Policy of Liberty Home Free Market Textbook Public Policy Books Articles and Papers Links Quotes Contact Policy of Liberty Join Policy of Liberty About Dr. John Cobin

Policy of liberty is dedicated to the advancement of liberty and responsibility in society. Its philosophy is neither strictly libertarian nor strictly conservative, though strongly supporting the former in terms of economics and the latter on most social issues, abortion in particular. POL provides resources, links, books and articles, an email list, photos and links to famous economists, great quotations for liberty.

Policy of Liberty is your source for books/papers on free market economics and pro-life policy as well as quotes and links to economic related issues

Browse through the following quotes below:

Philosophy and Miscellaneous | Property | Presidents and Prime Ministers | Judges | Popes  
Economists and Social Scientists | Political Philosophers and Commentators  
Novelists, Humorists, and Other Writers | Libertarianism and Rights | Law & Politics | Economics

Other websites with quotations:
Myron A. Calhoun's abundance of quotations on liberty
Pierre Lemieux's pro-liberty and anti-liberty quotes page
Policy of Liberty is your source for books/papers on free market economics and pro-life policy as well as quotes and links to economic related issues

Political Philosophy and Miscellaneous:

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.”
—Pericles (430BC)

Law of non-contradiction: “The same thing cannot at the same time both belong and not belong to the same object and in the same respect.”
—Aristotle, IV Metaphysics, 1005b 19-21

“In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.”
—Voltaire (1764)

“Social order at the expense of liberty is hardly a bargain.”
—Marquis de Sade

“Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”
—Frederic Bastiat, French Political Philosopher (1801-1850).

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”
—Frederic Bastiat

“When mankind was in its infancy, steeped in uncertainty, ignorance, and error, was it possible to foresee what system it would adopt for preservation.”
—Simon Bolivar

“It is harder to release a nation from servitude than to enslave a free nation.”
—Simon Bolivar

“Is it conceivable that a newly emancipated people can soar to the heights of liberty, and, unlike Icarus, neither have its wings melt nor fall into an abyss? Such a marvel is inconceivable and without precedent. There is no reasonable probability to bolster our hopes.”
—Simon Bolivar

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two-hundred years. These nations have progressed throught this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back again into bondage.”
—Alexander Fraser Tyler, 1700 Quotation found in SYNERGY Server [Note: The Professor wrote about the fall of the Athenian republic over a thousand years ago this when America was a British colony.]

“The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.”
—Edmund Burke

“[Liberty] is the delicate fruit of a mature civilization...At all times sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities, that have prevailed by associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objects often differed from their own; and this association, which is always dangerous, has been sometimes disastrous...The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities...Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.”
—John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (Lord Acton), The History of Freedom, with an introduction by James C. Holland (1877. The Acton Institute, 1993)

“Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
—Lord Acton

“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”
—Winston Churchill

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”
—Winston Churchill

“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”
—Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903).

“Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.”
—William Penn

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”
—Edward Abbey

“Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. Government is force; like fire it is a dangerous servant—and a fearful master.”
—George Washington, attributed, 1797

“I am not well versed in history, but I will submit to your recollection, whether liberty has been destroyed most often by the licentiousness of the people, or by the tyranny of rulers? I imagine, Sir, you will find the balance on the side of tyranny: Happy will you be if you miss the fate of those nations, who, omitting to resist their oppressors, or negligently suffering their liberty to be wrested from them, have groaned under intolerable despotism. Most of the human race are now in this deplorable condition...”
—Patrick Henry, June 5, 1788

“Much of the strength and efficiency of any government, in procuring & securing happiness to the people, depends on . . . the general opinion of the goodness of that government.”
—Benjamin Franklin, Quoted in Robert J. Samuelson (1995), The Good Life and Its Discontents: The American Dream in the Age of Entitlement 1945-1995, New York: Times Books, p. 187.

“They [the House of Representatives] are of the People....Such an Assembly cannot easily become dangerous to Liberty. They are the Servants of the People, sent together to do the People's Business, and promote the public Welfare; their Powers must be sufficient, or their Duties cannot be performed. They have no profitable Appointments, but a mere Payment of daily Wages, such as are scarcely equivalent to their Expences; so that, having no Chance for great Places, and enormous Salaries or Pensions, as in some Countries, there is no triguing or bribing for Elections.”
—Benjamin Franklin

“I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”
—Benjamin Franklin

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.”
—Thomas Jefferson

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive.”
—Thomas Jefferson

“Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.”
—Thomas Jefferson

“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
—Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 1801

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”
—Thomas Jefferson, letter to Archibald Stuart, 1791. ME 8:276

“Let the pulpit resound with the doctrine and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear of the dignity of man's nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God...Let it be known that...liberties are not the grants of princes and parliaments.”
—John Adams

“The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.”
—James Madison, Speech in the Virginia State Convention of 1829-1830, on the Question of the Ratio of Representation in the two Branches of the Legislature, December 2, 1829 (Madison, 1865, IV, page 51)

“[T]he propensity of all single and numerous assemblies [is] to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions.
—James Madison, Federalist no. 62

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their won choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised 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. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?”
—James Madison, Federalist (no. 62)

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”
—James Madison (1794)

“[Congress does not have a right to] "attend to what generosity and humanity require, but to what the Constitution and their duty require.”
—Rep. William Giles of Virginia (1796)

“...all are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights, of which when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, divide or divest their posterity.”
—George Mason, Virginia Declaration of Rights [quoted in Murray N. Rothbard, (1977), "Robert Nozick and the Immaculate Conception of the State," Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 46].

“As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. . . by an inevitable chain of causes and effects Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.”
—George Mason, at the Constitutional Congress

“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.”
—George Mason, Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot (ed.), vol. 3, June 16, 1788.

“...could we take off the dark covering of antiquity [pertaining to the origin of kings and of the State] and trace them to their first rise, we should find the first of them nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang; whose savage manners or pre-eminence and subtlety obtained him the title of chief among plunderers; and who by increasing in power and extending his depredations, overawed the quiet and defenseless to purchase their safety by frequent contributions.”
—Thomas Paine, Common Sense [quoted in Murray N. Rothbard, (1977), "Robert Nozick and the Immaculate Conception of the State," Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 45].

“Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say, 'What should be the reward of such sacrifices?'...If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”
—Samuel Adams

“I am in love and my sweetheart is LIBERTY. I walk the soil that gave me birth and exult in the thought that I am not unworthy of it.... And when I look forward to the long ages of posterity, I glory in the thought that I am fighting their battles. The children of distant generations may never hear my name but still it gladdens my heart to think that I am now contending for their freedom and all its countless blessings.”
—Brig. Gen. Francis Marion

“If Congress can determine what constitutes the general welfare and can appropriate money for its advancement, where is the limitation to carrying into execution whatever can be effected by money?”
—South Carolina Senator William Drayton (1828)

“We have rights, as individuals, to give as much of our own money as we please to charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of public money.”
—Col. David Crockett, Congressman (1827-1835)

“I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity. [To approve such spending] would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.”
—President Franklin Pierce (1854)

“The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.”
—Frederick Douglass

“I pity from the bottom of my heart any nation or body of people that is so unfortunate as to get entangled in the net of slavery. I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race. No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction, and, besides, it was recognized and protected for years by the General Government. When we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe.”
—Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), writing in his autobiography Up from Slavery (1901)

“The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.”
—Samuel Gompers

“There is no distinctly native American criminal class...save Congress.”
—Mark Twain

“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”
—Mark Twain

“No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.”
—Mark Twain (1866)

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
—Mark Twain

“Look at you in war...There has never been a just one, never an honorable one, on the part of the instigator of the war.”
—Mark Twain

“The real issue involved in the relations between the North and the South of the American States, is the great principle of self-government. Shall a dominant party of the North rule the South, or shall the people of the South rule themselves. This is the great matter in controversy.”
—Robert Barnwell Rhett (Montgomery, Alabama in April 1860)

“The war [between the States]...was an unnecessary condition of affairs, and might have been avoided if forebearance and wisdom had been practiced on both sides.”
—Gen. Robert E. Lee

“Private and public life are subject to the same rules; and truth and manliness are two qualities that will carry you through this world much better than policy, or tact, or expediency, or any other word that was ever devised to conceal or mystify a deviation from a straight line.”
—Gen. Robert E. Lee, personal maxim on honesty

“A young man should say what he means and mean what he says. Avoid the demeaning examples of politicians, government bureaucrats, and lawyers.”
—Gen. Robert E. Lee

“Soldiers, let us humble ourselves before the Lord, our God, asking through Christ the forgiveness of our sins, beseeching the aid of the God of our forefathers in the defense of our homes and our liberties, thanking Him for His past blessings, and imploring their continuance upon our cause and our people.”
—Gen. Robert E. Lee (March 1864)

“I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and the duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.”
—President Grover Cleveland (February 1887)

“That we are to stand by the president, right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
—Theodore Roosevelt

“Mr. Speaker, I want someone on that side of the House to tell me the difference between the bold robber who holds you up on the highway and robs you of your money, and the government that does the bidding of a band of robbers who prescribe the conditions by which you shall come and surrender your money? I will tell you the difference: One takes his chances and runs the risk of losing his own life in his efforts to rob others, while the other gang uses the governmental machinery to hold up and plunder the citizen and in the name of law commits its crime against humanity.”
—Congressman James T. Heflin (Alabama), 44 Congressional Record 4421 (1909).

“Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right.”
—H.L. Mencken (1880-1956

“Of government, at least in democratic states, it may be said briefly that it is an agency engaged wholesale, and as a matter of solemn duty, in the performance of acts which all self-respecting individuals refrain from as a matter of common decency.”
—H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), American Author, Critic & Humorist.

“Elections are decided by the votes of the uneducated many for the corrupt few.”
—George Bernard Shaw

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
—Albert Einstein

“We must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world—and might even be more difficult to save. For mere improvement is no redemption, redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine.”
—C.S. Lewis

“I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”
—Will Rogers

“Those who complain about the high cost of government should be glad we're not getting all the government we're paying for!”
—Will Rogers

“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
—George Bernard Shaw

“Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.”
—Ayn Rand

“The moral justification of capitalism does not lie in the altruist claim that it represents the best way to achieve the 'common good.' It is true that capitalism does--if that catch phrase has any meaning--but this is merely a secondary consequence. The moral justification for capitalism lies in the fact that it is the only system consonant with man's rational nature, that it protects man's survival qua man, and that its ruling principle is: justice.”
—Ayn Rand

“We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.”
—Ayn Rand, The Nature of Government

“Reason is man's only means of grasping reality and of acquiring knowledge—and, therefore, the rejection of reason means that men should act regardless of and/or in contradiction to the facts of reality.”
—Ayn Rand, "The Left: Old and New," in The New Left: The Anti-Industrialist Revolution, p. 84 (1971), quoted in The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z, (Harry Binswanger, ed. 1986) p. 407.

“As long as the state, the agency of coercion, stands over society offering to dispense economic privilege to those who pay it homage, conferring an advantage on some men at the expense of other men the misuse of political power should be the first line of attack for the moralist. It is inevitable that political privilege will be used in this way if it is available and begging to be used. No people has ever resisted it who have been led into this temptation.”
—Rev. Edmund Opitz, in The Libertarian Theology of Freedom (1999), Tampa: Hallberg Publishing Co., p. 84

“There is a place for government in the affairs of men, and our Declaration of Independence tells us precisely what that place is. The role of government is to protect individuals in their God-given individual rights. Freedom is the natural birthright of man, but all that government can do in behalf of freedom is to let the individual alone, and it should secure him in his rights by making others let him alone.”
—Rev. Edmund Opitz, in The Libertarian Theology of Freedom (1999), Tampa: Hallberg Publishing Co., p. 142

“If the state sets itself up as the supreme arbiter of human affairs, it must domesticate the individual lest any lingering remnants of self-reliance weaken the state's authority. The state must restrict the individual's effort to follow the dictates of his conscience, lest they conflict with the decrees of Caesar. In the interests of its own safety the state must eventually deny that the individual is a person, for the individual can be a person only when he puts his obligation to God ahead of his obligation to Caesar.”
—Rev. Edmund Opitz, in The Libertarian Theology of Freedom (1999), Tampa: Hallberg Publishing Co., p. 145

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”
—Ronald Reagan

“To sit back hoping that someday, someway, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last—but eat you he will.”
—Ronald Reagan

“The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.”
—Ronald Reagan

“Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
—Ronald Reagan (1986)

“History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.”
—Ronald Reagan

“What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?”
—Thomas Sowell

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”
—Thomas Sowell

“A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.”
—G. Gordon Liddy

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”
—P.J O'Rourke, Libertarian humorist.

“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.”
—P.J. O'Rourke, Libertarian humorist.

“Money is preferable to politics. It is the difference between being free to be anybody you want and to vote for anybody you want. And money is more effective than politics both in solving problems and in providing individual independence. To rid ourselves of all the trouble in the world, we need to make money. And to make money, we need to be free.”
—P. J. O'Rourke

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”
—James Bovard, Libertarian author (1994).

“It turns out, of course, that Mises was right.”
—Robert Heilbroner (1990), "After Communism", The New Yorker, September 10: pp. 91-100, cite at p. 92

“[S]elf-identified home-schoolers have bettered the national averages on the ACT for the past three years running [1997-1999], scoring an average 22.7 last year, compared with 21 for their more traditional peers, on a scale of one to 36. Home-schoolers scored 23.4 in English, well above the 20.5 national average; and 24.4 in reading, compared with a mean of 21.4. The gap was closer in science (21.9 vs. 21.0), and home-schoolers scored below the national average in math, 20.4 to 20.7.[new paragraph] On the SAT, which began its tracking last year, home-schoolers scored an average 1,083 (verbal 548, math 535), 67 points above the national average of 1,016. Similarly, on the 10 SAT2 achievement tests most frequently taken by home-schoolers, they surpassed the national average on nine, including writing, physics and French...[new paragraph] With average family incomes of $40,000 to $50,000, lower than the $50,000-to-$60,000 median rung, the home-schoolers defied the demographic correlation between high incomes and high SAT scores. They also contradict the stereotype that they are strictly rural white fundamentalists. Nearly 4% are black. Another 4% are Hispanic. And their parents have more education than the national norm.”
—Daniel Golden, "Home-Schooled Kids Defy Stereotypes, Ace SAT Test", The Wall Street Journal (February 11, 2000).

“Public schools will never excel because they lack "intellectual capital" and have to compensate for too many social problems.”
—Daniel Golden [paraphrasing homeschooler Jason Scoggins], "Home-Schooled Kids Defy Stereotypes, Ace SAT Test", The Wall Street Journal (February 11, 2000).

“Since the 1930s the federal government has done nothing but grow, expand, intrude, involve, tax and spend. It is fashionable for conservatives to blame presidents, congresses and judges for the current state of affairs. But, in truth, that is not where the blame lies. The blame lies with us, the people. The fact is, a majority of Americans approve of what has happened, what is happening and what the future appears to hold. And the minority that doesn’t like it is not willing to take up arms against it.”
—Lyn Nofziger, one of former President Reagan's staff members, Musings (February 7, 2005).

Re a reported exchange “many years ago between the Chief Justice of Texas and an Illinois lawyer visiting that state. 'Why is it,' the visiting lawyer asked, 'that you routinely hang horse thieves in Texas but oftentimes let murderers go free?' 'Because,' replied the Chief Justice, 'there never was a horse that needed stealing!'”
People v. Skiles, 115 Ill.App. 816, 827, 450 N.E.2d 1212, 1220 (1983).

“Today's blacks clearly benefited from slavery. My wealth is far greater and I have far greater liberties than if my ancestors had remained in Africa.”
—Dr. Walter Williams

“If you want government to intervene domestically, you're a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you're a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you're a moderate. If you don't want government to intervene anywhere, you're an extremist.”
—Joseph Sobran

“The Republicans are doing most of the things that were once called liberal. They spend recklessly, ignore constitutional limitations, increase government power, create new federal programs, you name it—only they now call these liberal sins conservative virtues.”
—Joseph Sobran

“To the socialists you will always be guilty as long as you are free.”
—Bryan Morton, Libertarian Christians, March 23, 2005.

“Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which they live is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one's self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.”
—Michael Rivero

“Why would you want the state, which is and has been the greatest progenitor of evil, mayhem, destruction, murder, and chaos in the history of the world (bar none), to have proactive power to enforce behavior modification policies as it deems fit?” —John Cobin, responding to a listener of his radio talk show (March 31, 2005)

Policy of Liberty is your source for books/papers on free market economics and pro-life policy as well as quotes and links to economic related issues
Policy of Liberty is your source for books/papers on free market economics and pro-life policy as well as quotes and links to economic related issuesPolicy of Liberty is your source for books/papers on free market economics and pro-life policy as well as quotes and links to economic related issuesPolicy of Liberty is your source for books/papers on free market economics and pro-life policy as well as quotes and links to economic related issuesPolicy of Liberty en Espanol
Policy of Liberty is your source for books/papers on free market economics and pro-life policy as well as quotes and links to economic related issues
   home  |  free market textbook  |  public policy books  |  articles & papers  |  links  |  quotes  |  contact  |  join [N/A yet]  |  about me