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Wednesday, March 24, 2010
A friend posted this website. It has some great quotes from great leaders from our past.
"Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under."
-- H. L. Mencken

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
-- French economist, statesman and author Frederic Bastiat

"Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."
--James Madison

"I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity. [That] would be contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded."
-- President Franklin Pierce

"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"We still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping at the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised to furnish new pretenses for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute."
-- Thomas Paine

"Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
-- Ben Franklin

"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that, if it is comfort or money it values more, it will lose that too."
-- William Somerset Maughan

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."
-- Thomas Jefferson

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

"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." [emphasis mine]
-- Thomas Paine

"When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic."
-- Benjamin Franklin


Chris A said...

Many very excellent quotes that capture the libertarian spirit of post-colonial America. These guys knew what was up. Let me add another very important quote:

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies . . . If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] . . . will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered . . . The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." -- Thomas Jefferson -- The Debate Over The Recharter Of The Bank Bill, (1809)

I say again that the financial woes America and the world is facing right now are a direct result of these private banks leaching off the people and manipulating the economy. And let me reiterate also that heath care bill is in fact another bailout ("economic stimulus") for the banks that own the insurance companies.

Chris A said...

Actually, let me contribute another quote that underscores the Thomas Paine quote. It comes from German pastor, Martin Niemöller.

"When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent;
I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for the Jews,I remained silent; I wasn't a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out."

Darius said...

I thought of that very quote, Chris, when I read Paine's quote. It's the core of conservatism, caring for others' freedom even more than your own. Sure, in some cases one's political views align in such a way as to be directly beneficial to you, but that's just a natural by-product of fighting for the freedom of others, some of that freedom will land on you.

Chris A said...

If by "conservatism" you mean libertarian conservatism or American constitutionalism, I agree with you. It was President Reagan who said, "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism." (Of course he said that before he was president.)

The word "conservative" has been applied to so many things and has been reinterpreted so many times that it can really mean almost anything people want it to mean. Even neoconservatives call themselves conservatives.

Darius said...

That's probably what I mean... though I don't agree with some libertarian views of social policy. Libertarianism tends to be politics done in a vacuum, and that is most evident in their social policy, particularly with drugs and gay marriage. I agree IN PRINCIPLE with the idea that making drugs legal could possibly lower drug abuse rates and kill the cost (and thus the demand) for drugs, but the conservative part of me isn't a fan of social experiments. I'm not sure that it is possible to legalize hard drugs and not reap serious consequences in the near future. Amsterdam has done this and based on most accounts, its squalor is second to none in Europe. It would be one thing if ALL countries legalized it, but if only a few do so, then they just become hubs for drug trafficking. There are other weaknesses with the libertarian drug policy. I'm for freedom as long as it doesn't hurt people or society.

Chris A said...

Well, if we are going to adhere to true Constitutionalism - which is a philosophy of principle rather than social control - we are more concerned with liberty for all than limiting the freedoms of some for their (or society's) own good, which speaks to the point of Paine's quote.

The use of drugs in American history did not begin in the 60's. People have been using drugs here for hundreds of years. Only relatively recently has their use been restricted by law, which actually incited more crime. It basically started in the 1930s. And just to show you how far we've diverged from the Constitution, when they wanted to make alcohol illegal, they knew it would require an Amendment because it wouldn't be legal otherwise.

Perhaps even some of our founding fathers, themselves, smoked pot. We know for sure some of them farmed cannabis. Whether they smoked it is debatable, but they wouldn't be able to do either in our day and age. Why? The erosion of freedom. They came for the potheads and now they are coming for all of us.

The bottom line is you either believe in freedom for all or you don't. And most people (unlike the founding fathers) simply don't. The moment you give government authority to restrict the freedoms of certain of its citizens it will eventually affect everyone. Yesterday it was drug users, today its homeschoolers and tax protesters.

Here is the reality: drugs will not be made "legal" (as if the government had any authority to make that determination in the first place, which it does not) because that would cut in on the CIA's dope business. And it would be competition for the pharmaceutical industry. And a government for the corporations and by the corporations simply wouldn't allow that.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

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