A collection of quotes


Life, Liberty, Property

Less Serious




Walter E. Williams:
"What's “just” has been debated for centuries but let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn “belongs” to you -- and why?"

"Conservatives and liberals are kindred spirits as far as government spending is concerned. First, let's make sure we understand what government spending is. Since government has no resources of its own, and since there's no Tooth Fairy handing Congress the funds for the programs it enacts, we are forced to recognize that government spending is no less than the confiscation of one person's property to give it to another to whom it does not belong -- in effect, legalized theft.

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


Thomas Sowell:
"Freedom...refer[s] to a social relationship among people -- namely, the absence of force as a prospective instrument of decision making. Freedom is reduced whenever a decision is made under threat of force, whether or not force actually materializes or is evident in retrospect."

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

"What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race."

"Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what has worked with what sounded good. In area after area -- crime, education, housing, race relations -- the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them."

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

"The assumption that spending more of the taxpayer's money will make things better has survived all kinds of evidence that it has made things worse. The black family -- which survived slavery, discrimination, poverty, wars and depressions -- began to come apart as the federal government moved in with its well-financed programs to 'help.'"

"It is precisely those things which belong to 'the people' which have historically been despoiled -- wild creatures, the air, and waterways being notable examples. This goes to the heart of why property rights are socially important in the first place. Property rights mean self-interested monitors. No owned creatures are in danger of extinction. No owned forests are in danger of being leveled. No one kills the goose that lays the golden egg when it is his goose."

"What is politically defined as economic 'planning' is the forcible superseding of other people's plans by government officials.”

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


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

"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."

Advocating the expansion of the powers of the state is treason to mankind.

That liberals aren't enamored of real freedom may have something to do with responsibility - that cumbersome backpack which all free men have to lug on life's aerobic nature hike. The second item in the liberal creed, after self-righteousness, is unaccountability. Liberals have invented whole college majors - psychology, sociology, women's studies - to prove that nothing is anybody's fault.

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

The Second Amendment states that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed", period. There is no mention of magazine sizes, the rate of fire or to what extend these arms may resemble assault rifles. All rifles were assault rifles in those days.

The principle feature of American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things-war and hunger and date rape-liberals testify to their own terrific goodness. More important, they promote themselves to membership in a self-selecting elite of those who care deeply about such things...It's a kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don't have to be brave, smart, strong or even lucky to join it, you just have to be liberal.

There are twenty-seven specific complaints against the British Crown set forth in the Declaration of Independence. To modern ears they still sound large part, because so many of them can be leveled against the federal government of the United States.

Seriousness is stupidity sent to college.

There's something about Marxism that brings out warts-the only kind of growth this economic system encourages.

...remember that all tax revenue is the result of holding a gun to somebody's head.

Whatever it is that the government does, sensible Americans would prefer that the government do it to somebody else. This is the idea behind foreign policy.

No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the sources of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.

For the people in government, rather than the people who pester it, Washington is an early-rising, hard-working city. It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.

The federal government of the United States of America takes away between a fifth and a quarter of all our money every year. That is eight times the Islamic zakat, the almsgiving required of believers by the Koran; it is double the tithe of the medieval church and twice the royal tribute that the prophet Samuel warned the Israelites against when they wanted him to anoint a ruler...

So when can we quit passing laws and raising taxes? When can we say of our political system, "Stick a fork in it, it's done"? When will our officers, officials and magistrates realize that their jobs are finished and return, like Cincinnatus, to the plow or, as it were, to the law practice or the car dealership? The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.

[Pete] DuPont said that farmers should go pound sand with the rest of us. When somebody's muffler shop goes bankrupt, the government doesn't pay him $100,000 to not install mufflers.

Many reporters, when they go to work in the nation's capital, begin to think of themselves as participants in the political process instead of glorified stenographers. Washington journalists are seduced by their proximity to power...

Term limits aren't enough. We need jail

On the original Earth Day in 1970 -- when the world was going to end from overcrowding instead of overheating--the best-selling author of /The Population Bomb/, Dr. Paul Ehrlich...predicted that America would have water rationing by 1974 and food rationing by 1980, that hepatitis and dysentery rates in the U.S. would increase by 500 percent due to population density and that the oceans could be as dead as Lake Erie by 1979.


James Madison:
"If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress. ... Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America. "
-- James Madison 1789