... [I]t is better for a man to go wrong in freedom than right in chains; ... .
- Thomas H. Huxley, LETTERS AND DIARIES: 1866 (November 8).
“A negative deed destroys a thousand good words.”
- Eli Herring
A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
“Amateurs built the Ark; professionals built the Titanic!”
- Owen Newman
As long as people believe in government, wars will never end.
- Larken Rose in THE DAILY BELL, 1/29/2012
Be careful what you promise and to whom you make promises. “One is as bound to keep a sworn promise to a wicked man as to a good one.”
- Cary Nederman
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have you’ll never have enough.
- Oprah Winfrey
Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
“Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.”
- Herbert Hoover
“But what reason have we more than past ages, to expect that we will be blessed with impeccable rulers? We think not any. Although it has been said that each generation grows wiser and wiser, yet we have no reason to think that they grow better and better. And therefore the probability lies upon the dark side. Does not the experience of ages teach, that men have generally exercised all the power they had given them, and even have usurped upon them, in order to accomplish their own sinister and avaricious designs, whenever they thought they could do so with impunity?”
- Consider Arms, Malichi Maynard, and Samuel Field, April 9, 1788 in Herbert J. Storing, ed., THE COMPLETE ANTI-FEDERALIST (1981), Vol. 4, Essay 26, p. 257.
“By the inch it’s a cinch, by the yard it’s hard.”
- Peter Ragnar
“By today’s governmentally proscribed notions and definitions, the American revolutionaries were violent terrorists, common criminals, and treasonous political deviants who deserved nothing less than to hang at the end of a rope.”
- Hans Sherrer, GULAG AMERICANA, Chapter 32.
“Corn and wheat may grow. Cows come and go. But the bull of politicians goes on and on.”
- Jacob Lapp
Countries are well cultivated, not as they are fertile, but as they are free.
- Attributed to Montesquieu
“Do not harm your neighbor and, if at all possible, save him.”
- A basic concentration camp norm cited in Anna Pawelczynska, VALUES AND VIOLENCE IN AUSCHWITZ (1979), p 144.
Don’t ever think you know what’s right for the other person. He might start thinking he knows what’s right for you.
- Paul Williams in DAS ENERGI
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
- attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson
“Even in good times, a squirrel will hide his nuts because wintertime is coming.”
Five Simple Goals
1. Say Please and Thank You.
2. Be On Time.
3. Keep Your Promises.
4. Finish What You Start.
5. If It Is Worth Doing, It Is Worth Doing Right.
- Paraphrased from THE HOME SCHOOL COURT REPORT, Nov/Dec 2007, pp. 37-38.
“Focus on doing the right thing, on being a good human being. The results will take care of themselves.”
- Andrew Cherngs (Chairman,Panda Express fast-food chain) in READER’S DIGEST, November 2007, p. 62
“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.”
- Kris Kristofferson, “Me and Bobby McGee”
Government ... is the power to kill. Taxes levied by that power are paid to avoid the penalty government can exact, which is ultimately death.
- T. Robert Ingram, SCHOOLS - GOVERNMENT OR PUBLIC? (1960), p.6.
Government “education has torn us from our moorings, our training has made us hug the very chains that bind us.”
- M. K. Gandhi quoted in Gene Sharp, THE POLITICS OF NONVIOLENT ACTION (1973), p. 57.
“Governments are not the cause of a lack of freedom -- they are the result of it.”
- Riqui Leon
“Governments commit more crimes upon persons and property and contribute more to their insecurity than all [the] criminals put together.”
- Josiah Warren quoted in William O. Reichert, PARTISANS OF FREEDOM (1976), p. 72
“Growing old chronologically is a given, but being open to learning throughout your entire life leads to a wisdom of the spirit that will keep you young at heart.”
Happiness is found by learning how to be satisfied with less, rather than always grasping at more.
- Kenneth Cohen, THE WAY OF QIGONG (1997), p. 296.
Hard work drives away sad thoughts.
- paraphrased from Constance Savery, ENEMY BROTHERS (1943), Chapter 18, “Ticket to London,” p. 240.
“He has an anti-business mentality. He loves the poor so much, he advocates policies that ensure there will be a lot more of them.”
- The Rev. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute, speaking of one of his critics in The Grand Rapids Press, November 11, 2000.
“History’s most important lesson is that it has not been possible to make coercion compatible with truth.”
- John Langbein in Alfred McCoy, A QUESTION OF TORTURE (2006) p. 204
Humans have not changed since primitive times, only the weaponry has.
- Bernie Meyer, THE AMERICAN GANDHI (2008), p. 103.
I ... describe[d] the fierce pride of the [mountain] people; their self-reliance and love of liberty; the rebellion against taxation and all government restrictions or even “benefits“; how out of centuries of tyranny they had learned the lesson well that for every benefit, a freedom must always be surrendered.
- Catherine Marshall, CHRISTY (1967), Chapter Thirty-four.
“I always operate on some advice I got from my grand-father years ago before I got in the banking business. He said 97% of the people in the world are honest. So make the rules for the 97%, not the 3% of dishonesty.”
- Alden McDonald, Jr. of Liberty Bank & Trust, New Orleans, LA.
I complained that I had no shoes until I met a man that had no feet.
“I don’t think I am obligated to find an answer to every question in the world. That being said, all I can do is take care of the means and live as close to my conscience as possible: educate myself and help educate others, and not contribute to the problem of coercive government.”
- Carl Watner (May 2007)
I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.
- Attributed to Harriet Tubman
“I have a whole lot of conscience when it comes to dealing with people; but I sure don’t have much conscience when it comes to dealing with the government.” -Rob Metcalf (feed mill customer)
I have lived in twelve nations, but if I could get off the planet, I would do it.
- Doug Casey in LIBERTY OUTLOOK (August 1, 2012), p. 5.
I postulate that the entire human race is suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of witnessing, participating in, or being victims of genocide, ecocide, depraved acts of warfare and mass destruction, and the perceived inevitability of the ultimate destruction of life on Earth.
- Jeff Knaebel
I was once asked if I thought the ‘Founding Fathers’ had good intentions. I replied that this was subjective and irrelevant. The only pertinent issue is whether they or any present day advocates of constitutional government believe[d] that protection and the other services governments provide should be provided on a voluntary basis. Would they arrest and place in jail a person who refused to contribute to the government?
- paraphrased from Marc Stevens, ADVENTURES IN LEGAL LAND (2005), p. 224.
I’m not designed to stop when the truth is involved.
- Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez “Interview” in THE MONEYCHANGER (July 2012), p. 7.
“If I learned anything from my unfortunate childhood it is that there is nothing that can dominate or conquer the human spirit.”
- Dave Pelzer, HELP YOURSELF (New York: Dutton, 2000), p. xii.
“If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you, but answer ‘He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone.’ ”
- Epictetus, THE ENCHIRIDION, Sec. XXXIII (circa 100 A.D.)
“If one can protest and prevent the commission of a sin by one’s household, one’s fellow citizens, or the whole world and does not, one is accountable for those sins.”
- (Shabbat 54b)
If precious metal coins are in circulation which are intrinsically worth their true value, the only kind of counterfeiting possible is with false, disguised metals. This has often been done, and was a major impetus to alchemy, and the manufacture of spurious gold and silver. But paper money invited counterfeiting by its very nature, since the essence of it is not its inherent substance but the authority on which it was issued. Paper money is a symbol. To counterfeit is therefore not to fabricate a substance but to impersonate the authority issuing it. Since anyone can print on pieces of paper, the authority must make the processes of manufacture of its paper money so intricate that they cannot be exactly reproduced.
- Robert Temple, THE GENIUS OF CHINA (1986), p. 118.
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.”
- attributed to Thomas Pinchent by Butler Shaffer in his talk, “To Vote or Not to Vote,” Eris 2001 Conference, Aspen, CO.
“If you can’t be thankful for what you receive, be thankful for what you escape.”
If you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it. If you don’t need, don’t buy it.
- Fred Reed
“If you ever wonder if a bureaucrat has the ‘right’ to do something, then just ask yourself this question: Does my neighbor have a right to do this to me?”
- Marc Stevens, ADVENTURES IN LEGAL LAND (2005), p. 159.
If you hate, you’ll become like those you hate, and maybe even worse than them. ... “If the evil infects you with evil, then it has won a hundredfold.”
- paraphrased from Michael D. O’Brien, PLAUGE JOURNAL (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999, p. 100, 238).
“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”
- Attributed to Milton Friedman
“In the long run, there is no short run.”
- Darryl Robert Schoon
“In the name of all that is reasonable and just, I ask, if our fathers had the right to make a Constitution, have we not the right to unmake it? And is it not our duty to unmake it, when it proves a failure and a curse?”
- Reverend Samuel J. May, Jr. in PROCEEDINGS OF THE STATE DISUNION CONVENTION HELD AT WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS, January 15, 1857 (Boston: Printed for the Committee, 1857), p. 14.
“Indeed, ‘the most distinctive contribution of Africa to human history has been precisely in the civilized art of living reasonably peacefully without a state’.”
- Migdal, Kohli, and Shue (eds), STATE POWER AND SOCIAL FORCES, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), p. 258 citing Jean-Francois Bayart, L’ETAT EN AFRIQUE (Paris: Fayard, 1989), p. 58.
“Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.”
- Attributed to H. L. Mencken
It does not require many words to speak the truth.
- Chief Joseph
“It is an abomination that babies are given Social Security numbers.”
- Sam Aurelius Milam III
“It is better to suffer wrong than do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust… .”
- Samuel Johnson
“It is morally wrong for the Government to swindle people out of their property by making false money.”
- Hilaire Belloc, ECONOMICS FOR HELEN (1924), p. 72.
It takes great strength of character to speak only the best of others.
- Peter Ragnar
“It will always be impossible to keep a bank solvent by law. The law that specifies the maximum risk a bank may legally take with other people’s money turns out to be a law of minimum security. A good banker will not take a risk simply because the law says he may; he will use his own judgment. On the other hand, a reckless banker will find a way to do what his greed desires, no matter what the law is, even a legal way.”
- Garet Garret, A BUBBLE THAT BROKE THE WORLD (1932), p. 125 (conclusion to the chapter titled “The Gold Invention”).
It will simply no do to assume that because markets or other social mechanisms produce imperfect results a central authority will produce better ones.
- Chandran Kukathas
Lamenting that a glass is half empty will not fill it.
- Edgar Cann in NO MORE THROW-AWAY CHILDREN (2002), p. 94.
Leap for the sun - you may not reach it, but at least you will get off the ground.
- the Mother of Zora Neale Hurston (African American writer)
“Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have.”
- Attributed to Harry Emerson Fosdick
Life is difficult enough; let’s not complicate matters by being stupid.
- John Wayne
“Look at something and see what is really there, not what you think is there.”
“Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery they may indeed wait for ever.”
- Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) quoted in “England’s Great Philistine, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, July 22, 1973, p. 26.
“Material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction.”
- Attributed to Thomas Jefferson
Most Americans are so brainwashed by the time they complete twelve years of government education that they cannot even recognize mass murder by the U.S. government as a crime.
- Jeff Knaebel
Nemo tenetur seipsum Accusare
- The right to refuse to answer government interrogatories is the right of every man.
- Freely translated from Leonard Levy, ORIGINS OF THE FIFTH AMENDMENT (1968), p. 387.
“Never argue with an idiot; they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
- Charlie Ritchie of the BACKWOODSMAN Magazine
Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.
No external force will ever succeed in making you ‘want what you do not want and believe what you do not believe’. A man may take my life, but not my faith.
- Gerhard Oestreich, NEOSTOICISM AND THE EARLY MODERN STATE (1982), p. 27.
No one can be said to be the owner of something if he is not permitted to defend his property by physical violence against invaders and invasion.
“Nothing is free, there is a price to be paid, either at the beginning or at the end, or by somebody else.”
Nothing is more silly than to say that the law made private property. The fact is the exact opposite. Private property came to exist and it made the law.
- John Maxcy Zane, THE STORY OF LAW (1927), from the last paragraph of Chapter 8.
“Once a regime is no longer able to frighten the people - to terrorize them into passive submission - then that regime is in big trouble.”
- Gene Sharp on “The Two-Way — NPR News Blog,” Feb. 22, 2011.
“Once you have government health care, it can be used to justify almost any restraint on freedom: After all, if the state has to cure you, it surely has an interest in preventing you needing treatment in the first place. ... And if they can’t get you on grounds of your personal health, they’ll do it on grounds of planetary health.”
- Mark Steyn, “Live Free or Die!”, IMPRIMIS (April 2009), p. 4
“Online mapmaking, known as GeoWeb, is similar to Wikipedia, the online enclyclopedia, in that they both reflect the collective knowledge of millions of contributors. [Although mapmaking in Western civilization has not been monopolized by governments, millions of mapmakers are less likely to be wrong than one centralized agency responsible for cartography.]”
- See Miguel Helft, ”Mapmaking for the masses, online,” INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNAL, July 26, 2007
“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”
- Warren Buffet
“Opposition to political authority does not entail opposition to social order.”
- Aeon J. Skoble, DELETING THE STATE (2008), p. 6.
“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we [stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people].”
- Remarks by President George W. Bush at the Signing of H.R. 4613. the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005, August 5, 2004.
“Paper ‘Money“’ The Chinese invented paper “money” at the end of the eighth or beginning of the ninth century AD. Its original name was ‘flying money’ because it was so light and could blow out of one’s hand.
- Robert Temple, THE GENIUS OF CHINA (1986), p. 117.
Paper money eventually reaches its intrinsic value - zero.
“Persons and groups reaching for illicit power customarily assume attitudes of great moral rectitude to divert attention from the abandonment of their own moral standards of behavior. Deception of the multitude becomes necessary to sustain power, and deception of others rapidly progresses to deception of self. All conquest aristocracies have followed such paths. It would be incredible if ours [in the United States] had not.”
- Francis Jennings, THE INVASION OF AMERICA (1976), p. vii.
Political law is the antonym, not the synonym of order.
- Paraphrased from Stanley Diamond, “The Rule of Law Versus the Order of Custom,” 38 SOCIAL RESEARCH (1971), p. 68.
“Politics is the seedbed of social enmity, evil suspicions, shameless lies, morbid ambitions, and disrespect for the individual.”
- Maxim Gorky, April 20, 1917, Novaia zhizn’, cited in Orlando Figes, A PEOPLE’S TRAGEDY (1986), p. 405.
Power can rarely be wielded effectively over long periods of time unless it is perceived by the community in which it is exercised as a form of legitimate authority, not as mere coercive force.
- Brian Tierney, RELIGION, LAW, AND THE GROWTH OF CONSTITUTIONAL THOUGHT 1150-1650 (1982), p. x.
Power corrupts most people and power attracts the corrupt. The more power, the more corruption.
- Don Duncan and Lawrence W. Reed
“Power may come out of the barrel of a gun, but it requires people willing to hold and aim guns to exercise power.”
Proposed Epitaph for a Grave Stone - Don’t stand there looking! Get to work!
Reform must come from within, not from without. You cannot legislate virtue.
- Attributed to Cardinal Gibbons
“Remember, quite simply, ...”
Between men there can exist only two relations: logic and war. Always demand proof, proof is the fundamental respect you owe yourself. If they refuse, remember that you are being attacked and that every means will be used to make you obey.
- Paul Valery, MONSIEUR TESTE (1947 AND 1964), (near the end of Chapter 6, “Dialogue”) pp. 74-75.
Setting a thief (the government) to catch a thief doubles the amount of loot stolen.
- Robert LeFevre in the “Epilogue” to A WAY TO BE FREE.
“Slavery the worst form of Stealing. Whatever may be said of other possessions, a man’s person is his own; his life is his own; his liberty is his own. He who takes them away without his consent, and without any crime on his part, steals them. And surely stealing men is a much greater crime than stealing money, as a human being holds a higher rank in the scale of existence than inert and senseless matter. The eighth commandment, then, forbids, distinctly and peremptorily, all the despotic enslaving of our fellow men, of whatever condition or color, or of exercising absolute lordship over them; because those acts virtually deprive human beings of that property in themselves with which the Creator endowed them. This is a usurpation of the rights of man which no usage, law or custom, can legalize in the sight of heaven. No title can make good my claim to another’s person; no deed of inheritance or conveyance transmits it to a third party. ... Every man under God, owns himself; He has a right to himself which no other man can challenge. I may be lawfully restrained, punished, and even executed by just laws; but I can never be owned; I can never be in the sight of God, either serf or slave; I cannot sell myself; no other can sell me. - Though I may, for a consideration, make over to another my right to my services, yet the right to myself is no more alienable by myself than by another.”
- from George Bush, “Notes on Exodus,” published in Vol. 7, No. 32, HERALD OF FREEDOM (October 1, 1841), p. 1
“So long as there is government, there shall be no peace and no justice.”
- John Simpson
Success is to be measured no so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.
- Booker T. Washington
“That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind.”
- - Said by Gandalf of Sauron in J.R.R. Tolkien, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, Part Two, “The Two Towers,” Book Three, Chapter 5, (New York: Ballantine Books, 52nd Printing, p. 127).
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors and their Open Market Committee is what I call the monetary Politburo of the Western world. This is nothing but socialism: monetary central planning.
- David Stockman in “Austerity Is Not Discretionary,” July 20, 2012.
“The Law of Two Feet“: If a person is in a place where he or she doesn’t want to be, and is not learning or contributing, the individual should use his or her own two feet and leave.“
“The choice you make, not the chances you take, define your destiny.”
“The end of one thing is only the beginning of another.”
- Laura Ingalls Wilder, Chap. 27, THESE HAPPY GOLDEN YEARS.
The evil of church-and state-coerced speech, whether in the form of forced recanting, repentance, naming names, flag statutes, or loyalty oaths, lies in the coercion itself ... . -Haig Bosmajian, THE FREEDOM NOT TO SPEAK (1999), p. 198.
“The existence of evil can never justify the existence of the State. If there is no evil, the State is unnecessary. If evil exists, the State is far too dangerous to be allowed to exist.”
- Stefan Molyneux
The fact is that property was well recognized before law existed; the fiction is that “property is the creation of law.”
- Herbert Spencer, THE MAN VERSUS THE STATE (1916) p. 199, from paragraph 33 of “The Great Political Superstition.”
“The government is the most successful criminal gang in a geographic area.”
- New Hampshire man on the radio June 11, 2007
“The greatest lesson of history is that people do not learn the lessons of history.”
- David Morgan in APPENZELLER DAILY BELL, June 21, 2009.
The idea of people being able to run their own lives, to a politician, is the most horrible thing he can imagine.
- Larken Rose in THE DAILY BELL, 1/29/2012
The important thing about winning is knowing that you can.
“The individual who practices integrity, is teachable, for by definition, he is a Truth seeker.”
- Leonard E. Read
“The justice of using force against such a person [a right’s violator] is based on the fact that he or she violated the rights of the victim, not that he or she consented to the jurisdiction of a court.”
- Randy Barnett, THE STRUCTURE OF LIBERTY (1998), p. 278.
“The man who owns a slave, or lives by exploiting others, whether slave or not, is not himself a free man. He is a man who must look over his shoulder all the time, in fear. True freedom lies in a deep concern for the freedom of others, and if this is accepted it should make every man, out of pure selfishness, the ardent devotee of the freedom of his neighbor.”
- Leonard Wibberly, 1776 - And All That (1975), p. 72.
“The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. ... Freedom and slavery are mental states. Therefore, the first thing to say to yourself: ‘I shall no longer accept the role of a slave. I shall not obey orders as such but shall disobey them when they are in conflict with my conscience’.”
- M. K. Gandhi quoted in Gene Sharp, THE POLITICS OF NONVIOLENT ACTION (1973), p. 59.
“The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.”
- Attributed to Milton Friedman
“The only agreeable country is the one where no one is afraid of tax collectors.”
- Alejandro Chafuen (quoting Pedro Fernandez Navarrete), FAITH AND LIBERTY (2003), p. 58.
“The only time churches have become evil is when they’ve developed methods of enforcement and punishment similar to that of governments.”
- Sam Aurelius Milam III
“The path to the peak is arduous, but it has always been that way. It is the path of truth through a valley of lies. “
- Peter Ragnar
The power [of coining money] itself is a frivolous one, of little or no utility; for the weighing and assaying of metals is a thing so easily done, and can be done by so many different persons, that there is certainly no necessity for it being done at all by a government,. And it would undoubtedly have been far better if all coins - whether coined by governments or individuals - had all been made into pieces bearing simply the names of pounds, ounces, pennyweights, etc., and containing just the amounts of pure metal described by those weights. The coins would have then been regarded as only so much metal; and as having only the same value as the same amount of metal in any other form. Men would then have known exactly how much of certain metals they were buying, selling, and promising to pay. And all the jugglery, cheating, and robbery that governments have practised, and licensed individuals to practise - by coining pieces bearing the same names, but having different amounts of metal - would have been avoided.
- Lysander Spooner, A LETTER TO GROVER CLEVLAND, Sec.XXII (1886).
“The practical reason for freedom, then, is that freedom seems to be the only condition under which any kind of substantial moral fibre can be developed. Everything else has been tried [and failed]. ... In suggesting that we try freedom ... the anarchist ... has a strictly practical aim. He aims at the production of a race of responsible beings. ... His desire for freedom has but one practical object, ie, that men may become as good and as decent, as elevated and noble, as they might be and really wish to be. Reason, experience, and observation lead him to the conviction that under absolute and unqualified freedom they can and rather promptly will, educate themselves to this desirable end; but that so long as they are the least degree dominated by legalism and authoritarianism, they never can.”
- A. J. Nock, “On Doing the Right Thing,” pp. 173-178
The proper way to suppress government power in a free society is with ideas. One good idea by one thinking individual is worth any number of guns and laws aimed at forcing men to blindly take actions.
- Paul Stevens, THE FREEMAN, November 1974, p. 689.
“The real test of a man is not how well he plays the role that he has invented for himself, but how well he plays the role that destiny assigned to him.”
- Jan Patocka quoted in Vaclav Havel, DISTURBING THE PEACE (1993), pp. xv and 72.
“The right to do something does not mean that doing it is right.”
- William Safire
The second mouse gets the cheese.
“The thought of how far the human race [might] have advanced without government simply staggers the imagination.”
- Attributed to Doug Casey, 1979
The totalitarian State is [the] only [kind of] ... State.
- Albert Jay Nock, A MATTER OF NO CURIOSITY (2010), p. 62.
“The true gentleman does not preach what he practices till he has practiced what he preaches.”
The twentieth century was one in which limits on state power were removed in order to let the intellectuals run with the ball, and they screwed everything up and turned the century into an abattoir. … We Americans are the only ones who didn’t get creamed at some point during all of this. We are free and prosperous because we have inherited political and value systems fabricated by a particular set of eighteenth-century intellectuals who happened to get it right. But we have lost touch with those intellectuals. “Notable and Quotable,” The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2011, p. A 17 [from Neal Stephenson, In the Beginning Was the Command Line (1999), p. 53.]
“There can be no greater stretch of arbitrary power than is required to seize children from their parents, teach them whatever the authorities decree they shall be taught, and expropriate from the parents the funds to pay for the procedure. ... “Free education” [is] the most absolute contradiction of facts by terminology of which the language is capable. Everything about such schools is compulsory, not free; ... . A tax- supported, compulsory educational system is the complete model of the totalitarian state.”
- Isabel Paterson, THE GOD OF THE MACHINE (1943), from Chapter XXI, ”Our Japanized Educational System.” [Ms. Paterson failed to note that the expropriation was from all taxpayers, not just the parents.]
“There is more power in socially organized masses on the march than there is in guns in the hands of a few desperate men. Our enemies would prefer to deal with a small armed group than with a huge, unarmed but resolute mass of people.”
- Martin Luther King
“There is no law that can prevent men from using their freedom in disorderly fashion.” Although the institution of private property promotes peace and equality, it cannot guarantee the abolition of evil.
- Alejandro Chafuen (quoting Domingo de Soto), FAITH AND LIBERTY (2003), p. 34.
There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience.
“There is nothing like the word can’t that makes me think of a challenge, just to prove them wrong.”
- Jean Juricich
“There is nothing useful but what is just; there is no law of nature which makes one individual dependent on another; and all those laws which reason disavows, have no force. Every person brings with him into the world his [own] title to freedom.”
-LeGente (found in John Christice and Dwight Dumond, GEORGE BOURNE and THE BOOK AND SLAVERY IRRECONCILABLE , p. 148.)
There’s only one way to abolish war, and that’s to abolish government.
- Jim Davies, THE ON LINE FREEDOM ACADEMY, Segment 10, Sec. 4.
“These ... people don’t see anything criminal about a little homemade brew. Try and understand their point of view. The know-how has been handed down for centuries. During all that time, whiskey has been used as their most common drug to doctor everything from colds to snake bite to heart trouble. They figure that it’s their grain that goes into the whiskey. They grew it. They got together a few pieces of copper tubing and some other odds and ends and put together a little contraption on their land. To them, that’s no more morally wrong than their wives making wild strawberry preserves in their kitchens or soap from lye drippings in their yards.”
- Catherine Marshall, CHRISTY, from Chapter 23 (1967)
“These men - ..., the politicians, ... - use their position, their knowledge, and their power of disseminating misinformation to arouse and stimulate the latent instinct for bloodshed. When they have succeeded, they say they are reluctantly forced to war by the pressure of public opinion.”
- Bertrand Russell, “War and Non-Resistance,” ATLANTIC MONTHLY, August 1915, p. 274.
They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me, then they will have my dead body, but not my obedience.
Those who get themselves involved in the machinery of power politics, even for the purpose of destroying it, are bound to fail in their purpose. To destroy it, you have to stay out of it. If you want to cut down a tree, it is no use to climb into its branches. The desire to keep contact with something, even to destroy it, is a subtle and insidious illusion.
- Vinoba Bhave
Though power corrupts, statists mistakenly believe that power is the cure for corruption.
- paraphrased from Stefan Moluneux, Practical Anarchy (2011), p. 185, Part III, “Anarchism and Health Care”
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To hope is to risk despair
To live is to risk dying,
To try is to risk failure
But risks must be taken
Because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid sorrow.
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow, or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom
Only a person who risks is truly free.
The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
And the realist adjusts the sails
- Attributed to William Arthur Ward
To have a good future, we must undertake good actions. Now.
- Jeff Knaebel
“To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson’s famous statement about the press: ‘If I had to choose between a government without a free market and a free market without a government, I would far prefer the latter’.”
- George Koether
To some people “freedom [is] a way of life. Not freedom for anything, just freedom from restrictions or irritations or responsibilities of any kind.” Not me: I want freedom so I can be 100% responsible for myself and family.
- Catherine Marshall, CHRISTY (1967), Chapter Forty-two with additions by Carl Watner.
“Transportation Security Is Not Security” It’s not even a charade of security. It serves but one purpose: to make sure that all the little people out there know exactly who’s in charge - the government. ... It’s just programming, training people to submit to authority, densensitizing them to further erosions of freedom. Sometimes the tactics are blunt, sometimes far softer.
- From “Sovereign Man - Notes from the Field,” August 14, 2012
“War is the most expensive thing humans do.”
- Rick Maybury, EARLY WARNING REPORT, May 2008, p. 5.
“We always tell ourselves whenever there’s an ‘O’ for obstacle, the ‘O’ also stands for opportunity.”
- Alden McDonald, Jr. of Liberty Bank & Trust, New Orleans, LA.
“We live as subjugated people in an occupied territory.”
- Jeff Knabel
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
“When I first came here [Congress] twenty years ago, I was a libertarian … a follower of Goldwater. After being here twenty years , its enough to make anyone an anarcho-libertarian.”
- Congressman Phi Crane (R-IL), C-SPAN, October 3, 1990.
When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
“When one is on the right road, one is bound to meet other travelers.”
- old Jewish proverb
When problems arise, use your energy to fix the problem, rather than wasting energy fixing the blame. Fix the problem, not the blame.
Bill Douglas’ Sage Sifu in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Tai Chai and Qi Gong (2005), p. 46
When trade is free, “when no man may use physical force to extort the consent of another, it is the best product and the best judgment that wins in every field of human endeavor,” … .
- Ayn Rand in “For the New Intellectual”
“Where you want to go is more important than where you have been.”
- Peter Ragnar
Whether or not you carry on in the face of adversity is determined not by your body but your mind.
- Robert Ringer, GETTING WHAT YOU WANT (2000), p. 243.
“Which way do you prefer?” We human beings always seek happiness. Now there are two ways. You make yourself happy by making other people unhappy — I call that the logic of robbery. The other way, you make yourself happy by making other people happy — that’s the logic of the market. Which way do you prefer?
- Zhang Weiying in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, October 13-14, 2012, p. A11.
Why Don’t You Propose Something Constructive? From time to time, readers of ANALYSIS urge upon me the espousal of some program they are pleased to call “constructive.” ... Every one of the proposed reforms has something to commend it, while the sincerity of the proponents makes one wish they might succeed. The fact remains, however, that the reform invariably rests its case on the good-will, intelligence, and selflessness of men who, invested with the power to do so, will put the reform into operation. And the lesson of history is that power is never so used. Never. I am convinced, on the other hand, that all of the evils of which these honest people complain can be traced to the misuse of power, and am therefore inclined to distrust political power of any kind. ... The only “constructive” idea that I can in all conscience advance, then, is that the individual put his trust in himself, not in power; that he seek to better his understanding and lift his values to a higher and still higher level; that he assume responsibility for his behavior and not shift his responsibility to committees, organizations, and, above all, a superpersonal State. Such reforms as are necessary will come of themselves when, or if, men act as intelligent and responsible human beings. There cannot be a “good” society until there are “good” men.
[Reprinted from THE FREEMAN, November 1974, p. 690 and originally excerpted from ANALYSIS, July 1949, Frank Chodorov, editor.]
“You can’t break a man that don’t borrow.”
- Will Rogers
You can’t make sheep any fatter by weighing them.
- an old Scottish saying.
“You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to be an American!” - Sam Aurelius’Milam III’s father
You know, if government were a product, selling it would be illegal. Government is a health hazard. Governments have killed many more people than cigarettes or unbuckled seat belts ever have.
- Attributed to P. J. O’Rourke
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
- Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi
“You never have an accident without being warned at least three times in advance.”
- Peter Ragnar
“You only live once - but if you work it right, once is enough.”
- Joe E. Lewis
You ought to tell the truth, but you don’t have to tell everything you know.
Your best friends are those who bring out the best in you. ... I have found it is better to be alone than in the wrong company.”
[E]very policeman know that though governments may change, the police remains.
- -Leon Trotsky, WHAT NEXT? (NY: Pioneer Publ., 1932), p. 18.
“[I]t is better not to live at all than to live without honor. ... [This is] a conclusion which I have drawn from my own practical experience, and which has proved practical for me in the sense that in extreme situations it simplifies decisions that I have to make about myself.”
- Vaclav Havel, DISTURBING THE PEACE (1990), p. 144.
“[N]ever before have so many Americans in all classes of society depended so heavily on government. (Taxes to support government spending now consume 40 percent of a typical American family’s earnings. Put another way, the average American family works about three hours a day for tax collectors.)”
- John Harmon McElroy, AMERICAN BELIEFS (1999), pp. 223-224.
“[N]o human is saintly enough to be entrusted with total power over another.”
- David Brion Davis, INHUMAN BONDAGE (2006), p. 198.
“[O]ur rights have emanated from the Governor of the universe, they do not rest upon a bill of rights or charters granted [...] by [any government].”
- Adam Seybert, STATISTICAL ANNALS (1818), p. 2
[T]o proclaim a people free to choose their own government but then to insist that the government determine, through a government-controlled compulsory educational system, the very attitudes and values by which the people will choose becomes the most insidious and pernicious form of tyranny: it gives the people the illusion of freedom while all along controlling them through a form of governmental programming.
- Blair Adams, WHO OWNS THE CHILDREN? (1991), p. 46.
“[The] institution of the home is the one anarchist institution. ... [I]t is older than law, and stands outside the State.”
- G. K. Chesterton, WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE WORLD (1910) in COLLECTED WORKS: FAMILY, SOCIETY, POLITICS (San Francisco; Ignatius Press, 1978, pp. 67, 72, and 257)
Coercion is necessary only when one cannot persuade others to act as one thinks they should.
- George Smith, Part 5, “Ayn Rand and Altruism.”
Dictatorships [and governments, in general] are never as strong as they think they are, and people are never as weak as they think they are.
- “Gene Sharp: A Dictator’s worst nightmare,” on CNN.com, June 25, 2012.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing; it was here first.”
- Mark Twain
In a social context, the only geographical area that is important is an individual’s property.
- Roy Childs
It is undeniable that human beings have killed other human beings for as long as human beings have lived on this planet, but to kill other human beings efficiently and in large numbers takes a state.
- Gerard Casey, LIBERTARIAN ANARCHY (2012), p. 33.
Our rulers are tyrants because of the power they wield.
- paraphrased from Dean Russell’s 1950 FEE speech, “Wards of the Government”
People in government do not have any special epistemological powers; they have no means of knowledge not available to other men.
- paraphrased from Roy Childs
Roy contended that the burden of proof for the necessity of government is always on those who maintain that a state is necessary or legitimate.
- Ronn Neff in “Roy Childs on Anarchism”
The self-regulating Internet means no one has to ask permission to launch a website, and no government can tell network operators how to do their job. The arrangement has made the Internet a rare place of permissionless innovation.
- L. Gordon Crovitz, “The U.N.s Internet Sneak Attack,” THE WALL ST. JOURNAL (November 26, 2012), p. A15
Just because you put up with an evil does not endow it with any moral standing.
- Paraphrased from Ronn Neff, “The Government Is Illegitimate ...”
The question in Genesis 4:9, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” has nothing to do with how we treat others. It is a singular reference to Abel, and not to mankind at large. A more appropriate metaphor addresses the question, “Who is my neighbor?” or “Who among all the poor of the world are we morally responsible to feed?” The Parable of the Good Samaritan provides answers: anyone within the sphere of our personal knowledge or experience who is in desperate need. The Samaritan used his own personal resources to succor the stranger. He did not attempt to push the poor fellow’s care off on the authorities, or to steal from rich travelers in order to assist the victim.
- Ned Netterville
A debt is never too old for an honest person to pay.
If progressive taxes are so great, “why not progressive pricing of everything? If you earn twice as much as your neighbor, you pay twice as much for bread, shoes, housing, etc.” The only problem is that sellers have no right to know how much you earn. When the government “sells” you its services, its agents will put you in jail if you refuse to tell them.
- Suggested by Rick Maybury, WHAT WOULD THOMAS JEFFERSON THINK OF THIS? (1994), p. 24.
Prior to the Revolutionary War, colonial “America was a vast, uncharted wilderness beyond the reach of most politicians and tax collectors.” Everyone there realized “it was too big and too far away for” British laws to be enforced there. “In short, America was a huge underground economy.”
- Rick Maybury, WHAT WOULD THOMAS JEFFERSON THINK OF THIS? (1994), p. 93.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it.
- Thomas Jefferson, December 23, 1791 to Archibald Stuart, Vol. VII, THE WRITINGS OF JEFFERSON (1907), p. 276.
Good ideas don’t require force.
- Frank X. Salinas
Taxation: The specific kind of armed robbery committed by the collective known as “government” and generally regarded as legitimate by its victims.
- From “The Best of Murray Rothbard” following his article “Tax Day” at www.mises.org
“Suppose you were sitting next to a pond where a drowning child had just fallen in. However, you could not rescue her yourself, as you are in a wheelchair. However, there is a man walking past, who takes a brief look at the girl and keeps walking. Now, it so happens that you have a gun in your pocket.” Question 1: Is it proper for you to threaten to shoot the man if he refuses to help the girl? Question 2: If the man refuses to rescue the girl, will killing the man help the girl? - Saturos in a comment on Econlog Permanent Link, February 15, 2012: “What If the Stranger Is a Drowning Child?” http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2012/02/singer_vs_the_s.html
“The question is not whether or not theft is wrong but what is considered to be theft; in the same way, murder is universally forbidden but there are great differences between peoples as to what killing is considered to be murder.”
- Garrett Barden and Tim Murphy, LAW AND JUSTICE IN COMMUNITY (2010), p. 54.
Reason of state is often a trick to put us out of the right way; for when a man can give no reason for a thing, then he flieth to a higher strain and saith it is a “reason of state.”
- Sir Edward Coke in THE LION AND THE THRONE (1985), p. 436.
The contradiction of hiring an agency of institutional violence to protect us from violence is even more foolhardy than buying a cat to protect one’s parakeet.
- Attributed to Linda and Morris Tannehill.
What have been the effects of coercion? To make one half of the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.
- Attributed to Thomas Jefferson.
If a man asks for many laws it is only because he is sure that his neighbors needs them; privately he is an unphilosophical anarchist, and thinks laws in his own case superfluous.
- Attributed to William Durant.
The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
- Attributed to David Friedman.
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.
- Attributed to Gandhi.
The greater the diversity, the greater the strength and the stronger the inequality.
- Lawrence K. Samuels.
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.
- Attributed toGrouch Marx.
I love my country, but I fear my oppressive government. They are not the same.
- un-named American patriot
You need to watch your pennies so you can spend your dollars where they count.
- Mary Liz Curtin - proprietor of Leon & Lulu in Clawson, MI
Everything that makes life without a state undesirable makes life with a state even more undesirable.
- Robert Higgs, “If Men Were Angels,” 21 JOURNAL OF LIBERTARIAN STUDIES (2007), p. 66.
I would not be a Moses to lead you into the Promised Land, because if I could lead you in someone else could lead you out of it.
- attributed to Eugene Debs by Dave Dellinger in Larry and Lena Gara (eds.), A FEW SMALL CANDLES (1999), p. 23.
The state, in [Tolystoy’s] view, represented an instrument of oppression based solely on armed force. This held not merely for autocracies like tsarist Russsia but for democracies as well, for every state was inevitably a slave institution, its laws in the last resort enforced by soldiers and slavery the condition in which its citizens lived (though they were usually unconscious of the fact).
- Peter Brock, FREEDOM FROM WAR (1991), p. 193.
“All laws and taxes are enforced by the threat of a gun: If you refuse to pay a tax, men will come to your house. If you send them away, they’ll return with men with guns. If you tell those men to go away, they’ll kick in your door, put a gun to your head, and take you away to a cage.”
- Author Unknown
Life is short. Think big and focus on world-class projects.
- Lukas Lundin, Chairman, Lundin Mining
One might as well say that Ben Bernanke is the John Law of the 21st Century.
- Marc Faber in “The Matterhorn Interview,” September 1, 2013
You own yourself. ... Life is meaningful because human beings are responsible for what they do with their lives. ... The principle of self ownership means we must treat all other beings with absolute respect for their [self ownership] rights. You literally have no claim whatsoever on the lives of others. You can only relate to them when, where, and how they want you to; otherwise, you must let them be. You must treat them with respect for their self ownership or not at all.
- Peter Breggin, THE PSYCHOLOGY OF FREEDOM (1980), pp. 237-239.
I would like to see a world where people can move as freely from one country to another as they currently do from one American state to another.
- Robert Guest, BORDERLESS ECONOMICS (2011), p. 220.
I like the name voluntaryist better than anarchist /anarchism because these other names usually are associated with disorderly people. And I would actually contend that based upon the mainstream definition of the term anarchist , that the real anarchists are the state. These guys are doing whatever they want without any regard for the natural rights of other people. They are the ones who are disorderly and just doing whatever they want and literally creating widespread disorder.
- comment by Alan in an email to the Editor, September 26, 2013.
Brick walls [obstacles that seemingly prevent you from achieving your goals] are there for a reason. They’re not to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.
- Rand Pausch, THE LAST LECTURE (2008), pp. 51-52.
[P]eace is an impossibility so long as the state exists. If one wishes to have peace, one must abolish ... the state.
- Rudolf Grossman (1882-1942), Austrian anarcho-pacifist quoted in Peter Brock, FREEDOM FROM WAR (1991), p. 248.
Nationalism, that is national self-reflection and self-worship, is certainly a dangerous mental illness wherever it appears, capable of distorting the character of a nation and making it ugly, just as vanity and egoism distort the character of a person and make it ugly.
- Sebastian Haffner (1907-1999), DEFYING HITLER (2000), p. 223.
Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.
- “Wabi-sabi” entry in Wikipedia
He who loves his work never labors.
- Jim Stovall, THE ULTIMATE GIFT (2005), p. 25
The whole world is awash in statism.
- Carl Watner
Better is he who gives a smaller amount of his own charity than one who steals from others to give a large amount of charity.
- Ecclesiastes Rabba 4:6 in Joseph Lifshitz, JUDAISM, LAW, AND THE FREE MARKET (2012), p. 17
Use it up - wear it out, make do, or do without!!!
- hardtimes motto from the Great Depression
Yesterday is history,
Tomorow is a mystery.
And Today? Today is a gift.
That’s why we call it the present.
If you think the government will help you and take care of you, you only have to look to the American Indian to see how well that worked out for them.
- attributed to Henry Ford
The great merit of free enterprise is that it does not purport to know the answers, but rather permits people to discover them. The great evil of government is that it pretends infallibility and then imposes it.
- from Laissez Faire Books Executive Summary (December 2013) of Apostle of Peace: The Radical Mind of Leonard Read by Gary Galles
“One can respect the rights of others while being morally deficient in other respects.”
- George H. Smith, THE SYSTEM OF LIBERTY (2013), p. 91.
“The physical capacity to coerce others can never generate a moral obligation to obey the dictates of [government] power.”
- George H. Smith, THE SYSTEM OF LIBERTY (2013), p. 147.
“I am convinced that most of our trouble comes from giving the government the right to tax.”
- R. C. Hoiles in a letter of July 9, 1957 to Spencer Heath (Archive item 2647)
“To restrict peaceful humans is to directly restrain their happiness.”
- Paul Rosenberg, Freeman’s Weekly, March 27, 2014.
Real criminals are simply cannibalistic parasites, the largest infestations of which are governments, feeding on the productive through taxation and regulation.
- Dave Scotese
Good Luck, Bad Luck?
An old man and his son worked a small farm, with only one horse to pull the plow. One day the horse ran away.
“How terrible,” sympathized the neighbors. “What bad luck.”
“Who knows whether it is bad luck or good luck,” the farmer replied.
A week later, the horse returned from the mountains, leading five wild mares into the barn.
“What wonderful luck!” said the neighbors.
“Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?” answered the old man.
The next day, the son, trying to tame one of the horses, fell and broke his leg.
“How terrible. What bad luck!”
“Bad luck? Good luck?”
The army came to all the farms to take the young men for war. The farmer’s son was of no use to them, so he was spared.
- From Dan Millman, WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR (1984), pp. 103-104.
Happiness and Desires
“If you have enough money to satisfy your desires ... you are rich. But there are two ways to be rich: You can earn, inherit, borrow, beg, or steal enough money to meet expensive desires; or, you can cultivate a simple lifestyle of few desires; that way you always have more than enough money. ... The secret of happiness ... is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
- Dan Millman, WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR (1984), pp 167-168.
The only highwayman I ever met was the state itself - When I have refused to pay the tax which is demanded for that protection which I did not want, itself has robbed me - When I have asserted the freedom it declared, it has imprisoned me.
- Henry David Thoreau, JOURNAL, Volume 2 (Princeton University Press, 1984), after June 20, 1846.
Responsibility is not doing as we are told, that’s obedience. Responsibility is doing what is right.
- Simon Sinek, LEADERS EAT LAST (2014), p. 146.
Governments don’t create wealth; they consume it.
Personal taxation as we experience it today (2014) is really nothing more than sophisticated slavery.
One suspects that [to the generation that carried out the (American) Revolution] “no taxation without representation” meant no taxation with representation.
- R. R. Palmer, THE AGE OF DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION (1959), pp. 156-157.
The family unit is the incubator for human character; the state is the incubator for human dependency.
- Robert LeFevre, THE FAMILY, Pine Tree Press, November 1963, p. 16.
People could take away your wealth and health, but your mind - the way you think - would always be yours.
- Ping Fu, BEND, NOT BREAK (2012), p. 128.
I have made many mistakes in life. But I have never done wrong.
- Johannes Fest in Joachim Fest, NOT I (2013), p. 400.
“The man who sanctions [gun-run government] education has no basis for opposing compulsory health insurance.”
- R. C. Hoiles to Leonard Read, August 17, 1946 in Brian Doherty, RADICALS FOR CAPITALISM (2007), p. 177.
Let the government keep the schools, Church, press, its milliards of money and millions of armed men transformed into machines: all this apparently terrible organization of brute force is as nothing compared to the consciousness of truth, which surges in the soul of one man who knows the power of truth, which is communicated from him to a second and a third, as one candle lights an innumerable quantity of others. The light needs only to be kindled, and, like wax in the face of fire, this organization, which seems so powerful, will melt, and be consumed.
- Leo Tolstoy, PATRIOTISM AND CHRISTIANITY (Sec. XVIII, 1894)
The only safeguards of property seem to have been possession of the property, individual honesty, and public opinion.
- Well, cabins were never locked on the American frontier where there was no law. The real protection of life and property, always and everywhere, is the general recognition of the brotherhood of man. How much of the time is any American within sight of a policeman? Our lives and property are protected by the way nearly everyone feels about another person’s life and property.
- Rose Wilder Lane, THE DISCOVERY OF FREEDOM (1943), pp. 109-110
A politician is a [person] who wields coercion.
- Andrew J. Galambos, SIC ITUR AD ASTRA (1999), Session 4, p. 114.
All government agents behave as if the land is their land, the property is their property, and the people are their slaves.
- Paraphrased from Patricia Crone, “The Tribe and the State,” in J. A. Hall (ed.), THE STATE (1994), p. 460.
When wealth is subject to devastating taxes and the constant threat of usurpation, the challenge is to keep one’s wealth, not to make it productive.
- Rodney Stark, THE VICTORY OF REASON (2005), p. 73.
In the early seventeenth century ... [t]o say that something was a man’s property , or - and this was by far the commoner usage - that he had property in something, was to precisely to say that the thing in question could not be taken from him without his consent. To take property without consent was to steal, and thus to break the Eighth Commandment.
- J. P. Sommerville, POLITICS AND IDEOLOGY IN ENGLAND 1603-1640 (1986), p. 147 (Chapter 5, paragraph 6).
I see no reason why any man should be compelled to pay for the religion of another man, any more than for his instruction in grammar, philosophy, or anything else.
- Joseph Priestley, FAMILIAR LETTERS ADDRESSED TO THE INHABITANTS OF BIRMINGHAM (1790), pp. 49-50.
Any time you listen to or read anything about government, remember it is all stolen money that is being dealt with. Nothing good can ever come from stolen money.
- Carl Watner
Trying does not assure success, but success requires trying.
- Andrew J. Galambos, SIC ITUR AD ASTRA, Workshop 1 (1999), p. 470.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.
- Attributed to Danish physicist Niels Bohr
Laws of nature determine what is impossible. By definition, it is impossible to violate a law of nature. Simply not knowing how to do something is not the same as it being impossible. For example, it has never been impossible to fly - we just didn’t know how. By the same token, a voluntary society has never been impossible. This concept is one of many useful things I learned from Andrew J. Galambos in Course V-50.
- Richard Boren
I’m convinced most of what is called bad news is actually punishment for unethical behavior. It is nature’s way of saying, shape up or else.
- Rick Maybury, EARLY WARNING REPORT, Sept. 2014.
The ethics, or lack of them, are not in the weapons, they are in the minds of the people who pull the triggers. Weapons are neutral.
- Rick Maubury, EARLY WARNING REPORT, October 1999.
Political power corrupts everything it touches and governments touch us in thousands of ways. - Paraphrased from Rick Maybury, EARLY WARNING REPORT, June 2003.
Every activity of government, from courts to Congress, from sanitation workers to senators, from generals to attorney generals, from presidents to policemen, depends on stolen money.
- Carl Watner, paraphrasing Theodore Lowi at p. 24 of I MUST SPEAK OUT.
No legal tender law is ever needed to make men take good money; its only use is to make them take bad money.
- Stephen Byington
Power not only corrupts, it draws the corrupt.
- “Doug Casey on Phyles,” 4/13/2011
“Groceries,” says the philosopher, “are politics by other means.”
- From the back cover of the book Bagatorials (Simon & Schuster, 1996)
When people put their ballots in the boxes, they are, by that act, inoculated against the feeling that the government is not theirs. They then accept, in some measure, that its errors are their errors, its aberrations their aberrations, that any revolt will be against them. It’s a remarkably shrewd and rather conservative arrangement when one thinks of it.
- John Kenneth Galbraith, THE AGE OF UNCERTAINTY (1977), Chapter 12, p. 330.
When you undertake political action and support a candidate, and your guy wins, it means that instead of being sold out by someone you opposed, you will be betrayed by someone you supported.
- Ron Neff
An honest politician is as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
- H.L. Mencken
With all respect to differences among types of government, there is not, in strict theory, any difference between the powers available to the democratic and to the totalitarian state.
- Robert Nisbet
If you injected truth into politics, you’d have no politics.
- Will Rogers
When it comes to government power, there are no good men.
- Robert LeFevre
Participation is an instrument of conquest because it encourages people to give their consent to being governed.... Deeply imbedded in people’s sense of fair plays is the principle that those who play the game must accept the outcome. Those who participate in politics are similarly committed, even if they are consistently on the losing side. Why do politicians plead with everyone to get out and vote? Because voting is the simplest and easiest form of participation by masses of people. Even though it is minimal participation, it is sufficient to commit all voters to being governed, regardless of who wins.
- Theodore Lowi, Incomplete Conquest, New York: Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, 1981, pp. 25-26.
The decisive means for politics is violence.... Anyone who fails to see this is, indeed, a political infant.
- Max Weber, 75 American Political Science Review (1981), p. 901.
Democracy is essentially coercive. The winners get to use public authority to impose their policies on the losers.
- John E. Chubb and Terry M. Moe, Politics, Markets, and American Schools, Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1990, p. 28.
I never vote; it only encourages the politicians.
If voting could change things it would be illegal.
One is a lie, two are lies, three are politics.
- an old Jewish proverb.
He who wrongs no one fears no one.
- S. Radhakrishnan in Gandhi, ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS (2013), p. 4.
It is not possible to make a person or society nonviolent by compulsion.
- Gandhi, ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS (2013), p. 39.
My study of history has taught me that hatred and violence used in however noble a cause only breed their kind and instead of bringing peace, jeopardize it.
- Gandhi, ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS (2013), p. 55.
If we take care of the means, we are bound to reach the end sooner or later.
- Gandhi, ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS (2013), p. 85.
When I refuse to do a thing that is repugnant to my conscience, I use soul-force.
- Gandhi, ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS (2013), p. 93.
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
- Gandhi, ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS (2013), p. 109.
The goal ever recedes from us. The greater the progress the greater the recognition of our unworthiness. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.
- Gandhi, ALL MEN ARE BROTHERS (2013), p. 180.
It may be argued that my conception of life is not the right one. I am open to conviction. But I will not allow others to organize my life for me or compel me to follow what they consider is the right path. My life is my own. It belongs neither to the kolkhoz nor to the community nor to the political commissar. Therefore, I have the right to live it in whatever way I may choose and to co-ordinate with the commissar’s only if I so desire. Actually, I have no such desire. But even if I had, no one would have the right to blame or praise me. It is my life and I shall do what I please with it. ...
I am a man, and if I have done no wrong no one has a right to imprison or torment me. My soul and my life belong to me alone, and whoever you may be and in spite of all the tanks and machine guns and planes and camps and money you may possess, you still have not the right to touch my life or my soul.
- C Virgil Gheorghiu, THE TWENTY-FIFTH HOUR (1950), pp. 256 and 292.
The idea that the state is necessary is the biggest scam that has ever been perpetrated on the average person.
- Doug Casey
Wishing almost never makes it so. Wishing and working almost always do.
As government grows, liberty dies.
- Philipp Bagus, IN DEFENSE OF DEFLATION (2015), p. viii.
There can be no virtue in compulsion. Forcing people to do “what is right” ironically and cruelly forces them to do what is wrong - abandoning responsibility, courage, and self-respect by sheepishly and thoughtlessly submitting to tyranny.
- The Piano Man
Ideas cannot be fought except by means of better ideas.
- Ayn Rand, “The Cashing-In: The Student ‘Rebellion’,” (1965).
When men abandon reason, physical force becomes their only means of dealing with one another and of settling disagreements.
- Ayn Rand, “The Comprachicos,” (1970).
Ideas end where a gun begins.
- Ayn Rand, “’Political’ Crimes,” (1970).
The smallest minority on earth is the individual.
- Ayn Rand, “Racism,” (1963).
Progress cannot be planned by government.
- Ayn Rand, “The anti-Industrial Revolution,” (1971).
Monetary debasement brings about cultural debasement, and ultimately personal debasement.
- Attributed to Guido Hulsmann by Jeff Deist, “The Free Lunch Is Over,” in THE AUSTRIAN, July-August 2016, p. 7.
There might be things we want to do, can afford to do, and have a legal right to do, that nonetheless we should not do because they are unjust or dishonourable or disloyal or demeaning.
- Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks on Receiving the 2016 Templeton Prize
Everybody but university economists knows that you have to produce more than you consume, and save the difference, if you want to avoid starving to death.
- Doug Casey Daily Dispatch, July 3, 2016
The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their true names.
- An old Chinese proverb
From a moral point of view, there are [only] two types of people in the world. People who believe in coercion when dealing with their fellow humans. And people who believe in dealing voluntarily with their fellow humans.
- Doug Casey Daily Dispatch, July 28, 2016.
“Credit expansion does not mean expansion of the real“ factors of production; “it merely means expansion of the money supply through credit markets.”
- Jorg Guido Hulsmann, MISES (2007), P. 781.
[L]iberty, or the absence of coercion, or the leaving people to think, speak, and act as they please is in itself a good thing. It is the object of a favourable presumption. The burden of proving it inexpedient always lies ... on those who wish to abridge it.
- John Morley, ON COMPROMISE (1888), pp. 253-254.
But the bottom line is this. I’m comfortable with the choices that I made. ... I can’t predict what the future looks like. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow ... [but] no matter what happens ... as long as we do our best to live in accordance with our values we don’t have to worry about what happens tomorrow because today is enough.
- Edward Snowden, November 10, 2016, Startpage’s “Snowden Live,” last five minutes.
Bitcoin, like paper money, has zero intrinsic value.
- Egon von Greyerz, www.goldswitzerland.com, January 12, 2017.
If the government sent gun-toting police to your house demanding 2% of your wealth every year there would be rioting in the streets.
But if the government and central bank engineer 2% inflation no one cares.
And that’s the really amazing thing about inflation: governments and academia have managed to convince people that a little bit of inflation [in addition to the income tax they pay] is totally normal.
- Simon Black, www.sovereignman.com, January 9, 2017.
All political ideologies boil down to this choice: will your life be controlled by politicians and bureaucrats, or by you?
- Rick Maybury, EARLY WARNING REPORT, January 2017.
[P]olitical power doesn’t just corrupt the morals and judgment of the people who have it, it corrupts those in orbit around them, too.
- Rick Maybury, EARLY WARNING REPORT, January 2017.
[L]aw is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of an individual.
- Thomas Jefferson to Issac H. Tiffany, April 4, 1819.
Trying always beats crying.
- Rich DeVos, SIMPLY RICH (2014), p. 68.
The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, ... .
- Allan Bloom, THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND (1987), p. 249.
In so far as the crucial objection of an individual is to his being required to carry out a particular law or command, it is always open to him to refuse to do so. Non-compliance is always possible, since it is virtually impossible to force a man to do what he believes to be fundamentally wrong; provided he is willing to suffer and capable of bearing the consequences of his refusal.
- Leslie j. Macfarlane, POLITICAL DISOBEDIENCE (1971), p. 46.
Reforms come by men doing what they can, not what they can’t.
- Aylmer Maude, Introduction to Leo Tolstoy, THE SLAVERY OF OUR TIMES (1900), p. 4.
There is no such thing as “limited government,” any more than there is such a thing as “good government.” ... I doubt that anybody in his right mind would favor unlimited government. But when you favor government, that’s what you’re doing. Because government, by its nature, is unlimited. You favor tyranny when you favor government; though you don’t know it. This is why I am constantly staggered by those who say they are libertarian and are trying to set up their own particular way of providing a “good government.” It is a contradiction in terms. To say “unlimited government” is a redundancy and to say “limited government” is a contradiction. All you have to say is “government.” And that takes care of the whole thing.
- Robert LeFevre, GOOD GOVERNMENT: HOPE OR ILLUSION? (From a Lecture at Santa Ana College, May 27, 1977); published by Rampart Institute Press, January 1978, page 19.
Both are thieves, the receiver as well as the stealer.
- Phocylides, 6th Century BC poet, MORAL EPIGRAMS, cited in Richard Chesnoff, PACK OF THIEVES (1999), p. vii.
What keeps a truly civil society together isn’t laws, regulations, and police. It’s peer pressure, social opprobrium, moral approbation, and your reputation. These are the four elements that keep things together. Western civilization is built on voluntarism. But, as the State grows, that’s being replaced by coercion in every aspect of society.
- Doug Casey On the End of Western Civilization, CASEY DAILY DISPATCH, May 6, 2017.
I always like to try to turn a lemon into lemonade. But it’s impossible if someone drops a 500-pound bomb on your kitchen, and follows it up with a poison gas attack. That said, I like to do what I can. Not because I expect success, but because it’s the right thing to do. And that is as important, from a personal viewpoint, as anything in the world.
- Doug Casey, “On the Plague of Cultural Marxists,” INTERNATIONAL MAN, May 7, 2017.
No one has a right to anything just because they exist. ... Simply being alive doesn't give you the right to demand things from other people.
- Doug Casey on Universal Basic Income, CASEY DAILY DISPATCH, June 3, 2017.
It is better to suffer injustice than to commit injustice.
- Gunnar Jahn, Presentation Speech, The Nobel Peace Prize 1947.
Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.
- Helen Gurley Brown
Nothing comes from nothing. Fake money produces fake prosperity. Take away the fake money ... and the fake prosperity goes “poof.”
- Bill Bonner in CASEY DAILY DISPATCH, July 15, 2017.
Referring to the U.S. government's paper money: “Pieces of paper with dead criminals printed on it controlled by communist bureaucrats.”
- Jeff Berwick of THE DOLLAR VIGILANTE.
Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts.
- Attributed to John Wooden in Angela Duckworth, GRIT (2016), p. 264.
“When the rulers c[o]me to see the people as 'their property' and the people's possessions as 'a common stock from which they have a right to take what they will,' Richard Price [1723-1791] wrote, governments become oppressive.”
- cited in Max Edling, A REVOLUTION IN FAVOR OF GOVERNMENT (2003), p. 61.
“If your plan is for one year, plant rice;
For ten years, plant trees;
For a hundred years, educate men.”
- attributed to Confucius
I think public [i.e., tax-supported] schools are bound to destroy this country because they create public opinion that sanctions and endorses government intervention in an unhampered market.
- R. C. Hoiles in a letter to Ludwig von Mises, Sept. 7, 1949.
The good archer is one who shoots well, not necessarily the one that always hits the target. Eugen Herrigel in his book ZEN AND THE ART OF ARCHERY (1953) says that the goal ought to be to shoot well, not hitting the target, although paradoxically this may in fact lead to one hitting the target more often. Or as Gandhi put it, if one takes care of the means (shooting well) the end (hitting the target) will take care of itself.
Don't explain your philosophy. Embody it.
If it is not right, do not do it. If it is not true, do not say it.
- Marcus Aurelius
Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one!
- Marcus Aurelius
Every important lesson in Stoicism ... lead[s] back to personal responsibility, and that is where responsibility does lie.
- TIMES columnist, Laura Kennedy
... just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. All the power it has is what society gives it, plus what it confiscates from time to time on one pretext or another; there is no other source from which State power can be drawn. Therefore every assumption of State power, whether by gift or seizure, leaves society with so much less power. There is never, nor can there be, any strengthening of State power without a corresponding and roughly equivalent depletion of social power.
- Albert Jay Nock, OUR ENEMY THE STATE, Chapter I, Sec 1, p. 3, (1935).
Whenever one compromises a principle, eventually the compromise devours the principle.
- Tibor Machan in Duncan and Machan, LIBERTARIANISM (2005), P. 136.
Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.
- Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds
Any proponent of private property must necessarily and logically be an anarchist.
- Hans-Hermann Hoppe in “Coming of Age with Murray”
Just because something is legal and moral doesn't mean it can't also be stupid.
- Doug Casey DAILY DISPATCH, October 20, 2017.
If anyone wants to increase the power of the state, a terrorist attack is probably the single most effective way to do so.
- Brian Martin, RULING TACTICS (2017), p. 109.
It is impossible for government to establish State education in Britain [circa 1843] without committing something worse than highway robbery This is a bold assertion; yet there is nothing more true. We have seen how utterly impracticable it is for the State, by its unitive scheme
, to impart anything like education to the children of men who differ so widely in their religious, moral, historical, and political opinions. If the State intends to do any good, it must therefore either make a choice of one of the existing religions, or invent one of its own. Let us suppose the choice made, and for the sake of illustration let the Roman Catholic be the favored religion. Of course, no Independent, Churchman, Jew, or Unitarian would in this case consent to send his children to the government school, which nevertheless he would be obliged to support through the national funds, although receiving no benefit from them. Now, would this not be using the property of some for the benefit of others? Would not this be robbery? Yet this is not all. The dissenters, whoever they may be, would be compelled to pay for the education, therefore, the government would really do something worse than the highway robber, for the latter takes your purse only, whereas the former would not only rob you, but actually use your money to propagate tenets and ideas which you might detest and abhor, and which might tend to undermine the sect or party to which you belong.
- Anonymous, REASONS AGAINST GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE IN EDUCATION (1843), reprinted in George H. Smith and Marilyn Moore (eds.), CRITICS OF STATE EDUCATION (2017), pp. 299-300.
I often say the difference between being born and dying is a suit and a pair of shoes. People forget that, but they don't take anything with them [when they die]. Only the Egyptians put jewelry in their tombs.
- Belmiro de Azevedo (one of Portugal's richest men), quoted in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Dec. 9-10, 2017, p. A9.
Production must come before consumption. Let me state the obvious: you cannot eat turnips unless you first grow them. And if you eat the turnip seed, you cannot grow them.
- Franklin Sanders in THE MONEYCHANGER, Oct. 2017, pp. 9-10.
Always endeavor to tell the truth. There's a lot less you'll have to remember.
- Terry Greenhut, January 2018.
Negative rights are independent of time, space, location, and condition. They apply right now, but they were just as appropriate and pertinent ten thousand years ago. They are completely independent of circumstances. It was a rights violation for one caveman to club another over the head in prehistoric times; this will hold true for spacemen ten thousand years in the future.
- Walter Block, “Neglect of the Marketplace,” 2 JOURNAL OF LAW, ETHICS & PUBLIC POLICY (1985), p. 144.
Quod enim nullius est id ratione naturali occupanti conceditur.
That which is the property of no one is by rule of reason conceded to the person taking possession of it.
- Justinian's DIGEST 41.1.3.
The Four Agreements
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don't take anything personally.
3. Don't make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
- Don Miguel Ruiz, THE FOUR AGREEMENTS (1997 & 2012)
You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. ... If others change, it's because they want to change, not because you change them.
- Don Miguel Ruiz, THE FOUR AGREEMENTS (2012), pp. 64 and 75.
12 Rules for a Stoic Life
- Live as if you died, but were resuscitated and every minute was a gift.
- Every person you meet is an opportunity for kindness.
- Don’t read for show, read to be better.
- Be forgiving of others, but don’t demand forgiveness for yourself.
- Try to hold as few opinions as possible.
- Pick a “Cato” and judge each difficult decision with: “What Would ____ Do?”
- Practice good spending habits (keep in touch with poverty).
- Always consider the worst case scenario.
- Keep a list of what you’ve learned from other people (and remember to thank them often).
- Get up early every day - as early as you can.
- Take cold showers.
- If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.
-Taken from the Daily Stoic, March 14, 2018
Hardly ever do the advocates of free capitalism realize how utterly their ideal was frustrated at the moment the state assumed control of the monetary system. … Yet without it the ideal of the state-free economy collapses. A “free” capitalism with governmental responsibility for money and credit has lost its innocence. From that point on it is no longer a matter of principle but one of expediency how far one wishes or permits governmental interference to go. Money control is the supreme and most comprehensive of all governmental controls short of expropriation.
- Gustav Stolper, THIS AGE OF FABLE (1942), p. 59.
Property and trade are much older than states
- Benn Steil and Manuel Hinds, MONEY, MARKETS, AND SOVEREIGNTY (2009), p. 242.
Making decisions as if you were your best self will help you become your best self.
- James Martin, S.J., THE JESUIT GUIDE TO (ALMOST) EVERYTHING (2010), p. 326.
The answer to helplessness is not so very complicated. ... A man can do something for peace without having to jump into politics. Each man has inside him a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a man to listen to his own goodness and act on it. Do we dare to be ourselves? This is the question that counts.
- Don Pablo Casals quoted by Norman Cousins, ANATOMY OF AN ILLNESS AS PERCEIVED BY THE PATIENT (1979), pp. 78-79.
Take an Honest Look at Public Figures: Consider Mr. Trump (for example)“If a given individual seems most interested in vilifying others, proceeds to characterize his own in-group as having been unduly victimized, is ruthlessly vindictive, and finally, is discovered to have cozy, self-serving financial deals, there are reasonable grounds to assume that a person is more than a little Machiavellian and that his or her leadership may be aimed more toward self than public service.”
- Barbara Oakley, EVIL GENES (2007), p. 339.
“[A]uthoritarians … think they know what's best for others. They really do. People I knew in Washington are convinced that people are idiots and therefore can't be responsible for themselves.”
- “Ron Paul on War, Gold, and His Years in Congress,” THE AUSTRIAN (May-June 2018), p. 14.
Under the proposed Constitution, the Antifederalists pointed out that “this government was not a limited government … but an unlimited government. True, the national government would be limited to specific functions but, within its sphere, there would be no limits to its power. It would act directly on the citizens with no intermediate function left to the state governments, and there would be no serious limits to its extractive capacity. As long as a majority could be secured in Congress, the national government could raise as many men and as much money as it thought the nation could provide. There were to be no limits on the size or kind of troops that Congress could establish, nor any restrictions on when they could be raised. Similarly, Congress could raise revenue by means of any kind of tax and there were to be no restrictions on its right to borrow money.”
- Max M. Edling, A REVOLUTION IN FAVOR OF GOVERNMENT (2003), p. 226.
“The powers of Congress under the new constitution, are complete and unlimited over the purse and the sword, and are perfectly independent of, and supreme over, the state governments; whose intervention in these great points is entirely destroyed. By virtue of their power of taxation, Congress may command the whole, or any part of the property of the people. They may impose what imposts upon commerce; they may impose what land taxes, poll taxes, excises, duties on all written instruments, and duties on every other article that they may judge proper; in short, every species of taxation, whether of an external or internal nature is comprised in section the 8th, of article the 1st, viz. ‘The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States’.”
- “The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of Pennsylvania To Their Constituents (18 December 1787), Section 3.11.20, in Herbert J. Storing (ed.), THE ANTI-FEDERALIST (1985), p. 210.
“Throughout all of human history and to the present, the call to war has included the flattering claim that one's own forces are about to accomplish a victory that will change the world for better, a triumph that is morally laudable, justified by its humane outcome, and worthy of enormous gratitude. Since we began to record the human story, all of our major wars have been framed in this way, on all sides of the conflict, and in all languages the adjective most often applied to the word war
. An argument can be easily made that humanity will have peace when … people are at last able to see through this masterful flattery.”
- Martha Stout, THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR (2005), p. 158.
Seneca said that getting angry at someone … is like trying to return a kick to a mule or a bite to a dog - it's pointless.
- from DAILY STOIC, June 25, 2018.
History demonstrates that gradual mismanagement and ultimate corruption of all fiat currencies is inevitable. The only unknown is in whose lifetime.
- Kenneth R. Ferguson, CONFISCATION (2018), p. 106.
There is a need to create ideals even when you can't see any route by which to achieve them, because if there are no ideals then there can be no hope and then one would be completely in the dark , in a hopeless blind alley.
- Andrei Sakharov, Interview with Swedish RTV, July2, 1973
The test of a man isn't what you think he'll do. It's what he actually does.
- Frank Herbert, DUNE
Some people think they have no choice. They'll say things like “I have to” or “I can't.” But we always have a choice. Always. Deciding not to choose is making a choice.
- John G. Miller, QBQ! (2004), p. 15
The world of government is, for all practical purposes, highway robbery without the highway
- Doug Casey's INTERNATIONAL MAN, August 20, 2018
No matter what happens, you have a choice. Someone insults you, you choose whether you're going to be offended, whether you're going to respond, whether you're going to let it go. You roll your ankle in a game, you decide whether you're going to tough it out or rest. You knock over a cherished family heirloom and it shatters on the floor, you choose whether to be devastated and for how long. You are clapped in handcuffs and thrown in jail unjustly, you choose what you will do with that time, what it will mean for you. Even if events put you at a complete loss and leave you just sitting there, that's a choice. As the Rush lyrics go,
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice
That's the essence of Stoicism right there. We always have a choice. In any and every situation, even if only in our attitude and our orientation, we still have a choice. It's an incredible power. Relinquishing that power? Being upset that it can't magically solve everything or turn back time? That's a choice too. Because you always have one.
- Daily Stoic, August 18, 2017
Epictetus emphasizes time and again the fact that a man who lays the causes of his actions onto third parties or forces is not leveling with himself. He must live with his own judgments if he is to be honest with himself. “But if a person subjects me to fear of death, he compels me,” says a student. “No,” says Epictetus, “It is neither death, nor exile, nor toil, nor any such things that is the cause of your doing, of not doing, anything, but only your opinions and the decisions of your Will.”
“What is the fruit of your doctrines?” someone asked Epictetus. “Tranquility, fearlessness, and freedom,” he answered. You can have these only if you are honest and take responsibility for your own actions. You've got to get it straight! You are in charge of you.
- James Stockdale, “Master of My Fate: A Stoic Philosopher in a Hanoi Prison,” http://goo.gl/jrooWm (1995).
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.
- attributed to Winston Churchill
We ourselves are responsible for our own slavery when either through fear or the desire for an untroubled life, we elect authorities who proceed to promote evil. If we vote such people into power, then we have no right to condemn evil, as we ourselves help create it and legalize it.
- Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko in his Mass of May 1984 in Poland in Grazyna Sikorska. Jerzy Popieluszko (1985), p. 73.
When human beings are not threatened or coerced they act freely and thrive and make progress.
- Dave Scotese
If you have any doubts about what you are doing, always fall back on the truth.
- Richard Fuld, formerly of Lehman Brothers
Truth never changes. It cannot be destroyed by any decision or legal act. Telling the Truth with courage is a way leading directly to freedom. A man who tells the Truth is a free man despite external slavery, imprisonment, or custody.
- Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko (from Ignatius Press DVD advertisement for POPIELUSZKO, October 19, 2015)
To remain [a] spiritually free [people], [we] must live in truth. Living in truth means bearing public witness to the truth at all times and in all situations. The truth is unchanging. It cannot be destroyed by this or that decision or this or that law. The source of our captivity is that we allow lies to reign, that we do not denounce them, that we do not protest against their existence every day of our lives, that we do not confront lies with the truth but keep silent or pretend that we believe the lies. We live then in a state of hypocrisy. Courageous witness to the truth is the path that leads directly to freedom.[One] who bears witness to truth can be free, even though in a[n] [internment] camp or a prison. … [E]xternal or political freedom would come sooner or later as a consequence of freedom of spirit and fidelity to the truth.
- Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko, Homily of October 31, 1982, in Judith Kelly, JUST CALL ME JERZY (2016), p. 79-80.
Violence is not a sign of strength but of weakness. Whoever fails to win over hearts and minds tries to conquer with violence. Every show of force is proof of moral inferiority. … An idea that needs weapons to survive will die on its own. An idea that can only maintain itself through violence is distorted. A living idea conquers by itself. Millions follow it spontaneously.
- Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko, Mass for the Country [of Poland], December 26, 1982, in Judith Kelly, JUST CALL ME JERZY (2016), p. 55.
You can't do anything more than you can do, so everything starts with improving yourself.
- Aaron Stokes in RATCHET AND WRENCH (Dec. 2018, p. 98).
If humans lived for the first three million years without a state, and most of them for the next 8,000 years without one, and the experiments with the nation-state as we know it are only a few hundred years old, there is clearly nothing eternal about it.
- Kirkpatrick Sale, HUMAN SCALE REVISITED (2017), p. 324.
Many [most or all?] kingdoms and empires were in truth little more than large protection rackets. The king was the capo di tutti capi
who collected protection money, and in return made sure that neighbouring [sic] crime syndicates and local small fry did not harm those under his protection. He did little else.
- Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF MANKIND (2015), p. 358.
The person who doesn't make mistakes is unlikely to make anything.
- Paul Arden
People may spend their whole life climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.
- Thomas Merton
The grass is greener where you water it!
- Author unknown
I have never understood why it is greed to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.
- Attributed to Thomas Sowell