unless he is young and on the make).more David Azerrad quotes
The power of authority is never more subtle and effective than when it produces a psychological “atmosphere” or “climate” favorable to the life of certain modes of belief, unfavorable, and even fatal, to the life of others.more Arthur Balfour quotes
What, then, is the law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. ... since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force -- for the same reason -- cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individual groups. ... But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Religious liberty is the chief cornerstone of the American system of government, and provisions for its security are embedded in the written charter and interwoven in the moral fabric of its laws. Anything that tends to invade a right so essential and sacred must be carefully guarded against, and I am satisfied that my countrymen, ever mindful of the suffering and sacrifices necessary to obtain it, will never consent to its impairment for any reason or under any pretext whatsoever.more Thomas F. Bayard quotes
A principal source of errors and injustice are false ideas of utility. For example: that legislator has false ideas of utility who considers particular more than general conveniencies, who had rather command the sentiments of mankind than excite them, who dares say to reason, 'Be thou a slave;' who would sacrifice a thousand real advantages to the fear of an imaginary or trifling inconvenience; who would deprive men of the use of fire for fear of their being burnt, and of water for fear of their being drowned; and who knows of no means of preventing evil but by destroying it.more Cesare Beccaria quotes
False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction.more Cesare Beccaria quotes
The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? and does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse, and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons.more Cesare Beccaria quotes
False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty... and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer? Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. They ought to be designated as laws not preventive but fearful of crimes, produced by the tumultuous impression of a few isolated facts, and not by thoughtful consideration of the inconveniences and advantages of a universal decree.more Cesare Beccaria quotes
History is clear that the first ten amendments to the Constitution were adopted to secure certain common law rights of the people, against invasion by the Federal Government.more Bell v. Hood quotes
Never could an increase of comfort or security be a sufficient good to be bought at the price of liberty.more Hilaire Belloc quotes
If America is destroyed, it may be by Americans who salute the flag, sing the national anthem, march in patriotic parades, cheer Fourth of July speakers – normally good Americans, but Americans who fail to comprehend what is required to keep our country strong and free, Americans who have been lulled away into a false security.more Ezra Taft Benson quotes
Our U.S. government each year spends roughly 30 percent more money than it takes in. It took 39 Presidents and 200 years to accumulate a debt of $1 trillion dollars. But it has taken only the past 12 years for that debt to triple to more than $5.9 trillion. Interest payments on the deficit alone add up to more than what our government pays for unemployment compensation, veteran's benefits, postal operations, housing, education, and highways combined. Saddled with this tremendous burden, it is impossible for our businesses to invest, harder for families to afford homes and medical care, and difficult for the United States to play its role in matters of national and international economic security.more James Bilbray quotes
An unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment.more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
In my judgment the people of no nation can lose their liberty so long as a Bill of Rights like ours survives and its basic purposes are conscientiously interpreted, enforced and respected so as to afford continuous protection against old, as well as new, devices and practices which might thwart those purposes. I fear to see the consequences of the Court's practice of substituting its own concepts of decency and fundamental justice for the language of the Bill of Rights as its point of departure in interpreting and enforcing that Bill of Rights.more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
The first ten amendments were proposed and adopted largely because of fear that Government might unduly interfere with prized individual liberties. The people wanted and demanded a Bill of Rights written into their Constitution. The amendments embodying the Bill of Rights were intended to curb all branches of the Federal Government in the fields touched by the amendments—Legislative, Executive, and Judicial.more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
What finally emerges from the ‘clear and present danger’ cases is a working principle that the substantive evil must be extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high before utterances can be punished…It must be taken as a command of the broadest scope that explicit language, read in the context of a liberty-loving society, will allow.more Justice Hugo L. Black quotes
Q. What is meant by the term “constitution”?
A. A constitution embodies the fundamental principles of a government. Our constitution, adopted by the sovereign power, is amendable by that power only. To the constitution all laws, executive actions, and judicial decisions must conform, as it is the creator of the powers exercised by the departments of government.
Q. Why has our Constitution been classed as “rigid”?
A. The term “rigid” is used in opposition to “flexible” because the provisions are in a written document which cannot be legally changed with the same ease and in the same manner as ordinary laws. The British constitution, which is unwritten, can, on the other hand be changed overnight by an act of Parliament. ...
Q. Where, in the Constitution, is there mention of education?
A. There is none; education is a matter reserved for the States. ...
Q. Does the Constitution give us our rights and liberties?
A. No, it does not, it only guarantees them. The people had all their rights and liberties before they made the Constitution. The Constitution was formed, among other purposes, to make the people’s liberties secure -- secure not only as against foreign attack but against oppression by their own government. They set specific limits upon their national government and upon the States, and reserved to themselves all powers that they did not grant. The Ninth Amendment declares: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
more Sol Bloom quotes
Maybe that's because guns are sold at a profit, while schools are provided by the government.more David Boaz quotes
Every ambitious would-be empire clarions it abroad that she is conquering the world to bring it peace, security and freedom, and is sacrificing her sons only for the most noble and humanitarian purposes. That is a lie, and it is an ancient lie, yet generations still rise and believe it! ... If America ever does seek Empire, and most nations do, then planned reforms in our domestic life will be abandoned, States Rights will be abolished -- in order to impose a centralized government upon us for the purpose of internal repudiation of freedom, and adventures abroad. The American Dream will then die -- on battlefields all over the world -- and a nation conceived in liberty will destroy liberty for Americans and impose tyranny on subject nations.more George S. Boutwell quotes
Constitutional provisions for the security of person and property should be liberally construed. It is the duty of the courts to be watchful of constitutional rights against any stealthy encroachments thereon.more Boyd v. U.S. quotes
Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed.more Sarah Brady quotes
Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen... If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
The makers of our constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness... They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone – the most comprehensive of the rights and the right most valued by civilized men.more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
If you think we are free today, you know nothing about tyranny and even less about freedom.more Tom Braun quotes
The concept of military necessity is seductively broad, and has a dangerous plasticity. Because they invariably have the visage of overriding importance, there is always a temptation to invoke security "necessities" to justify an encroachment upon civil liberties. For that reason, the military-security argument must be approached with a healthy skepticism.more Justice William J. Brennan quotes
There exists a “fear of freedom” of selfhood, which makes people want to submerge themselves in the mass and confession is one of the obvious means by which they can do so, for thereby they lose those traits which cause them to feel separate.more James A. C. Brown quotes
For those looking for security, be forewarned that there's nothing more insecure than a political promise.more Harry Browne quotes
The Bill of Rights is a literal and absolute document. The First Amendment doesn't say you have a right to speak out unless the government has a 'compelling interest' in censoring the Internet. The Second Amendment doesn't say you have the right to keep and bear arms until some madman plants a bomb. The Fourth Amendment doesn't say you have the right to be secure from search and seizure unless some FBI agent thinks you fit the profile of a terrorist. The government has no right to interfere with any of these freedoms under any circumstances.more Harry Browne quotes