Pro-liberty and anti-liberty quotes

  1. Pro-liberty
  2. Anti-liberty


John Quincy ADAMS on U.S. foreign policy

"[America] goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom."
-- John Quincy Adams, Speech before the House of Representatives, July 4, 1821; quoted in William Bonner and Pierre Lemieux (Editors), The Idea of America (Les Belles Lettres, 2003), p. 237.

ANONYMOUS GOLD MINER's wooden post during California gold rush, c. 1849

"All and everybody, this is my claim, fifty feet on the gulch, cordin to Clear Creek District Law, backed up by shotgun amendments."
-- Quoted in John Umbeck, "Might Makes Rights: A Theory of the Formation and Initial Distribution of Property Rights", Economic Inquiry, Vol. 19 (January 1981), p. 50; from C. Shinn, Land Laws of Mining Districts (John Hopkins University Press, 1984), p. 558.

William BLACKSTONE on vindicating our rights

"And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated and attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and, lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self preservation and defense."
-- Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 17th edition, 1966, Vol. 1., Chap.1).

Russel BOUCHARD on the French Canadian tradition to keep and bear arms

"Les armes à feu, celles d'épaule plus spécifiquement, ont acquis une certaine noblesse dans l'histoire canadienne, car elles ont assuré, sans conteste, la poursuite de l'exploitation et de la mise en valeur d'un territoire sauvage, vaste et jusqu'alors inviolé. De 1534 jusqu'ˆ 1979 (!), leur importance ne se dément pas; elles dépassent, en fait, le niveau de simple objet d'utilité quotidienne, pour devenir un véritable phénomène de civilisation. De tout temps et de tout horizon, le Canadien a été placé directement en contact avec les armes à feu et il est difficile de l'imaginer autrement. Encore aujourd'hui d'ailleurs, ce symbole de liberté reste intimement lié aux grands espaces et ˆ la tolérance de la société. Il singularise l'Amérique d'hier et d'aujourd'hui. Ici en Nouvelle-France, plaisons-nous à le répéter, ce ne sont pas uniquement l'armée et la noblesse qui ont la possibilité et le privilège de pouvoir porter des armes. La coutume canadienne plusieurs fois séculaire reconnaît à ous le droit légal et moral d'acquérir une arme à feu en vue d'une utilisation libre et non contraignante."
Firearms, especially long guns, occupy a noble place in Canadian history since they are no doubt responsible for the exploitation of a vast and wild territory that had long remained untouched. From 1534 until 1979 (!), the importance of firearms remained uncontested. More than a simple tool of everyday life, they became truly a phenomenon of civilization. At all times and whoever he was, the Canadian was directly in contact with firearms, and he cannot be imagined otherwise. Even today, this symbol of liberty remains intimately related to wide, open spaces, and to a tolerant society. It is the distinctive mark of today's and yesterday's America. Here, in New France, let's repeat it, it is not only soldiers and nobles who have the possibility or privilege to bear arms. Century-old Canadian customs recognize equally to everybody the legal and moral right to acquire a firearm and to use it freely and noncoercively.
-- Russel Bouchard,
Les armes à feu en Nouvelle-France (Montréal: Éditions du Septentrion, 1999), p. 11.

Randolph BOURNE on war

"War is the health of the State."
-- Randolph Bourne, The State (1918), available at

James BOVARD on democracy

"Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."
-- James Bovard, Lost Rights. The Destruction of American Liberty (St. Martin's Press: New York, 1994), p. 333.
Buy Lost Rights. The Destruction of American Liberty at
By the same author, see also
Freedom in Chains : The Rise of the State and the Demise of the Citizen (St. Martin's Press: New York, 2000).

Geoffrey BRENNAN and James BUCHANAN on do-goodism

"Tax limits, or fiscal constraints generally, can be expected to curb government's appetites to the extent that the utility function of governmental decision makers contains arguments for privately enjoyable 'creature comforts,' for final end items of consumption. Such constraints become much less effective, and may well be evaded, if the motive force behind governmental action is 'do-goodism.' The licentious sinners we can control; the saintly ascetics may destroy us."
-- Geoffrey Brennan and James M. Buchanan, The Power to Tax : Analytical Foundations of a Fiscal Constitution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), p. 166; available at (visited January 29, 2003).

James BUCHANAN on anarchy

"In this and other respects, my analysis lends potential support to modern-day anarchists, who dely the legitimacy of much of the action implemented by the governmental-bureaucratic apparatus."
-- James M. Buchanan, The Limits of Liberty: Between Anarchy and Leviathan, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1975, p. 84; reproduced at

James BUCHANAN on God and the State

"By the time of the Enlightenment, the secular nation-state had almost reached its maturity, and nationalism, the sense of nationhood, was a more or less natural repository for the sentiments of those persons for whom God had died. For many, the state, as the collectivity, moved into the gap left by the demise of the church's parental role. ... The death of God and the birth of the national state, and especially in its latter-day welfare state form, are two sides of the coin of history in this respect."
-- James Buchanan, "Afraid To Be Free: Dependency ad Desideratum", Public Choice, No. 124 (2005), p. 25.

Edmund BURKE on oppressive do-goodism

"The great inlet by which a colour for oppression has entered into the world is by one man's pretending to determine concerning the happiness of another."
-- Edmund Burke, quoted by Lord Acton in Lectures on the French Revolution (London: 1910), in J. Rufus Fears (Ed.), Selected Writings of Lord Acton, Vol. 1: Essays in the History of Liberty (Indianapolis: LibertyClassics, 1985), p. 206.

Richard CARTWRIGHT on the rights of individuals in Canada

"I think that every true reformer, every real friend of liberty, will agree with me in saying that if we must erect safeguards, they should be rather for the security of the individual than of the mass, and that our chiefest care must be to train the majority to respect the rights of the minority, to prevent the claims of the few from being trampled under foot by the caprice or passion of the many."
-- Richard Cartwright in the Legislative Assembly, Canada, March 9, 1865; reproduced in Janet Ajzenstat, Paul Romney, Ian
Gentles, and William D. Gairdner (Eds.), Canada's Founding Debates (Toronto: Stoddart, 1999), p. 19.

CATO on what is liberty

"By Liberty I understand the Power which every Man has over his own Actions, and his Right to enjoy the Fruits of his Labour, Art, and Industry, as far as by it he hurts not the Society, or any Members of it, by taking from any Member, or by hindering him from enjoying what he himself enjoys. The Fruits of a Man's honest Industry are the just Rewards of it, ascertained to him by natural and eternal Equity, as is his Title to use them in the Manner which he thinks fit: And thus, with the above Limitations, every Man is sole Lord and Arbitrer of his own private Actions and Property."
-- Thomas Gordon, Letter 62 (1722) of Cato's Letters (1720-1723), quoted by Ronald Hamowy, "Cato's Letters, John Locke, and the Republican Paradigm", in Edward J. Harpham (Ed.), John Locke's Two Treatises of Government:  New Interpretations (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1992), p. 157.
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Benjamin CONSTANT on ancient and modern liberty

"Demandez-vous d'abord, Messieurs, ce que de nos jours un Anglais, un Français, un habitant des États-Unis de l'Amérique, entendent par le mot de liberté?
C'est pour chacun le droit de n'être soumis qu'aux lois, de ne pouvoir ni être arrêté, ni détenu, ni mis àmort, ni maltraité d'aucune manière, par l'effet de la volonté arbitraire d'un ou de plusieurs individus. C'est pour chacun le droit de dire son opinion, de choisir son industrie et de l'exercer; de disposer de sa propriété, d'en abuser même; d'aller, de venir, sans en obtenir la permission, et sans rendre compte de ses motifs ou de ses démarches. C'est, pour chacun, le droit de se réunir à d'autres individus, soit pour conférer sur ses intérêts, soit pour professer le culte que lui et ses associés préfèrent, soit simplement pour remplir ses jours et ses heures d'une manière plus conforme à ses inclinations, à ses fantaisies. Enfin, c'est le droit, pour chacun, d'influer sur l'administration du gouvernement, soit par la nomination de tous ou de certains fonctionnaires, soit par des représentations, des pétitions, des demandes, que l'autorité est plus ou moins obligée de prendre en considération. Comparez maintenant cette liberté à celle des anciens."
Celle-ci consistait à exercer collectivement, mais directement, plusieurs parties de la souveraineté tout entière, à délibérer, sur la place publique, de la guerre et de la paix, à conclure avec les étrangers des traités d'alliance, à voter les lois, à prononcer les jugements, à examiner les comptes, les actes, la gestion des magistrats, à les faire comparaître devant tout un peuple, à les mettre en accusation, à les condamner ou à les absoudre; mais en même temps que c'était là ce que les anciens nommaient liberté, ils admettaient, comme compatible avec cette liberté collective, l'assujettissement complet de l'individu à l'autorité de l'ensemble."
First ask yourselves, Gentlemen, what an Englishman, a Frenchman, and a citizen of the United States of America understand today by the word 'liberty'.
For each of them it is the right to be subjected only to the laws, and to be neither arrested, detained, put to death of maltreated in any way by the arbitrary will of one or more individuals. It is the right of everyone to express their opinion, choose a profession and practice it, to dispose of property, and even to abuse it; to come and go without permission, and without having to account for their motives or undertakings. It is everyone's right to associate with other individuals, either to discuss their interests, or to profess the religion which they or their associates prefer, or even simply to occupy their days or hours in a way which is more compatible with their inclinations or whims. Finally, it is everyone's right to exercise some influence on the administration of the government, either by electing all or particular officials, or through representations, petitions, demands to which the authorities are more or less compelled to pay heed. Now compare this liberty with that of the ancients.
The latter consisted in exercising collectively, but directly, several parts of the complete sovereignty; in deliberating, in the public square, over war and peace; in forming alliances with foreign governments; in voting laws, in pronouncing judgments; in examining the accounts, the acts, the stewardship of the magistrates; in calling them to appear in front of the assembled people, in accusing, condemning or absolving them. But if this was what the ancients called liberty, they admitted as compatible with this collective freedom the complete subjection of the individual to the authority of the community.

-- Benjamin Constant, "De la liberté des anciens comparée à celle des modernes" (1819), in
De la liberté chez les Modernes (Paris: Librairie Générale Française, 1980), pp. 494-495; English translation: "The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns" (1819), in Benjamin Constant, Political Writings, Edited by Biancamaria Fontana (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 310-311.
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Benjamin CONSTANT on obedience to unjust laws

"No duty, however, binds us to these so-called laws, whose corrupting influence menaces what is noblest in our being..."
-- Benjamin Constant, Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments (1810) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003), p. 401-402.

Benjamin CONSTANT on the effects of arbitrary power

"Thus arbitrary power will have divided men of superior intelligence into two groups: the former will be seditious, the latter corrupt..."
-- Benjamin Constant, The Spirit of Conquest and Usurpation (1814), reprinted in Political Writings, translated and edited by Bancamaria Fontana (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 126. Later editions than the 1814 one had "despotism" instead of "abitrary power."

Benjamin CONSTANT on the presumption of innocence

"It is a misfortune that we offer the guilty the chance of impunity, but it is not nearly as bad as delivering the good man to the vengeance of the oppressor."
-- Benjamin Constant, Principles of Politics Applicable to All Governments (1810) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003), p. 160.

Voltairine DE CLEYRE on the highjacking of the American Revolution

"The revolution is ... the blow dealt ... agains the counter force of tyranny, which has never entirely recovered from the blow, but which from then till now has gone on remolding and regrappling the instruments of governmental power, that the Revolution sought to shape and hold as defenses of liberty."
-- Voltairine de Cleyre, "Anarchism and American Traditions," Mother Earth, 1909; reproduced in William Bonner and Pierre Lemieux (Eds.), The Idea of America (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2003), p. 223.

Anthony DE JASAY on the redistributive state

"In the process of helping some (perhaps most) people to more utility and justice, the sate imposes on civil society a system of interdictions and commands."
-- Anthony de Jasay, The State (Oxford: Basic Blackwell, 1985), p. 123.
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Anthony DE JASAY on the addictive state

"People who live in states have as a rule never experienced the state of nature and vice-versa, and have no practical possibility of moving from the one to the other ... On what grounds, then, do people form hypotheses about the relative merits of state and state of nature? ... My contention here is that preferences for political arrangements of society are to a large extent produced by these very arrangements, so that political institutions are either addictive like some drugs, or allergy-inducing like some others, or both, for they may be one thing for some people and the other for others."
-- Anthony de Jasay,
The State (Oxford: Basic Blackwell, 1985), p. 18 and 20.
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Anthony DE JASAY on limiting the state

"Self-imposed limits on sovereign power can disarm mistrust, but provide no guarantee of liberty and property beyond those afforded by the balance between state and private force."
-- Anthony de Jasay, The State [1985] (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998), p. 205.
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Anthony DE JASAY on overruled individual preferences

"... the smaller is the domain where choices among alternatives are made collectively, the smaller will be the probability that any individual's preference gets overruled."
-- Anthony de Jasay, Against Politics: On Government, Anarchy, and Order (London and New York: Routledge, 1997), p. 49.

Anthony DE JASAY on the democratic state's drift to totalitarianism

"Having gathered all power to itself, [the State] has become the sole focus of all conflict, and it must construct totalitarian defences to match its total exposure."
-- Anthony de Jasay, The State
[1985] (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998), p. 287.
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Anthony DE JASAY on the partial state

“When the state cannot please everybody, it will choose whom it had better please.”
-- Anthony de Jasay, The State
[1985] (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998), p. 103.
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Bertrand DE JOUVENEL on democracy

"La démocracie, telle que nous l'avons pratiquée, centralisatrice, réglementeuse et absolutiste, apparaît donc comme la période d'incubation de la tyrannie."
Democracy, then, in the centralizing, pattern-making, absolutist shape which we have given to it is, it is clear, the time of tyranny's incubation.
-- Bertrand de Jouvenel,
Du Pouvoir. Histoire naturelle de sa croissance [1945] (Paris: Hachette, 1972), p. 36; English translation: On Power: The Natural History of Its Growth (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1993), p. 15.
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Available in English at

Bertrand DE JOUVENEL on income redistribution

"The more one considers the matter, the clearer it becomes that redistribution is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State."
-- Bertrand de Jouvenel, The Ethics of Redistribution [1952] (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1990), p. 72.
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Bertrand DE JOUVENEL on petty and big tyrannies

" La croissance de son autorité [l'autorité de l'État] apparaît aux individus bien moins comme une entreprise continuelle contre leur liberté que comme un effort destructeur des dominations auxquelles ils sont assujettis. [...] Où est le terme? [...] C'est la pleine liberté de chacun à l'égard de toutes autorités familiales et sociales, payée d'une entière soumission à l'État."
The growth of its authority [the state's authority] strikes private individuals as being not so much a continual encroachment of their liberty as an attempt to put down the various petty tyrannies to which they have been subjected. ... Where will it end? ... In each man's absolute freedom from every family and social authority, a freedom the price of which is complete submission to the state.
-- Bertrand de Jouvenel, Du Pouvoir. Histoire naturelle de sa croissance [1945] (Paris: Hachette, 1972), pp. 271 and 279; English translation: On Power: The Natural History of Its Growth (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1993), pp. 143 and 187.
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Bertrand DE JOUVENEL on the debasement of the electors

So far the debasement of the electors and the degradation of the assembly are only accidental. They are to become by progressive stages systematized. Syndicates of interests and ambitions will soon take shape which, regarding the assembly as a mere adjunct of Power and the people as a mere cistern for the assembly, will devote themselves to winning votes for the installation of tame deputies who will bring back to their masters the price for which they have ventured everytning, the command of society."
L'avilissement de l'électeur et l'abaissement de l'élu ne sont encore qu'accidentels. Ils vont progressivement devenir systématiques. Des syndicats d'intérêt et d'ambions se formeront qui, regardant l'assemblée commeune simple attributrice du Pouvoir et le peuple comme un simple remplisseur de l'assemblée, s'ingénieront à capter les suffrages pour investir des députés dociles, qui rapporteront à leurs maîtres l'enjeu de toute l'opération, le commandement de la Société.
Bertrand de Jouvenel, Du Pouvoir. Histoire naturelle de sa croissance [1945] (Paris: Hachette, 1972), p. 440; English translation: On Power: The Natural History of Its Growth (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1993), p. 299.

Bertrand DE JOUVENEL on the democratic police

"Aucun roi n'a disposé d'une police comparable à celle des démocraties modernes."
No absolute monarch ever had at his disposal a police force comparable to those of modern democracies.
-- Bertrand de Jouvenel, Du Pouvoir. Histoire naturelle de sa croissance [1945] (Paris: Hachette, 1972), p. 49; English translation: On Power: The Natural History of Its Growth (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1993), p. 23.

Estienne DE LA BOÉTIE on tyrants' favorites

"Mais c'est plaisir de considerer qu'est ce qui leur revient de ce grand tourment, et le bien quils peuvent attendre de leur peine et de leur miserable vie. Volontiers le peuple du mal quil souffre, n'en accuse point le tiran, mais ceux qui le gouvernent: ceus la les peuples, les nations, tout le monde a l'envi iusques aus paisans, iusques aus laboureurs ils scavent leurs noms, ils dechifrent leurs vices, ils amassent sur eus mille vilenies, mille maudissons; toutes leurs oraisons, tous leurs veus sont contre ceus la; tous leurs mal heurs, toutes les pestes, toutes les famines ils les leur reprochent; et si quelque fois il leur font par apparence quelque honneur, lors mesmes ils les maugreent en leur coeur, et les ont en horreur plus estrange que les bestes sauvages. Voila la gloire, voila lhonneur quils recoivent de leur service envers les gens, desquels quand chacun auroit une piece de leur corps, ils ne seroient pas ancore, ce leur semble, assés satisffaits, ni a demi saoulés de leur peine, mais certes ancore apres quils sont morts, ceus qui viennent apres ne sont jamais si paresseus que le nom de ces mangepeuples ne soit noirci de l'encre de mille plumes, et leur reputation deschirée dans mille livres, et les os mesmes par maniere de dire trainés par la postérité, les punissans ancore apres leur mort de leur meschante vie."
However, there is satisfaction in examining what they get out of all this torment, what advantage they derive from all the trouble of their wretched existence. Actually the people never blame the tyrant for the evils they suffer, but they do place responsibility on those who influence him; peoples, nations, all compete with one another, even the peasants, even the tillers of the soil, in mentioning the names of the favorites, in analyzing their vices, and heaping upon them a thousand insults, a thousand obscenities, a thousand maledictions. All their prayers, all their vows are directed against these persons; they hold them accountable for all their misfortunes, their pestilences, their famines; and if at times they show them outward respect, at those very moments they are fuming in their hearts and hold them in greater horror than wild beasts. This is the glory and honor heaped upon influential favorites for their services by people who, if they could tear apart their living bodies, would still clamor for more, only half satiated by the agony they might behold. For even when the favorites are dead those who live after are never too lazy to blacken the names of these people-eaters with the ink of a thousand pens, tear their reputations into bits in a thousand books, and drag, so to speak, their bones past posterity, forever punishing them after their death for their wicked lives.
-- Estienne de la Boétie,
Discours de la servitude volontaire (1574-1576), in Oeuvres complètes d'Estienne de la Boétie, Vol. 1, William Blake and Co. Edit., 1991, p. 96; English translation: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude.
Discours de la servitude volontaire en vente chez Amazon France.
Available in English at, with an introduction by Murray Rothbard.

Alexis DE TOCQUEVILLE on citizens under future democratic states

"Au-dessus de ceux-là s'élève un pouvoir immense et tutélaire, qui se charge seul d'assurer leur jouissance et de veiller sur leur sort. Il est absolu, prévoyant, régulier et doux. Il ressemblerait à la puissance paternelle si, comme elle, il avait pour objet de préparer les hommes à l'âge viril; mais il ne cherche, au contraire, qu'à les fixer irrévocablement dans l'enfance; il aime que les citoyens se réjouissent pourvu qu'ils ne songent qu'à se réjouir. Il travaille volontiers à leur bonheur; mais il veut en être l'unique agent et le seul arbitre; il pourvoit à leur sécurité, prévoit et assure leurs besoins, facilite leurs plaisirs, conduit leurs principales affaires, dirige leur industrie, règle leurs successions, divise leurs héritages; que ne peut-il leur ôter entièrement le trouble de penser et la peine de vivre ?"
Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?
-- Alexis de Tocqueville, De la démocratie en Amérique, Vol. 2 (1840), Part 5, Chap. 6 (Paris: Laffont, 1986), p. 648; English translation reproduced in William Bonner and Pierre Lemieux (Eds.), The Idea of America (Belles Lettres, 2003), p. 84.

Alexis DE TOCQUEVILLE on democratic despotism

"After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."
-- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol. II (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899), Chap. 6; available at (visited December 22, 2002).

Alexis de TOCQUEVILLE on the tyranny of the majority

"Quand donc je refuse d'obéir à une loi injuste, je ne dénie point à la majorité le droit de commander; j'en appelle seulement de la souveraineté du peuple à la souveraineté du genre humain.
Il y a des gens qui n'ont pas craint de dire qu'un peuple, dans les objets qui n'intéressaient que lui-même, ne pouvait sortir entièrement des limites de la justice et de la raison, et qu'ainsi on ne devait pas craindre de donner tout pouvoir à la majorité qui le représente. Mais c'est là un langage d'esclave."
-- Alexis de Tocqueville, De la Démocratie en Amérique, Livre I [1835], Partie 2, Chapitre 7, section 2.
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Frederick DOUGLASS, on freedom to travel for free men

"Any one having a white face, and being so disposed, could stop us, and subject us to examination. ... When I get there [in Pennsylvania], I shall not be required to have a pass; I can travel without being disturbed."
-- Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself [1845] (Toronto: New American Library, 1968), p. 77 and 93-94.
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Frederick DOUGLASS, on life and liberty

"... and in thinking of my life, I almost forgot my liberty."
-- Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself [1845] (Toronto: New American Library, 1968), p. 103.
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Frederick DOUGLASS, on mistrust for the state

"Let us render the tyrant no aid; let us not hold the light by which he can trace the footprints of our flying brother."
-- Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself [1845] (Toronto: New American Library, 1968), p. 106.
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Émile FAGUET on classical liberalism and anarchism

"[U]n anarchiste est un libéral intransigeant."
An anarchist is an uncomprimising liberal.
-- Émile Faguet,
Politiques et moralistes du dix-neuvime sicle, Vol. 1 (Paris: Société Française d'Imprimerie et de Librairie, c. 1898), p. 226.

Benjamin FRANKLIN on security and liberty

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
-- Benjamin Franklin, quoted in Suzy Platt, Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (Barnes and Noble, 1993), p. 201.

David FRIEDMAN on firearms, dissuasion and crime

"Suppose one little old lady in ten carries a gun. Suppose that one in ten of those, if attacked by a mugger, succeeds in killing the mugger instead of being killed by him -- or shooting herself in the foot. On average, the mugger is much more likely to win the encounter than the little old lady. But -- also on average -- every hundred muggings produces one dead mugger. At those odds, mugging is an unprofitable business -- not many little old ladies carry enough money to justify one chance in a hundred of being killed getting it. The number of muggers declines drastically, not because they have all been killed but because they have, rationally, sought safer professions."
-- David Friedman, Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life (New York: Harper, 1996), p. 299.
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Milton FRIEDMAN on conservatism and libertarianism

"Moreover, I am not myself a conservative. I am a liberal in the classical ssense or, in the terminology that has become common in the USA, a libertarian in philosophy."
-- Milton Friedman, interviewed in Brian Snowdon and Howard R. Vane, Modern Macroeconomics: Its Origins, Development and Current State (Cheltehnam, UK, and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2005), p. 207.

Milton FRIEDMAN on market failure and government failure

"All economists -- monetarists, Keynesians, or what-not -- recognize that there is such a thing as market failure. I believe that what distinguishes economists is not whether they recognize market failure, but how much importance they attach to government failure, especially when when government seeks to remedy what are said to be market failures. That difference in turn is related to the time perspective that economists bring to various issues. Speaking for myself, I do not believe that I have more faith in the equilibrating tendencies of market forces than most Keynesians, but I have far less faith than most economists, whether Keynesians or monetarists, in the ability of government to offset market failure without making matters worse."
-- Milton Friedman, interviewed in Brian Snowdon and Howard R. Vane, Modern Macroeconomics: Its Origins, Development and Current State (Cheltehnam, UK, and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2005), p. 212.

Milton FRIEDMAN on tolerance towards a small or large state

"If, for example, existing government intervention is minor, we shall attach a smaller weight to the negative effect of additional government intervention. This is an important reason why many earlier liberals, like Henry Simons, writing at a time when government was small by todayÕs standards, were willing to have government undertake activities that todayÕs liberals would not accept now that government has become so overgrown."
-- Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962), p. 32.

Martin GILBERT about heroin at the time of Churchill's childwood

"'Poor old man,' Mrs Everest wrote, 'have you tried the heroin I got you -- get a bottle of Elliman's embrocation & rub your face when you go to bed & tie your sock up over your face, after rubbing for 1/4 of an hour, try it and I am sure it will do you good.'"
-- Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (London: Heinemann, 1991), p. 27.

Martin GILBERT about Winston Churchill's childhood and guns

"That autumn [1890, when Churchill was 15] he began to smoke, provoking further criticism. 'Darling Winston,' his mother wrote in September, 'I hope you will try & not smoke. If only you knew how foolish & how silly you look doing it you would give it up, at least for a few years.' There was to be an inducement to giving up smoking. 'I will get Papa to get you a gun and a pony.' Churchill deferred to his mother's advice. He would give up smoking 'at any rate for six months'. ... 'The two brothers [Churchill and his younger borther] have been happy as kings riding and shooting', Lady Randolph wrote..."
-- Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (London: Heinemann, 1991), pp. 25 and 28.

Friedrich HAYEK on classical liberalism and superior individuals

"The [classical] liberal, of course, does not deny that there are some superior people -- he is not an egalitarian -- but he denies that anyone has authority to decide who these superior people are."
-- Friedrich Hayek, "Why I Am Not a Conservative," postcript to The Constitution of Liberty [1960] (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1972), p. 402.
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Friedrich HAYEK on conservatism

"... it is this nationalistic bias which frequently provides the bridge from conservatism to collectivism: to think in terms of 'our' industry or resource is only a short step away from demanding that these national assets be directed in the national interest."
-- Friedrich Hayek, "Why I Am Not a Conservative," postcript to The Constitution of Liberty [1960] (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1972), p. 405.
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Friedrich HAYEK on do-gooders

"It is indeed probable that more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out a moral evil than by men intent on doing evil."
-- F.A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), p. 146.

Friedrich HAYEK on the Good Society

"The Good Society is one in which the chances of anyone selected at random are likely to be as great as possible."
-- Friedrich Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol. 2: The Mirage of Social Justice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), p. 132.

Friedrich HAYEK on the limitation of power

"[I]t is not the source but the limitation of power which prevents it from being arbitrary."
-- F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944), p. 71.

Friedrich HAYEK on the rule of law and asking permissions

"It used to be the boast of free men that, so long as they kept within the bounds of the known law, there was no need to ask anybody's permission or to obey anybody's orders. It is doubtful whether any of us can make this claim today."
-- F.A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), p. 208.

Friedrich HAYEK on value to society

" But though the concepton of a 'value to society' is sometimes carelessly used even by economists, there is strictly no such thing and the expression implies the same sort of anthropomorphism or personification of society as the term 'social justice'. Services can have value only to particular people (or an organization), and any particular service will have very different values for different members of the same society. To regard them differently is to treat society not as a spontaneous order of free men but as an organization whose members are all made to serve a single hierarchy of ends. This would necessarily be a totalitarian system in which personal freedom would be absent."
-- F.A. Hayek, Law, Legislation and Liberty, vol. 2: The Mirage of Social Justice (Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1976), pp. 75-76.

Stephen HALBROOK on Nazi gun controls

"Such questions have never been discussed in scholarly publications because the Nazi laws, policies, and practices have never been adequately documented. The record establishes that a well-meaning liberal republic would enact a gun control act that would later be highly useful to a dictatorship."
-- Stephen P.Halbrook, "Nazi Firearms Law and the Disarming of the German Jews, Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 17, No. 3 (2000), pp. 483-535; available at
By this author, see
That Every Man Be Armed : The Evolution of a Constitutional Right and Target Switzerland : Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II. Available at

Douglas HAY on the indocile (French) Canadians in New France, before and just after the 1760 Conquest

"The deep dislike of juries by [former French Regime] seigneurs and officers was probably not shared, at least not for the same reasons, by other Canadians [after the 1760 English Conquest]. They disliked the time it took to serve, but the Chief Justice said they made good jurymen, followed his directions, and in general were pleased with the institution. Carleton, the Governor, thought they were 'extremely flattered and pleased' with their occasional role in helping to decide verdicts. This seems a plausible interpretation. Before the Conquest French officials in Quebec routinely damned the intransigent insubordination, the social pretensions, the egalitarianism and the bloodymindednpss of the French [Canadian] inhabitant. He would not pay taxes, he would pay only half the level of the tithe in France, he would not doff his hat to a socia1 superior and he enjoyed far too high wages, which gave him the independence to do all these things. The authority of the law was one of the few areas where he could not set foot, and the royal officers of justice, a socially homogeneous group of professionals, did not share their authority. For ordinary Canadians, suddenly to step into the shoes of the Lieutenant général et civil must have been a heady experience."
-- Douglas Hay, "The Meanings of Criminal Law in Québec, 1764-1774," in Louis A. Knafla, Crime and Criminal Justice in Europe and Canada (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1981), p. 95.

Patrick HENRY on liberty and resistance

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!."
-- Patrick Henry, Speech of March 23, 1775, reproduced at

Auberon HERBERT on restricting liberty to combat terrorism

"If we cannot learn, if the only effect upon us of the presence of the dynamiter in our midst is to make us multiply punishments, invent restrictions, increase the number of our official spies, forbid public meetings, interfere with the press, put up gratings -- as in one country they propose to do -- in our House of Commons, scrutinize visitors under official microscopes, request them, as at Vienna, and I think now at Paris also, to be good enough to leave their greatcoats in the vestibules ... I venture to prophesy that there lies before us a bitter and an evil time."
-- Auberon Herbert, "The Ethics of Dynamite", Contemporary Review, May 1894; reproduced in The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State, and Other Essays by Auberon Herbert (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1978), p. 226.
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Auberon HERBERT on unlimited democracy

"And what sort of philosophical doctrine is this -- that numbers confer unlimited rights, that they take from some persons all rights over themselves, and vest these rights in others. ... How, then, can the rights of three men exceed the rights of two men? In what possible way can the rights of three men absorb the rights of two men, and make them as if they had never existed. ... It is not possible to suppose, without absurdity, than a man should have no rights over his own body and mind, and yet have a 1/10,000,000th share in unlimited rights over all other bodies and minds?"
-- Auberon Herbert, "The Ethics of Dynamite", Contemporary Review, May 1894; reproduced in The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State, and Other Essays by Auberon Herbert (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1978), pp. 202-203.
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Auberon HERBERT on state dependency

"If government half a century ago had provided us with all our dinners and breakfasts, it would be the practice of our orators today to assume the impossibility of our providing for ourselves."
-- Auberon Herbert, "State Education: A Help or Hindrance", Fornightly Review, July 1880; reproduced in The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State, and Other Essays by Auberon Herbert (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1978), p. 77.
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Auberon HERBERT on taxes

"... every tax or rate, forcibly taken from an unwilling person, is immoral and oppressive."
-- Auberon Herbert, "The Principles of Voluntaryism" [1897], reproduced in The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State, and Other Essays by Auberon Herbert (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1978), p. 393.
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Thomas JEFFERSON on necessary revolutions

"God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion ... what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. ... The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Smith, November 13, 1787; reproduced in Thomas Jefferson, Writings (The Library of America, 1984), p. 911.

Thomas JEFFERSON on the spirit of resistance

"The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Abigail Adams, February 22, 1787; reproduced in Thomas Jefferson, Writings (The Library of America, 1984), p. 889-890.

Claire JOLY et al., on women self-defense

"Les femmes sont tout à fait compétentes pour assurer leur légitime défense, pourvu que la loi ne les transforme pas en criminelles si elles emploient des moyens efficaces à cette fin."
Women are quite able to see to their own defence, as long as the law does not transform them into criminals if they take effective measures to do so.
-- Claire Joly, Marie Latourelle, Maryse Martin, and Karen Selick, "Testostérone et contrôle des armes" ,
Le Devoir, February 19, 1999, p. A-11; reproduced on this site in the original French version, and in an English translation.

George JONAS on civil disobedience against Canadian gun control

"The issue isn't gun control but state control -- obtuse and arbitrary state control, state control run amok. ... Forget guns. If Dr. Hudson, Mr. Turnbull, Dr. Gingrich and others end up in jail it won't be for their guns but our liberties."
-- George Jonas, "The Issue Isn't Gun Control but State Control", National Post, July 23, 2003, p. A-15.

John Maynard KEYNES on free trade before the First World War

"The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth … he could at the same time and by the same means adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new enterprise of any quarter of the world … he could secure forthwith, if he wished, cheap and comfortable means of transit to any country or climate without passport or other formality…"
-- John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (London: Macmillan, 1919), p. 11.

Steven LANDSBURG on policy wonks and economics

"We live in an age of "policy wonks" who judge programs by their effect on productivity, or output, or work effort. Wonkian analysis uses the jargon of economics while ignoring its content. Economists view the wonks' fixation on output as a bizarre and unhealty obsession. Wonks want Americans to die rich; economists want Americans to die happy."
-- Steven E. Landsburg, The Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Life (New York: Free Press, 1993), p. 44.

Jules LAFORGUE on subversive smoking

"Et pour tuer le temps, en attendant la mort,
Je fume au nez des dieux de fines cigarettes."
And to kill time while awaiting death,
I smoke slender cigarettes thumbing my nose to the gods.

-- Jules Laforgue, "La cigarette" (1880), quoted by Richard Klein,
Cigarettes are Sublime (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1993), pp. 57-58; French translation: De la cigarette... (Paris: Seghers, 1995).
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Wilfrid LAURIER on rebellion

"Sir, rebellion is always an evil, it is always an offence against the positive law of a nation; it is not always a moral crime."
-- Sir Wilfrid Laurier, quoted in O.D. Skelton, Life and Letters of Sir Wilfred Laurier (1921), Vol. 1 (Toronto: McClellan & Stewart. 1965), p. 92.

John LOCKE on religious, and other kinds of, toleration

"The Care therefore of every man's Soul belongs unto himself, and is to be left unto himself. But what if he neglect the Care of his Soul? I answer, What if he neglects the Care of his Health, or of his Estate, which things are nearlier related to the Government of the Magistrate than the other? Will the magistrate provide by an express Law, That such an one shall not become poor or sick? Laws provide, as much as is possible, that the Goods and Health of Subjects be not injured by the Fraud and Violence of others; they do not guard them from the Negligence or Ill-husbandry of the Possessors themselves."
-- John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration [1689], Edited and Introduced by James H. Tully (Hacklett Publishing Company, 1983), p. 35.
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John LOCKE on self-defense

"If the innocent honest Man must quietly quit all he has for Peace sake, to him who will lay violent hands upon it, I desire it may be considered what kind of Peace there will be in the World, which consists only in Violence and Rapine; and which is to be maintained only for the benefit of Robbers and Oppressors."
-- John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government [1690], #228 (Lasslet Edition, Cambridge University Press, 1960), p. 465.
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Treatise of Civil Governement at

John LOCKE on the right of revolution

"... whenever the Legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience ... [Power then] devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty, and, by the Establishment of a new Legislative (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own Safety and Security, which is the end for which they are in Society."
... quand les législateurs s'efforcent de ravir et de déruire les choses qui appartiennent en propre au peuple, ou de le réduire dans l'esclavage, sous un pouvoir arbitraire, ils se mettent dans l'état de guerre avec le peuple qui, dès lors, est absous et exempt de toute sorte d'obéissance à leur égard, et a le droit de recourir à ce commun refuge que Dieu a destiné pour tous les hommes, contre la force et la violence. [...] [Le pouvoir] est dévolu au peuple qui a le droit de reprendre sa liberté originaire, et par l'établissement d'une nouvelle autorité législative, tel qu'il jugera ˆ propos, de pourvoir à sa propre conservation et à sa propre sûreté, qui est la fin qu'on se propose quand on forme une société politique.
-- John Locke,
Second Treatise of Civil Government [1690], #222 (Lasslet Edition, Cambridge University Press, 1960), p. 460-461; French translation by David Mazel (1691): Traité de gouvernement civil (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1984), pp. 348-349.
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Treatise of Civil Governement at
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John LOTT on the dissuasive effect of concealed guns

"If the rest of the country had adopted right-to-carry concealed-handgun provisions in 1992, about 1,500 murders and 4,000 rapes would have been avoided."
-- John R. Lott, Jr., More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), p. 159.
More Guns, Less Crime (2nd Edition) at
Also available in English at Amazon France.

LUCAN on swords and slavery

"Ignorantque datos, ne quisquam serviat, enses."
And they are ignorant that the purpose of the sword is to save every man from slavery.
-- Lucanus (A.D. 39-65),
De Bello Civili (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, Loeb Classical Library, 1988), IV, 579, p. 216.

James MADISON on dangers from abroad

"Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger, real or apprehended, from abroad."
-- James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, May 13, 1798; reproduced in Jack N. Rakove (Ed.), James Madison: Writings (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1999), p. 588.

James MADISON on government and angels

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."
-- Federalist # 51, at

James MADISON (or perhaps Alexander HAMILTON) on mutable and abstruse legislation

"The internal effects of a mutable policy are [...] calamitous. It poisons the blessings of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow."
-- Federalist # 62, in The Federalist (Indianapolis: Modern Library and National Foundation for Education in American Citizenship, n.d.), p. 406.

Joyce MALCOLM on the English liberty to keep and bear arms

"It was during the eighteenth century -- a period of boastful satisfaction with the nice balances within the English constitution -- that Englishmen came to accept the Whig view of the utility of an armed citizenry. The armed citizen was not only affirmed to be protecting himself but, together with his fellows, provided the ultimate check on tyranny."
-- Joyce Malcolm, To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. 128.
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Joyce MALCOLM on the importance of the right to keep and bear arms for the ordinary citizen

"The right of ordinary citizens to possess weapons is the most extraordinary, most controversial, and least understood of those liberties secured by Englishmen and bequeathed to their American colonists. It lies at the very heart of the relationship between the individual and his fellows, and between the individual and his government."
-- Joyce Malcolm, To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), p. IX.
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Patrick McGOOWAN ("The Prisoner") on numbering people

"I am not a number, I am a free man!"
-- Number Six, The Prisoner, 1968, the famous TV series.
Available at for zone 1: Set 1 (DVDs), Set 1 (VHS), complete collection (DVDs).
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John Stuart MILL on individual sovereignty

"Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."
-- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859) (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1978), p. 9.
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John MILTON on freedom of speech

"... when a City shall be as it were besieged and blocked about, her navigable river infested, inroads and incursions round, defiance and battle oft rumoured to be marching up even to her walls and suburb trenches, that then the people, or the greater part, more than at other times, wholly taken up with the study of highest and most important matters to be reformed, should be disputing, reasoning, reading, inventing, discoursing, even to a rarity and admiration, things not before discoursed or written of ..."
-- John Milton, Aeropagitica: A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, to the Parliament of England (1644), available at

Ludvig von MISES on economists and power

"It is impossible to understand the history of economic thought if one does not pay attention to the fact that economics as such is a challenge to the conceit of those in power. An economist can never be a favorite of autocrats and demagogues. With them he is always the mischief-maker, and the more they are inwardly convinced that his objections are well-founded, the more they hate him."
-- Ludwig von Mises, Human Action. A Treatise on Economics (1949), Third Revised Edition (San Francisco: Fox & Wilkes, 1963), p. 67.
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Ludvig von MISES on the oppression of the majority

"Violent resistance against the power of the state is the last resort of the minority in its effort to break loose from the oppression of the majority. ... The citizen must not be so narrowly circumscribed in his activities that, if he thinks differently from those in power, his only choice is either to perish or to destroy the machinery of state."
-- Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism. The Classical Tradition (1927), Fourth American Edition (Irvington-on-Hudson: Foundation for Economic Education, 1996), p. 59, available at
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Charles MURRAY on libertarianism

"We believe that human happiness requires freedom and that freedom requires limited government."
-- Charles Murray, What It Means to Be a Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation (New York: Broadway Books, 1997), p. xi.

Albert Jay NOCK, on blind allegiance to the State

"It is interesting to observe that in the year 1935 the average individual's incurious attitude towards the phenomenon of the State is precisely what his attitude was toward the phenomenon of the Church in the year, say, 1500. ... it does not appear to have occurred to the Church-citizen of that day, any more than it occurs to the State-citizen of the present, to ask what sort of institution it was that claimed his allegiance."
-- Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy, the State, c. 1935 (Delavan: Hallberg, 1983), p. 34.
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Robert NOZICK on socialism

"The socialist society would have to forbid capitalist acts between consenting adults."
-- Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1994), p.163.

Mancur OLSON on insurance against autocracy in Italian city-states

"Sometimes, when leading families or merchants organized a government for their city, they not only provided for some power sharing through voting but took pains to reduce the probability that the government's chief executive could assume autocratic power. For a time in Genoa, for example, the chief administrator of the government had to be an outsider -- and thus someone with no membership in any of the powerful families in the city. Moreover, he was constrained to a fixed term of office, forced to leave the city after the end of his term, and forbidden from marrying into any of the local families. In Venice, after a doge who attempted to make himself autocrat was beheaded for his offense, subsequent doges were followed in official processions by a sword-bearing symbolic executioner as a reminder of the punishment intended for any leader who attempted to assume dictatorial power."
-- Mancur Olson, Power and Prosperity. Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships (New York: Basic Books, 2000), p. 39.

George ORWELL on Newspeak

"From the foregoing account it will be seen that in Newspeak the expression of unorthodox opinions, above a very low level, was well-night impossible. It was of course possible to utter heresies of a very crude kind, a species of blasphemy. It wold have been possible, for example, to say Big Brogher is ungood. But this statement, which to an orthodox ear merely conveyed a self-evident absurdity, could not have been sustained by reasoned argument, because the necessary words were not available."
-- George Orwell, "The Principles of Newspeak", in 1984 (1949) (New York: Signet Classic, 1977), p. 309.

Georges ORWELL on the importance of common peoples having guns

"In such a force, cooperation among different parts of society would replace the traditional reliance on upper-class leadership, and a large, well-armed popular militia would act as a sort of insurance policy against government tyranny at home. At the end of an article on the Home Guard in Tribune, Orwell wrote: 'That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.'"
-- Michael Shelden,
Orwell: The Authorized Biography (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991), p. 328.
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George ORWELL on the orators of the Party

"Like various other words in the B vocabulary [in Newspeak], duckspeak was ambivalent in meaning. Provided that the opinions which were quacked out were orthodox ones, it implied nothing but praise, and when the Times referred to one of the orators of the Party as a doubleplusgood duckspeaker it was paying a warm and valued compliment."
-- George Orwell, "The Principles of Newspeak", in 1984 (1949) (New York: Signet Classic, 1977), p. 308.

George ORWELL on women

"It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents to the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy."
-- George Orwell, 1984 (1949) (Hammondsworth: Penguin, 1987), p. 12.

Georges PALANTE on individualism

" L'individualisme est une doctrine qui, au lieu de subordonner l'individu à la collectivité, pose en principe que l'individu a sa fin en lui-même; qu'en fait et en droit il possède une valeur propre et une existence autonome, et que l'idéal social est le plus complet affranchissement de l'individu. L'individualisme ainsi compris est la même chose que ce qu'on appelle encore la philosophie sociale libertaire."
-- Georges Palante, L'individualisme aristocratique, Paris, Belles Lettres, 1995, pp. 135-136.
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James PATERSON on the right of each to carry arms

"... in all countries where personal freedom is valued, however much each individual may rely on legal redress, the right of each to carry arms -- and these the best and the sharpest -- for his own protection in case of extremity, is a right of nature indelible and irrepressible, and the more it is sought to be repressed the more it will recur."
-- James Paterson, Commentaries on the Liberty of the Subject and the Laws of England Relating to the Security of the Person, (London, 1877), Vol. 1, p. 441; quoted in Joyce Malcolm, To Keep and Bear Arms. The Origins of an Anglo-American Right (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994), pp. 169-170.
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Georges RIPERT on invasive legislation

"L'homme vivant sous la servitude des lois prend sans s'en douter une âme d'esclave."
The man who lives under the servitude of laws takes, without being aware of it, the soul of a slave.
-- Georges Ripert,
Le Déclin du Droit. Etude sur la législation contemporaine (Paris: Librairie Générale de Droit et de Jurisprudence, 1949), p. 94.
Le Déclin du Droit. Etude sur la législation contemporaine en vente chez Amazon France.

Georges RIPERT on legal tyranny

"En présence d'une aussi étroite réglementation, l'homme peut-il encore se dire libre pour cette raison que la tyrannie qu'il subit est celle de la loi? Sans doute la puissance légale ne porte pas le nom de tyrannie parce qu'elle paraît établie dans un intérêt commun par la volonté générale, et en tout cas parce que l'arbitraire a peu l'occasion de se manifester. Mais le maître serait-il équitable, cela ne saurait empêcher ses sujets d'être esclaves. [...] Et quand la servitude dure et que la pensée se conforme à l'action, l'État devient totalitaire et la sujétion est complète. Comme c'est une servitude légale, on continue à dire que le régime est démocratique. C'est l'hypocrisie du langage politique."
Confronted with such a tight regulation, can man pretend to be free because the tyranny he is subjected to derives from the law? Of course, the legal power is not called "tyranny" since it appears to be established by the general will in the common interest, and since, in any event, occurrences of arbitrary power are infrequent. But a master's equity does not mean that his subjects are not slaves. ... And when their servitude lasts and their thoughts follow their behavior, the state becomes totalitarian and subjection is complete. Since it is legal servitude, the regime is still said to be democratic. Such is the hypocrisy of political language.
-- Georges Ripert,
Le Déclin du Droit. Etude sur la législation contemporaine (Paris: Librairie Générale de Droit et de Jurisprudence, 1949), p. 69.
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Georges RIPERT on galloping legislation

"Nous continuons à dire que nul n'est censé ignorer la loi. Mais il faut reconnaître quelque mérite à ceux qui la connaissent."
We continue to claim that nobody is supposed to ignore the law. But we must give some credit to those who know it.
-- Georges Ripert,
Le Déclin du Droit. Éude sur la législation contemporaine (Paris: Librairie Générale de Droit et de Jurisprudence, 1949), p. 165.
Le Déclin du Droit. Etude sur la léislation contemporaine en vente chez Amazon France.

Joan ROBINSON on capitalist exploitation

"As we see nowadays in South-East Asia or the Caribbean, the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all."
-- Joan Robinson, Economic Philosophy (Chicago: Aldine, 1962), p. 45.

Jean ROSTAND on compulsory paradise

"Je ne voudrais pas d'un paradis où l’on n’eût pas le droit de préférer l’enfer."
I wouldn't want a paradise where it would be forbidden to prefer hell.
-- Jean Rostand, Pensées d'un biologiste (Paris: Stock, 1954), p. 220.

Murray ROTHBARD on hating the state

"Perhaps the word that best defines our [the libertarians'] distinction is 'radical.' Radical in the sense of being in total, root-and-branch opposition to the existing political system and to the State itself. Radical in the sense of having integrated inetellectual opposition to the State with a gut hatred of its pervasive and organized system of crime and injustice. Radical in the sense of a deep commitment to the spirit of liberty and anti-statism that integrates reason and emotion,heart and soul."
-- Murray Rothbard, "Do You Hate the State?", The Libertarian Forum, Vol. 10, No. 7 (July 1977); reproduced at

Murray ROTHBARD on conspiracy

"It is also important for the State to inculcate in its subjects an aversion to any outcropping of what is now called 'a conspiracy theory of history.' For a search for 'conspiracies,' as misguided as the results often are, means a search for motives, and an attribution of individual responsibility for the historical misdeeds of ruling elites. If, however, any tyranny or venality, or aggressive war imposed by the State was brought about not by particular State rulers but by mysterious and arcane 'social forces,' or by the imperfect state of the world – or if, in some way, everyone was guilty É then there is no point in anyone's becoming indignant or rising up against such misdeeds. Furthermore, a discrediting of 'conspiracy theories' É will make the subjects more likely to believe the 'general welfare' reasons that are invariably put forth by the modern State for engaging in aggressive actions."
-- Murray Rothbard, For a New Liberty (New York: Macmillan, 1973), p. 62.

Raymond RUYER on liberalism and anarchism

"... l'anarchisme véritable, réalisable et réalisé, et non resté à l'état de déclaration sentimentale, c'est tout simplement l'économie libérale, avec tout ce qu'elle entraîne: démocratie politique, liberté civile (et non simplement civique), culture libre, et non subventionnée et dirigée. C'est l'économie libérale qui, seule, peut favoriser le "dépérissement de l'État " et de la politique – le dépérissement ou du moins la limitation – ce n'est pas le socialisme centralisateur."
... real anarchism, feasible and actual, as opposed to mere emotional statements, is simply the [classical] liberal economy, and everything that goes with it: political democracy, civil (and not only civic) liberty, free, unsubsidized, unplanned culture. It is only the liberal economy that can favor the "withering away of the state" and of politics – their withering away or at least their limitation; centralized socialism cannot achieve this.
-- Raymond Ruyer, ƒloge de la société de consommation (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1969), p. 267.

Thomas SCHELLING on paper crimes

"I have emphasized that a difference between black-market crimes and most others, like racketeering and robbery, is that they are “crimes” only because we have legislated against the commodity they provide. We single out certain goods and services as harmful or sinful; for reasons of history and tradition, and for other reasons, we forbid dope but not tobacco, gambling in casinos but not on the stock-market, extra-marital sex but not gluttony, erotic stories but not mystery stories."
-- Thomas C. Schelling, “Economics and Criminal Enterprise”, Public Interest, Vol. 7 (1967), pp. 61-78; reproduced in Gianluca Fiorentini and Stefano Zamagni (Eds.), The Economics of Corruption and Illegal Markets, Vol. 3: The Economics of Illegal Markets and Organized Crime (Chenltenham, UK, and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 1999), p. 360.

James SCOTT on the state's "civilizing mission"

"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'."
-- James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998), p. 82.
Buy Seeing Like a State
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Adam SMITH on businessmen

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary."
-- Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), Book I, Chap. 10, at (visited June 21, 2011)

Adam SMITH on intrusive taxes

"The tax upon shops, it was intended, should be the same upon all shops. It could not well have been otherwise. It would have been impossible to proportion with tolerable exactness the tax upon a shop to the extent of the trade carried on in it without such an inquisition as would have been altogether insupportable in a free country."
-- Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), Book V, Chap. 2 (New York: Random House, 1937, p. 804); also available at (visited March 2, 2008)

Adam SMITH on people pretending to trade for the public good

"By pursuing his own interest [every individual] frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good."
-- Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), Book IV, Chap. 2 (New York: Random House, 1937, p. 423); also available at (visited March 2, 2008).

Jeff SNYDER on abiding by the criminals' standards

"But to ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow. ... For society does not control crime, ever, by forcing the law-abiding to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of criminals. Society controls crime by forcing the criminals to accommodate themselves to the expected behavior of the law-abiding."
-- Jeff Snyder, "Who's Under Assault in the 'Assault Weapon' Ban?", American Rifleman, October 1994, p. 53; excerpted from the Washington Times, August 25, 1994.
By this author, see
Nation of Cowards. Available at

Lysander SPOONER on democratic slavery

"A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years."
-- Lysander Spooner, The Constitution of No Authority (Boston: 1870), p. 28. Available on the Lysander Spooner website at
The Lysander Spooner Reader at Traduction française en vente chez Amazon France.

Lysander SPOONER on government robbery

"But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical fact. The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: 'Your money, or your life.' And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.
The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.
The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a 'protector,' and that he takes men's money against their will, merely to enable him to 'protect' those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful 'sovereign,' on account of the 'protection' he affords you. He does not keep 'protecting' you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villainies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave."
-- Lysander Spooner, The Constitution of No Authority (Boston: 1870); available on the Lysander Spooner website at (visited March 8, 2003). See French translation, within a longer excerpt, on this site.
The Lysander Spooner Reader at Traduction française en vente chez Amazon France.

Lysander SPOONER on public debt

"And the men who loan money to governments, so called, for the purpose of enabling the latter to rob, enslave, and murder their people, are among the greatest villains that the world has ever seen. And they as much deserve to be hunted and killed (if they cannot otherwise be got rid of) as any slave traders, robbers, or pirates that ever lived."
-- Lysander Spooner, The Constitution of No Authority (Boston: 1870); available on the Lysander Spooner website at (visited October 23, 2003).
The Lysander Spooner Reader at Traduction française en vente chez Amazon France.

Lysander SPOONER on so-called "nations"

"The 'nations,' as they are called, with whom our pretended ambassadors, secretaries, presidents, and senators profess to make treaties, are as much myths as our own. On general principles of law and reason, there are no such 'nations.' That is to say, neither the whole people of England, for example, nor any open, avowed, responsible body of men, calling themselves by that name, ever, by any open, written, or other authentic contract with each other, formed themselves into any bona fide, legitimate association or organization, or authorized any king, queen, or other representative to make treaties in their name, or to bind them, either individually, or as an association, by such treaties.
Our pretended treaties, then, being made with no legitimate or bona fide nations, or representatives of nations, and being made, on our part, by persons who have no legitimate authority to act for us, have intrinsically no more validity than a pretended treaty made by the Man in the Moon with the king of the Pleiades."
Les "nations", comme on dit, avec lesquelles nos prétendus ambassadeurs, secrétaires, présidents et sénateurs affirment conclure des traités sont des mythes autant que la nôtre. Selon les principes généraux du Droit et de la raison, de telles "nations" n'existent pas. Autrement dit, ni le peuple anglais tout entier, par exemple, ni aucun groupe d'hommes ouvert, reconnu, responsable qui prendrait un tel nom, ne s'est jamais, par un contrat ouvert, écrit, ou autrement authentifié qui les lierait les uns aux autres, constitué en une association ou organisation viritable et légitime, ou n'a jamais autorisé aucun roi, reine ou autre représentant à conclure des traités en son nom, ou à le lier par ces traités, soit individuellement, soit en tant que groupe.
Donc, nos prétendus traités, puisqu'ils ne sont pas conclus avec des nations (ou représentants de nations) légitimes et authentiques, traités qui, de notre côté, sont conclus par des personnes qui n'ont aucune autorité légitime pour agir en notre nom, ces traités, dis-je, n'ont intrinsèquement pas plus de validité qu'un traité conclu par l'Homme de la Lune avec le roi des Pléiades.

-- Lysander Spooner, The Constitution of No Authority (Boston: 1870); available on the Lysander Spooner website at (visited March 8, 2003). French translation: Outrage à chefs d'État (Paris: Belles Lettres, 1991), pp. 120-121.
The Lysander Spooner Reader at Traduction française en vente chez Amazon France.

Lyseander SPOONER on so-called sovereigns

"And the so-called sovereigns, in these different governments, are simply the heads, or chiefs, of different bands of robbers and murderers."
-- Lysander Spooner, The Constitution of No Authority (Boston: 1870); available on the Lysander Spooner website at (visited March 8, 2003).
The Lysander Spooner Reader at Traduction française en vente chez Amazon France.

William Graham SUMNER on socialism and anarchism

"I believe [William Graham Sumner] was one of the greatest professor we ever had at Yale, but I have drawn far away from his point of view, that of the old laissez faire doctrine. I remember he said in his classroom: 'Gentlemen, the time is coming when there will be two great classes, Socialists, and Anarchists. The Anarchists want the government to be nothing, and the Socialists want government to be everything. There can be no greater contrast. Well, the time will come when there will be only these two great parties, the Anarchists representing the laissez faire doctrine and the Socialists representing the extreme view on the other side, and when that time comes I am an Anarchist.' That amused his class very much, for he was as far from a revolutionary as you could expect."
-- Irving Fisher before the Yale Socialist Club in 1941, quoted in Mark Thorton, The Economics of Prohibition (University of Utah Press, 1991), p. 17. See below, in the Anti-liberty section, for Fisher's comment.

Michael TAYLOR on the state as an addictive drug

" ... I suggest that the more the state intervenes in such situations, the more 'necessary' (on this view) it becomes, because positive altruism and voluntary cooperative behaviour atrophy in the presence of the state and grow in its absence. Thus, again, the state exacerbates the conditions which are supposed to make it necessary. We might say that the state is like an addictive drug: the more of it we have, the more we 'need' it and the more we come to 'depend' on it."
-- Michael Taylor,
The Possibility of Cooperation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 168.
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THE DAILY TELEGRAPH on the fight to reclaim our liberties

"Today, The Daily Telegraph starts its 'A Free Country' campaign. Week by week, and in major individual investigations, we shall examine how freedom is being taken away, whether by Westminster or Whitehall or Brussels or any other authority. We shall try to annoy the control freaks, whether they are Right, Left or Centre, and we shall welcome allies for freedom from all quarters. The Conservative leadership contestants hardly breathe a word about freedom. The Labour Government's Queen's Speech is a shopping list of attacks on our liberties. There's plenty to do. Libertad o muerte!"
-- Daily Telegraph editorial, July 5, 2001; available at (visited November 7, 2003).

Antré THIRION on our future emencipation

"Pour cette émancipation à venir sont hors de course les idéologies visant à renforcer l'État, la police et les contrôles et à réduire la liberté."
For this future emancipation, we have to rule out ideologies that aim at reinforcing the state, the police and controls in general, and at reducing liberty.
-- André Thirion, ƒloge de l'indocilité (Paris: Laffont, 1973), p. 326.

André THIRION on cops

"Durant la traversée des quartiers populaires, on voyait parfois un flic se glisser honteusement dans son domicile, par une porte basse."
When you walked through working-class neighbourhoods, you would sometimes see a cop slipping shamefacedly into his own house by a side door.
-- André Thirion,
Le Grand Ordinaire (Paris: ƒric Losfeld, 1970), p. 26.
Le Grand Ordinaire en vente chez Amazon France.

Henry David THOREAU on do-gooders

"If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design to do me good, I should run for my life..."
-- Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or Life in the Woods [1854], in Joseph Wood Krutch (Ed.), Walden and Other Writings by Henry David Thoreau (New York: Bantam Book, 1981), p. 160.

Henry David THOREAU on escaping the state

"I was put into jail as I was going to the shoemaker's to get a shoe which was mended. When I was let out the next morning, I proceeded to finish my errand, and, having put on my mended shoe, joined a huckleberry party, who were impatient to put themselves under my conduct; and in half an hour--for the horse was soon tackled--was in the midst of a huckleberry field, on one of our highest hills, two miles off, and then the State was nowhere to be seen."
On m'avait conduit en prison alors que je me rendais chez le cordonnier pour y chercher une chaussure en réparation. Libéré le lendemain matin, j'allais finir ma course et ayant enfilé ma chaussure ressemelée, je rejoignis un groupe qui partait aux airelles, fort impatient de s'en re-mettre à ma direction ; une demi-heure plus tard -- car le cheval fut bientôt harnaché -- je me trouvais en plein champ d'airelles sur l'une de nos plus hautes collines, à plus de trois kilomètres et de là, on ne voyait l'État nulle part.
-- Henry David Thoreau,
A Duty of Civil Disobedience [1849], available at; La Désobéissance civile, translated by Micheline Flak (Montréal: La Presse, 1973), p. 95.
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Henry David THOREAU on jail for resisters

"Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison."
-- Henry David Thoreau, A Duty of Civil Disobedience [1849], available at (visited November 27, 2007).
Buy A Duty of Civil Disobedience at

Henry David THOREAU on serving the state through resistance

"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 ..."
D'autres, comme la plupart des législateurs, des politiciens, des juristes, des ministres et des fonctionnaires, servent surtout l'État avec leur intellect et, comme ils font rarement des distinctions morales, il arrive que sans le vouloir, ils servent le Démon aussi bien que Dieu. Une élite, les héros, les patriotes, les martyrs, les réformateurs au sens noble du terme, et des hommes, mettent aussi leur conscience au service de l'État et en viennent forcément, pour la plupart, à lui résister.
-- Henry David Thoreau,
A Duty of Civil Disobedience [1849], available at; La Désobéissance civile, translated by Micheline Flak (Montréal: La Presse, 1973), p. 60.
Buy A Duty of Civil Disobedience at
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Henry David THOREAU on the best government

"I heartily accept the motto, 'That government is best which governs least'; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe -- 'That government is best which governs not at all'; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which the will have."
-- Henry David Thoreau, A Duty of Civil Disobedience [1849], available at (visited October 14, 2003).
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Mark THORNTON on the new prohibitionism

"The new puritans have been highly successful. All of the preconditions for new prohibitions on alcohol and tobacco are in place. ... Indeed, the future agenda of the federal government has already been established to outlaw alcohol and tobacco in the near future. ... If current trends persist, America will be moving toward stricter prohibitions, greater restrictions, and more centralized control over consumption. This represents an erosion of liberty at its most fundamental level."
-- Mark Thornton, Mark, "The Fall and Rise of Puritanical Policy in America", Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring 1996), p. 159.

George TICKNOR on the changes in America after the Civil War

"It does not seem to me as if I were living in the country in which I was born, or in which I received whatever I got of political education and principles."
-- Quoted in Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men (Chicago and La Salle: Open Court, 1996), p. 333.

TOLSTOY on the nature of the state

"The misapprehension springs from the fact that the learned jurists, deceiving themselves as well as others, depict in their books an ideal of government -- not as it really is, an assembly of men who oppress their fellow-citizens, but in accordance with the scientific postulate, as a body of men who act as the representatives of the rest of the nation. They have gone on repeating this to others so long that they have ended by believing it themselves, and they really seem to think that justice is one of the duties of governments. History, however, shows us that governments, as seen from the reign of Caesar to those of the two Napoleons and Prince Bismarck, are in their very essence a violation of justice; a man or a body of men having at command an army of trained soldiers, deluded creatures who are ready for any violence, and through whose agency they govern the State, will have no keen sense of the obligation of justice. Therefore governments will never consent to diminish the number of those well-trained and submissive servants, who constitute their power and influence."
-- Tolstoy, Writings on Civil Disobedience and Non-Violence (Signet Books, 1968), pp. 238-239.

Gideon TUCKER on legislature in session

"No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session."
-- Quoted by Judge Gideon J. Tucker, New York, c. 1866, as reported in David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom (La Salle: Open Court, 1989), p. 146.

Gordon TULLOCK on public policies under dictatorship and democracy

"Characteristically, however, the overthrow of the dictator simply means that there will be another dictator. ... the policies they follow will probably not be radically different. If we look around the world, we quickly realize that these policies will not be radically different from those that would be followed by a democracy either."
-- Gordon Tullock, Autocracy (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1987), p. 20.

Benjamin WARD on how to avoid a monstruous state

"If the major opportunities for future growth of government lie in the area of conventional taxation, are there any defenses available to the citizenry? ... Perhaps the most fruitful advice comes in two parts. The first piece of advice is to avoid war and the rumor of war: this is history greatest boon to the tax man. ... The second piece of advice is to seek ways of inhibiting government's ability conveniently to increase its collections. Possibly the very increase in that ability that is in prospect can be turned to account by a constitutional provision which forbade the income tax, and perhaps even the storage of information regarding individual incomes by third parties, including government."
-- Benjamin Ward, "Taxes and the Size of Government," American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 72, No. 2 (May 1982), p. 350.

Mae WEST on armed, loving men

"Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"
C'est un revolver que vous avez dans votre poche, ou vous êtes tout simplement ravi de me voir?
-- Mae West in her movie Sextette, quoted at (visited October 15, 2001).

Oscar WILDE on government and the arts

"The form of government that is most suitable to the artist is no government at all. ... One might point out how the Renaissance was great, because it sought to solve no social problem, and busied itself not about such things, but suffered the individual to develop freely, beautifully, and naturally, and so had great and individual artists, and great, individual men. One might point out how Louis XIV, by creating the modern state, destroyed the individualism of the artist ..."
-- Oscar Wilde, "The Soul of Man Under Socialism", in Oscar Wilde's Plays, Writings and Poems (J.M. Dent, 1930), pp. 281 and 283.
Buy "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" at

Ronald WINTROBE on efficient bureaucracies

"There is little to be feared from the standard picture of a totalitarian society in which 'cogs,' who are watched by Big Brother or his equivalent, carry out orders emanating from the top. Such a society would collapse in inefficiency. What is infinitely more fearsome is the capacity of a dictatorship to use the principle of competition to organize terror and murder."
-- Ronald Wintrobe, The Political Economy of Dictatorship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 328.

Anti-liberty or weird

A Bill Concerning Slaves

"No slaves shall keep any arms whatever, nor pass, unless with written orders from his master or employer, or in his company, with arms from one place to another."
-- A Bill Concerning Slaves [1785], reproduced in Alfred Fried, Ed., The Essential Jefferson (Collier Books, 1963), p. 140.

Karl ASTEL on tobacco

"Jena by this time was a center of antitobacco activism -- mainly through the labors of Karl Astel, director of the new institute [Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research] and president, since the summer of 1939, of the University of Jena. Astel was head of the Thuringia's office of Racial Affairs and a notorious antisemite and racial hygienist (he had joined the Nazi party and the SS in July of 1930) ...
Astel was also a militant antismoker and teetolater who once characterized opposition to tobacco as a 'national socialist duty.' On May 1, 1941, he banned smoking in all buildings and classrooms of the University of Jena, and the following spring, as head of Thuringia's Public Health Office, he announced a smoking ban in all regional schools and health offices. Tobacco in his view had to be fought 'cigar by cigar, cigarette by cigarette, and pack by pack' -- hence his notoriety for snatching cigarettes from the mouth of students who dared to violate his Jena University tobacco ban."
Robert N. Proctor, The Nazi War on Cancer (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), p.209.

BIG BROTHER's voice in THX 1138

"Blessings of the state, blessings of the masses. ... Work hard, increase production, prevent accidents, and be happy."
Bénédiction de l'État, bénédiction des masses. [...] Travaille dur, accrois la production, évite les accidents, et sois heureux.
-- George Lucas's movie
THX 1138.
Buy THX 1138 (VHS) at

Otto von BISMARK in making believe that the state is a benevolent institution

"That the state should assist its needy citizens to a greater degree than before is not only a Christian and humanitarian duty, of which the state apparatus should be fully conscious: it is also a task to be undertaken for the preservation of the state itself. The goal of this task is to nurture among the unpropertied classes of the population, which are the most numerous as well as least informed, the view that the state is not only a necessary but also a beneficent institution."
-- Quote attributed to Bismark as it figured in the ÒMotiveÓ accompanying one of his 1883 Welfare-State law proposals; quoted in Ron Hamowy, "The Genesis and Development of Medicare," in Roger D. Feldman (Ed.), American Health Care: Government, Market Processes, and the Public Interest (Oakland: The Independent Institute, 2001), p. 54.

Samuel BUTLER on the Erewhonian rights of animals and vegetables

"'My friends, if it was wrong of you to kill and eat your fellow-men, it is wrong also to kill and eat fish, flesh, and fowl. Birds, beasts, and fishes, have as full a right to live as long as they can unmolested by man, as man has to live unmolested by his neighbours. ...'
The old prophet had allowed the use of eggs and milk, but his disciples decided that to eat a fresh egg was to destroy a potential chicken, and that this came to much the same as murdering a live one. ...
About six or seven hundred years, however, after the death of the old prophet, a philosopher appeared ... The conclusion he drew, or pretended to draw, was that if it was sinful to kill and eat animals, it was not less sinful to do the like by vegetables, or their seeds.
... after several hundred years of wandering in the wilderness of philosophy, the country reached the conclusions that common sense had long since arrived at. Even the Puritans after a vain attempt to subsist on a kind of jam made of apples and yellow cabbage leaves, succumbed to the inevitable, and resigned themselves to a diet of roast beef and mutton, with all the usual adjuncts of a modern dinner-table."
-- Samuel Butler, Erewhon or Over the Range, 1901, Chap. 27, passim, available at

Sir Roy CALNE on the permit to reproduce

"It would not be unreasonable, by analogy with a motor vehicle licence, that a permit to reproduce should also be needed with a minimum age of, for example, twenty-five, and a proof required that the parents are of sufficient maturity and financial resource to take proper care of the child. Young, sexually active, but emotionally immature teenagers would need help."
-- Sir Roy Calne, Too Many People (London and New York: Calder Publications and Riverrun Press, 1994), p.113.


"After listening to the recordings containing the remarks made by on-air personalities on 10 and 27 September and 8 October and reading the stenographic notes, the Commission identified several remarks about the complainant related to her physical attributes, and sexual attributes in particular. There are multiple references to the size of her breasts; [translation] Òher incredible set of boobsÓ ... The Commission considers that the remarks made about Ms. Chiasson were abusive and tended to expose her, and women in general, to contempt on the basis of sex, in contravention of section 3(b) of the Regulations. Further, the remarks do not meet the objectives of the broadcasting policy for Canada set out in the Act. The remarks did not meet the objective of high standard of programming required by section 3(1)(g) of the Act."
-- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2004-271, Ottawa, July 13, 2004, par. 61 and 65; available at (visited August 15, 2004).


"The regulation prohibiting abusive comment that tends or is likely to expose a person or a group to hatred or contempt is necessary not only to avoid harm to the persons targeted, but also to ensure that Canadian values are respected for all Canadians. The broadcast of remarks that could expose individuals or groups to hatred or contempt can attract individuals to its cause and in the process create serious discord between various groups in Canadian society to the detriment of all of Canadian society. This harm undermines the cultural, political and social fabric of Canada which the Canadian broadcasting system is expressly meant to safeguard, enrich and strengthen. It also undermines the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society, which the programming of the Canadian broadcasting system should reflect. Protection from the harms of abusive comment is for the benefit of all Canadians."
-- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2004-271, Ottawa, July 13, 2004, par. 35; available at (visited August 15, 2004).

Louis-René de CARADEUC DE LA CHALOTAIS on State education

"Je prétends revendiquer pour la nation une éducation qui ne dépende que de l'État parce que des enfants de l'État doivent être élevéés par des membres de l'État."
I claim for the nation an education that depends only on the State, because children of the State must be raised by members of the State.
-- Louis-René de Caradeuc de La Chalotais,
Essai d'éducation nationale et plan d'étude pour la jeunesse [1763] (Paris: Raynal, 1825), p. 15.

CHI AN on applying for the right to have a child

"Ohe day after Wei Xin and I slept together the first time, my ever-sensible mother went down and applied for a birth quota for us from the street committee."
-- Steven W. Mosher, A MotherÕs Ordeal: One WomanÕs fight Against ChinaÕs One-child Policy ( New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993), p. 168.


"Article 1. These Regulations are formulated in order to prove the identity of residents, facilitate citizens' social activities, maintain public order and guarantee citizens lawful rights and interests. ...
Article 13. When performing its duties, the public security organ shall have the power to examine a citizen's resident identity card, and the citizen shall not refuse to be examined."
-- Regulations of the PRC [People's Republic of China] Concerning Resident Identity Cards (1985), reproduced in People's Daily Online, at

German Police First Sergeant COLISLE in an arrest report of October 4, 1938

"Arms in the hands of Jews are a danger to public safety."
-- Quoted by Stephen P. Halbrook, "'Arms in the Hands of Jews Are a Danger to Public Safety': Nazism, Firearm Registration, and the Night of the Broken Glass," in St. Thomas Law Review, Vol. 21 (2009), p. 117; fac simile available at

Jim CREECHAN on guns and free enterprise

"Jim Creechan, a University of Alberta sociologist, said some of the love of guns may have its roots in Alberta's pervasive free-enterprise model of behaviour. 'It's the whole idea that the individual is more important than the collective.'"
-- Alanna Mitchell, "Canada's Copycat Killing: Gun ownership in Alberta approaches U.S. levels", Globe and Mail, April 30, 1999, p. A-1.

Earl F. DODGE, editor of the organ of the Prohibition Party, on prohibition of tobacco and alcool

"After fifty years as a Prohibitionist, I am more convinced than ever that we need a good party, not just good men and good women. Most public officials are united in the war against terrorism. They, like we, are outraged at the deaths of some 3,000 Americans on September 11. Yet, most are willing to give unqualified support to the traffic in liquor and tobacco in exchange for campaign cash. Those products jointly claim at least 600,000 American lives each year. Two hundred die each year from use of alcohol and tobacco for every one who died in the September 11 attacks. Need another reason for being a Prohibitionist?"
-- David P. Dodge, The National Statesman, September 2002, p. 3; available at (visited July 16, 2003).

Auguste COMTE on individual rights

"Le positivisme n'admet jamais que des devoirs, chez tous envers tous. Car son point de vue toujours social ne peut comporter aucune notion de droit, constamment fondée sur l'individualité. Nous naissons chargés d'obligations de toute espèce, envers nos prédécesseurs, nos successeurs, et nos contemporains. Elles ne font ensuite que se développer ou s'accumuler avant que nous puissions rendre aucun service. [...] Tout droit humain est donc absurde autant qu'immoral. Puisqu'il n'existe plus de droits divins, cette notion doit donc s'effacer complètement, comme purement relative au régime préliminaire, et directement incompatible avec l'état final, qui n'admet que des devoirs, d'après des fonctions."
Social positivism only accepts duties, for all and towards all. Its constant social viewpoint cannot include any notion of rights, for such notion always rests on individuality. We are born under a load of obligations of every kind, to our predecessors, to our successors, to our contemporaries. These obligations then increase or accumulate, for it is some time before we can return any service. ... Any human right is therefore as absurd as immoral. Since there no divine rights anymore, this concept must therefore disappear completely as related only to the preliminary regime and totally inconsistent with the final state where there are only duties based on functions.
-- Auguste Comte,
Le catéchisme positiviste (1852), reproduit in Alain Laurent, L'Individu et ses ennemis (Paris: Hachette, 1987), pp. 255-256.

CZECHOSLOVAKIAN COMMUNIST PARTY on respect due to the flag

"Celui qui conspue les drapeaux d'un État se déconsidère aux yeux de tout citoyen civilisé et agit contre les lois. Mais celui qui conspue le drapeau rouge ... s'exclut lui-même de la communauté de tous les honnêtes gens."
Anyone who decries a State flag belittles himself before all civilized citizens, and commits an unlawful act. But one who decries the red flag ... thereby excludes himself from the community of all honest people."
-- Resolution of the Czechoslovakian Communist Party, April 1969, quoted by Jacques Ellul,
Autopsie de la Révolution (Paris: Calman-Lévy, 1969), p. 239

Irving FISHER on his statism

"I believe [that William Graham Sumner] was one of the greatest professor we ever had at Yale, but I have drawn far away from his point of view, that of the old laissez faire doctrine. I remember he said in his classroom: 'Gentlemen, the time is coming when there will be two great classes, Socialists, and Anarchists. The Anarchists want the government to be nothing, and the Socialists want government to be everything. There can be no greater contrast. Well, the time will come when there will be only these two great parties, the Anarchists representing the laissez faire doctrine and the Socialists representing the extreme view on the other side, and when that time comes I am an Anarchist.' That amused his class very much, for he was as far from a revolutionary as you could expect. But I would like to say that if that time comes when there are two great parties, Anarchists and Socialists, then I am a Socialist. "
-- Irving Fisher before the Yale Socialist Club in 1941, quoted in Mark Thorton, The Economics of Prohibition (University of Utah Press, 1991), p. 17

Jon HANSON and Kyle LOGUE on a cigarette ID card

"One method of overcoming the difficult informational requirements of the allocation models described above is by enacting a requirement that anyone wanting to purchase cigarettes must first purchase a 'cigarette card'. The card, which could be based on the same magnetic strip (or computer chip) technology used for credit cards and ATM cards, would be issued to any legal-aged smoker who wanted to buy cigarettes and would have to be presented by the smoker each time she purchased cigarettes. ...
A reaction of many readers may well be that our proposal gives too much information to government agencies, therefore creating a 'Big Brother' problem. We sympathize with that concern, but we believe the problem is not as significant as it may appear initially. First, it is not clear that the sort of information that the cigarette card system would generate is any different from the sort of information that the American public routinely provides to government and private agencies. In other words, it may be too late to worry about the sort of privacy concern that this proposal raises."
-- Jon D. Hanson and Kyle D. Logue, "The Costs of Cigarettes: The Economic Case for Ex Post Incentive-Based Regulation", Yale Law Journal, Vol. 107, No. 8 (March 1998), pp. 1292 and 1294.

Paul HAYES on the Nazis and local government

"The authority of local government was similarly attacked. The not inconsiderable power of the LŠnder disappeared as a result of the decree of 28 February [1933] and the manipulated elections which followed. Control of the police passed into the hands of the NSDAP. ... Local elections were abolished and Reich Administrators ... were appointed to rule in place of the locally elected heads of government. On 30 January 1934 all local assemblies were abolished, and states were made totally subservient to central rule."
-- Paul Hayes, "The Triumph of Caesarism," in Paul Hayes (Ed.),
Themes in Modern European History 1890-1945 (London and New York: Routledge, 1992), p. 191.

Adolf HITLER on firearm control

"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed the subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the supply of arms to the underdogs is a sine qua non for the overthrow of any sovereignty."
-- Adolf Hitler, Hitler's Table Talks 1941-1944, Edited by H.R. Trevor-Roper (London: Widenfeld and Nicolson, 1953), pp. 425-426.

Adolf HITLER on nationalization

"Why nationalize industry when you can nationalize the people?"
-- Adolf Hitler, quoted in Robert N. Proctor, The Nazi War on Cancer (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 74.
Buy The Nazi War on Cancer at
[See also Pierre Lemieux's review of Proctor's book in
The Independent Review, reproduced on this site.]

Adolf HITLER on smoke-free environment

"I made the acquaintance in Bayreuth of a business man ... There was a notice on his door: 'Smokers not admitted.' For my part, I have no notice on my door, but smokers are not admitted."
-- Adolf Hitler, Hitler's Table Talks 1941-1944, Edited by H.R. Trevor-Roper (London: Widenfeld and Nicolson, 1953), pp. 360-361.

Heinrich HOFFMANN on Hitler's simple lifestyle

"Adolph Hitler's life style is simple. He never drinks alcohol and does not smoke."
-- Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitler wie ihn keiner kennt (Berlin: "Zeitgeschichte" Verlag, 1932), quoted at
[Click the image to download a printable poster with the caption.]

John HOWARD (Prime Minister of Australia) on the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regine in Irak

"Nobody should claim that the war is over. But certainly it can be said that the regime is finished."
-- John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, quoted by Peter Shawn Taylor in The National Post, April 12, 2003, p. A-18.

Jeffrey Rogers HUMMEL on Fitzhugh's defense of slavery and socialism

"Southerners did not stop with an open defense of slavery. They went on to attack northern society for its 'wage slavery' and 'exploitation of workers,' using arguments repeated by socialist critics of capitalism. The southern writer who developed these arguments most extensively was George Fitzhugh, a Virginia planter and lawyer. His two books were provocatively entitled Sociology for the South: Or the Failure of the Free Society and Cannibals All! Or Slaves Without Masters. In them, Fitzhugh defended slavery as a practical form of socialism that provided contented slaves with paternalistic masters, thereby eliminating harsh conflicts between employers and allegedly free workers. 'A Southern farm is the beau ideal of Communism; it is a joint concern, in which the slave ... is far happier, because ... he is always sure of support.' ...
'The best governed countries, and which have prospered the most, have always been distinguished for the number and stringency of their laws,' he wrote; 'liberty is an evil which government is intended to correct.'"
-- Jeffrey Rogers Hummel,
Emancipating the Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War (Chicago: Open Court, 1996), p. 23.
Buy Emancipating the Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War at
Also available in English at Amazon France.

Adlous HUXLEY on individual action in the Brave New World

"It would upset the whole social order if men started doing things on their own."
-- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World [1932] (Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2007), p. 209.

Herbert HOOVER on the means to stop the Great Depression

"[Herbert Hoover] hailed the Federal Reserve System as the great instrument of promoting stability, and called for an 'ample supply of credit at low rates of interest,' as well as public works, as the best methods of ending the depression."
-- Murray N. Rothbard on a speech of President Hoover in 1930, at the beginning of the Great Depression, in America's Great Depression (Sheed and Ward: 1963), p. 217.

Stephen HYMER on the power of national planning

"The advantage of national planning is its ability to remove the wastes of oligopolistic anarchy, i.e. meaningless product differentiation and an imbalance between different industries within a geographical area. It concentrates all levels of decision making in one locale and thus provide each region with a full complement of skills and occupations. This opens up new horizons of local development by making possible the social and political control of economic decision-making. Multinational corporations, in contrast, weaken political control because they span many countries and can escape national regulation."
-- Stephen Hymer, "The Multinational Corporation and the Law of Uneven Development", in J. Bhagwati (Ed.), Economics and World Order from the 1970s to the 1990s (Collier-Macmillan, 1972); reprinted in in H. Radice (Ed.), International Firms and Modern Imperialism (Penguin, 1975), p. 52.

Robert KAGAN on the difference between Europe and America in the 19th century

"After 1815 the absolutist monarchies of Europe, fearful of the liberal contagion, launched a repression more systematic and extensive than any attempted by the monarchies of the ancient régime, giving an early foretaste of the totalitarianism that would emerge full-blown in the twentieth century. [...] Agents of the state listened to and reported on private conversations, opened mail, and kept close track of citizens traveling abroad."
-- Robert Kagan, Dangerous Nation (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), p. 158.

John Maynard KEYNES on the digging and refilling holes for public prosperity

"If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with bank-notes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coal-mines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is."
-- John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (London: Macmillan, 1936), p. 129.

Hugh LAFOLLETTE on licensing parents

"Consequently, any activity that is potentially harmful to others and requires certain demonstrated competence for its safe performance, is subject to regulation that is, it is theoretically desirable that we regulate it. ... If fact, I dare say that parenting is a paradigm of such activities since the potential for harm is great (both in the extent of harm any one person can suffer and in the number of people potentially harmed) and the need for competence is so evident. Consequently, there is good reason to believe that parents should be licensed."
-- Hugh LaFollette, "Licensing Parents", Philosophy and Public Affairs, Winter 1980, reproduced at

Charles S. MAIER on italian fascism and Franklin Roosevelt

"Fascist intellectuals, such as Ugo Spirito, made the round of conferences preaching the virtues of postcapitalism fascism and in fact tried to nudge the structure in a 'leftist' direction by calling for more collective control and even corporative ownership of the economy. Mussolini looked abroad to find that Franklin Roosevelt was merely seeking to emulate Italy's innovations."
-- Charles S. Maier, In Search of Stability: Explorations in Historical Political Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p. 81.

Thomas MORE on licences to travel

"If any man has a mind to visit his friends that live in some other town, or desires to travel and see the rest of the country, he obtains leave very easily from the syphogrant and tranibors when there is no particular occasion for him at home: such as travel, carry with them a passport from the Prince, which both certifies the license that is granted for travelling, and limits the time of their return. ... but if any man goes out of the city to which he belongs, without leave, and is found rambling without a passport, he is severely treated, he is punished as a fugitive, and sent home disgracefully; and if he falls again into the like fault, is condemned to slavery."
-- Thomas More, Utopia (1516), reproduced at

Benito MUSSOLINI on the individual and the State

"Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State ... Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual."
-- Benito Mussolini, "Fascism," Italian Encyclopaedia, 1932, reproduced in Michael J. Oakeshott, The Social and Political Doctrines of Contemporary Europe (Cambridge University Press, 1939), at

Benito MUSSOLINI on the century of the State

"Given that the nineteenth century was the century of Socialism, of Liberalism, and of Democracy, it does not necessarily follow that the twentieth century must also be a century of Socialism, Liberalism and Democracy: political doctrines pass, but humanity remains, and it may rather be expected that this will be a century of authority ... a century of Fascism. For if the nineteenth century was a century of individualism it may be expected that this will be the century of collectivism and hence the century of the State."
-- Benito Mussolini, "Fascism," Italian Encyclopaedia, 1932, reproduced at

Benito MUSSOLINI on complex civilization

"We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become."
"Nous avons été les premiers à affirmer que plus les formes de civilisation sont compliquées, plus la liberté individuelle doit être restreinte."
-- Quoted by Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007 -- original edition: 1944), p. 91; La route de la servitude (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1985), p. 38.

Benito MUSSOLINI on firearm controls

"The measures adopted to restore public order are: First of all, the elimination of the so-called subversive elements. [...] They were elements of disorder and subversion. On the morrow of each conflict I gave the categorical order to confiscate the largest possible number of weapons of every sort and kind. This confiscation, which continues with the utmost energy, has given satisfactory results."
-- Speech delivered by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini before the Italian Senate, June 8, 1923. Reproduced in Mussolini as Revealed in His Political Speeches (London & Toronto: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1923), pp. 308-309.

Benito MUSSOLINI on taxes in the national interest

"The Government has been compelled to levy taxes which unavoidably hit large sections of the population. The Italian people are disciplined, silent and calm, they work and know that there is a Government which governs, and know, above all, that if this Government hits cruelly certain sections of the Italian people, it does not so out of caprice, but from the supreme necessity of national order."
-- Speech delivered by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini before the Italian Senate, June 8, 1923. Reproduced in Mussolini as Revealed in His Political Speeches (London & Toronto: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1923), pp. 317-318.

The NAZIS' anti-smoking crusade

"One topic that has only recently begun to attract attention is the Nazi anti-tobacco movement. Germany had the world's strongest antismoking movement in the 1930s and early 1940s, supported by Nazi medical and military leaders worried that tobacco might prove a hazard to the race. Many Nazi leaders were vocal opponents of smoking. Anti-tobacco activists pointed out that whereas Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt were all fond of tobacco, the three major fascist leaders of Europe -- Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco -- were all non-smokers."
-- Robert N. Proctor, "The Anti-tobacco Campaign of the Nazis: A Little Known Aspect of Public Health in Germany, 1933-45", BMJ, Vol. 313 (1996), pp. 1450-1453, available at

The NAZIS on smoking and public purity

"Die deutsche Frau raucht nicht!"
"The German woman does not smoke!"
-- Nazi slogan quoted in Robert N. Proctor,
The Nazi War on Cancer (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), p. 218.
The Independent Review, reproduced on this site.]
Buy The Nazi War on Cancer at

James L. NOLAN on the therapeutic state

"Another defining feature of therapeutic ethos, then, is the growing tendency to define a range of human behaviors as diseases or pathologies."
-- James L. Nolan, The Therapeutic State: Justifying Government at Century's End (New York: New York University Press, 1998), p. 9.
Buy The Therapeutic State: Justifying Government at Century's End at
Also available in English at Amazon France.

Barak OBAMA on Americans needing adult supervision

"I think the American people right now are feeling frustrated that there's not a lot of adult supervision out there."
-- Barak Obama quoted in National Post, December 18, 2008, at

George ORWELL against the Party's purity

"I hate purity. I hate goodness! I don't want any virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone to be corrupt to the bones."
-- Winston Smith in George Orwell [1949], Nineteen Eighty-Four (London: Penguin, 1987), p. 132.

Erick RODRIGUEZ, Venezulean Health minister, on helping people

"Smoking is not a pleasure. We hope people don't take this as a prohibition; we are just trying to help them."
-- Erick Rodriguez, Hugo Chavez's Health minister, quoted by Bloomberg News, National Post, May 16, 2007, p. FP6.

Secretary WANG (Communist Party of China) on parents' duty to the State

"Early in 1979, I and several other young nurses from my ward were summoned to a mass meeting. … All sixty-odd of us were young married women who had not yet been sterilized. … Secretary Wang arrived and took up a position in front of the assembly. His round little face, normally the picture of conviviality, was set in an expression of the utmost gravity. 'Today we have a matter of extreme urgency,' he began, 'a toudeng dashi, to discuss. It concerns the population of the motherland. The People's Republic of China has within its borders nearly a billion people, or one-fifth of the world's population. This is a big burden for the people's government. ... Having children is not a question that we can afford to let each family, each household, decide for itself. ... It is a question that should be decided at the national level. China is a socialist country. This means that the interests of the individual must be subordinated to the interests of the state. Where there is conflict between the interests of the state in reducing population and the interests of the individual in having children, it must be resolved in favor of the state.'
-- Chi An, quoted in Steven W. Mosher,
A Mother's Ordeal: One Woman's fight Against China's One-child Policy ( New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993), p. 212-213.

Evelyn WAUGH on banana republics that take care of the health of the nation

"I have been reading a German book. We must draft a decree at once... Communal physical exercises. ... This is very important. The health of the nation depends on it."
The Emperor of Azania, in Evelyn Waugh, Black Mischief (London: Pinguin, 1932), p. 142.

ST. GEORGE TUCKER on a prudent plan for a partial liberation of the slaves

"Let no Negroe or mulattoe be cabable of taking, holding, or exercising any public office, freehold, franchise or privilege. ... Nor of keeping, or bearing arms, unless authorized to do by some act of the general assembly, whose duration shall be limited to three years."
-- St. George Tucker (Ed.) in Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England (1803, p. 144), quoted in Stephen P. Halbrook, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984), p. 100.
Buy That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right at

Charles TILLY on the development of police power since the 17th century

"From that point on, the extraordinary system of spies and informers which has played an important part in the political work of the French state into our own time took shape. (Sartine, who became lieutenant general de police in 1759, is supposed to have said to Louis XV, "Sire, when three people are chatting in the street one of them is surely my man.") Eighteenth-century police manuals like those of Colquhoun in England or Lemaire in France are no less than general treatises on the government's full repertoire of domestic regulation, coercion, and surveillance."
-- Charles Tilly,
The Formation of National States in Western Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975), p.60.

James TOBIN on Keynesian macroeconomics

"It's possible that aggregate demand shortgage -- the social disorganization of unnessary poverty in the midst of potential plenty in the Great Depression -- is no longer a high priority because macroeconomics solved it, not because it never was a problem and the macro theory and policy it evoked was wrong."
-- Interview with James Tobin in Brian Snowdon and Howard R. Vane, Modern Macroeconomics. Its Origins, Development and Current State (Cheltenham, UK, and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2005).

Jack WESTMAN on licensing parents

"The denial or revocation of a parenting license would be expected to be a painful experience, particularly for mothers. … The overall importance of protecting innocent children from incompetent parenting justifies the inconvenience to a few parents and the inevitable imperfections of a licensing system."
-- Jack C. Westman, Licensing Parents: Can We Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect? (New York and London: Plenum Press, 1994), p. 243.

John Wesley YOUNG on the Nazis' totalitarian language

"Freiheit (freedom or liberty) was another victim of semanticide. Liberalism from Thomas Hobbes onward has tended to define freedom as the absence of restraints upon the individual. Nazism defined it as the absence of restraints upon the state. 'There is no freedom of the individual,' Dietrich [Hitler's press secretary] declared. 'There is only freeedom of peoples, nations or races.'"
--John Wesley Young, Orwell's Newspeak and Totalitarian Language. Its Nazi and Communist Antecedents(Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1991), p. 106.