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Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: "No man should have so much." The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: "All men should have as much."
A democratic despotism is like a theocracy: it assumes its own correctness.
The State ... is the most flagrant negation, the most cynical and complete negation of humanity.
1868 - from
Federalism, Socialism, and Anti-Theologism
No dictatorship can have any other aim but that of self-perpetuation, and it can beget only slavery in the people tolerating it; freedom can be created only by freedom, that is, by a universal rebellion on the part of the people and free organization of the toiling masses from the bottom up.
Statism and Anarchism
The state is the great fiction by which everybody tries to live at the expense of everybody else.
Beecher, Henry Ward
Ignorance is the womb of monsters.
The danger chiefly lies in acting well, no crime's so great as daring to excel.
Epistle to William Hogarth
If we [legislators] don't watch our respective tails, the people are going to be running the government.
Aug. 25, 1998 - quoted in the
Los Angeles Times
commenting on California's citizens' initiatives
Social Programs are all very well, in moderation. But they hardly constitute a national identity. Medicare did not climb the cliffs to the Plains of Abraham in General Wolfe's knapsack. We copied it from Britain three years after we imported the twist...
Gasset, Jose Ortega y
This is the gravest danger that today threatens civilization: State intervention, the absorption of all spontaneous social effort by the State; that is to say, of spontaneous historical action, which in the long-run sustains, nourishes and impels human destinies.
1922 - from
Perhaps the real guardian of civilized behavior is not the political state at all, but the enlightened self-interest of the marketplace.
1999 - from
The Incredible Bread Machine
, published by Fox and Wilkes
The words which hold you in our thrall Are "Public Interest"; "Good of All"! Your fetters not by us are wound; Bewitched, you are by "duty" bound! ... Oh, what a stew we will create While you pay homage to the State! So, stir the pot and share the blame; We're all the Keepers of the Flame!
from his poem "Keepers of the Flame"
None of us [who speak out against statism] are yet on the torture rack; we are not yet in jail; we're getting various harassments and annoyances, but what we mainly risk is merely our popularity, the danger that we will be called nasty names. ... We have a duty to speak even more clearly and courageously, to work harder, and to keep fighting this battle while the strength is still in us. ... The times call for courage. The times call for hard work. But if the demands are high, it is because the stakes are even higher. They are nothing less than the future of liberty, which means the future of civilization.
Nov. 29, 1964 - from "Reflections at 70", a speech to friends and admirers at the New York University Club on his 70th birthday
Let them own land or factories as much as they please. The decisive factor is that the State, through the Party, is supreme over them regardless of whether they are owners or workers.
from a letter to Herman Rauschning, quoted in
Why Does Socialism Continue to Appeal to Anyone?
, by Robert Hessen
A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors, and school teachers. ....[such propagandists] accomplish their greatest triumphs, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects... totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have done by the most eloquent denunciations, the most compelling of logical rebuttals.
1946 - from the preface to
Brave New World
[Former liberal prime minister of Canada Pierre Elliot] Trudeau suffered from the same statist illusions that affected some of the finest minds of our century. Certain errors require high IQ's. In our times many clever people became mesmerized with the notion that socialism (or at least a form of corporate statism) was the wave of the future. Mr. Trudeau was no exception. He was deeply suspicious of some European traditions, especially the homogenous nation-state, but quite open to many of Europe's most baneful influences, from leftish fads to autocracy.
Oct. 18, 1999 - from "Left wing, charming, and wrong", published in the
Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.... In a genuine community, the decisions most directly affecting the lives of citizens are made locally and voluntarily. Some...are carried out by local political bodies, others by private associations: so long as they are kept local, and are marked by the general agreement of those affected, they constitute healthy community. But when these functions pass by default or usurpation to centralized authority, then community is in serious danger.
1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of
The Politics of Prudence
...the crimes of violence committed for selfish, personal motives are historically insignificant compared to those committed ad majorem gloriam Dei, out of a self-sacrificing devotion to the flag, a leader, a religious faith or political conviction.
Macaulay, Lord Thomas Babbington
Our rulers will best promote the improvement of the nation by strictly confining themselves to their own legitimate duties, by leaving capital to find its most lucrative course, commodities their fair price, industry and intelligence their natural reward, idleness and folly their natural punishment, by maintaining peace, by defending property, by diminishing the price of law, and observing strict economy in every department of the state. Let the Government do this: the People will assuredly do the rest.
Jan. 1830 - from a book review published in the
Mencken, Henry Louis
It seems to me that society usually wins. There are, to be sure, free spirits in the world, but their freedom, in the last analysis, is not much greater than that of a canary in a cage. They may leap from perch to perch; they may bathe and guzzle at their will; they may flap their wings and sing. But they are still in the cage, and soon or late it conquers them.
Jul. 27, 1924 - from his editorial in
The American Mercury
[The State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men.
Mill, John Stuart
A state which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands, even for beneficial purposes, will find that with small men, no great thing can really be accomplished.
All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.
his oft-repeated slogan for the totalitarian state he created
Nock, Albert Jay
Statism postulates the doctrine that the citizen has no rights which the State is bound to respect; the only rights he has are those which the State grants him, and which the State may attenuate or revoke at its own pleasure. This doctrine is fundamental; without its support, all the various nominal modes or forms of Statism which we see at large in Europe and America - such as are called Socialism, Communism, Nazism, Fascism, etc., - would collapse at once. The individualism which was professed by the early Liberals, maintained the contrary; it maintained that the citizen has rights which are inviolable by the State or by any other agency.
Businessmen are the one group that distinguishes capitalism and the American way of life from the totalitarian statism that is swallowing the rest of the world. All the other social groups- workers, farmers, professional men, scientists, soldiers- exist under dictatorships, even though they exist in chains, in terror, in misery, and in progressive self-destruction. But there is no such group as businessmen under a dictatorship. Their place is taken by armed thugs: by bureaucrats and commissars. Businessmen are the symbol of a free society...
History is replete with examples of how freedom sucking big government is characterized by economic decay, nasty nationalism and government repression of anyone who is
. If history is the standard, then the victory is absolute. Statism has been vanquished. It is small, limited government and personal freedom that encourages the tolerance and compassion that Canadians say they value.
Jan. 18, 1999 - essay, "The Psychology of Big Government"
You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he's free again.
We want a society in which we are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. That is what we mean by a moral society - not a society in which the State is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the State.
Mar. 14, 1977 - from a speech at Zurich University, quoted in
As I Said to Denis: The Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations
, edited by Iain Dale
Every state has the right to take the necessary steps to maintain under public control the use, posession, disposal and reservation of land. Every state has the right to plan and regulate the use of land, which is one of its most important resources, in such a way that the growth of population centers both urban and rural are based on a comprehensive land use plan.
Jun. 1976 - from its report
Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements
, quoted by Ronald Reagan in his radio address, Nov. 30, 1976
von Mises, Ludwig
The essential characteristic of Western civilization that distinguishes it from the arrested and petrified civilizations of the East was and is its concern for freedom from the state. The history of the West, from the age of the Greek polis down to the present-day resistance to socialism, is essentially the history of the fight for liberty against the encroachments of the officeholders.
The State exists for the sake of society, not society for the sake of the State.