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Quotations: "Government"

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Government is not reason, it is not eloquence. It is force.

George Washington

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a Congress. John Adams (1735 - 1826)
The two enemies of the people are criminals and the government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. Thomas Jefferson
A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.
Gerald Ford
The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First you take people's money away quietly and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly. Thomas Sowell
There are severe limits to the good that the government can do for the economy, but there are almost no limits to the harm it can do. Dr. Milton Friedman,
Nobel laureate economist
The most terrifying words in the English language are: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Ronald Reagan

As we learned from the Clinton administration and much of the media, a machine gun in the hands of a federal agent is now a symbol of benevolence and concern for a child's well-being.

James Bovard

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in three short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. Ronald Reagan, 1986
Government machinery has been described as a marvelous labor saving device which enables ten men to do the work of one. John Maynard Keynes
A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." Edward Abbey
Talk is cheap, except when Congress does it. The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with an insatiable appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. Ronald Reagan
I do not make jokes. I just watch government and report the facts. Will Rogers
The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program. Ronald Reagan
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. George Bernard Shaw
Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. Frederic Bastiat

Fear is the foundation of most governments.

John Adams

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) US Founding Father; drafted the Declaration of Independence; 3rd US President
The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, civil government makes them. Civil government declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws. Ayn Rand

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt.

People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.

 Marcus Tullius Cicero
(106-43 B.C.) Roman orator, statesman
63 BC

[A] wise and frugal government...shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." Thomas Jefferson
Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals -- that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government -- that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen's protection against the government. Ayn Rand  (1905-1982) 

Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. Frédéric Bastiat

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

George Bernard Shaw

No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the Legislature is in session. Mark Twain
Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other. Ronald Reagan
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But ... I repeat myself. Mark Twain

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

(c. 550 B.C.) legendary Greek fabulist


[To establish republican government, it is necessary to] effect a constitution in which the will of the nation shall have an organized control over the actions of its government, and its citizens a regular protection against its oppressions.

Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Lafayette [1816]

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. P.J. O'Rourke
And here we encounter the seeds of government disaster and collapse -- the kind that wrecked ancient Rome and every other civilization that allowed a sociopolitical monster called the welfare state to exist. Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) US Senator (R-Arizona)
The purpose of government is to rein in the rights of the people. Bill Clinton [William Jefferson Blythe III] (1946- ), 42nd US President and avid anti-gun nut

Source: during an interview on MTV in 1993

The State's criminality is nothing new and nothing to be wondered at. It began when the first predatory group of men clustered together and formed the State, and it will continue as long as the State exists in the world, because the State is fundamentally an anti-social institution, fundamentally criminal. The idea that the State originated to serve any kind of social purpose is completely unhistorical. It originated in conquest and confiscation--that is to say, in crime.

It originated for the purpose of maintaining the division of society into an owning-and-exploiting class and a propertyless dependent class--that is, for a criminal purpose. No State known to history originated in any other manner, or for any other purpose. Like all predatory or parasitic institutions, its first instinct is that of self-preservation. All its enterprises are directed first towards preserving its own life, and, second, towards increasing its own power and enlarging the scope of its own activity. For the sake of this it will, and regularly does, commit any crime which circumstances make expedient.

Albert Jay Nock (1870-1945) Source: The Criminality of the State, America Mercury Magazine, March, 1939
It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
[Editor's note: In other words, it's always dangerous to be right!]
Government is actually the worst failure of civilized man. There has never been a really good one, and even those that are most tolerable are arbitrary, cruel, grasping and unintelligent. H. L. Mencken
The question is not, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" The question is, "Which came first, government or stupidity?" Anon
Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it.

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution ... or have failed their purpose ... or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should be attacked for neglecting my constituents' 'interests,' I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty, and in that cause I am doing the very best I can. Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative, 1960



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