Property monopolized or in the possession of a few is a curse to mankind.
We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever.
Declaration of Rights for Women, July 1876
Wherever the relevance of speech is at stake, matters become political by definition, for speech is what makes man a political being.
1958. Quoted in Hidden Philosophy of Hannah Arendt By Margaret Betz Hull (2002)
A constitution is the arrangement of magistracies in a state.
Therefore, the good of man must be the end of the science of politics.
The state is a creation of nature and man is by nature a political animal.
Vote for the man who promises least; he'll be the least disappointing.
Our problem in money-making or government affairs is how to remain properly venturesome and experimental without making fools of ourselves.
Recipe for success: Be polite, prepare yourself for whatever you are asked to do, keep yourself tidy, be cheerful, don’t be envious, be honest with yourself so you will be honest with others, be helpful, interest yourself in your job, don’t pity yourself, be quick to praise, be loyal to your friends, avoid prejudices, be independent, interest yourself in politics, and read the newspapers.
All government is a trust. Every branch of government is a trust, and immemorially acknowledged to be so.
Alliance: In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply into each other’s pocket that they cannot separately plunder a third.
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law.
If you are to stand up for your government you must be able to stand up to your government.
When [a politician] is in opposition, he is an expert on the means to some end; and when he is in office he is an expert on the obstacles to it. In short, when he is impotent he proves to us that the thing is easy; and when he is omnipotent he proves that it is impossible.
Illustrated London News (April 6, 1918)
Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
The administration of government, like a guardianship, ought to be directed to the good of those who confer, not of those who receive the trust.
A politician thinks of the next election; a statement of the next generation. A politician looks for the success of his party; a statesman for that of his country. The statesman wishes to steer, while the politician is satisfied to drift.
This is quite a game, politics. There are no permanent enemies, and no permanent friends, only permanent interests.
Interview in Ebony (Feb 1969)
Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people.
There is good government when those who are near are happy, and when those who are far away desire to come.
To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three men, two of whom are absent.
Liberalism is part of a religious disorder that demands a belief that life is controllable.
How to Talk to a Liberal if You Must (2004)
To be a liberal one doesn’t have to be a wastrel.
During debates on spending. As quoted in Kiplinger's Personal Finance, January 1951.
There is far more danger in a public monopoly than there is in a private monopoly, for when government goes into business it can always shift its losses to the taxpayer. The Government never really goes into business, for it never makes ends meet, and that is the first requisite of business. It just mixes a little business with a lot of politics, and no one ever gets a chance to find out what is actually going on.
There is far more danger in public than in private monopoly, for when Government goes into business it can always shift its losses to the taxpayers. Government never makes ends meet-and that is the first requisite of business.
Any power must be an enemy of mankind which enslaves the individual by terror and force, whether it arises under the Fascist or the Communist flag. All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded to the individual.
Statement, England, September 15, 1933
I firmly believe that the army of persons who urge greater and greater centralization of authority and greater and greater dependence upon the federal treasury are really more dangerous to our form of government than any external threat that can possibly be arrayed against us.
In a letter to Rep. Gwinn declaring opposition to a bill on federal aid for education (June 13, 1949)
I despise all adjectives that try to describe people as liberal or conservative, rightist or leftist, as long as they stay in the useful part of the road.
I get weary of the European habit of taking our money, resenting any slight hint as to what they should do, and then assuming, in addition, full right to criticize us as bitterly as they may desire. In fact, it sometimes appears that their indulgence in this kind of criticism varies in direct ration to the amount of help we give them.
All conservatives are such from personal defects. They have been effiminated by position of nature, born halt and blind, through luxury of their parents, and can only, like invalids, act on the defensive.
Conservatism stands on man’s confessed limitations; reform on his indisputable infinitude; conservatism on circumstance; liberalism on power; one goes to make an adroit member of the social frame; the other to postpone all things to the man himself.
Men are conservatives when they are least vigorous or when they are most luxurious-they are conservatives after dinner.
The less government we have the better-the fewer laws and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal government is the influence of private character, the growth of the individual.
Local government is the foundation of democracy, if it fails, democracy will fail.
Once a pork barrel scheme is started, nothing in heaven or on Earth is likely to stop it. Like barnacles on a ship, too many vested interests will glom onto it and fight to protect it.
He’s not a total moron.
Slogan for his write-in campaign for Senate in South Carolina, reported in 2010.
No man ought to own more property than needed for his livelihood; the rest, by right, belonged to the state.
We have the power to do any damn fool thing we want to do, and we seem to do it about every ten minutes.
If private business should be supervised in the public interest, government, when it assumes a business role, is in equal need of supervision.
All free governments are managed by the combined wisdom and folly of the people.
It is the duty of government to make it difficult for people to do wrong, easy to do right.
A liberal is a man who is willing to spend someone else’s money.
As quoted in Associated Press interview, September 24, 1938.
If Columbus had an advisory committee, he would probably still be at the dock.
I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.
When facing his assassin
I am not a liberator. Liberators do not exist. The people liberate themselves.
If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.
Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.
I would not want to live in a country that would have me as a leader in any sort of political bent.
What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.
All good government must begin in the home. It is useless to make good laws for bad people. Public sentiment is more than law.
The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.
Along this road of spending, the government either takes over, which is Socialism, or dictates institutional and economic life, which is Fascism.
Nothing will dispel enthusiasm like a small admission fee.
Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature.
The first lesson in civics is that efficient government should begin at home.
That mysterious independent variable of political calculation, Public Opinion.
Universities, Actual & Ideal
I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.
Letter to William Ludlow (1824)
I sincerely believe ... that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.
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.
The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.
Radical changes in world politics leave America with a heightened responsibility to be, for the world, an example of a genuinely free, democratic, just and humane society.
The United Nations organization has proclaimed 1979 as the Year of the Child. Are the children to receive the arms race from us as a necessary inheritance?
You are priests, not social or political leaders. Let us not be under the illusion that we are serving the Gospel through an exaggerated interest in the wide field of temporal problems.
A state begins to decline when it permits the immoderate aggrandizement of a rival, and a secondary power may become the arbiter of nations if it throws its weight into the balance at the proper time.
Art of War. Originally published in 1862.
There are two kinds of wars of expediency: first, where a powerful state undertakes to acquire natural boundaries for commercial and political reasons; secondly, to lessen the power of a dangerous rival or to prevent his aggrandizement. These last are wars of intervention; for a state will rarely singly attack a dangerous rival: it will endeavor to form a coalition for that purpose.
Art of War. Originally published in 1862.
When a state has claims upon another, it may not always be best to enforce them by arms. The public interest must be consulted before action.
Art of War. Originally published in 1862.
The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of bold projects and new ideas. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the great enterprises and ideals of American society.
Christmas is the time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell government what they want and their kids pay for it.
A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.
On Protracted War
Not even computers will replace committees, because committees buy computers.
If experience teaches us anything at all, it teaches us this: that a good politician, under democracy, is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
The proper memory for a politician is one that knows what to remember and what to forget.
Now, on the road to freedom, I was pausing for a moment near Temuco and could hear the voice of the water that had taught me to sing.
On view of his childhood home of Temuco, Argentina, as he fled a new political regime in Chile, in "Wall Street Journal," November 14, 1985.
Look at the Justice Department, it's full of Jews...The lawyers in government are damn Jews.
As popular as a root canal.
State of the Union speech. Referring to the bank bailout.
There are no magic beans that you can toss in the ground and suddenly a bunch of money grows on trees.
President of the United States. Emphasizing the importance of the November 23, 2011 deadline for a congressional supercommittee to reach an agreement on how to lower the deficit by $1.2 trillion.
I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.
In 2002 speech against Iraq War.
If you govern by pundit and polls, then you lose sight of why you got into public service in the first place.
Democratic reception in Boston, April 1, 2010
They've found a way to have their cake — and vote against it, too.
At a New Hampshire town meeting, Obama faulted Republicans for slamming the government stimulus package and then praising the hometown projects that it financed.
There is one thing better than good government, and that is government in which all the people have a part.
The punishment suffered by the wise who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of bad men.
Men well governed should seek after no other liberty, for there can be no greater liberty than a good government.
Millions of individuals making their own decisions in the marketplace will always allocate resources better than any centralized government planning process.
We should declare war on North Vietnam. We could pave the whole country and put parking strips on it, and still be home by Christmas.
I don't think you can make a lawyer honest by an act of legislature. You've got to work on his conscience. And his lack of conscience is what makes him a lawyer.
Things in our country run in spite of government, not by aid of it.
All revolutions devour their own children.
Remark in prison to Hans Frank (June 30, 1934)
Government originated in the attempt to find a form of association that defends and protects the person and property of each with the common force of all.
Politics is a science. You can demonstrate that you are right and that others are wrong.
When rich people fight wars with one another, poor people are the ones to die.
I have no faith in political arithmetic.
Wealth of Nations
As soon as government management begins it upsets the natural equilibrium of industrial relations, and each interference only requires further bureaucratic control until the end is the tyranny of the totalitarian state.
A diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.
Out of the Red, 1960
I am also very proud to be a liberal. Why is that so terrible these days? The liberals were liberators — they fought slavery, fought for women to have the right to vote, fought against Hitler, Stalin, fought to end segregation, fought to end apartheid. Liberals put an end to child labor and they gave us the five day work week! What's to be ashamed of?
If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.
In politics, If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.
I don't believe a committee can write a book. It can, oh, govern a country, perhaps, but I don't believe it can write a book.
It's amazing how much you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit.
President Reagan had this as a sign on his desk at the Oval Office.
Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive and don't ever apologize for anything.
I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell.
The President spends most of his time kissing people on the cheek in order to get them to do what they ought to do without getting kissed.
Wherever you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship.
In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue, but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.
Mark Twain's Autobiography (1924)
The laws of Nature, that is to say the laws of God, plainly made every human being a law unto himself, we must steadfastly refuse to obey those laws, and we must as steadfastly stand by the conventions which ignore them, since the statutes furnish us peace, fairly good government, and stability, and therefore are better for us than the laws of God, which would soon plunge us into confusion and disorder and anarchy if we should adopt them.
Mark Twain in Eruption
Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
In general, the art of government consists of making as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to the other.
There is no such thing as government money, only taxpayer money.
Public opinion exists only where there are no ideas.
A Few Maxims For The A Few Maxims For The Instruction Of The Over-Educated, 1894
The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of an expanding bureaucracy
The history of liberty is the history of the limitations on the power of the government.
Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to power is to choose to limit oneself - to serve.
The essential problem is how to govern a large-scale world with small-scale local minds.
By virtue of one's office.
If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into a committee - that will do them in.
We’re not Sunni. We’re not Shiite. We just want to be free.
Bahraini protesters in early 2011
Committee — a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done.
Every politician, when he leaves office, ought to go straight to jail and serve his time.