Quotations Book

If one didn’t know better, one would think that Washington’s predominantly black public school system was being run by the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, hell-bent on a mission to sabotage black academic excellence. Instead, it’s a system being run by blacks for blacks. As such, it means generation after generation of blacks will not be able to academically measure up. Calls for racial quotas and preferences will exist in perpetuity. And, in a world of increasing technology, many blacks are condemned to near uselessness in the job market.
— Walter E. Williams

If money were the answer, Washington public schools would be the best in the nation — if not the world. Per student expenditures are $10,500 a year, second highest in the nation. With a student-teacher ratio of 15.8, they have smaller-than-average class sizes. What is the result? In only one of the city’s 19 high schools do as many as 50 percent of its students test as proficient in reading, and at no school are 50 percent of the students proficient in math. At nine high schools, only 5 percent or fewer of its students test proficient in reading; and in 11 high schools, only 5 percent or less are proficient in math.
— Walter E. Williams

Why were housing prices going up so fast, in the first place? A number of studies of communities across the United States and in countries overseas turned up the same conclusion: Government restrictions on building. While many other factors can be involved — rising incomes, population growth, construction costs — a scrutiny of the times and places where housing prices doubled, tripled, or quadrupled within a decade shows that restrictions on building have been the key. Attractive and heady phrases like open space, smart growth and the like have accompanied land use restrictions that made the cost of land rise in many places to the point where it greatly exceeded the cost of the homes built on the land. In places that resisted this political rhetoric, home prices remained reasonable, despite rising incomes and population growth. Construction costs were seldom a major factor, for there was relatively little construction in places with severe building restrictions and skyrocketing home prices. In short, government has been the principal factor preventing the affordable housing that politicians talk about so much.
— Thomas Sowell

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship.
— Alexander Fraser Tyler, 18th century Scottish historian, The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
— Thomas Jefferson

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have
— Thomas Jefferson

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul
— George Bernard Shaw

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
— G. Gordon Liddy

A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that … it gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
— Milton Friedman

A tax-supported, compulsory educational system is the complete model of the totalitarian state.
— Isabel Paterson

According to the Institute for International Economics, trade barriers cost American consumers $80 billion a year or more than $1,200 per family.
— Walter E. Williams

Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms should be a store not a Government Agency.
— Name of a Facebook group

All systems either of preference or of restraint, therefore, being thus completely taken away, the obvious and simple system of natural liberty establishes itself of its own accord. Every man, as long as he does not violate the laws of justice, is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest his own way, and to bring both his industry and capital into competition with those of any other man, or order of men.
— Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.
— Adam Smith

As quickly as you start spending federal money in large amounts, it looks like free money.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

As the coercive power of the state will alone decide who is to have what, the only power worth having will be a share in the exercise of this directing power.
— F.A. Hayek

As we hear calls for a ‘compassionate’ response to the victims of this [hurricane] tragedy, it is important to remember that you can’t be compassionate with other people’s money. This difference is as simple as the difference between my reaching into my pocket for money to help someone in need and my reaching into your pocket for the same purpose. The former is charity—the latter is not.
— Michael Tanner

Barbra Streisand told Diane Sawyer that we’re in a global warming crisis, and we can expect more and more intense storms, droughts and dust bowls. But before they act, weather experts say they’re still waiting to hear from Celine Dion.
— Jay Leno

Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.
— Will Rogers

Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference — the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen, and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favourable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse.
— Frederic Bastiat

Black politicians and civil rights organizations’ loyalty to the education establishment means academic doom to black youngsters. Washington, D.C,. politics and its schools, among the worse in the nation, are a case in point. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, along with most members of the Congressional Black Caucus, use private schools to educate their children. But, when D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams broke ranks with most black elected-officials and endorsed recently proposed education vouchers, Norton blasted him as being “a sell-out.” Whom do you think Frederick Douglass would deem the sell-out: those who seek an alternative to rotten schools that cost taxpayers $13,000 a year per student or those who support the status quo?
— Walter E. Williams

But how is … legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals.
— Frederic Bastiat

By virtue of exchange, one man’s prosperity is beneficial to all others.
— Frederic Bastiat

Capital — another way to increase wages — may be a dirty word to some. But as the economist Walter E. Williams says, ask yourself this question: who earns the higher wage: a man digging a ditch with a shovel, or a man digging a ditch using a power backhoe? The difference between the two is that the man with the backhoe is more productive. That productivity is provided by capital — the savings that someone accumulated (instead of spending on immediate consumption) and invested in a piece of equipment that increased the output of our economy. Those who call for higher taxes make it more difficult to accumulate capital.
— Bob Weeks

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner
— James Bovard

Democracy requires full faith that justice will be administered with absolute impartiality. That faith is certainly challenged if we enter a courtroom knowing that our opponent has contributed substantial money to our trial judge’s last election campaign or that the judge was endorsed for appointment by a group or corporation that opposes our position in court. The current methods of electing or appointing judges offer little comfort in view of their corrosive effect on public confidence in the court system.
— John Todd and Bill Davitt

Diversity worship and multiculturalism are currency and cause for celebration at just about any college. If one is black, brown, yellow or white, the prevailing thought is that he should take pride and celebrate that fact even though, just as in the case of my eye color, he had nothing to do with it. The multiculturist and diversity crowd see race as an achievement. In my book, race might be an achievement, worthy of considerable celebration, only if a person was born white and through his effort and diligence became black.
— Walter E. Williams

Don’t you think the road commissioner would be willing to pay my wife something for her recipe for pie crust?
— Calvin Coolidge

Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. The inherent difficulties of the subject would be great enough in any case, but they are multiplied a thousandfold by a factor that is insignificant in, say, physics, mathematics or medicine — the special pleading of selfish interests. While every group has certain economic interests identical with those of all groups, every group has also, as we shall see, interests antagonistic to those of all other groups. While certain public policies would in the long run benefit everybody, other policies would benefit one group only at the expense of all other groups. The group that would benefit by such policies, having such a direct interest in them, will argue for then plausibly and persistently. It will hire the best buyable minds to devote their whole time to presenting its case. And it will finally either convince the general public that its case is sound, or so befuddle it that clear thinking on the subject becomes next to impossible. In addition to these endless pleadings of self-interest, there is a second main factor that spawns new economic fallacies every day. This is the persistent tendency of men to see only the immediate effects of a given policy, or its effects only on a special group, and to neglect to inquire what the long-run effects of that policy will be not only on that special group but on all groups. It is the fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences.
— Henry Hazlitt

Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purpose is beneficent.
— Louis Brandeis

For argument’s sake, suppose without the presence of a multinational corporation the best job a poor, uneducated Ugandan can land pays $2 a day. A multinational corporation builds a factory and hires that Ugandan for $4 a day, a wage well below what it pays workers in the United States. Plain common sense says that the Ugandan has been made better off by the presence of the multinational corporation and would be made worse off if the multinational corporation were politically pressured to leave. How much sense does it make to characterize an action that makes that Ugandan better off as exploitation?
— Walter E. Williams

For black politicians, civil rights organizations and white liberals to support the racist practices of the University of Michigan amounts to no less than a gross betrayal of the civil rights principles of our historic struggle from slavery to the final guarantee of constitutional rights to all Americans. Indeed, it was practices like those of the University of Michigan, but against blacks, that were the focal point of much of the civil rights movement.
— Walter E. Williams

For the multiculturist/diversity crowd, culture, ideas, customs, arts and skills are a matter of racial membership where one has no more control over his culture than his race. That’s a racist idea, but it’s politically correct racism. It says that one’s convictions, character and values are not determined by personal judgment and choices but genetically determined. In other words, as yesteryear’s racists held: race determines identity.
— Walter E. Williams

Free markets, since they represent people voluntarily entering into transactions that they believe will benefit them, lead to the most equitable and efficient allocation of scarce resources. When left to their own free will, most people and businesses in Wichita have decided to purchase property somewhere other than downtown. I don’t know why people have made this choice, and that’s really not important to me. What is important to me is that people and businesses make the choice of where to invest voluntarily. By investing in parts of town other than downtown, they are assigning a higher value to non-downtown property. As far as I know, no one is forcing this decision. People and businesses make it of their own free will.
— Bob Weeks

Free men, defined as those who understand these distinctions, are the only ones who can rescue the indifferent and the docile from a growing serfdom. The burden is on them and them alone.
— Leonard E. Read

Freedom in economic arrangements is itself a component of freedom broadly understood, so economic freedom is an end in itself … Economic freedom is also an indispensable means toward the achievement of political freedom.
— Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom

Giving is not charity if it is someone else’s money.
— Christian Harold Fletcher Riley

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys
— P.J. O’Rourke

Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.
— Ronald Reagan

Government is essentially the negation of liberty
— Ludwig von Mises

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else
— Frederic Bastiat

Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it
— Ronald Reagan

Having children is not an act of God. It’s not like you’re walking down the street and pregnancy strikes you; children are a result of a conscious decision. For the most part, female-headed households are the result of short-sighted, self-destructive behavior of one or two people.
— Walter E. Williams

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.
— Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.
— Gene Fowler

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
— Winston Churchill

I don’t blame only politicians. For the most part, they’re only the instruments of a people who have growing contempt for our Constitution. You say, “Hold it, Williams. Now you’ve gone too far!” Check it out. How many votes do you think a James Madison-type senatorial candidate would get if his campaign theme was something like this: “Elect me to office. I will protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. Because there’s no constitutional authority for Congress spending on the objects of benevolence, don’t expect for me to vote for prescription drugs for the elderly, handouts to farmers and food stamps for the poor. Instead, I’ll fight these and other unconstitutional congressional expenditures”? I’ll tell you how many votes he’ll get: It will be Williams’ vote, and that’s it.
— Walter E. Williams

I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
— Will Rogers

I think all the world would gain by setting commerce at perfect liberty.
— Thomas Jefferson

I wish that the Wichita Eagle editorial board would consider the alternative to government provision of things like libraries, entertainment facilities, airports, arts and culture, schools, and many other aspects of life. Relying on coercive government action over individual and voluntary group initiative makes us less free as a country and city.
— Bob Weeks

I would have government defend the life and property of all citizens equally; protect all willing exchange; suppress and penalize all fraud, all misrepresentation, all violence, all predatory practices; invoke a common justice under law; and keep the records incidental to these functions. Even this is a bigger assignment than governments, generally, have proven capable of. Let governments do these things and do them well. Leave all else to men in free and creative effort.
— Leonard E. Read

If FDA officials err on the side of under-caution in approving an unsafe drug, they are attacked by the media and patient groups, and investigated by Congress. Their victims, sick and dead people, are highly visible. If FDA officials err on the side of over-caution, keeping a safe and effective drug off the market, who’s to know? The victims are invisible. For example, neither the Americans who get sick or die from meningitis C this year, nor their loved ones, will know that their illness or death could have been prevented had it not been for errors by FDA officials. It’s a no-brainer to figure out which error FDA officials prefer to make.
— Walter E. Williams

If I see a person in need of food, what if I walk up to another person and, through threats, intimidation and coercion, take his money and give it to the needy person? I believe and hope that most Americans would see such an act as theft. Would the conclusion differ if we collectively agreed to take one person’s money to feed the needy person? It’d still be theft. Immoral acts such as theft, rape and murder don’t become moral when done collectively through a majority decision.
— Walter E. Williams

If the Tenth Amendment were still taken seriously, most of the federal government’s present activities would not exist. That’s why no one in Washington ever mentions it.
— Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else’s expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves.
— Thomas Sowell

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.
— P.J. O’Rourke

If you want government to intervene domestically, you’re a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you’re a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you’re a moderate. If you don’t want government to intervene anywhere, you’re an extremist
— Joseph Sobran

If you would not confront your neighbor and demand his money at the point of a gun to solve every new problem that may appear in your life, you should not allow the government to do it for you.
— William E. Simon

In 1940, teachers were asked what they regarded as the three major problems in American schools. They identified the three major problems as: Littering, noise, and chewing gum. Teachers last year were asked what the three major problems in American schools were, and they defined them as: Rape, assault, and suicide.
— William Bennett (1993)

In almost all matters, the real question should be: why are we letting government handle this?
— Harry Browne

In general, presidents and congressmen have very limited power to do good for the economy and awesome power to do bad. The best good thing that politicians can do for the economy is to stop doing bad. In part, this can be achieved through reducing taxes and economic regulation, and staying out of our lives.
— Walter E. Williams

In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other
— Voltaire

In Kansas, according to Standard & Poor’s Statewide Education Insights, about 60% to 70% of students are proficient in reading, as evaluated by the Kansas state reading test. But on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, only 33% to 35% of Kansas students are proficient.
— Bob Weeks

In politics, there are few skills more richly rewarded than the ability to misstate issues in a way that will sound plausible and attractive.
— Thomas Sowell

Increasingly, it seems that the biggest difference between conservatives and liberals is that the conservatives know government is force. But that doesn’t stop them from using it.
— John Stossel

It is exports that pay for imports. The greater exports we have, the greater imports we must have, if we ever expect to get paid. The smaller imports we have, the smaller exports we can have. Without imports we can have no exports, for foreigners will have no funds with which to buy our goods.
— Henry Hazlitt

It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action. Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen. The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.
— Ludwig von Mises

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.
— Frederic Bastiat

It is indeed probable that more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out a moral evil than by men intent on doing evil.
— Fredrich August von Hayek (1899-1992)

It is my belief that there are “absolutes” in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what the words meant and meant their prohibitions to be “absolutes.”
— Justice Hugo L. Black

It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expence, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expence, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will.
— Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

It was not until the Abraham Lincoln administration that an income tax was imposed on Americans. Its stated purpose was to finance the war, but it took until 1872 for it to be repealed. During the Grover Cleveland administration, Congress enacted the Income Tax Act of 1894. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1895. It took the Sixteenth Amendment (1913) to make permanent what the Framers feared — today’s income tax.
— Walter E. Williams

It’s time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybody’s role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It’s no surprise that our school system doesn’t improve: It more resembles the communist economy than our own market economy.
— Albert Shanker, former President of the American Federation of Teachers

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.
— Pericles

Late one night in Washington, D.C. a mugger wearing a ski mask jumped into the path of a well-dressed man and stuck a gun in his ribs.
“Give me your money!” he demanded.
Indignant, the affluent man replied, “You can’t do this. I’m a United States Congressman!”
“In that case,” replied the robber, “give me my money!”
— Related by Walter Block

Let the government of the State of Kansas relinquish its monopoly on the financing and production of schooling — the very type of monopoly power that, if wielded by private enterprise, would be condemned as unjust and immoral.
— Bob Weeks

Let us be clear: Government spending is not charity. It is not a voluntary sacrifice by individuals. No matter how beneficial or humane it might be, no matter how necessary it is for providing public services, it is still the obligatory redistribution of tax revenues. Because government spending is not charity, sanctimonious yard signs do not prove that the bearers are charitable or that their opponents are selfish.
— Arthur C. Brooks

Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.
— Frederic Bastiat

Men desire to have some share in the management of public affairs chiefly on account of the importance which it gives them.
— Adam Smith

Minimum wage laws are about as clear a case as one can find of a measure the effects of which are precisely the opposite of those intended by the men of good will who support it. Many proponents of minimum wage laws quite properly deplore extremely low rates; they regard them as a sign of poverty; and they hope, by outlawing wage rates below some specified level, to reduce poverty. In fact, insofar as minimum wage laws have any effect at all, their effect is clearly to increase poverty. The state can legislate a minimum wage rate. It can hardly require employers to hire at that minimum all who were formerly employed at wages below the minimum. … The effect of the minimum wage is therefore to make unemployment higher than it otherwise would be.
— Milton Friedman

Most people would be delighted to find themselves in the position of the oil companies: owning something that is scarce and in high demand. And, a lot of people are in that position, made huge profits, and did little to “deserve” the profits other than being in the right place at the right time. Who are these windfall profiteers that I speak of? They’re homeowners in hot real estate markets, who, by chance, happen to own property that other people are willing to pay high prices for, thereby generating huge windfall profits for those lucky homeowners. Has anyone proposed a windfall tax on these profits?
— Bob Weeks

Mystical references to “society” and its programs to “help” may warm the hearts of the gullible but what it really means is putting more power in the hands of bureaucrats.
— Thomas Sowell

Nearly two decades ago, during dinner with the late Nobel Laureate Friedrich Hayek, I asked him if he had the power to write one law that would get government out of our lives, what would that law be? Professor Hayek replied he’d write a law that read: Whatever Congress does for one American it must do for all Americans.
— Walter E. Williams

No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).
— Frederic Bastiat

No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
— Mark Twain

No matter how disastrously some policy has turned out, anyone who criticizes it can expect to hear: “But what would you replace it with?” When you put out a fire, what do you replace it with?
— Thomas Sowell

No matter how much of our liberty Washington takes away in the name of security, there are no guarantees that there won’t be another terrorist attack. Instead of attacking American liberties, the government ought to go after terrorists in their countries of origin. It should be like what our military attempted during WWII. Don’t wait to defend ships against the kamikaze — bomb the fields where they take off.
— Walter E. Williams

No matter how worthy the cause, it is robbery, theft, and injustice to confiscate the property of one person and give it to another to whom it does not belong.
— Walter Williams

Nobody but a beggar chuses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens.
— Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

Nobody spends other people’s money as carefully as he spends his own.
— Milton Friedman

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
— Goethe

On the free market, everyone earns according to his productive value in satisfying consumer desires. Under statist distribution, everyone earns in proportion to the amount he can plunder from the producers.
— Murray N. Rothbard

On the unhampered market there prevails an irresistible tendency to employ every factor of production for the best possible satisfaction of the most urgent needs of the consumers. If the government interferes with this process, it can only impair satisfaction; it can never improve it.
— Ludwig von Mises

Once one accepts the principle of self-ownership, what’s moral and immoral becomes self-evident. Murder is immoral because it violates private property. Rape and theft are also immoral — they also violate private property. Here’s an important question: Would rape become morally acceptable if Congress passed a law legalizing it? You say: What’s wrong with you, Williams? Rape is immoral plain and simple, no matter what Congress says or does! If you take that position, isn’t it just as immoral when Congress legalizes the taking of one person’s earnings to give to another? Surely if a private person took money from one person and gave it to another, we’d deem it theft and, as such, immoral. Does the same act become moral when Congress takes people’s money to give to farmers, airline companies or an impoverished family? No, it’s still theft, but with an important difference: It’s legal, and participants aren’t jailed.
— Walter E. Williams

Once this process is set in motion in some society, an ever greater part of its members’ efforts to improve their lives will tend to be directed towards manipulating the political system into sending as many of the goodies it hands out in their direction as possible. Of course, that activity, unlike the voluntary exchange of goods and services characterizing a free market, is a zero-sum game, where every gain of mine is offset by a loss of yours. But the losers in one “round” of the game are thereby inspired to devote even greater effort towards ensuring the next round goes their way. And the existence in every society of power-hungry individuals, who will come to realize that they can exploit this struggle over cuts of the distributive pie for their own ends, ensures that there will be no lack of “leaders” intent on organizing these competing interest groups and assuring them that their demand for more goodies is an expression of justice itself.
— Gene Callahan

Once you become a liberal, you can wax eloquent on the glories of the public schools while sending your kids to private school. You can wax prolix about the greedy rich while making a fortune on the side. You can even use the government to impose your values willy-nilly, from racial quotas and confiscatory tax rates to draconian environmental policies and sex-ed for grade-schoolers—all of which will paid for in part by people who disagree with you.
— Jonah Goldberg

One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on. And when you do find somebody, it’s remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver’s license
— P.J. O’Rourke

One of the most fashionable notions of our times is that social problems like poverty and oppression breed wars. Most wars, however, are started by well-fed people with time on their hands to dream up half-baked ideologies or grandiose ambitions, and to nurse real or imagined grievances.
— Thomas Sowell

One Temple University colleague took me to lunch and confided to me that he was having numerous academic problems with his poorly prepared black students. I asked him what his response to their poor preparation was. He replied that he tried to take into consideration racial discrimination and the poor education they received. I asked him how he assigned grades, to which he responded: If they come every day and look as if they’re taking notes, I give them a “C”. After I recovered, I told him that’s very much like having a dog in an English class and one day the dog sits on his hind legs and says, “You not po da do dat.” You’d give the dog an “A”. Why? You don’t expect the dog to speak at all, and no matter what he says you’d deem it laudable.
— Walter E. Williams

Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights; it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims. When unlimited and unrestricted by individual rights, a government is man’s deadliest enemy. It is not as protection against private actions, but against governmental actions that the Bill of Rights was written.
— Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness

Private property was the original source of freedom. It still is its main bulwark.
— Walter Lippmann

Republicans were put on this earth to cut spending and to cut taxes. That’s why God created them, but we haven’t been doing this on the spending side… The president has not served us well when it comes to spending, when it comes to trimming the bureaucracy. When government tries to be all things to all people, it fails at the essentials.
— John Kasich

Say that Congress legislates gasoline price controls that sets a maximum price of $1 a gallon. As sure as night follows day, there’d be long lines and gasoline shortages, just as there were in the 1970s. For the average consumer, a $1.60 a gallon selling price and no waiting lines is a darn sight cheaper than a controlled $1 a gallon price plus searching for a gasoline station that has gas and then waiting in line. If your average purchase is 10 gallons, and if an hour or so of your time is worth more that $6, the $1.60 a gallon free market price is cheaper.
— Walter E. Williams

School choice opponents are also dishonest when they speak of saving public schools. A Heritage Foundation survey found that 47 percent of House members and 51 percent of senators with school-age children enrolled them in private schools in 2001. Public school teachers enroll their children in private schools to a much greater extent than the general public, in some cities close to 50 percent.
— Walter E. Williams

Should the fact that if I become injured by not wearing a seatbelt or sick from eating and smoking too much, and become a burden on taxpayers, determine whether I’m free to not wear a seatbelt or puff cigarettes and gorge myself? Is there a problem with freedom? I say no, it’s a problem of socialism. There is absolutely no moral case for government’s taking another American’s earnings, through taxes, to care for me for any reason whatsoever. Doing so is simply a slightly less offensive form of slavery. Keep in mind that the essence of slavery is the forceful use of one person to serve the purposes or benefit of another.
— Walter E. Williams

So when government taxes us to pay for programs that take the rightful property of one person and give it to another to who it does not belong, government harms us in two ways: it taxes away happiness and reduces our capacity to engage in charitable activity.
— Bob Weeks

Socialism and interventionism. Both have in common the goal of subordinating the individual unconditionally to the state.
— Ludwig von Mises

Students who are alien and hostile to the education process ought to be removed. You say, “What will we do with them?” I say that’s a secondary issue. The first priority is to stop thugs from making education impossible for everyone else.
— Walter E. Williams

Suppose I hire you to repair my computer. The job is worth $200 to me and doing the job is worth $200 to you. The transaction will occur because we have a meeting of the mind. Now suppose there’s the imposition of a 30 percent income tax on you. That means you won’t receive $200 but instead $140. You might say the heck with working for me — spending the day with your family is worth more than $140. You might then offer that you’ll do the job if I pay you $285. That way your after-tax earnings will be $200 — what the job was worth to you. There’s a problem. The repair job was worth $200 to me, not $285. So it’s my turn to say the heck with it. This simple example demonstrates that one effect of taxes is that of eliminating transactions, and hence jobs.
— Walter E. Williams

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.. But … I repeat myself
— Mark Twain

Take Washington, D.C., which spends over $10,000 per student for education whose student achievement would be dead last if Mississippi chose to secede from the Union. Suppose Washington gave each parent even a $5,000 voucher — that wouldn’t mean less money available per student. To the contrary, holding total education expenditures constant, it’d mean more money per student remaining in public schools.
— Walter E. Williams

Talk is cheap … except when Congress does it
— Unknown

Tariff policy beneficiaries are always visible, but its victims are mostly invisible. Politicians love this. The reason is simple: The beneficiaries know for whom to cast their ballots, and the victims don’t know whom to blame for their calamity.
— Walter E. Williams

Tax rates are not tax revenues. … How many times does it have to happen before people stop equating tax rates with tax revenues? Do the tax-and-spend politicians and their media supporters not know any better — or are they counting on the rest of us not knowing any better.
— Thomas Sowell

The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all, it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.
— H. L. Mencken

The American businessmen, as a class, have demonstrated the greatest productive genius and the most spectacular achievements ever recorded in the economic history of mankind. What reward did they receive from our culture and its intellectuals? The position of a hated, persecuted minority. The position of a scapegoat for the evils of the bureaucrats.
— Ayn Rand

The best way to raise wages, therefore, is to raise marginal labor productivity. This can be done by many methods: by an increase in capital accumulation — i.e., by an increase in the machines with which the workers are aided; by new inventions and improvements; by more efficient management on the part of employers; by more industriousness and efficiency on the part of workers; by better education and training. The more the individual worker produces, the more he increases the wealth of the whole community. The more he produces, the more his services are worth to consumers, and hence to employers. And the more he is worth to employers, the more he will be paid. Real wages come out of production, not out of government decrees.
— Henry Hazlitt

The black illegitimacy rate is close to 70 percent. Less than 40 percent of black children live in two-parent families. This produces devastating socioeconomic consequences, but is it caused by racial discrimination? Or, might it be a legacy of slavery? In the early 1900s, black illegitimacy was a tiny fraction of today’s rate. Roughly 75 percent, and in New York City 85 percent, of black children lived in two-parent households. The fact of lower illegitimacy and more intact families, at a time when blacks were much closer to slavery and faced greater discrimination, suggests that today’s unprecedented illegitimacy and weak family structure has nothing to do with discrimination and slavery. It’s explained better by promiscuity and irresponsibility, and as such it’s not a civil rights problem.
— Walter E. Williams

The bottom line is that the true test of one’s commitment to freedom of association doesn’t come when he allows people to associate in ways he approves. The true test of that commitment comes when he allows people to be free to voluntarily associate in ways he deems despicable. Forced association is not freedom of association.
— Walter E. Williams

The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny. The wise and correct course to follow in taxation is not to destroy those who have already secured success, but to create conditions under which everyone will have a better chance to be successful.
— Calvin Coolidge

The era of resisting big government is never over.
— Paul Gigot

The essential notion of a capitalist society … is voluntary cooperation, voluntary exchange. The essential notion of a socialist society is force.
— Milton Friedman

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 first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.
— Thomas Sowell

The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratic council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor.
— John Adams

The gold standard has one tremendous virtue: the quantity of the money supply, under the gold standard, is independent of the policies of governments and political parties. This is its advantage. It is a form of protection against spendthrift governments.
— Ludwig von Mises

The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other
— Ronald Reagan

The great virtue of free enterprise is that it forces existing businesses to meet the test of the market continuously, to produce products that meet consumer demands at lowest cost, or else be driven from the market. It is a profit-and-loss system. Naturally, existing businesses generally prefer to keep out competitors in other ways. That is why the business community, despite its rhetoric, has so often been a major enemy of truly free enterprise.
— Milton Friedman

The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
— Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

The greatest percentage of poverty is found in female-headed households. Over 70 percent of female-headed households are poor. A large percentage of poor people are children (17 percent); fully 85 percent of black children living in poverty reside in a female-headed household.
— Walter E. Williams

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
— Winston Churchill

The last premiere of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, is said to have asked British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: How do you see to it that people get food? The answer was that she didn’t. Prices did that. And the British people were better fed than those in the Soviet Union, even though the British have never grown enough food to feed themselves in more than a century. Prices bring them food from other countries.
— Thomas Sowell

The libertarian creed, finally, offers the fulfillment of the best of the American past along with the promise of a far better future. Even more than conservatives, who are often attached to the monarchical traditions of a happily obsolete European past, libertarians are squarely in the great classical liberal tradition that built the United States and bestowed on us the American heritage of individual liberty, a peaceful foreign policy, minimal government, and a free-market economy. Libertarians are the only genuine current heirs of Jefferson, Paine, Jackson, and the abolitionists.
— Murray N. Rothbard

The logic of paygo for taxes is backward, in that it starts from the assumption that all tax revenue is Washington’s in the first place and thus any tax cuts must be “offset” so Congress can be made whole. But of course the money belongs to the taxpayers who earned it, and the burden ought to be on the politicians to spend less so Americans can keep more. Republicans claim to believe this.
— The Wall Street Journal

The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder.
— Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.
— Milton Friedman

The most laughable White House criticism is that tax cuts are a ‘free lunch.’ The American people’s work created that money. Only in Washington could there be a belief that letting people keep more of what they create is a giveaway.
— Forbes, August 26, 1996

The mounting burden of taxation not only undermines individual incentives to increased work and earnings, but in a score of ways discourages capital accumulation and distorts, unbalances, and shrinks production. Total real wealth and income is made smaller than it would otherwise be. On net balance there is more poverty rather than less.
— Henry Hazlitt

The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security is so powerful a principle that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often incumbers its operations; though the effect of these obstructions is always more or less either to encroach upon its freedom, or to diminish its security.
— Adam Smith

The number one, central, ubiquitous problem of our time and all time is the state. Whenever a criminal band manages to bamboozle the public that it alone should be granted the legal right to aggress on others, there is a problem that needs to be uprooted. The struggle for freedom is precisely this and no other.
— Lew Rockwell

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin
— Mark Twain

The only freedom deserving the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental and spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.
— John Stuart Mill

The problem is big government. If whoever controls government can impose his way upon you, you have to fight constantly to prevent the control from being harmful. With small, limited government, it doesn’t much matter who controls it, because it can’t do you much harm.
— Harry Browne

The produce of the soil maintains at all times nearly that number of inhabitants which it is capable of maintaining. The rich only select from the heap what is most precious and agreeable. They consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity, though they mean only their own conveniency, though the sole end which they propose from the labours of all the thousands whom they employ, be the gratification of their own vain and insatiable desires, they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species.
— Adam Smith

The purpose of a tax cut is to leave more money where it belongs — in the hands of the working men and working women who earned it in the first place.
— Robert Dole

The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then gets elected and proves it.
— P.J. O’Rourke

The result of all this is that we have the spectacle of the people of Wichita, voting with their own dollars, making one choice. Then the politicians and various quasi-public organizations say, “No, citizens of Wichita, you are wrong,” and impose their will on the people of Wichita through their power to tax. How arrogant is that?
— Bob Weeks

The State…has had a vested interest in promoting attitudes that would tend to make us skeptical of our own abilities, fearful of the motives of others, and emotionally dependent upon external authorities for purpose and direction in our lives.
— Butler D. Shaffer

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools
— Herbert Spencer

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.
— H. L. Mencken

The whole idea of our government is this: If enough people get together and act in concert, they can take something and not pay for it.
— P.J. O’Rourke

The whole recorded history of man is strewn with the wreckage of the great civilizations which have crumbled under price controls; and in forty centuries of human experience, there has never been – so far as I can discover – a single case where such controls have stopped, or even curbed for long, the forces of inflation. On the contrary, in every instance I can find, they have discouraged production, created shortages, and aggravated the very evils they were intended to cure.
— Irving S. Olds

There are many farm handouts; but let’s call them what they really are: a form of legalized theft. Essentially, a congressman tells his farm constituency, ‘Vote for me. I’ll use my office to take another American’s money and give it to you.
— Walter E. Williams

There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal.
— F.A. Hayek

There is no distinctly native American criminal class… save Congress.
— Mark Twain

There is no maxim in my opinion which is more liable to be misapplied, and which therefore needs elucidation than the current one that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong.
— James Madison

There’s little question that the greatest generation provided their offspring, the baby boomer generation, with goods and services that their parents could not afford to give them. But tragically, the greatest generation did not instill in their children what their parents instilled in them, the values and customs that make for a civilized society. In previous generations, people were held responsible for their behavior. Today, society at large pays for irresponsible behavior… This failure to fully transmit value norms to subsequent generations represents another failing of the greatest generation. If there’s an American generation that can justifiably be called the greatest generation, it’s that generation responsible for the founding of our nation—men such as James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington and millions of their fellow countrymen. This is the generation that threw off one form of oppression and laid the foundations for unprecedented human liberty. That is not a trivial achievement, for most often in mankind’s history, one form of oppression has been replaced with another far worse, as we’ve seen in Russia, China and Africa.
— Walter Williams

There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.
— William James

These were people who believed everything about the Soviet Union was perfect, but they were bringing their own toilet paper.
— P.J. O’Rourke

They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?
— Paul Harvey

They have the usual socialist disease; they have run out of other people’s money.
— Margaret Thatcher

This was all before politicians gave us the idea that the things we could not afford individually we could somehow afford collectively through the magic of government.
— Thomas Sowell

Those fighting for free enterprise and free competition do not defend the interests of those rich today. They want a free hand left to unknown men who will be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
— Ludwig von Mises

Those ten persons, therefore, could make among them upwards of forty-eight thousand pins in a day. Each person, therefore, making a tenth part of forty-eight thousand pins, might be considered as making four thousand eight hundred pins in a day. But if they had all wrought separately and independently, and without any of them having been educated to this peculiar business, they certainly could not each of them have made twenty, perhaps not one pin in a day; that is, certainly, not the two hundred and fortieth, perhaps not the four thousand eight hundredth part of what they are at present capable of performing, in consequence of a proper division and combination of their different operations.
— Adam Smith

To grasp the true meaning of socialism, imagine a world where everything is designed by the post office, even the sleaze.
— P.J. O’Rourke

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry… has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who… have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.
— Thomas Jefferson

Today, wanting someone else’s money is called ‘need’, wanting to keep your own money is called ‘greed’, and ‘compassion’ is when politicians arrange the transfer.
— Joseph Sobran

We are in our present position because government has burdened us with taxes, spending, debt, regulations, subsidies, guarantees (to lenders, for example), trade restrictions, fiat money, and other impositions. Between the endless domestic schemes and war, we are being crushed by the weight of the state. We don’t need a stimulus. We need freedom.
— Sheldon Richman

We desperately need to rely on the power of markets and individuals, instead of bureaucrats and politicians, to improve public education in Kansas. Consider this: if it is true that Kansas schools are underfunded, they have been since 1999, the year the present suit was filed. (Presumably they were also underfunded for some years before that.) The legislature resisted the full remedy that the Kansas Supreme Court ordered, and what was passed was not funded in all years. The Wichita Eagle editorializes over and over about the legislature “not doing its job” and “playing games on schools.” It now seems possible that a child who entered public school at the time the problems with funding were noticed will have graduated from high school (maybe even college) by the time things are “fixed,” and that assumes the state will continue to apply the fix that’s been mandated, and that the fix works.
— Bob Weeks

We might think of dollars as being “certificates of performance.” The better I serve my fellow man, and the higher the value he places on that service, the more certificates of performance he gives me. The more certificates I earn, the greater my claim on the goods my fellow man produces. That’s the morality of the market. In order for one to have a claim on what his fellow man produces, he must first serve him. Contrast that moral standard to Congress’ standing offer, “Vote for me and I’ll take what your fellow man produces and give it to you.
— Walter E. Williams

We must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not attempt to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.
— Davy Crockett

What distinguishes the libertarian (liberal) spirit from its alternative is the conviction that free individuals who respect one another’s sovereignty will generate and sustain a benevolent prosperous social order without direction from a central bureaucratic authority.
— Sheldon Richman, “The Nation As an Object of Service”

What our generation has forgotten is that the system of private property is the most important guarantee of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not. It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that nobody has complete power over us, that we as individuals can decide what to do with ourselves. If all it be nominally that of “society” as a whole of that of a dictator, whoever exercises this control has complete power over us.
— Friedrich A. Hayek

What stymies the people in poor countries, as a rule, is not lack of aid. It is forms of government, often corrupt and tyrannical, that do not allow people to exercise free choice under fair law.
— Claudia Rosett

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
— Edward Langley

What we call the market is really a democratic process involving millions, and in some markets billions, of people making personal decisions that express their preferences. When you hear someone say that he doesn’t trust the market, and wants to replace it with government edicts, he’s really calling for a switch from a democratic process to a totalitarian one.
— Walter E. Williams

When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that an old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had only one before.
— H. L. Mencken

When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.
— P.J. O’Rourke

When I speak of a laissez-faire policy, many people’s first reaction is: that’s what Herbert Hoover did! But the truth is quite the opposite. Hoover was actually the first New Dealer. He tried to reflate the economy and attempted ill-fated jobs and spending programs. In fact, FDR’s presidential campaign of 1932 argued that Hoover was a big spender who was driving up the debt and making matters worse through his intervention!
— Lew Rockwell

When it came to the 2000 election, 84 percent of Ivy League faculty voted for Al Gore, 6 percent for Ralph Nader and 9 percent for George Bush. In the general electorate, the vote was split at 48 percent for Gore and Bush, and 3 percent for Nader.
— Walter E. Williams

When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.
— Frederic Bastiat

Whenever we depart from voluntary cooperation and try to do good by using force, the bad moral value of force triumphs over good intentions.
— Milton Friedman

Wherever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.
— Benjamin Disraeli, Speech in the House of Commons [June 15, 1874]

Why do governments grant companies tax abatements? It’s simple. When companies pay less tax, they have the opportunity to invest more. Tax abatements are tacit recognition that the cost of government is onerous and serves to decrease private economic activity and investment.
— Bob Weeks

Why have we had such a decline in moral climate? I submit to you that a major factor has been a change in the philosophy which has been dominant, a change from belief in individual responsibility to belief in social responsibility. If you adopt the view that a man is not responsible for his own behavior, that somehow or other society is responsible, why should he seek to make his behavior good?
— Milton Friedman

Why is it that Michael Jordan earns $33 million a year and I don’t even earn one-half of one percent of that? I can play basketball, but my problem is with my fellow man, who’d plunk down $200 to see Jordan play and wouldn’t pay a dollar to see me play. I’m also willing to sell my name as endorsements for sneakers and sport clothing, but no one has approached me. The bottom line explanation of Michael Jordan’s income relative to mine lies in his capacity to please his fellow man. The person who takes exception to Jordan’s salary or sees him, as my letter-writer does, as making “little contribution to society” is really disagreeing with decisions made by millions upon millions of independent decision-makers who decided to fork over their money to see Jordan play. The suggestion that Congress ought to take part of Jordan’s earnings and give it to someone else is the same as arrogantly saying, “I know better who ought to receive those dollars.
— Walter E. Williams

Without the discipline of the market, these organizations will never know how their customers truly value their product. The safety net of government funding allows them to escape this reality. We have seen this many times in Wichita and Sedgwick County recently, as organizations fail to generate enough revenue to cover their costs, only to be bailed out by the government. Other businesses learn very quickly what their customers really want — that is, what their customers are willing to pay for — or they go out of business. That’s the profit and loss system. It provides all the feedback we need to determine whether an organization is meeting its customers’ desires.
— Bob Weeks

You can’t get good chinese takeout in China and cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That’s all you need to know about communism.
— P.J. O’Rourke

You do not know, and will never know, who the Remnant are, nor where they are, nor how many of them there are, nor what they are doing or will do. Two things you know, and no more: first, that they exist; second, that they will find you.
— Albert Jay Nock

You don’t need a treaty to have free trade.
— Murray Rothbard

You say, “Williams, you sound like a warmonger!” No, I’m not. But neither am I willing to wait until a chemical or bacteriological attack kills millions of Americans or a “dirty bomb” makes one of our cities uninhabitable for 100 years before there’s an effective response to nations who harbor terrorists. I detest the initiation of force, but if I see someone building a cannon aimed at my house, I’m not going to wait for him to fire it. I would eliminate him and anyone else in his house before he gets a chance to fire it.
— Walter E. Williams

You should always believe what you read in the newspapers, for that makes them more interesting.
— Rose Macauley

Your principle has placed these words above the entrance of the legislative chamber: “whosoever acquires any influence here can obtain his share of legal plunder.” And what has been the result? All classes have flung themselves upon the doors of the chamber crying: “A share of the plunder for me, for me!”
— Frederic Bastiat

We’re not really going to get anywhere until we take the criminality out of drugs.
— George P. Schultz

It is an established fact that alcoholism, cocainism, and morphinism are deadly enemies of life, of health, and of the capacity for work and enjoyment; and a utilitarian must therefore consider them as vices. But this is far from demonstrating that the authorities must interpose to suppress these vices by commercial prohibitions, nor is it by any means evident that such intervention on the part of the government is really capable of suppressing them or that, even if this end could be attained, it might not therewith open up a Pandora’s box of other dangers, no less mischievous than alcoholism and morphinism.
— Ludwig von Mises

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
— Albert Einstein

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
— Plato

Our elected officials don’t make America great, nor do temporal policies. America is great because of its people, its defining institutions and its freedoms.
— Linda Chavez

The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of “liberalism” they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.
— Norman Thomas

I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size.
— Barry Goldwater

The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else. The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
— John Stuart Mill, Essay on Liberty

Pension: pay given to a state hireling for treason to his country.
— Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language (1755)

No matter how disastrously some policy has turned out, anyone who criticizes it can expect to hear: “But what would you replace it with?” When you put out a fire, what do you replace it with?
— Thomas Sowell

If industry and labour are left to take their own course, they will generally be directed to those objects which are the most productive, and this in a more certain and direct manner than the wisdom of the most enlightened legislature could point out.
— James Madison

The fact that an obese person becomes ill, or a cyclist has an accident, and becomes a burden on taxpayers who must bear the expense of taking care of him, is not a problem of liberty. It’s a problem of socialism where one person is forced to take care of another. There is no moral argument that justifies using the coercive powers of government to force one person to bear the expense of taking care of another… Forcing one person to bear the burden of health care costs for another is not only a moral question but a major threat to personal liberty. Think about all the behaviors and lifestyles that can lead to illness and increase the burden on taxpayers. A daily salt intake exceeding 6 grams can lead to hypertension. A high-fat diet and high alcohol intake can also lead to diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to several costly diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart failure. There are many other behaviors that lead to a greater health care burden, but my question is how much control over your life you are willing to give government in the name of reducing these costs? Would you want government to regulate how much salt you use? What about government deciding how much fat and alcohol you consume? There are immense beneficial health effects of a daily 30-minute aerobic exercise. Would you support government-mandated exercise? You might argue that it’s none of government’s business how much fat, salt or alcohol a person consumes, even if it has adverse health care cost implications. I’d ask: Wouldn’t the same reasoning apply to helmet laws and proposed obesity laws?
— Walter Williams

The kind of rules we should have are the kind that we’d make if our worst enemy were in charge.
— Walter Williams

If it be admitted that a man, possessing absolute power, may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should a majority not be liable to the same reproach? Men are not apt to change their characters by agglomeration; nor does their patience in the presence of obstacles increase with the consciousness of their strength. And for these reasons I can never willingly invest any number of my fellow creatures with that unlimited authority which I should refuse any one of them.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835]

The only difference I’ve found in Congress between the Republican and Democratic leadership is that one of them is skinning us from the toes up and the other from the ears down.
— Huey Long

Libertarianism] unites free-market economics, a no-exceptions attachment to private property rights, a profound concern for human liberty, and a love of peace, with the conclusion that society should be completely free to develop absent any interference from the state, which can and should be eliminated.
— Llewellyn H. Rockwell, “Still the State’s Greatest Living Enemy”

The most unresolved problem of the day is precisely the problem that concerned the founders of this nation: how to limit the scope and power of government. Tyranny, restrictions on human freedom, come primarily from governmental restrictions that we ourselves have set up.
— Milton Friedman

Firmly committed to the principles of interventionism, governments try to check the undesired result of their interference by reporting to those measures which are nowadays called full-employment policy: unemployment doles, arbitration of labor disputes, public works by means of lavish public spending, inflation, and credit expansion. All these remedies are worse than the evil they are designed to remove
— Ludwig von Mises, Human Action [1949]

Governments never learn. Only people learn.
— Milton Friedman

What is euphemistically called government-corporate “partnership” is just government coercion, political favoritism, collectivist industrial policy, and old-fashioned federal boondoggles nicely wrapped up in a bright-colored ribbon. It doesn’t work.
— Ronald Reagan

Senator John McCain could never convince me to vote for him. Only Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama can cause me to vote for McCain.
— Thomas Sowell

One way to reduce illegal immigration might be to translate some of our far-left publications into Spanish and give everyone in Mexico subscriptions. After they read how terrible this country is, many may want to stay away.
— Thomas Sowell

The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men.
— Samuel Adams

The fundamental [problem] is the Fed itself, which purports to be the great savior of the money system but in fact is its destroyer. By flooding the economy with ever more paper money, it reduces the value of our money — an insidious tax that the governing elites levy in ways that keep the people in the dark.
— Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., “The Inflation Monster and Its Owner” [April 10, 2008]

Whenever the profit incentive is missing, the probability that people’s wants can be safely ignored is the greatest.
— Walter Williams

There is one and only one social responsibility of business — to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.
— Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
— David Friedman

A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another: and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation, in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body.
— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty [1859]

The mounting burden of taxation not only undermines individual incentives to increased work and earnings, but in a score of ways discourages capital accumulation and distorts, unbalances, and shrinks production. Total real wealth and income is made smaller than it otherwise would be. On net balance there is more poverty rather than less.
— Henry Hazlitt, The Conquest of Poverty

It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.
— Thomas Paine

Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.
— Lord Acton

I don’t know anything about free silver. The people of Nebraska are for free silver and I am for free silver. I will look up the arguments later.
— William Jennings Bryan

The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it.
— H.L. Mencken

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
— C.S. Lewis

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.
— Barry Goldwater

A society that puts equality—in the sense of equality of outcome—ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.
— Milton Friedman

It does not take a majority to prevail, but an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.
— Samuel Adams

When it becomes dominated by a collectivist creed, democracy will inevitably destroy itself.
— F.A. Hayek

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

Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.
— William F. Buckley Jr.

Government cripples you, then hands you a crutch and says, “See, if it wasn’t for us, you couldn’t walk.”
— Harry Browne

America’s abundance was not created by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes.
— Ayn Rand

Fascism will come at the hands of perfectly authentic Americans who have been working to commit this country to the rule of the bureaucratic state; interfering in the affairs of the states and cities; taking part in the management of industry and finance and agriculture; assuming the role of great national banker and investor, borrowing billions every year and spending them on all sorts of projects through which such a government can paralyze opposition and command public support; marshaling great armies and navies at crushing costs to support the industry of war and preparation for war which will become our nation’s greatest industry; and adding to all this the most romantic adventures in global planning, regeneration, and domination, all to be done under the authority of a powerfully centralized government in which the executive will hold in effect all the powers, with Congress reduced to the role of a debating society.
— John T. Flynn

[The political system] tends to give undue political power to small groups that have highly concentrated interests; to give greater weight to obvious, direct and immediate effects of government action than to possibly more important but concealed, indirect and delayed effects; to set in motion a process that sacrifices the general interest to serve special interests rather than the other way around. There is, as it were, an invisible hand in politics that operates in precisely the opposite direction to Adam Smith’s invisible hand.
— Milton Friedman

I’d rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone directory than by the faculty of Harvard.
— William F. Buckley Jr.

This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the “hidden” confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists’ antagonism toward the gold standard.
— Alan Greenspan, “Gold and Economic Freedom” [1966]

Liberty is not a means to a political end. It is itself the highest political end.
— Lord Acton

The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another.
— Milton Friedman

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
— H.L. Mencken

Fundamentally, there are only two ways of coordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion — the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary cooperation of individuals — the technique of the marketplace
— Milton Friedman

The compelling issue to both conservatives and liberals is not whether it is legitimate for government to confiscate one’s property to give to another, the debate is over the disposition of the pillage.
— Walter Williams

In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
— Pastor Martin Niemöller

There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as “caring” and “sensitive” because he wants to expand the government’s charitable programs is merely saying that he’s willing to try to do good with other people’s money. Well, who isn’t? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he’ll do good with his own money — if a gun is held to his head.
— P.J. O’Rourke

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
— Thomas Jefferson

The federal government, in guiding the economic destiny of the country, must be staffed largely with those who are unaware of how little they know, who have no qualms about their ability to plan and regulate the national economic growth, set wages, prescribe hours of work, write the price tags for everything, decide how much of what shall be produced, expand or contract the money supply arbitrarily, set interest rates and rents, subsidize with other peoples’ earnings whatever activity strikes their fancy, lend billions not voluntarily entrusted to them, allocate the fruits of the labor of all to foreign governments of their choice — in short, decide what shall be taken from each Peter and how much of the “take” shall be paid to each Paul.
— Leonard E. Read

One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.
— Ayn Rand

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the publick. . . . It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary.
— Adam Smith

Do not consider Collectivists as sincere but deluded idealists. The proposal to enslave some men for the sake of others is not an ideal; brutality is not idealistic, no matter what its purpose. Do not ever say that the desire to do good by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.
— Ayn Rand

The supply of gold is governed by nature; it is not, like the supply of paper money, subject merely to the schemes of demagogues or the whims of politicians. Nobody ever thinks he has quite enough money. Once the idea is accepted that money is something whose supply is determined simply by the printing press, it becomes impossible for the politicians in power to resist the constant demands for further inflation. Gold may not be a theoretically perfect basis for money; but it has the merit of making the money supply, and therefore the value of the monetary unit, independent of governmental manipulation and political pressure.
— Henry Hazlitt

A dictator may deem the conduct of the consumers rather foolish. Why should they be so crazy about individually fashioned clothes? He may be right from the point of view of his own value judgments. But the trouble is that valuation is personal, individual, and arbitrary. The democracy of the market consists in the fact that people themselves make their choices and that no dictator has the power to force them to submit to his value judgments.
— Ludwig von Mises, Human Action

And here we come to the vital distinction between the advocacy of temperance and the advocacy of prohibition. Temperance and self-control are convertible terms. Prohibition, or that which it implies, is the direct negation of the term self-control. In order to save the small percentage of men who are too weak to resist their animal desires, it aims to put chains on every man, the weak and the strong alike. And if this is proper in one respect, why not in all respects? Yet, what would one think of a proposition to keep all men locked up because a certain number have a propensity to steal?
— Percy Andreae, “A Glimpse behind the Mask of Prohibition” [1915]

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning, but without understanding.
— Judge Louis D. Brandeis

I would have government defend the life and property of all citizens equally; protect all willing exchange; suppress and penalize all fraud, all misrepresentation, all violence, all predatory practices; invoke a common justice under law; and keep the records incidental to these functions. Even this is a bigger assignment than governments, generally, have proven capable of. Let governments do these things and do them well. Leave all else to men in free and creative effort.
— Leonard E. Read

The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy.
— Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom [1962]

Private property rights do not conflict with human rights. They are human rights. Private property rights are the rights of humans to use specified goods and to exchange them. Any restraint on private property rights shifts the balance of power from impersonal attributes toward personal attributes and toward behavior that political authorities approve. That is a fundamental reason for preference of a system of strong private property rights: private property rights protect individual liberty.
— Armen A. Alchian

The State can protect and promote the interests of its sick, or potentially sick, citizens in one of two ways only: either by coercing physicians, and other medical and paramedical personnel, to serve patients — as State-owned slaves in the last analysis, or be creating economic, moral, and political circumstances favorable to a plentiful supply of competent physicians and effective drugs.
— Thomas Szasz, “The Right to Health” [1969]

Liberty is meaningless if it is only the liberty to agree with those in power.
— Ludwig von Mises

A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.
— Lysander Spooner

From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either the one or the other, but not both at the same time.
— Friedrich von Hayek

When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.
— Fredric Bastiat

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial … the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.
— Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

I am interested in politics so that one day I will not have to be interested in politics.
— Ayn Rand

It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.
— P.J. O’Rourke

I believed the lie that “I was poor because rich people are rich.”
— Star Parker, speaking in Wichita

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.
— Martin Luther King Jr.

Politicians are always interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.
— P.J. O’Rourke

In a democracy, two wolves and a sheep take a majority vote on what’s for supper. In a constitutional republic, the wolves are forbidden on voting on what’s for supper, and the sheep are well armed.
— Anonymous

Democrats can never get any sleep because they are afraid somebody somewhere is making too much money. Republicans can never get any sleep because they are afraid somebody somewhere is having too much fun.
— Anonymous

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
— Winston Churchill

Adam Smith’s key insight was that both parties to an exchange can benefit and that, so long as cooperation is strictly voluntary, no exchange can take place unless both parties do benefit.
— Milton Friedman

What kind of a society isn’t structured on greed? The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm.
— Milton Friedman

When a man spends his own money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about how much he spends and how he spends it. When a man spends his own money to buy something for someone else, he is still very careful about how much he spends, but somewhat less what he spends it on. When a man spends someone else’s money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about what he buys, but doesn’t care at all how much he spends. And when a man spends someone else’s money on someone else, he doesn’t care how much he spends or what he spends it on. And that’s government for you.
— Milton Friedman

I don’t care who does the electing so long as I do the nominating.
— William “Boss” Tweed, political boss of Tammany Hall

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
— Edward R. Murrow

The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.
— Eugene McCarthy

I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air — that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.
— H.L. Mencken

Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.
— Thomas Jefferson

The intellectual arguments used by the State throughout history to “engineer consent” by the public can be classified into two parts: (1) that rule by the existing government is inevitable, absolutely necessary, and far better than the indescribable evils that would ensue upon its downfall; and (2) that the State rulers are especially great, wise, and altruistic men — far greater, wiser, and better than their simple subjects. In former times, the latter argument took the form of rule by “divine right’ or by the “divine ruler” himself, or by an “aristocracy” of men. In modern times, as we indicated earlier, this argument stresses not so much divine approval as rule by a wise guild of “scientific experts” especially endowed in knowledge of statesmanship and the arcane facts of the world. The increasing use of scientific jargon, especially in the social sciences, has permitted intellectuals to weave apologia for State rule which rival the ancient priestcraft in obscurantism. For example, a thief who presumed to justify his theft by saying that he was really helping his victims by his spending, thus giving retail trade a needed boost, would be hooted down without delay. But when this same theory is clothed in Keynesian mathematical equations and impressive references to the “multiplier effect,” it carries far more conviction with a bamboozled public.
— Murray N. Rothbard, For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

The libertarian creed can now be summed up as (1) the absolute right of every man to the ownership of his own body; (a) the equally absolute right to own and therefore to control the material resources he has found and transformed; and (3) therefore, the absolute right to exchange or give away the ownership to such titles to whoever is willing to exchange or receive them. As we have seen, each of these steps involves property rights, but even if we call step (1) “personal” rights, we shall see that problems about “personal liberty” inextricably involve the rights of material property or free exchange. Or, briefly, the rights of personal liberty and “freedom of enterprise” almost invariably intertwine and cannot really be separated.
— Murray N. Rothbard, For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

While it is vital for the libertarian to hold his ultimate and “extreme” ideal aloft, this does not, contrary to Hayek, make him a “utopian.” The true utopian is one who advocates a system that is contrary to the natural law of human beings and of the real world. A utopian system is one that could not work even if everyone were persuaded to try to put it into practice. The utopian system could not work, i.e., could not sustain itself in operation. The utopian goal of the left: communism — the abolition of specialization and the adoption of uniformity — could not work even if everyone were willing to adopt it immediately. It could not work because it violates the very nature of man and the world, especially the uniqueness and individuality of every person, of his abilities and interests, and because it would mean a drastic decline in the production of wealth, so much so as to doom the great bulk of the human race to rapid starvation and extinction.
— Murray N. Rothbard, For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

In the deepest sense, then, the libertarian doctrine is not utopian but eminently realistic, because it is the only theory that is really consistent with the nature of man and the world. The libertarian does not deny the variety and diversity of man, he glories in it and seeks to give that diversity full expression in a world of complete freedom. And in doing so, he also brings about an enormous increase in productivity and in the living standards of everyone, an eminently “practical” result generally scorned by true utopians as evil “materialism.”
— Murray N. Rothbard, For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

Strands and remnants of libertarian doctrines are, indeed, all around us, in large parts of our glorious past and in values and ideas in the confused present. But only libertarianism takes these strands and remnants and integrates them into a mighty, logical, and consistent system. The enormous success of Karl Marx and Marxism has been due not to the validity of his ideas — all of which, indeed, are fallacious — but to the fact that he dared to weave socialist theory into a mighty system. Liberty cannot succeed without an equivalent and contrasting systematic theory; and until the last few years, despite our great heritage of economic and political thought and practice, we have not had a fully integrated and consistent theory of liberty. We now have that systematic theory; we come, fully armed with our knowledge, prepared to bring our message and to capture the imagination of all groups and strands in the population. All other theories and systems have clearly failed: socialism is in retreat everywhere, and notably in Eastern Europe; liberalism has bogged us down in a host of insoluble problems; conservatism has nothing to offer but sterile defense of the status quo. Liberty has never been fully tried in the modern world; libertarians now propose to fulfill the American dream and the world dream of liberty and prosperity for all mankind.
— Murray N. Rothbard, For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

Feeling good about government is like looking on the bright side of any catastrophe. When you quit looking on the bright side, the catastrophe is still there.
— P. J. O’Rourke

Professor Mises has keenly pointed out the paradox of interventionists who insist that consumers are too ignorant or incompetent to buy products intelligently, while at the same time proclaiming the virtues of democracy, where the same people vote for or against politicians whom they do not know and on policies which they scarcely understand.
— Murray N. Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State

In short, a characteristic of an investment expenditure is that the good in question is not being used to fulfill the needs of the investor, but of someone else — the consumer. Yet, when government confiscates resources from the private market economy, it is precisely defying the wishes of the consumers; when government invests in any good, it does so to serve the whims of government officials, not the desires of consumers. Therefore, no government expenditures can be considered genuine “investment,” and no government-owned assets can be considered capital.
— Murray N. Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State

Maybe that‘s because guns are sold at a profit, while schools are provided by the government. — David Boaz in response to Jocelyn Elders statement, “It is often easier for our children to obtain a gun than it is to find a good school.”

In a much quoted passage in his inaugural address, President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” It is a striking sign of the temper of our times that the controversy about this passage centered on its origin and not on its content. Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. The paternalistic “what your country can do for you” implies that government is the patron, the citizen the ward, a view that is at odds with the free man’s belief in his own responsibility for his own destiny. The organismic, “what you can do for your country” implies that government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary. To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshipped and served. He recognizes no national goal except as it is the consensus of the goals that the citizens severally serve. He recognizes no national purpose except as it is the consensus of the purposes for which the citizens severally strive.
— Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom

And expertise was annoyingly changeable. Experts said margarine was the healthy alternative to butter — until they said its trans fats made it harmful.
— George Will

Demand-side economics, or Keynesianism … holds that modern economic problems stem from people not spending enough money. In consumerist America this is always been a bizarre premise.
— Brian Domitrovic, Econoclasts

More and more Americans are catching on to the scam. Every day, more see that the road to serfdom in America does not involve a knock in the night or a jack-booted thug. It starts with smooth-talking politicians offering seemingly innocuous compromises, and an opportunistic leadership that chooses not to stand up for America’s enduring principles of freedom and entrepreneurship.
— Arthur C. Brooks and Paul Ryan

If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side.
— Orson Scott Card

One difference between libertarianism and socialism is that a socialist society can’t tolerate groups of people practicing freedom, but a libertarian society can comfortably allow people to choose voluntary socialism. If a group of people — even a very large group — wanted to purchase land and own it in common, they would be free to do so. The libertarian legal order would require only that no one be coerced into joining or giving up his property.
— David Boaz

The interventionists do not approach the study of economic matters with scientific disinterestedness. Most of them are driven by an envious resentment against those whose incomes are larger than their own. This bias makes it impossible for them to see things as they really are. For them the main thing is not to improve the conditions of the masses, but to harm the entrepreneurs and capitalists even if this policy victimizes the immense majority of the people.
— Ludwig von Mises

Whatever people do in the market economy, is the execution of their own plans. In this sense every human action means planning. What those calling themselves planners advocate is not the substitution of planned action for letting things go. It is the substitution of the planner’s own plan for the plans of his fellow-men. The planner is a potential dictator who wants to deprive all other people of the power to plan and act according to their own plans. He aims at one thing only: the exclusive absolute pre-eminence of his own plan.
— Ludwig von Mises

All this talk: the state should do this or that, ultimately means: the police should force consumers to behave otherwise than they would behave spontaneously.
— Ludwig von Mises

A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.
— Ludwig von Mises

People do not cooperate under the division of labor because they love or should love one another. They cooperate because this best serves their own interests. Neither love nor charity nor any other sympathetic sentiments but rightly understood selfishness is what originally impelled man to adjust himself to the requirements of society, to respect the rights and freedoms of his fellow men and to substitute peaceful collaboration for enmity and conflict.
— Ludwig von Mises

The criterion of truth is that it works even if nobody is prepared to acknowledge it.
— Ludwig von Mises

To think it is right to use force to override another person’s preferences “for his own good” is the essence of the totalitarian personality. If you have the right to do that to someone else, then someone else has the right to do it to you. That way lies the rationalization for every conceivable kind of coercion.
— Charles Murray

The label “conservative” conveys much useful information about people who adopt it. So does the label “liberal,” which is why most liberals have abandoned it, preferring “progressive,” until they discredit it, too.
— George Will

Just because government is doing something doesn’t mean that it should be done, and even if it should be done, it doesn’t follow that government should be the one to do it, just because government is already doing it.
— Bob Weeks

Dispersed knowledge is essentially dispersed, and cannot possibly be gathered together and conveyed to an authority charged with the task of deliberately creating order.
— Friedrich von Hayek

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how much they really know about what they imagine they can design.
— Friedrich von Hayek

In short, killing the goose that lays the golden egg is a viable political strategy, so long as the goose does not die before the next election and no one traces the politicians’ fingerprints on the murder weapon.
— Thomas Sowell

To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.
— Friedrich von Hayek

Of course, compared with the precise predictions we have learnt to expect in the physical sciences, this sort of mere pattern predictions is a second best with which one does not like to have to be content. Yet the danger of which I want to warn is precisely the belief that in order to have a claim to be accepted as scientific it is necessary to achieve more. This way lies charlatanism and worse. To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm. In the physical sciences there may be little objection to trying to do the impossible; one might even feel that one ought not to discourage the over-confident because their experiments may after all produce some new insights. But in the social field the erroneous belief that the exercise of some power would have beneficial consequences is likely to lead to a new power to coerce other men being conferred on some authority. Even if such power is not in itself bad, its exercise is likely to impede the functioning of those spontaneous ordering forces by which, without understanding them, man is in fact so largely assisted in the pursuit of his aims. We are only beginning to understand on how subtle a communication system the functioning of an advanced industrial society is based – a communications system which we call the market and which turns out to be a more efficient mechanism for digesting dispersed information than any that man has deliberately designed.
If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible. He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants. There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try, “dizzy with success”, to use a characteristic phrase of early communism, to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will. The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society – a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.
— Friedrich von Hayek

In a civil society you make the choices about your life. In a political society someone else makes those choices. And because it is not the natural order of things for someone other than you to make those decisions about your life, the political society is of necessity based on coercion.
— David Boaz

It’s no accident that you hear ads for Remy Martin and “private banking services” on NPR, not for Budweiser and free checking accounts.
— Cato Handbook for Policymakers

A bureaucrat differs from a non-bureaucrat precisely because he is working
in a field in which it is impossible to appraise the result of a man’s effort in
terms of money.
— Ludwig von Mises

Simply put, the more you know about American government, history, and economics the less likely you are to pursue and win elective office.
— Intercollegiate Studies Institute, based on their survey results

When deciding what to do politically — what should the government do — classical liberals have one clear standard: Does this increase, or does it reduce the freedom of the individual?
— Nigel Ashford

I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.. … It is only for the sake of profit that any man ploys a capital in the support of industry; and he will always, therefore, endeavor to employ it in the support of that industry of which the produce is likely to be of the greatest value. … He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. … By directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.
— Adam Smith

I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, when it’s possible. The reason I am is because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending. The question is, “How do you hold down government spending?” Government spending now amounts to close to 40% of national income not counting indirect spending through regulation and the like. If you include that, you get up to roughly half. The real danger we face is that number will creep up and up and up. The only effective way I think to hold it down, is to hold down the amount of income the government has. The way to do that is to cut taxes.
— Milton Friedman, September 2003

Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.
— Milton Friedman

But the closer we look at public-sector economic initiatives, the more difficult it becomes to defend government as a wellspring of progress. Indeed, an honest examination of our economic history — going back long before the twentieth century — reveals that, more often than not, when government programs and individual enterprise have gone head to head, the private sector has achieved more progress at less cost with greater benefit to consumers and the economy at large.
— Burton W. Folsom

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
— Cicero, 55 BC

This book intends, in part, to document the fact that the two major parties are not what they say and that you are right to be angry with their false claims about core beliefs. It is a shock to tender ears, we realize, but by any meaningful yardstick, Democrats do not care about free speech, and Republicans do not care about free enterprise. They are much more concerned with convincing you that the other guy is a Nazi than they are about relaxing government’s control over activities it has no business meddling in. Political independence in and of itself is a private and public virtue, with potency that only grows with each passing year. Thinking for yourself is much more work than setting your compass by the direction of the tribe, but, oh, the liberation. Suddenly the world looks a good deal more ridiculous, tawdry, and intellectually beatable. And the same technologies that have jazzed up the rest of our lives and roiled every American industry you can name have made it exponentially easier for like-minded single-issue coalitions to swarm together and wreak holy havoc on a political establishment that hates, above all else, uncertainty.
— Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix
What’s Wrong with America
Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another. Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property. In vices, the very essence of crime — that is, the design to injure the person or property of another — is wanting. It is a maxim of the law that there can be no crime without a criminal intent; that is, without the intent to invade the person or property of another. But no one ever practises a vice with any such criminal intent. He practises his vice for his own happiness solely, and not from any malice toward others.
— Lysander Spooner

These associations, or political parties, are actual armies which have been trained to pursue power; their immediate objective is to so increase the number of their adherents as to control an electoral majority. Influential electors are for this purpose promised such or such share in the profits which will follow success, but such promises — generally place or privilege — are redeemable only by a multiplication of “places,” which involves a corresponding increase of national enterprises, whether of war or of peace. It is nothing to a politician that the result is increased charges and heavier drains on the vital energy of the people. The unceasing competition under which they labour, first in their efforts to secure office, and next to maintain their position, compels them to make party interest their sole care, and they are in no position to consider whether this personal and immediate interest is in harmony with the general and permanent good of the nation.
— Gustave de Molinari

But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical fact. The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: Your money, or your life. And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.

The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the road side, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a “protector,” and that he takes men’s money against their will, merely to enable him to “protect” those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful “sovereign,” on account of the “protection” he affords you. He does not keep “protecting” you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villanies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.
— Lysander Spooner

[The process] incessantly revolutionizes from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact of capitalism.
— Joseph Schumpeter

As Jefferson warned, if the federal government is allowed to hold a monopoly on determining the extent of its own powers, we have no right to be surprised when it keeps discovering new ones. If the federal government has the exclusive right to judge the extent of its own powers, it will continue to grow — regardless of elections, the separation of powers, and other much-touted limits on government power.
— Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

The free lunch myth: The belief that somehow government can spend money at nobody’s expense.
— Milton Friedman

When I hear these kinds of claims, I immediately wonder, “If this is so great, why do we need politicians to force us to take these steps?” The answer, invariably, is that experts know best and politicians have access to information and expertise that you and I do not.
— Todd Myers, from “Eco-Fads: How the rise of trendy environmentalism is harming the environment”

Somewhere in the United States today, government officials are writing a plan that will profoundly affect other people’s lives, incomes, and property. Though it may be written with the best intentions, the plan will go horribly wrong. The costs will be far higher than anticipated, the benefits will prove far smaller, and various unintended consequences will turn out to be worse than even the plan’s critics predicted.
— Randal O’Toole

The strongest argument for free enterprise is that it prevents anybody from having too much power. Whether that person is a government official, a trade union official, or a business executive. It forces them to put up or shut up. They either have to deliver the goods, produce something that people are willing to pay for, are willing to buy, or else they have to go into a different business.
— Milton Friedman

The role of government in economic development should be limited to that of providing the framework necessary for equally protecting the rights and property of all citizens, through the rule of law, and not by acting as a participant in any activity that places it in a position of granting a competitive advantage to one group of citizens to the exclusion of all others. When government becomes an active participant in economic activity, it abdicates its proper role of providing the legal framework and physical security that is essential for natural coercive-free trade to flourish.
— John Todd

Most important, people who want to spend money to support the political candidates of their choice are limited to contributions of $1,000 — sort of like telling the New York Times that it can write an editorial endorsing Bill Clinton but it can only print 1,000 copies of the paper. That’s how the political establishment, while proclaiming its devotion to free speech, hobbles the kind of speech that might actually threaten its power.
— David Boaz

Fascism will come at the hands of perfectly authentic Americans who have been working to commit this country to the rule of the bureaucratic state; interfering in the affairs of the states and cities; taking part in the management of industry and finance and agriculture; assuming the role of great national banker and investor, borrowing billions every year and spending them on all sorts of projects through which such a government can paralyze opposition and command public support; marshaling great armies and navies at crushing costs to support the industry of war and preparation for war which will become our nation’s greatest industry; and adding to all this the most romantic adventures in global planning, regeneration, and domination, all to be done under the authority of a powerfully centralized government in which the executive will hold in effect all the powers, with Congress reduced to the role of a debating society.
— John T. Flynn

What our generation has forgotten is that the system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not. It is only because the control of the means of production is divided among many people acting independently that nobody has complete power over us, that we as individuals can decide what to do with ourselves. If all the means of production were vested in a single hand, whether it be nominally that of “society” as a whole or that of a dictator, whoever exercises this control has complete power over us.
— Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

The short memories of American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.
— Will Rogers

In a world where cities must compete against each other and where the federal government plays favorites, the smartest policy for cities is to make sure that the native entrepreneurs are recruited, succored, and supported in every possible way. This requires the local government to establish an environment where innovation happens on its own, without officials being directive about how or where innovation is supposed to occur. Cities, like capitalism, are a messy phenomenon. America’s best chance of seeing a 4% growth rate is to let mess prevail at the local level.
— Carl Schramm

The term “capitalism” refers not just to markets for the exchange of goods and services, which have existed since time immemorial, but to the system of innovation, wealth creation, and social change that has brought to billions of people prosperity that was unimaginable to earlier generations of human beings. Capitalism refers to a legal, social, economic, and cultural system that embraces equality of rights and “careers open to talent” and that energizes decentralized innovation and processes of trial and error. … Capitalist culture celebrates the entrepreneur, the scientist, the risk-taker, the innovator, the creator. … Far from being an amoral arena for the clash of interests, as capitalism is often portrayed by those who seek to undermine or destroy it, capitalist interaction is highly structured by ethical norms and rules. Indeed, capitalism rests on a rejection of the ethics of loot and grab. … Capitalism puts human creativity to the service of humanity by respecting and encouraging entrepreneurial innovation, that elusive factor that explains the difference between the way we live now and how generation after generation after generation of our ancestors lived prior to the nineteenth century.
— Tom G. Palmer

Critics of markets often complain that capitalism encourages and rewards self-interest. In fact, people are self-interested under any political system. Markets channel their self-interest in socially beneficent directions. In a free market, people achieve their own purposes by finding out what others want and trying to offer it. That may mean several people working together to build a fishing net or a road. In a more complex economy, it means seeking one’s own profit by offering goods or services that satisfy the needs or desires of others. Workers and entrepreneurs who best satisfy those needs will be rewarded; those who don’t will soon find out and be encouraged to copy their more successful competitors or try a new approach.
— David Boaz

Merchants and capitalists need not blush when our contemporary politicians and intellectuals look down their noses at them, and strut about declaiming this and decrying that, all the while demanding that the merchants, capitalists, workers, investors, craftsmen, farmers, inventors, and other productive producers create the wealth that the politicians confiscate and the anticapitalistic intellectuals resent but greedily consume. Markets do not depend on or presuppose people being selfish, any more than politics does. Nor do market exchanges encourage more selfish behavior or motivation. But unlike politics, free exchange among willing participants does generate wealth and peace, which are conditions under which generosity, friendship, and love flourish. There is something to be said for that, as Adam Smith well understood.
— Tom G. Palmer

In a much-quoted story, the economist Milton Friedman was shown the construction on a massive new canal in Asia. When he noted that it was odd that the workers were moving huge amounts of earth and rock with small shovels, rather than earth moving equipment, he was told “You don’t understand; this is a jobs program.” His response: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If you’re seeking to create jobs, why didn’t you issue them spoons, rather than shovels?”
— Tom G. Palmer

Let it be said once and for all, loud and clear, however; private property rights are not the enemy of a clean a safe environment. Indeed, the very opposite is the case. Free market environmentalism is not an oxymoron. Just go and ask the environmentalists on the other side of the Iron Curtain about how well socialist governments treat the land, air and water. As long as private property rights include the right to sue trespassers, e.g., perpetrators of mud slides, oil spills, wayward dust particles (air pollution), this system is the last best hope for a sound ecological system.
— Walter Block

If we should vote next week on whether to begin producing cheese in a factory on the moon, I almost certainly would oppose it. … On the other hand, if the government decided to institute the policy, it would be my objective to see that a Texas contractor builds this celestial cheese plant, that the milk comes from Texas cows, and that the Earth distribution center is located in Texas.
— Former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm of Texas

Government gets in front of a parade and pretends to lead it.
— John Stossel

What is the color, when black is burned?
— Neil Young

“Need” now means wanting someone else’s money. “Greed” means wanting to keep your own. “Compassion” is when a politician arranges the transfer.
— Joseph Sobran

I see the states, across this big nation
I see the laws made in Washington, D.C.
I think of the ones I consider my favorites
I think of the people that are working for me

Some civil servants are just like my loved ones
They work so hard and they try to be strong
I’m a lucky guy to live in my building
They own the buildings to help them along
— Talking Heads, “Don’t Worry About the Government”

I became a conservative by being around liberals and I became a libertarian by being around conservatives. You realize that there’s something distinctly in common between the two groups, the left and the right; the worst part of each of them is the moralizing.
— Greg Gutfeld

Let’s go and get it from those who’ve got it.
— United States Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland

One big difference between initiatives and elected representatives is that initiatives do not change their minds once you vote them in.
— Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform

There is nothing more sacred to a free people than the right to govern themselves and take matters into their own hands, when their elected officials have failed them.
— Ward Connerly, chairman of the American Civil Rights Coalition

Without initiatives and referendums, elites would barely bother at all to take note of public opinion on issues they disdained — from supermajority requirements to raise taxes to term limits. They serve as a reminder that the experts sometimes have to pay attention to good old common sense.
— John Fund of The Wall Street Journal

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
— H.L. Mencken

The serious fact is that the bulk of the really important things economics has to teach are things that people would see for themselves if they were willing to see.
— Frank Knight, “The Role of Principles in Economics and Politics”

I have often wondered why economists, with these absurdities all around them, so easily adopt the view that men act rationally. This may be because they study an economic system in which the discipline of the market ensures that, in a business setting, decisions are more or less rational. The employee of a corporation who buys something for $10 and sells it for $8 is not likely to do so for long. Someone who, in a family setting, does much the same thing, may make his wife and children miserable throughout his life. A politician who wastes his country’s resources on a grand scale may have a successful career.
— Ronald Coase, “Comment on Thomas W. Hazlitt”

I am suspicious of all the things that the average citizen believes.
— H.L. Mencken

As we never cease to point out, each man is in practice an excellent economist, producing or exchanging according as he finds it more advantageous to do the one or the other.
— Frederic Bastiat, Economic Sophisms

All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.
— H.L. Mencken

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.
— H.L. Mencken

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
— H.L. Mencken

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed, and are right.
— H.L. Mencken

The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.
— H.L. Mencken

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
— H.L. Mencken

A newspaper is a device for making the ignorant more ignorant and the crazy crazier.
— H.L. Mencken

The kind of man who demands that government enforce his ideas is always the kind whose ideas are idiotic.
— H.L. Mencken

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.
— H.L. Mencken

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.
— H.L. Mencken

I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.
— H.L. Mencken

The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting ‘A’ to satisfy ‘B’. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods.
— H.L. Mencken

I am wholly devoid of public spirit or moral purpose. This is incomprehensible to many men, and they seek to remedy the defect by crediting me with purposes of their own. The only thing I respect is intellectual honesty, of which, of course, intellectual courage is a necessary part. A Socialist who goes to jail for his opinions seems to me a much finer man than the judge who sends him there, though I disagree with all the ideas of the Socialist and agree with some of those of the judge. But though he is fine, the Socialist is nevertheless foolish, for he suffers for what is untrue. If I knew what was true, I’d probably be willing to sweat and strive for it, and maybe even to die for it to the tune of bugle-blasts. But so far I have not found it.
— H.L. Mencken

When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that an old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had only one before.
— H.L. Mencken

I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air — that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave. … In any dispute between a citizen and the government, it is my instinct to side with the citizen. … I am against all efforts to make men virtuous by law.
— H.L. Mencken

As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright moron.
— H.L. Mencken

When a humanitarian wishes to see to it that everyone has a quart of milk, it is evident that he hasn’t got the milk, and cannot produce it himself, or why should he be merely wishing?
— Isabel Paterson, The God of the Machine

As between the private philanthropist and the private capitalist acting as such, take the case of the truly needy man, who is not incapacitated, and suppose that the philanthropist gives him food and clothes and shelter — when he has used them up, he is just where he was before, except that he may have acquired the habit of dependence. But suppose someone with no benevolent motive whatever, simply wanting work done for his own reasons, should hire the needy man for a wage. The employer has not done a good deed. Yet the condition of the employed man has actually been changed. What is the vital difference between the two actions?
— Isabel Paterson, The God of the Machine

The social function of economic science consists precisely in developing sound economic theories and in exploding the fallacies of vicious reasoning. In the pursuit of this task the economist incurs the deadly enmity of all mountebanks and charlatans whose shortcuts to an earthly paradise he debunks. The less these quacks are able to advance plausible objections to an economist’s argument, the more furiously do they insult them.
— Ludwig von Mises

Don’t let the past remind us of what we are not now.
— Stephen Stills, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”

Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others.
— William Allen White

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
— Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.
— Albert Einstein

It’s no accident that capitalism has brought with it progress, not merely in production but also in knowledge. Egoism and competition are, alas, stronger forces than public spirit and sense of duty.
— Albert Einstein

If men are good, you don’t need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don’t dare have one.
— Robert LeFevre

The essential psychological requirement of a free society is the willingness on the part of the individual to accept responsibility for his life.
— Edith Packer

What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don’t like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don’t expect freedom to survive very long.
— Thomas Sowell

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit … Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do … He does not keep “protecting” you by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that.
— Lysander Spooner

Liberals believe government should take people’s earnings to give to poor people. Conservatives disagree. They think government should confiscate people’s earnings and give them to farmers and insolvent banks. The compelling issue to both conservatives and liberals is not whether it is legitimate for government to confiscate one’s property to give to another, the debate is over the disposition of the pillage.
— Walter Williams

We ask that the government undertake the obligation above all of providing citizens with adequate opportunity for employment and earning a living. The activities of the individual must not be allowed to clash with the interests of the community, but must take place within its confines and be for the good of all. Therefore, we demand: … an end to the power of the financial interests. We demand profit sharing in big business. We demand a broad extension of care for the aged. We demand … the greatest possible consideration of small business in the purchases of national, state, and municipal governments. In order to make possible to every capable and industrious [citizen] the attainment of higher education and thus the achievement of a post of leadership, the government must provide an all-around enlargement of our entire system of public education … We demand the education at government expense of gifted children of poor parents … The government must undertake the improvement of public health – by protecting mother and child, by prohibiting child labor … by the greatest possible support for all clubs concerned with the physical education of youth. We combat the … materialistic spirit within and without us, and are convinced that a permanent recovery of our people can only proceed from within on the foundation of the common good before the individual good.
— From the political program of the Nazi Party, adopted in Munich, February 24, 1920

It took about 150 years, starting with a Bill of Rights that reserved to the states and the people all powers not explicitly delegated to the federal government, to produce a Supreme Court willing to rule that growing corn to feed to your own hogs is interstate commerce and can therefore be regulated by Congress.
— David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom

How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.
— Adolf Hitler

A [tax loophole is] something that benefits the other guy. If it benefits you, it is tax reform.
— Russell B. Long

The bureaucrat’s first objective, of course, is preservation of his job — provided by the big-government system, at the taxpayers expense. … Whether real world problems get solved or not is of secondary importance. It doesn’t take much cynicism, in fact, to see that the bureaucrats have a vested interest in not having problems solved. If the problems did not exist (or had been invented), there would be no reason for the bureaucrat to have a job.
— William Simon, former U.S Treasury Secretary

Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic.
— Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

The difference between death and taxes is, death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.
— Will Rogers

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.
— Milton Friedman

Politicians, like bombers, seldom see their victims.
— Donald Boudreaux

The reason welfare is bad is not because it costs too much, nor because it “undermines the work ethic,” but because it is intrinsically at odds with the way human beings come to live satisfying lives.
— Charles Murray

The economic miracle that has been the United States was not produced by socialized enterprises, by government-unon-industry cartels or by centralized economic planning. It was produced by private enterprises in a profit-and-loss system. And losses were at least as important in weeding out failures, as profits in fostering successes. Let government succor failures, and we shall be headed for stagnation and decline.
— Milton Friedman

Economic freedom is an essential requisite for political freedom. By enabling people to cooperate with one another without coercion or central direction, it reduces the area over which political power is exercised.
— Milton Friedman

Consider Social Security. The young have always contributed to the support of the old. Earlier, the young helped their own parents out of a sense of love and duty. They now contribute to the support of someone else’s parents out of compulsion and fear. The voluntary transfers strengthened the bonds of the family; the compulsory transfers weaken those bonds.
— Milton Friedman

Freedom is not a luxury for a few wealthy nations; as many of our liberal pundits try to tell us, but a necessity for the poor and hungry.
— Edward P. Coleson

Were it necessary to bring a majority into a comprehension of the libertarian philosophy, the cause of liberty would be utterly hopeless. Every significant movement in history has been led by one or just a few individuals with a small minority of energetic supporters.
— Leonard E. Read

Man must have the right of choice, even to choose wrong, if he shall ever learn to choose right.
— Josiah C. Wedgwood

See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals.
— Frédéric Bastiat

If an exchange between two parties is voluntary, it will not take place unless both believe they will benefit from it. Most economic fallacies derive from the neglect of this simple insight, from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.
— Milton Friedman

Don’t ask the barber whether you need a haircut.
— Daniel Greenberg

They told me if I voted for Goldwater, he would get us into a war in Vietnam. Well, I voted for Goldwater and that’s what happened.
— William F. Buckley, Jr.

The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others. Never under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weakness, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects — his laziness, incompetence, improvidence, or stupidity.
— Henry Hazlitt

Have you ever noticed how statists are constantly “reforming” their own handiwork? Education reform. Health-care reform. Welfare reform. Tax reform. The very fact that they’re always busy “reforming” is an implicit admission that they didn’t get it right the first 50 times.
— Lawrence W. Reed

A right is not what someone gives you; it’s what no one can take from you.
— Ramsey Clark

Freedom is not a luxury that we can indulge in when at last we have security and prosperity and enlightenment; it is, rather, antecedent to all of these, for without it we can have neither security nor prosperity nor enlightenment.
— Henry Steele Commager

Being tolerant does not mean that I share another one’s belief. But it does mean that I acknowledge another one’s right to believe, and obey, his own conscience.
— Victor Frank

A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to.
— Granville Hicks

If there is any principle of the constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.
— Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr

Government cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law.
— Clarence Thomas

The War on Drugs is a price support system for terrorists and drug pushers. It turns ordinary, cheap plants like marijuana and poppies into fantastically lucrative black market products. Without the War on Drugs, the financial engine that fuels terrorist organizations would sputter to a halt.
— Ron Crickenberger

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
— George Orwell

The whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.
— Henry Hazlitt

If there’s anything a public servant hates to do it’s something for the public.
— Anonymous

I don’t want my children fed or clothed by the state, but I would prefer that to their being educated by the state.
— Max Victor Belz

When a man spends his own money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about how much he spends and how he spends it. When a man spends his own money to buy something for someone else, he is still very careful about how much he spends, but somewhat less what he spends it on. When a man spends someone else’s money to buy something for himself, he is very careful about what he buys, but doesn’t care at all how much he spends. And when a man spends someone else’s money on someone else, he doesn’t care how much he spends or what he spends it on. And that’s government for you.
— Milton Friedman

The supply of government exceeds the demand.
— Lewis H. Lapham II

The state is essentially an apparatus of compulsion and coercion. The characteristic feature of its activities is to compel people through the application or the threat of force to behave otherwise than they would like to behave.
— Ludwig von Mises

A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.
— Lysander Spooner

People do not walk barefoot because there are no government shoe factories.
— Anonymous

We are not governed by the people; that’s a myth carried over from Abraham Lincoln’s day. We don’t have government of the people, by the people, for the people. We have government of the people, by the bureaucrats, for the bureaucrats.
— Milton Friedman

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
— Robert Heinlein

Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property.
— Lysander Spooner

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
— Voltaire

If you have ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law.
— Winston Churchill

Libertarianism is the idea that adult individuals have the right and the responsibility to make the important decisions about their lives. Every word is important there: Were talking about individuals. We’re talking about adults; the question of children’s rights is far more complex. Responsibility is just as important as rights.
— David Boaz

Three key ideas of libertarianism: Spontaneous order: the understanding that most of the order in society, from language and law to the economy, happens naturally, without a central plan; Natural rights: the rights to life, liberty, and property that we have inherently, not as a gift from government; and limited government: the political system that protects our rights without infringing on our freedom.
— David Boaz

“Libertarianism is the application of science and reason to the study of politics and public policy.” That is, libertarians deal in reality, not magic. We know that government doesn’t have magical powers to ignore the laws of economics and human nature.
— David Boaz

Don’t hit other people.
Don’t take their stuff.
Keep your promises.
— David Boaz

The simple system of natural liberty.
— Adam Smith

But politicians love Keynesian theory because it tells them that their vice is a virtue. They’re not buying votes with other people’s money, they’re “stimulating” the economy!
— Daniel J. Mitchell

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.
— Patrick Henry

A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.
— Winston Churchill

That’s the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody’s going to be against, and everybody’s going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn’t mean anything.
— Noam Chomsky

If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.
— Hillary Rodham Clinton

Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.
— William F. Buckley Jr.

All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him. If it be aristocratic in organization, then it seeks to protect the man who is superior only in law against the man who is superior in fact; if it be democratic, then it seeks to protect the man who is inferior in every way against both. One of its primary functions is to regiment men by force, to make them as much alike as possible and as dependent upon one another as possible, to search out and combat originality among them. All it can see in an original idea is potential change, and hence an invasion of its prerogatives. The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.
— H.L. Mencken

I’ve never been able to understand why a Republican contributor is a “fat cat” and a Democratic contributor of the same amount of money is a “public-spirited philanthropist.”
— Ronald Reagan

That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met.
— Noam Chomsky

Consensus: 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; 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?”
— Margaret Thatcher

Equality before the law is probably forever unattainable. It is a noble ideal, but it can never be realized, for what men value in this world is not rights but privileges.
— H.L. Mencken

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed, and are right.
— H.L. Mencken

The most erroneous assumption is to the effect that the aim of public education is to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence, and so make them fit to discharge the duties of citizenship in an enlightened and independent manner. Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”
— H.L. Mencken

The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda — a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make “good” citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens.”
— H.L. Mencken

The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting “A” to satisfy “B”. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods.
— H.L. Mencken

Jury: A group of 12 people, who, having lied to the judge about their health, hearing, and business engagements, have failed to fool him.
— H.L. Mencken

The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame. True enough, even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force. He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. He has a right to teach them to his children. But certainly he has no right to be protected against the free criticism of those who do not hold them. He has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred. He has no right to preach them without challenge.
— H.L. Mencken

Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.
— H.L. Mencken

Democracy is grounded upon so childish a complex of fallacies that they must be protected by a rigid system of taboos, else even halfwits would argue it to pieces. Its first concern must be to penalize the free play of ideas.
— H.L. Mencken

If the work of the average man required half the mental agility and readiness of resource of the work of the average prostitute, the average man would be constantly on the verge of starvation.
— H.L. Mencken

Morality and honor are not to be confused. The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.
— H.L. Mencken

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and fearful master.
— George Washington

The measure of the state’s success is that the word anarchy frightens people, while the word state does not.
— Joseph Sobran

I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.
— Margaret Thatcher

Being democratic is not enough, a majority cannot turn what is wrong into right. In order to be considered truly free, countries must also have a deep love of liberty and an abiding respect for the rule of law.
— Margaret Thatcher

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.
— Margaret Thatcher

Classical and neoclassical liberals are more moderate than hard libertarians, but libertarianism is not a moderate or centrist view. Libertarians advocate radical freedom, radical peace, radical respect, radical equality, and radical tolerance. Libertarians say there is nothing inherently good about being moderate on political issues. After all, the moderate position on, say, black civil rights is Jim Crow. The moderate position on free speech involves having an active board of government censors. The interventionist foreign policy of the United States over the past few decades is the moderate position between pacifism and imperialism.
— Jason Brennan

What intuition tempts us to believe: Capitalism is corrupt because big companies use their influence to manipulate the system. What reality taught me: That’s not capitalism. That’s crapitalism.
— John Stossel

If free-market capitalism is a private profit-and-loss system, crony capitalism is a private-profit and public-loss system. Companies keep profits but use government to stick the taxpayer with losses. Clever trick.
— John Stossel

What intuition tempts us to believe: The important thing is to have heroic leaders. What reality taught me: Real heroes don’t control other people’s lives.
— John Stossel

If it be admitted that a man, possessing absolute power, may misuse that power by wronging his adversaries, why should a majority not be liable to the same reproach? Men are not apt to change their characters by agglomeration; nor does their patience in the presence of obstacles increase with the consciousness of their strength. And for these reasons I can never willingly invest any number of my fellow creatures with that unlimited authority which I should refuse any one of them.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed, and are right.
— H.L. Mencken

A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice.
— Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man [1792]

The more numerous public instrumentalities become, the more is there generated in citizens the notion that everything is to be done for them, and nothing by them. Every generation is made less familiar with the attainment of desired ends by individual actions or private agencies; until, eventually, governmental agencies come to be thought of as the only available agencies.
— Herbert Spencer

How strangely will the tools of a tyrant pervert the plain meaning of words!
— Samuel Adams

Everything that makes life without a state undesirable makes life with a state even more undesirable.
— Robert Higgs

With term limits in place, Congress will be more responsible toward their constituents because they will soon be constituents themselves. They will have to live under the laws they have created while in office.
— RestartCongress.org

With term limits in place, Members of Congress will have less time in office to develop financially beneficial commitments to lobbyists and other special interest groups, thereby undermining the threat of lobbyists being a primary influence on legislation.
— RestartCongress.org

Since the time of the Founding Fathers, a general consensus states that people, when given power, will eventually be corrupted by it. If Congress has term limits in place, their power will also be limited. Candidates will be more likely to run for the purpose of serving the people, and they would have to leave office before corruption dominates their decisions.
— RestartCongress.org

Congress is heavily entrenched in partisan politics, resulting in gridlock when trying to pass any legislation. If term limits were enacted, toeing the party line would be less important, as the need for re-election and holding onto party seats would no longer be the driving force behind most legislative decisions. Congress would have an easier time passing the legislation that would make a positive difference for the nation.
— RestartCongress.org

If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.
— Jay Leno

There ought to be one day — just one — when there is open season on Congressmen.
— Will Rogers

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
— Doug Larson

I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
— Charles de Gaulle

Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.
— Author unknown

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it.
— Clarence Darrow

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.
— Nikita Khrushchev

If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these State of the Union speeches, there wouldn’t be any inducement to go to heaven.
— Will Rogers

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
— Aesop

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.
— John Quinton

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.
— Oscar Ameringer

I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.
— Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.
— Tex Guinan

The problem with political jokes is they get elected.
— Henry Cate, VII

If history could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization.
— Ludwig von Mises

Under capitalism the common man enjoys amenities which in ages gone by were unknown and therefore inaccessible even to the richest people. But, of course, these motorcars, television sets and refrigerators do not make a man happy. In the instant in which he acquires them, he may feel happier than he did before. But as soon as some of his wishes are satisfied, new wishes spring up. Such is human nature.
— Ludwig von Mises

Inequality of wealth and incomes is an essential feature of the market economy. It is the implement that makes the consumers supreme in giving them the power to force all those engaged in production to comply with their orders. It forces all those engaged in production to the utmost exertion in the service of the consumers. It makes competition work. He who best serves the consumers profits most and accumulates riches.
— Ludwig von Mises

If one rejects laissez faire on account of mans fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.
— Ludwig von Mises

A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper. He must free himself from the habit, just as soon as something does not please him, of calling for the police.
— Ludwig von Mises

The interventionists do not approach the study of economic matters with scientific disinterestedness. Most of them are driven by an envious resentment against those whose incomes are larger than their own. This bias makes it impossible for them to see things as they really are. For them the main thing is not to improve the conditions of the masses, but to harm the entrepreneurs and capitalists even if this policy victimizes the immense majority of the people.
— Ludwig von Mises

Whatever people do in the market economy, is the execution of their own plans. In this sense every human action means planning. What those calling themselves planners advocate is not the substitution of planned action for letting things go. It is the substitution of the planner’s own plan for the plans of his fellow-men. The planner is a potential dictator who wants to deprive all other people of the power to plan and act according to their own plans. He aims at one thing only: the exclusive absolute pre-eminence of his own plan.
— Ludwig von Mises

The capitalist system of production is an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote. The consumers are the sovereign people. The capitalists, the entrepreneurs, and the farmers are the people’s mandatories. If they do not obey, if they fail to produce, at the lowest possible cost, what the consumers are asking for, they lose their office. Their task is service to the consumer. Profit and loss are the instruments by means of which the consumers keep a tight rein on all business activities.
— Ludwig von Mises

The way you solve things is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.
— Milton Friedman

So the question is, do corporate executives, provided they stay within the law, have responsibilities in their business activities other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible? And my answer to that is, no they do not.
— Milton Friedman

I say thank God for government waste. If government is doing bad things, it’s only the waste that prevents the harm from being greater.
— Milton Friedman

One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.
— Milton Friedman

The strongest argument for free enterprise is that it prevents anybody from having too much power. Whether that person is a government official, a trade union official, or a business executive. If forces them to put up or shut up. They either have to deliver the goods, produce something that people are willing to pay for, are willing to buy, or else they have to go into a different business.
— Milton Friedman

I am a libertarian with a small “l” and a Republican with a capital “R”. And I am a Republican with a capital “R” on grounds of expediency, not on principle.
— Milton Friedman

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.
— Milton Friedman

The key insight of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations is misleadingly simple: if an exchange between two parties is voluntary, it will not take place unless both believe they will benefit from it. Most economic fallacies derive from the neglect of this simple insight, from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.
— Milton Friedman

The price system works so well, so efficiently, that we are not aware of it most of the time. We never realize how well it functions until it is prevented from functioning, and even then we seldom recognize the source of the trouble.
— Milton Friedman

Freedom is not empowerment. Empowerment is what the Serbs have in Bosnia. Anybody can grab a gun and be empowered. It’s not entitlement. An entitlement is what people on welfare get, and how free are they? It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the “right” to education, the “right” to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle. There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.
— P.J. O’Rourke

Everybody wants to save the Earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.
— P.J. O’Rourke

The average IQ in America is — and this can be proven mathematically — average.
— P.J. O’Rourke

There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as “caring” and “sensitive” because he wants to expand the government’s charitable programs is merely saying that he’s willing to try to do good with other people’s money. Well, who isn’t? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he’ll do good with his own money — if a gun is held to his head.
— P.J. O’Rourke

I like to think of my behavior in the sixties as a “learning experience.” Then again, I like to think of anything stupid I’ve done as a “learning experience.” It makes me feel less stupid.
— P.J. O’Rourke

The complexity of economics can be calculated mathematically. Write out the algebraic equation that is the human heart and multiply each unknown by the population of the world.
— P.J. O’Rourke

Collectivism doesn’t work because it’s based on a faulty economic premise. There is no such thing as a person’s fair share of wealth. The gross national product is not a pizza that must be carefully divided because if I get too many slices, you have to eat the box. The economy is expandable and, in any practical sense, limitless.
— P.J. O’Rourke

Those who claim to believe in liberal principals but advocate more and more confiscation of the wealth created by productive people, more and more exceptions to property rights and the rule of law, more and more transfer of power from society to state, are unwittingly engaged in the ultimately deadly undermining of civilization.
— David Boaz

Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property – rights that people possess naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have themselves used force – actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.
— David Boaz

The system that enables the most people to earn the most success is free enterprise, by matching up people’s skills, interests, and abilities. In contrast, redistribution simply spreads money around. Even worse, it attenuates the ability to earn success by perverting economic incentives.
— Arthur C. Brooks

Nobody wants zero regulation, and every company should follow the law. But policy should begin with admiration for new ways that citizens can build their lives, not with hostility to profits or the impulse to protect entrenched industries. Governments have their own golden opportunity to exercise creativity in service of the common good, whether that entails rethinking anachronistic zoning laws or adjusting tax policies that treat someone’s spare bedroom the same as a Marriott suite.
— Arthur C. Brooks

In America, ihe road to serfdom doesn’t come from a knock in the night and a jackbooted thug. It comes from making one little compromise to the free enterprise system after another. Each sounds sort of appealing. No single one is enough to bring down the system. But add them all up, and here we are: 81 percent dissatisfied.
— Arthur C. Brooks

Free enterprise does not mean shredding the social safety net, but championing policies that truly help vulnerable people and build an economy that can sustain these commitments. It doesn’t mean reflexively cheering big business, but leveling the playing field so competition trumps cronyism. It doesn’t entail “anything goes” libertinism, but self-government and self-control. And it certainly doesn’t imply that unfettered greed is laudable or even acceptable.
— Arthur C. Brooks

Free enterprise gives the most people the best shot at earning their success and finding enduring happiness in their work. It creates more paths than any other system to use one’s abilities in creative and meaningful ways, from entrepreneurship to teaching to ministry to playing the French horn. This is hardly mere materialism, and it is much more than an economic alternative. Free enterprise is a moral imperative.
— Arthur C. Brooks

The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.
— George Orwell

When poverty declines, the need for government declines, which is why expecting government to solve poverty is like expecting a tobacco company to mount an aggressive anti-smoking campaign.
— Stefan Molyneux

The fact is that libertarianism is not and does not pretend to be a complete moral or aesthetic theory; it is only a political theory, that is, the important subset of moral theory that deals with the proper role of violence in social life.

Political theory deals with what is proper or improper for government to do, and government is distinguished from every other group in society as being the institution of organized violence. Libertarianism holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal. Libertarianism, therefore, is a theory which states that everyone should be free of violent invasion, should be free to do as he sees fit, except invade the person or property of another. What a person does with his or her life is vital and important, but is simply irrelevant to libertarianism.

It should not be surprising, therefore, that there are libertarians who are indeed hedonists and devotees of alternative lifestyles, and that there are also libertarians who are firm adherents of “bourgeois” conventional or religious morality. There are libertarian libertines and there are libertarians who cleave firmly to the disciplines of natural or religious law. There are other libertarians who have no moral theory at all apart from the imperative of non-violation of rights. That is because libertarianism per se has no general or personal moral theory.

Libertarianism does not offer a way of life; it offers liberty, so that each person is free to adopt and act upon his own values and moral principles. Libertarians agree with Lord Acton that “liberty is the highest political end” — not necessarily the highest end on everyone’s personal scale of values.
— Murray N. Rothbard

Libertarianism is “cultish,” say the sophisticates. Of course, there’s nothing cultish at all about allegiance to the state, with its flags, its songs, its mass murders, its little children saluting and paying homage to pictures of their dear leaders on the wall, etc.
— Thomas E. Woods Jr.

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.
— Thomas Sowell

When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.
— Thomas Sowell

People who pride themselves on their “complexity” and deride others for being “simplistic” should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth.
— Thomas Sowell

The fact that the market is not doing what we wish it would do is no reason to automatically assume that the government would do better.
— Thomas Sowell

The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.
— Thomas Sowell

It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.
— Thomas Sowell

Socialism is a wonderful idea. It is only as a reality that it has been disastrous. Among people of every race, color, and creed, all around the world, socialism has led to hunger in countries that used to have surplus food to export…. Nevertheless, for many of those who deal primarily in ideas, socialism remains an attractive idea — in fact, seductive. Its every failure is explained away as due to the inadequacies of particular leaders.
— Thomas Sowell

Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.
— Thomas Sowell

Whenever someone refers to me as someone “who happens to be black,” I wonder if they realize that both my parents are black. If I had turned out to be Scandinavian or Chinese, people would have wondered what was going on.
— Thomas Sowell

Mystical references to “society” and its programs to “help” may warm the hearts of the gullible but what it really means is putting more power in the hands of bureaucrats.
— Thomas Sowell

The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First you take people’s money away quietly and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly.
— Thomas Sowell

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems—of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.
— Thomas Sowell

Democracy and liberty are not the same. Democracy is little more than mob rule, while liberty refers to the sovereignty of the individual.
— Walter E. WIlliams

How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively? Furthermore, does legality establish morality? Slavery was legal; apartheid is legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist purges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of moral people.
— Walter E. WIlliams

Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. Capitalism made it possible to become wealthy by serving your fellow man.
— Walter E. WIlliams

No matter how worthy the cause, it is robbery, theft, and injustice to confiscate the property of one person and give it to another to whom it does not belong.
— Walter E. WIlliams

There are many farm handouts; but let’s call them what they really are: a form of legalized theft. Essentially, a congressman tells his farm constituency, “Vote for me. I’ll use my office to take another American’s money and give it to you.”
— Walter E. WIlliams

It constantly amazes me that defenders of the free market are expected to offer certainty and perfection while government has only to make promises and express good intentions. Many times, for instance, I’ve heard people say, “A free market in education is a bad idea because some child somewhere might fall through the cracks,” even though in today’s government schools, millions of children are falling through the cracks every day.
— Lawrence W. Reed

It is easy to be conspicuously “compassionate” if others are being forced to pay the cost.
— Murray Rothbard

It is be­cause freedom means the renun­ciation of direct control of individual efforts that a free society can make use of so much more knowledge than the mind of the wisest ruler could comprehend.
— Friedrich A. Hayek

I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
— Ayn Rand

Expecting the government to fight the deficit is like expecting the Mafia to fight crime.
— Anonymous

I believe the State exists for the development of individual lives, not individuals for the development of the state.
— Julian Huxley

The government’s War on Poverty has transformed poverty from a short-term misfortune into a career choice.
— Harry Browne

In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.
— Charles de Gaulle

If you are not free to choose wrongly and irresponsibly, you are not free at all.
— Jacob Hornberger

Useless laws weaken the necessary laws.
— Montesquieu

A Bill of Rights that means what the majority wants it to mean is worthless.
— Justice Atonin Scalia

A supporter once called out, “Governor Stevenson, all thinking people are for you!” And Adlai Stevenson answered, “That’s not enough. I need a majority.”
— Scott Simon, “Music Cues: Adlai Stevenson”

After thirty years of working as a reporter, I am steeped in disappointing facts about self-government. Having observed politics from the small-town courthouse to the loftiest reaches of the federal establishment, I know quite a lot about duplicitous politicians and feckless bureaucracies, about gullible voters and citizens who are mean-spirited cranks. These experiences, strangely enough, have not undermined my childhood faith in democratic possibilities, but rather tended to confirm it.
— William Greider

The wonder of markets is that they reconcile the choices of myriad individuals.
— William Easterly

FDR created today’s 30 percent coalition. Obama wants to finish the job by turning it into a permanent ruling majority. There’s nothing new about the Obama Narrative. It is the FDR Narrative on steroids. It is intended to lead to greater statism and political gain.
— Arthur C. Brooks

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
— Groucho Marx

I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
— Thomas Jefferson

The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
— Ayn Rand

Politics, noun. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
— Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it’s important.
— Eugene McCarthy

All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.
— Albert Einstein

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
— Plato

A politician should have three hats. One for throwing into the ring, one for talking through, and one for pulling rabbits out of if elected.
— Carl Sandburg

Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian.
— Henry Ford

While you’re saving your face you’re losing your ass.
— Lyndon B. Johnson

Isn’t there any other part of the matzo you can eat?
— Marilyn Monroe, upon being served matzo ball soup 3 meals in a row.

In America, anyone can become president. But that’s one of the risks you have to take.
— Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952

You know what makes this country great? You don’t have to be witty or clever, as long as you can hire someone who is.
— Ted Baxter (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show”)

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
— Groucho Marx

Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.
— Harry S Truman

If you have to eat crow, eat it while it’s hot.
— Alben Barkley

Some people are so ignorant they wouldn’t know how to pour piss out of a boot — even if the instructions were printed on the heel.
— Lyndon Baines Johnson

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.
— Winston Churchill

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
— Winston Churchill

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
— George Orwell

The whole problem with the world is that fools are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
— Bertrand Russell

When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say.
— Abraham Lincoln

If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times.
— Mark Twain

CNN found that Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman in America. Women admire her because she’s strong and successful. Men admire her because she allows her husband to cheat and get away with it.
— Jay Leno

Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.
— Otto von Bismarck

Decent people should ignore politics, if only they could be confident that politics would ignore them.
— William F. Buckley Jr.

A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.
— Adlai E. Stevenson II

I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance.
— Adlai E. Stevenson II

It is often easier to fight for one’s principles than it is to live up to them.
— Adlai E. Stevenson II

Newspaper editors are men who separate the wheat from the chaff, and then print the chaff.
— Adlai E. Stevenson II

I venture to suggest that patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.
— Adlai E. Stevenson II

Man is a strange animal, he doesn’t like to read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it.
— Adlai E. Stevenson II

The more the state “plans” the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.
— Friedrich Hayek

I prefer true but imperfect knowledge, even if it leaves much undetermined and unpredictable, to a pretense of exact knowledge that is likely to be false.
— Friedrich Hayek

The chief difference [between totalitarian and free countries] is that only the totalitarians appear clearly to know how they want to achieve that result, while the free world has only its past achievements to show, being by its very nature unable to offer any detailed “plan” for further growth.
— Friedrich Hayek

To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.
— Friedrich Hayek

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
— Mark Twain

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
— Mark Twain

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
— Mark Twain

I did not attend his funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
— Mark Twain

Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.
— Ronald Reagan

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
— Thomas Jefferson

Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.
— John Stuart Mill

The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.
— Alexis de Tocqueville

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
— Ninth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.
— Will Rogers

Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
— Immanuel Kant

The reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces.
— Maureen Murphy

I once said cynically of a politician, ‘He’ll doublecross that bridge when he comes to it.
— Oscar Levant

Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.
— Charles De Gaulle

Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often.
— Mark Twain

Those of you who come in with me now will receive a big piece of the pie. Those of you who delay, and commit yourselves later, will receive a smaller piece of pie. Those of you who don’t come in at all will receive – Good Government!
— Huey Long

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.
— P. J. O’Rourke

The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.
— Adlai E. Stevenson II

The whole idea of our government is this: If enough people get together and act in concert, they can take something and not pay for it.
— P. J. O’Rourke

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them.
— P. J. O’Rourke

The free market is ugly and stupid, like going to the mall; the unfree market is just as ugly and just as stupid, except there is nothing in the mall and if you don’t go there they shoot you.
— P. J. O’Rourke

No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not really trying to understand our problems. They are trying to understand their own problems–of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.
— Thomas Sowell

To act on a behalf of a group seems to free people of many of the moral restraints which control their behavior as individuals within the group.
— F.A. Hayek

Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.
— Josef Stalin

If I misspoke that was just a misstatement.
— Hillary Rodham Clinton

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
— Isaac Asimov

It is never wise to try to appear to be more clever than you are. It is sometimes wise to appear slightly less so.
— William Whitelaw

I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives.
— Anonymous

The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.
— Winston Churchill

Bureaucracy is the epoxy that greases the wheels of government.
— James H. Boren

The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is its inefficiency.
— Eugene McCarthy

The business of government is to keep the government out of business — that is, unless business needs government aid.
— Will Rogers

We were told our campaign wasn’t sufficiently slick. We regard that as a compliment.
— Margaret thatcher

There are two sides to every question. And a good candidate takes both.
— Anonymous

Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell.
— Frank Borman

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