"This must be said: There are too many ‘great’ men in the world—legislators, organizers, do-gooders, leaders of the people, fathers of nations, and so on, and so on. Too many persons place themselves above mankind; they make a career of organizing it, patronizing it, and riling it" -- Frederic Bastiat, while witnessing demagoguery first-hand as a member of the French Assembly, 1850.Read More
“Indeed, the study of universities and the great men and women who have attended them leads me to think that the best of these schools are characterized not so much by what they teach and how they teach it but by the extent they provide opportunities and encouragement for students to teach themselves. The best also help to instill certain intellectual virtues in young minds, including respect for the indispensable foundation of democracy, the rule of law; the need to back up opinions with clear arguments, empirical evidence and hard work; the varying importance of resolute conviction and friendly compromise, when appropriate; open-mindedness at all times; and the perpetual need for courage in the pursuit of truth” — historian Paul Johnson.Read More
"Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself — and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty" -- Chief Joseph (1840-1904) of the Nez Perce Indians, in his speech at Lincoln Hall in Washington, D.C. on 14 January 1879.Read More
“I eat as much as I ever did, I drink more than I should, and my sex life is none of your goddamned business…There's a lot of things great about life. But I think tomorrow is the most important thing. Comes in to us at midnight very clean, ya know. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday” — legendary actor John Wayne in a Playboy interview, May 1971.Read More
"Don't sit around and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!" -- Madam C. J. Walker, the first black woman in America to ever to make a million dollars without an inheritance, husband or government intervention. She did it on her own, as explained here: https://fee.org/articles/3-pioneering-women-in-american-business/.Read More
"Government was intended to suppress injustice, but it offers new occasions and temptations for the commission of it" — English journalist, political philosopher and historian William Godwin (1756-1836), husband to Mary Wollstonecraft and father of Mary Shelley. He also wrote, "Whenever government assumes to deliver us from the trouble of thinking for ourselves, the only consequences it produces are those of torpor and imbecility."Read More
“No man who continues to add something to the material, intellectual, and moral well-being of the place in which he lives is long left without proper reward” — educator and Tuskegee University founder and president Booker T. Washington in Up From Slavery, Chapter XVI.
“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these” — botanist George Washington Carver. He also said, “Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.”Read More
“Corrupt citizens breed corrupt rulers, and it is the mob who finally decides when virtue shall die.”
― novelist Taylor Caldwell in Dear and Glorious Physician.
“The objection to profit is as if a bystander, observing the planter digging his crop, should say: "You put in only one potato and you are taking out a dozen. You must have taken them away from someone else; those extra potatoes cannot be yours by right." If profit is denounced, it must be assumed that running at a loss is admirable. On the contrary, that is what requires justification. Profit is self-justifying…“Production is profit; and profit is production. They are not merely related; they are the same thing. When a man plants potatoes, if he does not get back more than he put in, he has produced nothing.” ― Isabel Paterson in The God of the Machine.Read More
“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next... It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you will get neither” — theologian C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.Read More
“As a matter of general principle, I believe there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government … too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism. If that comfort makes the enemy feel better for a few moments, they are welcome to it as far as I am concerned, because the maintenance of the right of criticism in the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good than it will do the enemy, and will prevent mistakes which might otherwise occur” — Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft in a speech at the Executive Club of Chicago, December 19, 1941.Read More
“Assuming the market is free from fraud, violence, misrepresentation, and predation, the economic failure or success of any individual is measured by what he can obtain in willing exchange—fairness being a state of affairs that is presupposed in the assumption. Everyone, according to any moral code I would respect, is entitled to fairness in the sense of no special privilege to anyone and open opportunity for all; no one is entitled to what is implied by a fair price, a fair wage, a fair salary, a fair rent, or a fair profit. In market terms, one is entitled to what others will offer in willing exchange. That is all! — Leonard E. Read, founder of FEE (Foundation for Economic Education).Read More
“That which is not just, is not Law; and that which is not Law, ought not to be obeyed” — Algernon Sydney in Discourses Concerning Government. Sydney was an English parliamentarian and republican political theorist, executed on trumped-up charges of treason in 1683.Read More
“Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts” — Aristotle in Nichomachean Ethics, Book II.
“I count myself among those politicians who operate from conviction. For me, pragmatism is not enough. Nor is that fashionable word ‘consensus’. When I asked one of my Commonwealth colleagues at this Conference why he kept saying that there was a ‘consensus’ on a certain matter, another replied in a flash ‘consensus is the word you use when you can't get agreement’! To me consensus seems to be—the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no-one believes, but to which no-one objects. It’s the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner ‘I stand for consensus’”? — British PM Margaret Thatcher, in a speech at Monash University, 6 October 1981.Read More
“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves” — William Pitt (the Younger), British Prime Minister at the age of 24 and for all but three of the next 23 years until his death in 1806 at the age of 46. He was also Chancellor of the Exchequer for most of his time as P.M. This remark is from a speech in the House of Commons (18 November, 1783).Read More
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around” — Leo Buscaglia.
“Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. … The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings” — Lutheran theologian and anti-Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Letters and Papers from Prison.Read More
“The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can do for his country. He will ask rather ‘What can I and my compatriots do through government’ to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom? And he will accompany this question with another: How can we keep the government we create from becoming a Frankenstein that will destroy the very freedom we establish it to protect? Freedom is a rare and delicate plant. Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp” — economist Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom (1962), Introduction.