“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite – only a sense of existence. My breath is sweet to me. Oh how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment”.
Henry David Thoreau
Thoughts on Liberty...
"All people, however fanatical they may be in their zeal to disparage and to fight capitalism, implicitly pay homage to it by passionately clamoring for the products it turns out."
Ludwig Von Mises
"In the first instance, it is probably true that in general the higher the education and intelligence of individuals becomes, the more their views and tastes are differentiated and the less likely they are to agree on a particular hierarchy of values. It is a corollary of this that if we wish to find a high degree of uniformity and similarity of outlook, we have to descend to the regions of lower moral and intellectual standards where the more primitive and "common" instincts and tastes prevail. This does not mean that the majority of people have low moral standards; it merely means that the largest group of people whose values are very similar are the people with low standards. It is, as it were, the lowest common denominator which unites the largest number of people. If a numerous group is needed, strong enough to impose their views on the values of life on all the rest, it will never be those with highly differentiated and developed tastes it will be those who form the "mass" in the derogatory sense of the term, the least original and independent, who will be able to put the weight of their numbers behind their particular ideals.
If, however, a potential dictator had to rely entirely on those whose uncomplicated and primitive instincts happen to be very similar, their number would scarcely give sufficient weight to their endeavors. He will have to increase their numbers by converting more to the same simple creed.
Here comes in the second negative principle of selection: he will be able to obtain the support of all the docile and gullible, who have no strong convictions of their own but are prepared to accept a ready-made system of values if it is only drummed into their ears sufficiently loudly and frequently. It will be those whose vague and imperfectly formed ideas are easily swayed and whose passions and emotions are readily aroused who will thus swell the ranks of the totalitarian party."
Friedrich von Hayek in The Road to Serfdom
“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816
"We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not from the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed in invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefitting from their success - only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive and free. Trust the people"
"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community against his will, is to prevent harm to others."
John Stuart Mill
"Managing one's own life is complex enough; managing the lives of others is impossible. So, leave each to his own choosing so long as he does not infringe upon the rights of his fellowmen. This is the whole case for the free market."
Leonard E. Read
"The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all: it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality."
"Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.”
"Whoever desires liberty, should understand these vital facts: That every man who puts money into the hands of a government puts into its hands a sword which will be used against himself, to extort more money from him, and also to keep him in subjection to its arbitrary will. That no government, so called, can reasonably be trusted for a moment, or reasonably be supposed to have honest purposes in view, any longer than it depends wholly upon voluntary support."
Lysander Spooner in No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority
"The Government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul."
George Bernard Shaw
"It is important to remember that capitalism has been the greatest driver of prosperity and opportunity the world has ever seen."
President Obama, October 6, 2016
"You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream -- the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, " 'The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.' "
Ronald Reagan - Address to the nation, October 27, 1964
In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object saying, "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, 4 Annals of congress 179 (1794)
"Here are a million human beings who would all die in a few days if supplies of all sorts did not flow into Paris. It staggers the imagination to try to comprehend the vast multiplicity of objects that must pass through its gates tomorrow, if its inhabitants are to be preserved from the horrors of famine, insurrection, and pillage. And yet all are sleeping peacefully at this moment, without being disturbed for a single instant by the idea of so frightful a prospect. What then, is the resourceful secret power that governs the amazing regularity of such complicated movements, a regularity in which everyone has such implicit faith, although his prosperity and his very life depend upon it? The power is an absolute principle, the principle of free exchange. We put our faith in that inner light which Providence has placed in the hearts of all men, and to which has been entrusted the preservation and the unlimited improvement of our species, a light we term self-interest, which is so illuminating, so constant, and so penetrating, when it is left free of every hindrance."
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
"Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it, have never known it again."
"A wise and frugal government shall restrain men from injuring one another, 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."
"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."
"Individuals do not derive from government their right to contract, but bring that right with them into society...[e]very man retains [the right] to...dispose of [his] property according to his own judgment."
John Marshall in Ogden v. Saunders
"Those who would give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither liberty nor security."
"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of misery."
"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment of men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
Justice Louis Brandeis
"The inevitable progression of things is for the government to gain ground and for liberty to yield."
"We have the right, as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please to charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so as to appropriate a dollar of the public money."
David Crockett in Not Yours to Give
"I do not believe that Washington should do for the people what they can do for themselves through local and private effort."
John F. Kennedy
"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions."
"Let's get rid of taxes. Taxes are why we left England. White people said, "They're taxing everything. Let's go!" That was over 300 years ago. They thought they were doing a good thing, now taxes are even higher and there's no place left to go!"
"With respect to the words 'general welfare', I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."
"Government is a broker in pillage and every election is an advanced auction on stolen goods."
"See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime."
"None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free."
Pearl S. Buck, Novelist and Nobel Prize Winner
"Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself."
"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn."
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."