Government Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Government. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.
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Mark Twain
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People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.
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Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
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It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
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Voltaire
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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.
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Thomas Jefferson
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...disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business....
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Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues)
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Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family.
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Mario Puzo (The Godfather (The Godfather, #1))
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The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
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Thomas Jefferson
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And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.
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John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
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Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.
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Ronald Reagan
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A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
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Edward R. Murrow
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I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it's the government.
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Woody Allen
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A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
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Gerald R. Ford
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We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.
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Thomas Jefferson
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The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.
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Plato (The Republic)
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Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.
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Laurence J. Peter (The Peter Principle)
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A passport, as I'm sure you know, is a document that one shows to government officials whenever one reaches a border between two countries, so that the official can learn who you are, where you were born, and how you look when photographed unflatteringly.
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Lemony Snicket
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History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.
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Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
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One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
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Plato
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Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.
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Winston S. Churchill
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A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.
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Edward Abbey
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The major problemβ€”one of the major problems, for there are severalβ€”one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them. To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
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Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
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As government expands, liberty contracts.
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Ronald Reagan
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The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
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Ronald Reagan
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Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.
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Bertrand Russell
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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.
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Ayn Rand
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If voting made any difference they wouldn't let us do it.
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Mark Twain
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Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
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James Bovard (Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty)
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I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
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Thomas Jefferson
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Steal five dollars and you're a common thief. Steal thousands and you're either the government or a hero.
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Terry Pratchett (Going Postal (Discworld, #33; Moist von Lipwig, #1))
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No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious & charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
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The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.
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Margaret Thatcher
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One thing is clear: The Founding Fathers never intended a nation where citizens would pay nearly half of everything they earn to the government.
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Ron Paul
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Trout, incidentally, had written a book about a money tree. It had twenty-dollar bills for leaves. Its flowers were government bonds. Its fruit was diamonds. It attracted human beings who killed each other around the roots and made very good fertilizer.
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
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One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.
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Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
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What kind of man would put a known criminal in charge of a major branch of government? Apart from, say, the average voter.
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Terry Pratchett (Going Postal (Discworld, #33; Moist von Lipwig, #1))
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Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.
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Mark Twain
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Governments and fashions come and go but Jane Eyre is for all time.
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Jasper Fforde (The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1))
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Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear." [Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950]
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Harry Truman
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I don't know how you feel, but I'm pretty sick of church people. You know what they ought to do with churches? Tax them. If holy people are so interested in politics, government, and public policy, let them pay the price of admission like everybody else. The Catholic Church alone could wipe out the national debt if all you did was tax their real estate.
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George Carlin
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Governments want efficient technicians, not human beings, because human beings become dangerous to governments – and to organized religions as well. That is why governments and religious organizations seek to control education.
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J. Krishnamurti (Education and the Significance of Life)
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Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
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Adam Smith
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You have to remember one thing about the will of the people: it wasn't that long ago that we were swept away by the Macarena.
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Jon Stewart
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Imagination governs the world.
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NapolΓ©on Bonaparte
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It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.
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Ansel Adams
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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...
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H.L. Mencken (Prejudices: Third Series)
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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.
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Patrick Henry
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A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?
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George Washington
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Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.
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Terry Pratchett (Mort (Discworld, #4; Death, #1))
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When one with honeyed words but evil mind Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.
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Euripides (Orestes)
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If you can't say "Fuck" you can't say, "Fuck the government.
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Lenny Bruce
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I am who I am and that's who I am
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Nikolai Gogol
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I’m on a government watch list. But I’m not interested, because government watches only work twenty minutes out of every hour.
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Jarod Kintz (At even one penny, this book would be overpriced. In fact, free is too expensive, because you'd still waste time by reading it.)
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The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own Government, I can not be Silent.
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Martin Luther King Jr.
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Today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups... So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.
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Philip K. Dick
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Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.
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Terence McKenna
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Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.
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Dwight D. Eisenhower
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How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?
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Charles de Gaulle
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A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
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George Bernard Shaw
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Government is the Entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.
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Frank Zappa
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A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.
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John Adams (Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife)
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Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
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Thomas Paine
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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.
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Ronald Reagan
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The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries. [Letter objecting to the use of government land for churches, 1803]
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James Madison
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I love my country, not my government.
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Jesse Ventura
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The government is merely a servant―merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.
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Mark Twain
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The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.
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Franklin D. Roosevelt
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There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
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Ayn Rand
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If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.
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Samuel Adams
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Never depend upon institutions or government to solve any problem. All social movements are founded by, guided by, motivated and seen through by the passion of individuals.
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Margaret Mead
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Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught.
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HonorΓ© de Balzac
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Winston Smith: Does Big Brother exist? O'Brien: Of course he exists. Winston Smith: Does he exist like you or me? O'Brien: You do not exist.
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George Orwell (1984)
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If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of 'facts' they feel stuffed, but absolutely 'brilliant' with information. Then they'll feel they're thinking, they'll get a sense of motion without moving. And they'll be happy, because facts of that sort don't change.
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Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
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Dear Government... I'm going to have a serious talk with you if I ever find anyone to talk to.
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Stieg Larsson (The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2))
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Fairness," he said, 'does not govern life and death. If it did, no good person would ever die young.
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Mitch Albom (The Five People You Meet in Heaven)
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Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class - whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy. - Politics as Repeat Phenomenon: Bene Gesserit Training Manual
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Frank Herbert (Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles #3))
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Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.
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Milton Friedman
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I was ecstatic when they re-named "French fries" as "freedom fries." Grown men and women in positions of power in the U.S. government showing themselves as idiots.
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Johnny Depp
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The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.
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John Adams
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Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion and liberation of the human body from the coercion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals…
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Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)
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The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
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Tacitus (The Annals of Imperial Rome)
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The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.
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Thomas Jefferson (A Summary View of the Rights of British America: Reprinted from the Original Ed.,)
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Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.
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Margaret Thatcher (Margaret Thatcher)
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A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved β€” I do not expect the house to fall β€” but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.
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Abraham Lincoln
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...vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ’76 now look to a single and splendid government of an Aristocracy, founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry.
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Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
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Under the United States Constitution, the federal government has no authority to hold states "accountable" for their education performance...In the free society envisioned by the founders, schools are held accountable to parents, not federal bureaucrats.
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Ron Paul
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I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.
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George S. McGovern
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The greatest patriotism is to tell your country when it is behaving dishonorably, foolishly, viciously.
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Julian Barnes (Flaubert's Parrot)
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The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.
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John Adams (Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife)
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I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.
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Ronald Reagan
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In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.
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Lao Tzu
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The greatest achievement of the human race was not conquering death. It was ending government.
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Neal Shusterman (Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1))
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Government is not a solution to our problem government is the problem.
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Ronald Reagan
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Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.
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Groucho Marx
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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 for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
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Winston S. Churchill (Churchill Speaks: Collected Speeches in Peace and War, 1897-1963)
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Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.
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Franklin D. Roosevelt
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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.
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Thomas Sowell
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In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.
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Confucius
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The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.
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FrΓ©dΓ©ric Bastiat
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Listen, Peaches, trickery is what humans are all about," said the voice of Maurice. "They're so keen on tricking one another all the time that they elect governments to do it for them.
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Terry Pratchett (The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (Discworld, #28))
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[F]reedom isn't free. It shouldn't be a bragging point that "Oh, I don't get involved in politics," as if that makes you somehow cleaner. No, that makes you derelict of duty in a republic. Liars and panderers in government would have a much harder time of it if so many people didn't insist on their right to remain ignorant and blindly agreeable.
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Bill Maher (When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism)
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One thing I do know about intimacy is that there are certain natural laws which govern the sexual experience of two people, and that these laws cannot be budged any more than gravity can be negotiated with. To feel physically comfortable with someone else's body is not a decision you can make. It has very little to do with how two people think or act or talk or even look. The mysterious magnet is either there, buried somewhere deep behind the sternum, or it is not. When it isn't there (as I have learned in the past, with heartbreaking clarity) you can no more force it to exist than a surgeon can force a patient's body to accept a kidney from the wrong donor. My friend Annie says it all comes down to one simple question: "Do you want your belly pressed against this person's belly forever --or not?
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Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
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all streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. humility gives it its power. if you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them. if you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them.
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Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)
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We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.
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Ronald Reagan
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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.
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Thomas Sowell (Knowledge And Decisions)
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A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.
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Taylor Caldwell (A Pillar of Iron)
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Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.
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Michael Ellner
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I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
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Benjamin Franklin
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A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.
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Elmer Theodore Peterson
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I believe in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warming; I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect, and I am suspicious of using government to impose anybody's religious beliefs -including my own- on nonbelievers.
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Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
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I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccesful rebellions indeed generally establish the incroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medecine necessary for the sound health of government.
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Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
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However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
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George Washington
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When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not Guilty'.
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Theodore Roosevelt
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Only the Jew knew that by an able and persistent use of propaganda heaven itself can be presented to the people as if it were hell and, vice versa, the most miserable kind of life can be presented as if it were paradise. The Jew knew this and acted accordingly. But the German, or rather his Government, did not have the slightest suspicion of it. During the War the heaviest of penalties had to be paid for that ignorance. -- Mein Kampf, Chapter 10
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Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
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...legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
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Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
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When it can be said by any country in the world, my poor are happy, neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them, my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars, the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive, the rational world is my friend because I am the friend of happiness. When these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and government. Independence is my happiness, the world is my country and my religion is to do good.
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Thomas Paine (Rights of Man)
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Think what a better world it would be if we all-the whole world-had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess. And it is still true, no matter how old you are-when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
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Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten)
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Secrecy is the keystone to all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy and censorship. When any government or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked in this fashion; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, whose mind is free. No, not the rack nor the atomic bomb, not anything. You can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.
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Robert A. Heinlein
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This desire to govern a womanβ€”it lies very deep, and men and women must fight it together.... But I do love you surely in a better way than he does." He thought. "Yesβ€”really in a better way. I want you to have your own thoughts even when I hold you in my arms.
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E.M. Forster (A Room with a View)
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Everything not forbidden is compulsory
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T.H. White (The Once and Future King)
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Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave.
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G.I. Gurdjieff
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The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual, crime.
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Max Stirner
β€œ
Go back to bed, America. Your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control again. Here. Here's American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up. Go back to bed, America. Here is American Gladiators. Here is 56 channels of it! Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go, America! You are free to do what we tell you! You are free to do what we tell you!
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Bill Hicks
β€œ
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
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United Nations (Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
β€œ
I'm vile and perverted. I'm obsessed and deranged. I've existed for years but very little has changed. I'm the tool of the government and industry too. For I'm destined to rule and regulate you. You may think I'm pernicious, but you can't look away. I'll make you think I'm delicious with the stuff that I say. I'm the best you can get... have you guessed me yet? I'm the slime oozing out of your TV set....
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Frank Zappa
β€œ
If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth--certainly the machine will wear out… but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.
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Henry David Thoreau (Civil Disobedience and Other Essays)
β€œ
When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.
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FrΓ©dΓ©ric Bastiat
β€œ
Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves.
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Herbert Marcuse
β€œ
Getting you a date to prom is so hard that the hypothetical idea itself is actually used to cut diamonds," I added. Radar tapped a locker twice with his fist to show his approval, and then came back with another. "Ben, getting you a date to prom is so hard that the American government believes the problem cannot be solved with diplomacy, but will instead require force.
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John Green (Paper Towns)
β€œ
The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action.
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Frank Herbert
β€œ
You never get it right, you people, do you? Either we've got Fudge, pretending everything's lovely while people get murdered right under his nose, or we've got you, chucking the wrong people into jail and trying to pretend you've got 'The Chosen One' working for you!
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J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
β€œ
Who is wise? He that learns from everyone. Who is powerful? He that governs his passions. Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.
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Benjamin Franklin
β€œ
Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
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FrΓ©dΓ©ric Bastiat (The Law)
β€œ
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. No one in this world, so far as I knowβ€”and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help meβ€”has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
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H.L. Mencken (Notes on Democracy)
β€œ
No one is willing to believe that adults too, like children, wander about this earth in a daze and, like children, do not know where they come from or where they are going, act as rarely as they do according to genuine motives, and are as thoroughly governed as they are by biscuits and cake and the rod.
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther)
β€œ
I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves ; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
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Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
β€œ
I've come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call "The Physics of The Quest" β€” a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: "If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself... then truth will not be withheld from you." Or so I've come to believe.
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Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
β€œ
Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
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Alexis de Tocqueville
β€œ
We are no guiltier in following the primative impulses that govern us than is the Nile for her floods or the sea for her waves.
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Marquis de Sade (Aline et Valcour)
β€œ
Empires do not suffer emptiness of purpose at the time of their creation. It is when they have become established that aims are lost and replaced by vague ritual. -Words of Muad'dib by Princess Irulan.
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Frank Herbert (Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles, #2))
β€œ
No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.
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Gideon J. Tucker
β€œ
The hood made me realise that crime succeeds because crime does the one thing the government doesn’t do: crime cares. Crime is grassroots. Crime looks for the young kids who need support and a lifting hand. Crime offers internship programmes and part-time jobs and opportunities for advancement. Crime gets involved in the community. Crime doesn’t discriminate.
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Trevor Noah (Born a Crime and Other Stories)
β€œ
Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable β€” the art of the next best
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Otto von Bismarck
β€œ
Politics: the art of using euphemisms, lies, emotionalism and fear-mongering to dupe average people into accepting--or even demanding--their own enslavement.
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Larken Rose
β€œ
The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.
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G.K. Chesterton
β€œ
The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.
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Aristotle
β€œ
Our care of the child should be governed, not by the desire to make him learn things, but by the endeavor always to keep burning within him that light which is called intelligence.
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Maria Montessori
β€œ
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
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Edward L. Bernays (Propaganda)
β€œ
The Quiet World In an effort to get people to look into each other’s eyes more, and also to appease the mutes, the government has decided to allot each person exactly one hundred and sixty-seven words, per day. When the phone rings, I put it to my ear without saying hello. In the restaurant I point at chicken noodle soup. I am adjusting well to the new way. Late at night, I call my long distance lover, proudly say I only used fifty-nine today. I saved the rest for you. When she doesn’t respond, I know she’s used up all her words, so I slowly whisper I love you thirty-two and a third times. After that, we just sit on the line and listen to each other breathe.
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Jeffrey McDaniel (Forgiveness Parade)
β€œ
Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly -- that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to oneself. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion -- these are the two things that govern us.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray and Other Stories)
β€œ
The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God…or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.
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Elisabeth Elliot
β€œ
Government has three primary functions. It should provide for military defense of the nation. It should enforce contracts between individuals. It should protect citizens from crimes against themselves or their property. When government-- in pursuit of good intentions tries to rearrange the economy, legislate morality, or help special interests, the cost come in inefficiency, lack of motivation, and loss of freedom. Government should be a referee, not an active player.
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Milton Friedman
β€œ
Every time I hear a political speech or I read those of our leaders, I am horrified at having, for years, heard nothing which sounded human. It is always the same words telling the same lies. And the fact that men accept this, that the people’s anger has not destroyed these hollow clowns, strikes me as proof that men attribute no importance to the way they are governed; that they gamble – yes, gamble – with a whole part of their life and their so called 'vital interests.
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”
Albert Camus
β€œ
Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home--but not for housing. They are strong for labor--but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights. They favor minimum wage--the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all--but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine--for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing--but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.
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”
Harry Truman
β€œ
Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.
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”
Barry M. Goldwater
β€œ
That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on.
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”
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
β€œ
In politics as in philosophy, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.
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George Washington
β€œ
The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard, who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by 'God,' one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.
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Carl Sagan
β€œ
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,β€”as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],β€”and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries. [Adams submitted and signed the Treaty of Tripoli, 1797]
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John Adams (Thoughts On Government Applicable To The Present State Of The American Colonies.: Philadelphia, Printed By John Dunlap, M,Dcc,Lxxxvi)
β€œ
Fights between individuals, as well as governments and nations, invariably result from misunderstandings in the broadest interpretation of this term. Misunderstandings are always caused by the inability of appreciating one another's point of view. This again is due to the ignorance of those concerned, not so much in their own, as in their mutual fields. The peril of a clash is aggravated by a more or less predominant sense of combativeness, posed by every human being. To resist this inherent fighting tendency the best way is to dispel ignorance of the doings of others by a systematic spread of general knowledge. With this object in view, it is most important to aid exchange of thought and intercourse.
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Nikola Tesla
β€œ
We are the people of the book. We love our books. We fill our houses with books. We treasure books we inherit from our parents, and we cherish the idea of passing those books on to our children. Indeed, how many of us started reading with a beloved book that belonged to one of our parents? We force worthy books on our friends, and we insist that they read them. We even feel a weird kinship for the people we see on buses or airplanes reading our books, the books that we claim. If anyone tries to take away our booksβ€”some oppressive government, some censor gone off the railsβ€”we would defend them with everything that we have. We know our tribespeople when we visit their homes because every wall is lined with books. There are teetering piles of books beside the bed and on the floor; there are masses of swollen paperbacks in the bathroom. Our books are us. They are our outboard memory banks and they contain the moral, intellectual, and imaginative influences that make us the people we are today.
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Cory Doctorow
β€œ
When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature.
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Sigmund Freud
β€œ
Whereas it appeareth that however certain forms of government are better calculated than others to protect individuals in the free exercise of their natural rights, and are at the same time themselves better guarded against degeneracy, yet experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, ....whence it becomes expedient for promoting the publick happiness that those persons, whom nature hath endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens, and that they should be called to that charge without regard to wealth, birth or accidental condition of circumstance.
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Thomas Jefferson (Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters)
β€œ
I am the twentieth century. I am the ragtime and the tango; sans-serif, clean geometry. I am the virgin's-hair whip and the cunningly detailed shackles of decadent passion. I am every lonely railway station in every capital of Europe. I am the Street, the fanciless buildings of government. the cafe-dansant, the clockwork figure, the jazz saxophone, the tourist-lady's hairpiece, the fairy's rubber breasts, the travelling clock which always tells the wrong time and chimes in different keys. I am the dead palm tree, the Negro's dancing pumps, the dried fountain after tourist season. I am all the appurtenances of night.
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Thomas Pynchon (V.)
β€œ
To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.
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Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century)
β€œ
And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers.
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Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
β€œ
This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being... This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont, to be called Lord God παντοκρατωρ or Universal Ruler.
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Isaac Newton (The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy)
β€œ
But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.
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Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values)
β€œ
In a society in which nearly everybody is dominated by somebody else's mind or by a disembodied mind, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn the truth about the activities of governments and corporations, about the quality or value of products, or about the health of one's own place and economy. In such a society, also, our private economies will depend less and less upon the private ownership of real, usable property, and more and more upon property that is institutional and abstract, beyond individual control, such as money, insurance policies, certificates of deposit, stocks, and shares. And as our private economies become more abstract, the mutual, free helps and pleasures of family and community life will be supplanted by a kind of displaced or placeless citizenship and by commerce with impersonal and self-interested suppliers... Thus, although we are not slaves in name, and cannot be carried to market and sold as somebody else's legal chattels, we are free only within narrow limits. For all our talk about liberation and personal autonomy, there are few choices that we are free to make. What would be the point, for example, if a majority of our people decided to be self-employed? The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth - that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community - and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means.
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Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
β€œ
It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..." "You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?" "No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people." "Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy." "I did," said Ford. "It is." "So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?" "It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want." "You mean they actually vote for the lizards?" "Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course." "But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?" "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?" "What?" "I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?" "I'll look. Tell me about the lizards." Ford shrugged again. "Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happenned to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it." "But that's terrible," said Arthur. "Listen, bud," said Ford, "if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say 'That's terrible' I wouldn't be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.
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Douglas Adams (So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #4))
β€œ
When the clergy addressed General Washington on his departure from the government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never on any occasion said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not. They did so. However [Dr. Rush] observed the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly except that, which he passed over without notice... I know that Gouverneur Morris, who pretended to be in his secrets & believed himself to be so, has often told me that General Washington believed no more of that system than he himself did. {The Anas, February 1, 1800, written shortly after the death of first US president George Washington}
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Thomas Jefferson (The Complete Anas of Thomas Jefferson)
β€œ
I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.
”
”
Margaret Thatcher
β€œ
The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.
”
”
Howard Zinn (A Power Governments Cannot Suppress)
β€œ
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.
”
”
Alexander Fraser Tytler
β€œ
Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.
”
”
Milton Friedman
β€œ
Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer. When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know. So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed. Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest. Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold. Call that profit. Prophesy such returns. Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years. Listen to carrion β€” put your ear close, and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come. Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. So long as women do not go cheap for power, please women more than men. Ask yourself: Will this satisfy a woman satisfied to bear a child? Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth? Go with your love to the fields. Lie down in the shade. Rest your head in her lap. Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts. As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.
”
”
Wendell Berry
β€œ
Change is freedom, change is life. It's always easier not to think for oneself. Find a nice safe hierarchy and settle in. Don't make changes, don't risk disapproval, don't upset your syndics. It's always easiest to let yourself be governed. There's a point, around age twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities. Those who build walls are their own prisoners. I'm going to go fulfil my proper function in the social organism. I'm going to go unbuild walls.
”
”
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia)
β€œ
Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?
”
”
Henry David Thoreau (Civil Disobedience and Other Essays)
β€œ
Why Not You? Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration. Why not you? Today, many will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. Why not you? Today, many will choose to leave the ghost of yesterday behind and seize the immeasurable power of today. Why not you? Today, many will break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present. Why not you? Today, for many the burden of self doubt and insecurity will be lifted by the security and confidence of empowerment. Why not you? Today, many will rise above their believed limitations and make contact with their powerful innate strength. Why not you? Today, many will choose to live in such a manner that they will be a positive role model for their children. Why not you? Today, many will choose to free themselves from the personal imprisonment of their bad habits. Why not you? Today, many will choose to live free of conditions and rules governing their own happiness. Why not you? Today, many will find abundance in simplicity. Why not you? Today, many will be confronted by difficult moral choices and they will choose to do what is right instead of what is beneficial. Why not you? Today, many will decide to no longer sit back with a victim mentality, but to take charge of their lives and make positive changes. Why not you? Today, many will take the action necessary to make a difference. Why not you? Today, many will make the commitment to be a better mother, father, son, daughter, student, teacher, worker, boss, brother, sister, & so much more. Why not you? Today is a new day! Many will seize this day. Many will live it to the fullest. Why not you?
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Steve Maraboli (Life, the Truth, and Being Free)
β€œ
The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all ... The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands - the ownership and control of their livelihoods - are set at naught, we can have neither men's rights nor women's rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.
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Helen Keller (Rebel Lives: Helen Keller)
β€œ
I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.
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John Adams (The Letters of John and Abigail Adams)
β€œ
You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police ... yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home -- all the more powerful because forbidden -- terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.
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Winston S. Churchill (Blood, Sweat and Tears)
β€œ
In case you haven't noticed, as the result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida, in which thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily disenfranchised, we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jut-jawed, pitiless war-lovers with appalling powerful weaponry - who stand unopposed. In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazi's once were. And with good reason. In case you haven't noticed, our unelected leaders have dehumanized millions and millions of human beings simply because of their religion and race. We wound 'em and kill 'em and torture 'em and imprison 'em all we want. Piece of cake. In case you haven't noticed, we also dehumanize our own soldiers, not because of their religion or race, but because of their low social class. Send 'em anywhere. Make 'em do anything. Piece of cake. The O'Reilly Factor. So I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and a Chicago paper called "In These Times." Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic "New York Times" guaranteed there were weapons of destruction there. Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the First World War. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun. Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you? Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people too. I am a veteran of the Second World War and I have to say this is the not the first time I surrendered to a pitiless war machine. My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse." Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas! Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler. What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations and made it all their own?
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
β€œ
We have nothing but our freedom. We have nothing to give you but your own freedom. We have no law but the single principle of mutual aid between individuals. We have no government but the single principle of free association. We have no states, no nations, no presidents, no premiers, no chiefs, no generals, no bosses, no bankers, no landlords, no wages, no charity, no police, no soldiers, no wars. Nor do we have much else. We are sharers, not owners. We are not prosperous. None of us is rich. None of us is powerful. If it is Anarres you want, if it is the future you seek, then I tell you that you must come to it with empty hands. You must come to it alone, and naked, as the child comes into the world, into his future, without any past, without any property, wholly dependent on other people for his life. You cannot take what you have not given, and you must give yourself. You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.
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Ursula K. Le Guin (The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia)
β€œ
There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution
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Aldous Huxley
β€œ
The downfall of the attempts of governments and leaders to unite mankind is found in this- in the wrong message that we should see everyone as the same. This is the root of the failure of harmony. Because the truth is, we should not all see everyone as the same! We are not the same! We are made of different colours and we have different cultures. We are all different! But the key to this door is to look at these differences, respect these differences, learn from and about these differences, and grow in and with these differences. We are all different. We are not the same. But that's beautiful. And that's okay.In the quest for unity and peace, we cannot blind ourselves and expect to be all the same. Because in this, we all have an underlying belief that everyone should be the same as us at some point. We are not on a journey to become the same or to be the same. But we are on a journey to see that in all of our differences, that is what makes us beautiful as a human race, and if we are ever to grow, we ought to learn and always learn some more.
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C. JoyBell C.
β€œ
My mother tells me that when I meet someone I like, I have to ask them three questions: 1. what are you afraid of? 2. do you like dogs? 3. what do you do when it rains? of those three, she says the first one is the most important. β€œThey gotta be scared of something, baby. Everybody is. If they aren’t afraid of anything, then they don’t believe in anything, either.”I asked you what you were afraid of. β€œspiders, mostly. being alone. little children, like, the ones who just learned how to push a kid over on the playground. oh and space. holy shit, space.” I asked you if you liked dogs. β€œI have three.” I asked you what you do when it rains. β€œsleep, mostly. sometimes I sit at the window and watch the rain droplets race. I make a shelter out of plastic in my backyard for all the stray animals; leave them food and a place to sleep.” he smiled like he knew. like his mom told him the same thing. β€œhow about you?” me? I’m scared of everything. of the hole in the o-zone layer, of the lady next door who never smiles at her dog, and especially of all the secrets the government must be breaking it’s back trying to keep from us. I love dogs so much, you have no idea. I sleep when it rains. I want to tell everyone I love them. I want to find every stray animal and bring them home. I want to wake up in your hair and make you shitty coffee and kiss your neck and draw silly stick figures of us. I never want to ask anyone else these questions ever again.
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Caitlyn Siehl (What We Buried)
β€œ
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.
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H.L. Mencken (A Mencken Chrestomathy)
β€œ
As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I had become more and more enraged and mystified by the idiot decisions made by my countrymen. And then I had come suddenly to pity them, for I understood how innocent and natural it was for them to behave so abominably, and with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented in story books. This was the reason Americans shot each other so often: It was a convenient literary device for ending short stories and books. Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tis-sues? Because that was the way authors customarily treated bit-part players in their made-up tales. And so on.Once I understood what was making America such a dangerous, unhappy nation of people who had nothing to do with real life, I resolved to shun storytelling. I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order, instead, which I think I have done. If all writers would do that, then perhaps citizens not in the literary trades will understand that there is no order in the world around us, that we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead. It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done.
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
β€œ
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.
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H.L. Mencken
β€œ
Reading list (1972 edition)[edit] 1. Homer – Iliad, Odyssey 2. The Old Testament 3. Aeschylus – Tragedies 4. Sophocles – Tragedies 5. Herodotus – Histories 6. Euripides – Tragedies 7. Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War 8. Hippocrates – Medical Writings 9. Aristophanes – Comedies 10. Plato – Dialogues 11. Aristotle – Works 12. Epicurus – Letter to Herodotus; Letter to Menoecus 13. Euclid – Elements 14. Archimedes – Works 15. Apollonius of Perga – Conic Sections 16. Cicero – Works 17. Lucretius – On the Nature of Things 18. Virgil – Works 19. Horace – Works 20. Livy – History of Rome 21. Ovid – Works 22. Plutarch – Parallel Lives; Moralia 23. Tacitus – Histories; Annals; Agricola Germania 24. Nicomachus of Gerasa – Introduction to Arithmetic 25. Epictetus – Discourses; Encheiridion 26. Ptolemy – Almagest 27. Lucian – Works 28. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations 29. Galen – On the Natural Faculties 30. The New Testament 31. Plotinus – The Enneads 32. St. Augustine – On the Teacher; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine 33. The Song of Roland 34. The Nibelungenlied 35. The Saga of Burnt NjΓ‘l 36. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica 37. Dante Alighieri – The Divine Comedy;The New Life; On Monarchy 38. Geoffrey Chaucer – Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales 39. Leonardo da Vinci – Notebooks 40. NiccolΓ² Machiavelli – The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy 41. Desiderius Erasmus – The Praise of Folly 42. Nicolaus Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres 43. Thomas More – Utopia 44. Martin Luther – Table Talk; Three Treatises 45. FranΓ§ois Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel 46. John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion 47. Michel de Montaigne – Essays 48. William Gilbert – On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies 49. Miguel de Cervantes – Don Quixote 50. Edmund Spenser – Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene 51. Francis Bacon – Essays; Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum, New Atlantis 52. William Shakespeare – Poetry and Plays 53. Galileo Galilei – Starry Messenger; Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences 54. Johannes Kepler – Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Concerning the Harmonies of the World 55. William Harvey – On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; On the Generation of Animals 56. Thomas Hobbes – Leviathan 57. RenΓ© Descartes – Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method; Geometry; Meditations on First Philosophy 58. John Milton – Works 59. MoliΓ¨re – Comedies 60. Blaise Pascal – The Provincial Letters; Pensees; Scientific Treatises 61. Christiaan Huygens – Treatise on Light 62. Benedict de Spinoza – Ethics 63. John Locke – Letter Concerning Toleration; Of Civil Government; Essay Concerning Human Understanding;Thoughts Concerning Education 64. Jean Baptiste Racine – Tragedies 65. Isaac Newton – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Optics 66. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics; New Essays Concerning Human Understanding;Monadology 67. Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe 68. Jonathan Swift – A Tale of a Tub; Journal to Stella; Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal 69. William Congreve – The Way of the World 70. George Berkeley – Principles of Human Knowledge 71. Alexander Pope – Essay on Criticism; Rape of the Lock; Essay on Man 72. Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu – Persian Letters; Spirit of Laws 73. Voltaire – Letters on the English; Candide; Philosophical Dictionary 74. Henry Fielding – Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones 75. Samuel Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dictionary; Rasselas; The Lives of the Poets
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Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
β€œ
Our lives are mere flashes of light in an infinitely empty universe. In 12 years of education the most important lesson I have learned is that what we see as β€œnormal” living is truly a travesty of our potential. In a society so governed by superficiality, appearances, and petty economics, dreams are more real than anything anything in the β€œreal world”. Refuse normalcy. Beauty is everywhere, love is endless, and joy bleeds from our everyday existence. Embrace it. I love all of you, all my friends, family, and community. I am ceaselessly grateful from the bottom of my heart for everyone. The only thing I can ask of you is to stay free of materialism. Remember that every day contains a universe of potential; exhaust it. Live and love so immensely that when death comes there is nothing left for him to take. Wealth is love, music, sports, learning, family and freedom. Above all, stay gold.
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Dominic Owen Mallary
β€œ
While our country remains untainted with the principles and manners which are now producing desolation in so many parts of the world; while she continues sincere, and incapable of insidious and impious policy, we shall have the strongest reason to rejoice our local destination. But should the people of America once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another, and towards foreign nations, which assumes the language of justice and moderation, while it is practising iniquity and extravagance, and displays in the most captivating manner the charming pictures of candour, frankness, and sincerity, while it is rioting in rapine and insolence, this country will be the most miserable habitation in the world.
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John Adams (Thoughts On Government Applicable To The Present State Of The American Colonies.: Philadelphia, Printed By John Dunlap, M,Dcc,Lxxxvi)
β€œ
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself -- that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.
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George Orwell (1984)
β€œ
Anarchists did not try to carry out genocide against the Armenians in Turkey; they did not deliberately starve millions of Ukrainians; they did not create a system of death camps to kill Jews, gypsies, and Slavs in Europe; they did not fire-bomb scores of large German and Japanese cities and drop nuclear bombs on two of them; they did not carry out a β€˜Great Leap Forward’ that killed scores of millions of Chinese; they did not attempt to kill everybody with any appreciable education in Cambodia; they did not launch one aggressive war after another; they did not implement trade sanctions that killed perhaps 500,000 Iraqi children. In debates between anarchists and statists, the burden of proof clearly should rest on those who place their trust in the state. Anarchy’s mayhem is wholly conjectural; the state’s mayhem is undeniably, factually horrendous.
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Robert Higgs
β€œ
There were plotters, there was no doubt about it. Some had been ordinary people who'd had enough. Some were young people with no money who objected to the fact that the world was run by old people who were rich. Some were in it to get girls. And some had been idiots as mad as Swing, with a view of the world just as rigid and unreal, who were on the side of what they called 'the people'. Vimes had spent his life on the streets, and had met decent men and fools and people who'd steal a penny from a blind beggar and people who performed silent miracles or desperate crimes every day behind the grubby windows of little houses, but he'd never met The People. People on the side of The People always ended up disappointed, in any case. They found that The People tended not to be grateful or appreciative or forward-thinking or obedient. The People tended to be small-minded and conservative and not very clever and were even distrustful of cleverness. And so the children of the revolution were faced with the age-old problem: it wasn't that you had the wrong kind of government, which was obvious, but that you had the wrong kind of people. As soon as you saw people as things to be measured, they didn't measure up. What would run through the streets soon enough wouldn't be a revolution or a riot. It'd be people who were frightened and panicking. It was what happened when the machinery of city life faltered, the wheels stopped turning and all the little rules broke down. And when that happened, humans were worse than sheep. Sheep just ran; they didn't try to bite the sheep next to them.
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Terry Pratchett (Night Watch (Discworld, #29; City Watch, #6))
β€œ
The fundamentalist seeks to bring down a great deal more than buildings. Such people are against, to offer just a brief list, freedom of speech, a multi-party political system, universal adult suffrage, accountable government, Jews, homosexuals, women's rights, pluralism, secularism, short skirts, dancing, beardlessness, evolution theory, sex. There are tyrants, not Muslims. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that we should now define ourselves not only by what we are for but by what we are against. I would reverse that proposition, because in the present instance what we are against is a no brainer. Suicidist assassins ram wide-bodied aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and kill thousands of people: um, I'm against that. But what are we for? What will we risk our lives to defend? Can we unanimously concur that all the items in the preceding list -- yes, even the short skirts and the dancing -- are worth dying for? The fundamentalist believes that we believe in nothing. In his world-view, he has his absolute certainties, while we are sunk in sybaritic indulgences. To prove him wrong, we must first know that he is wrong. We must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world's resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons. Not by making war but by the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them. How to defeat terrorism? Don't be terrorized. Don't let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared.
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Salman Rushdie (Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002)
β€œ
We now know the basic rules governing the universe, together with the gravitational interrelationships of its gross components, as shown in the theory of relativity worked out between 1905 and 1916. We also know the basic rules governing the subatomic particles and their interrelationships, since these are very neatly described by the quantum theory worked out between 1900 and 1930. What's more, we have found that the galaxies and clusters of galaxies are the basic units of the physical universe, as discovered between 1920 and 1930. ...The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern 'knowledge' is that it is wrong... My answer to him was, when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together. The basic trouble, you see, is that people think that 'right' and 'wrong' are absolute; that everything that isn't perfectly and completely right is totally and equally wrong. However, I don't think that's so. It seems to me that right and wrong are fuzzy concepts, and I will devote this essay to an explanation of why I think so. When my friend the English literature expert tells me that in every century scientists think they have worked out the universe and are always wrong, what I want to know is how wrong are they? Are they always wrong to the same degree?
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Isaac Asimov
β€œ
Once upon a time, powerful wizard, who wanted to destroy an entire kingdom, placed a magic potion in the well from which the inhabitants drank. Whoever drank that water would go mad. The following morning, the whole population drank from the well and they all went mad, apart from the king and his family, who had a well set aside for them alone, which the magician had not managed to poison. The king was worried and tried to control the population by issuing a series of edicts governing security and public health. The policemen and the inspectors, however, had also drunk the poisoned water, and they thought the king’s decisions were absurd and resolved to take notice of them. When the inhabitants of the kingdom heard these decrees, they became convinced that the king had gone mad and was now giving nonsensical orders. The marched on the castle and called for his abdication. In despair the king prepared to step down from the throne, but the queen stopped him, saying: β€˜Let us go and drink from the communal well. Then we will be the same as them.’ And that was what they did: The king and queen drank the water of madness and immediately began talking nonsense. Their subjects repented at once; now that the king was displaying such β€˜wisdom’, why not allow him to rule the country? The country continued to live in peace, although its inhabitants behaved very differently from those of its neighbors. And the king was able to govern until the end of his days.
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Paulo Coelho (Veronika Decides to Die)
β€œ
Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair. I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy - ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness--that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what--at last--I have found. With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved. Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer. This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.
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Bertrand Russell