Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Wisdom of the Ages
Freedom has long been held as the most precious thing in life. For a free society, the threats to that freedom have come in two forms: those from without, and those from within. The enemies from without are overt, whereas the enemies from within are subtle. The notion that the state is the seat of power, and not the people themselves is a dangerous one that threatens the freedom of every citizen.
The following are a selection of quotes from statesman and philosophers that have come before us:
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.
[On the government emerging out of the French Revoltion] It is systematic; it is simple in its principle; it has unity and consistency in perfection. In that country entirely to cut off a branch of commerce, to extinguish a manufacturer, to destroy the circulation of money, to violate credit, to suspend the course of agriculture, even to burn a city, or to lay waste a province of their own, does not cost them a moment’s anxiety. To them, the will, the wish, the want, the liberty, the toil, the blood of individuals is as nothing. Individuality is left out of their scheme of Government. The state is all in all.
I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should I think be steadfastly resisted to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the government the government should not support the people.
ALBERT JAY NOCK :
Liberals generally,—there may have been exceptions, but I do not know who they were,—joined in the agitation for an income-tax, in utter disregard of the fact that it meant writing the principle of absolutism into the Constitution. Nor did they give a moment’s thought to the appalling social effects of an income-tax; I never once heard this aspect of the matter discussed. Liberals were also active in promoting the “democratic” movement for the popular election of senators. It certainly took no great perspicacity to see that these two measures would straightway ease our political system into collectivism as soon as some Eubulus, some mass-man overgifted with sagacity, should manoeuvre himself into popular leadership; and in the nature of things, this would not be long.
One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people, has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.
Hat tip to Bob Belvedere. Read all the rest of the great quotes Bob has assembled over at his Live Free or Die.