Such rules look very pretty on paper; in practice they are as foolish and footless as the attempt of the mice to bell the cat.
Such is my thesis, that the licensing of weapons is subversive of liberty and self-defeating in its pious purpose.
— Robert Anson Heinlein, Letter to Alice Dalgliesh, the editor who was censoring his manuscript for Red Planet, regarding gun control registration and control
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. The Coolidge Prosperity and the Hoover Economy of Plenty were quite as bad as the New Deal.
The United States has never developed an aristocracy really disinterested or an intelligentsia really intelligent. Its history is simply a record of vacillations between two gangs of frauds.
— H.L. Mencken, Minority Report, p330 (1956)
To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical
— Thomas Jefferson, The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779)
…writing in the First Amendment’s sister document, expressing a principle that applies to the modern refusal to provide employees with services they consider immoral
The bullying of fellow citizens by means of dreads and frights has been going on since paleolithic times. Greenpeace fund-raisers on the subject of global warming are not much different than tribal wizards on the subject of lunar eclipses.
“Oh no, the Night Wolf is eating the Moon Virgin.
Give me some silver and I’ll make him spit her out.”
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it.
Then it is important to strengthen the state governments: and as this cannot be done by any change in the federal constitution…it must be done by the states themselves, erecting such barriers at the constitutional line as cannot be surmounted either by themselves or by the general
We need our highest judicial body to stop this childish bickering and get back to debating the kinds of weighty constitutional issues that have absorbed the court in recent years, such as whether a city can legally force an exotic dancer to cover her entire nipple, or just the part that pokes out.
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.
Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.
Set this year apart as holy, a time to proclaim freedom throughout the land for all who live there.
It will be a jubilee year for you, when each of you may return to the land that belonged to your ancestors and return to your own clan.
One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws.
One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all”.
There are twenty-seven specific complaints against the British Crown set forth in the Declaration of Independence.
To modern ears they still sound reasonable, in large part, because so many of them can be leveled against the federal government of the United States.
Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship, and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood, and hunt us from the face of the earth?
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity 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 set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
You get the same order of criminality from any State to which you give power to exercise it;
and whatever power you give the State to do things for you carries with it the equivalent power to do things to you.
(note that the famous version is often misattributed to Jefferson, Goldwater, or Reagan, but is actually from Gerald Ford)
After years of secret slavery the Republican Party and the Democratic Party come out into the open and reveal to themselves and to the nation as nothing but the right wing and the left wing of the same bird of prey.
There is not a word in either of their platforms that might not have been written and unanimously endorsed by a convention exclusively of corporation lawyers and Wall Street Bankers.
The only difference between these platforms as some one has remarked, is the number of words used to say nothing. Confronted by the gravest crisis in the history of civilization, they have demonstrated, even to their own adherents, that they are without the vision of statesmanship, the courage of leadership or the conviction of patriotism.
— Allen McCurdy, Keynotes for the Third Party National Convention (1920)
These people are either too superstitiously religious, or too cowardly for arms; they either cannot or dare not defend; their property is open to any one who has the courage to attack them. Send but your troops and the prize is ours. Kill a few and take the whole. Thus the peaceable part of mankind will be continually overrun by the vile and abandoned, while they neglect the means of self defence.
The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property.
The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up.
Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong. The history of every age and nation establishes these truths, and facts need but little arguments when they prove themselves.
If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.
I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories.
The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.
‘What a fuss about an omelette!‘ he had exclaimed when he heard of the burning. How abominably unjust to persecute a man for such an airy trifle as that!
‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,’ was his attitude now.
Ostensibly he is an altruist devoted whole-heartedly to the service of his fellow-men, and so abjectly public-spirited that his private interest is nothing to him. Actually, he is a sturdy rogue whose principal, and often sole aim in life is to butter his parsnips.
His technical equipment consistes simply of an armamentarium of deceits.
It is his business to get and hold his job at all costs. If he can hold it by lying he will hold it by lying. if lying peters out he will try and hold it by embracing new truths.
His ear is ever close to the ground.
Both in England and on the Continent a graduated property tax (l’impôt progressif [progressive tax]) has been advocated, on the avowed ground that the state should use the instrument of taxation as a means of mitigating the inequalities of wealth.
I am as desirous as any one that means should be taken to diminish those inequalities, but not so as to relieve the prodigal at the expense of the prudent.
To tax the larger incomes at a higher percentage than the smaller is to lay a tax on industry and economy; to impose a penalty on people for having worked harder and saved more than their neighbours.
It is not the fortunes which are earned, but those which are unearned, that it is for the public good to place under limitation.