Quotes; Authors: G to I
The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.
Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.
The ideally non-violent state will be an ordered anarchy. That State is the best governed which is governed the least.
If individual liberty goes, then surely all is lost, for if the individual ceases to count, what is left of society? … No society can possibly be built on a denial of individual freedom. It is contrary to the very nature of man. … Every individual must have the fullest liberty to use his talents. … Individual liberty and inter-dependence are both essential for life in society.
If it is contended that birth control is necessary for the nation because of over-population, I dispute the proposition. It has never been proved. In my opinion, by a proper land system, better agriculture and a supplementary industry, this country is capable of supporting twice as many people as there are in it today.
The bogey of increasing birth-rate is not a new thing. It has been often trotted out. Increase in population is not and ought not to be regarded as a calamity to be avoided. Its regulation or restriction by artificial methods is a calamity of the first grade, whether we know it or not.
This little globe of ours is not a toy of yesterday. It has not suffered from the weight of over-population through its age of countless millions. How can it be that the truth has suddenly dawned upon some people that it is in danger of perishing of shortage of food unless the birth-rate is checked through the use of contraceptives?
Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
After the United States gobbled up California and half of Mexico, and we were stripped down to nothing, territorial expansion suddenly becomes a crime. It’s been going on for centuries, and it will still go on.
It is better to fail at your own life than to succeed at someone else’s.
The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.
You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.
Man is not like other animals in the ways that are really significant: animals have instincts, we have taxes.
I’d like somebody to get rid of the death tax. That’s what I want. I don’t want to get taxed just because I died. I just don’t think it’s right. If I give something to my kid, I already paid the tax. Why should I have to pay it again because I died?
Anarchism: The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.
Anarchy stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraints of government.
The STATE IDEA, the authoritarian principle, has been proven bankrupt by the experience of the Russian Revolution. If I were to sum up my whole argument in one sentence I should say: The inherent tendency of the State is to concentrate, to narrow, and monopolize all social activities; the nature of revolution is, on the contrary, to grow, to broaden, and disseminate itself in ever-wider circles. In other words, the State is institutional and static; revolution is fluent, dynamic. These two tendencies are incompatible and mutually destructive. The State idea killed the Russian Revolution and it must have the same result in all other revolutions, unless the libertarian idea prevail.
Revolution is indeed a violent process. But if it is to result only in a change of dictatorship, in a shifting of names and political personalities, then it is hardly worth while. It is surely not worth all the struggle and sacrifice, the stupendous loss in human life and cultural values that result from every revolution. If such a revolution were even to bring greater social well being (which has not been the case in Russia) then it would also not be worth the terrific price paid: mere improvement can be brought about without bloody revolution.
There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another. This conception is a potent menace to social regeneration. All human experience teaches that methods and means cannot be separated from the ultimate aim. The means employed become, through individual habit and social practice, part and parcel of the final purpose; they influence it, modify it, and presently the aims and means become identical.
Its first ethical precept is the identity of means used and aims sought. The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and wellbeing. Unless this be the essential aim of revolution, violent social changes would have no justification. For external social alterations can be, and have been, accomplished by the normal processes of evolution. Revolution, on the contrary, signifies not mere external change, but internal, basic, fundamental change. That internal change of concepts and ideas, permeating ever-larger social strata, finally culminates in the violent upheaval known as revolution.
If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!
My faith in the future rests squarely on the belief that man, if he doesn’t first destroy himself, will find new answers in the universe, new technologies, new disciplines, which will contribute to a vastly different and better world in the twenty-first century. Recalling what has happened in my short lifetime in the fields of communication and transportation and the life sciences, I marvel at the pessimists who tell us that we have reached the end of our productive capacity, who project a future of primarily dividing up what we now have and making do with less. To my mind the single essential element on which all discoveries will be dependent is human freedom.
The income tax created more criminals than any other single act of government.
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 that 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 later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ “interests,” I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.
Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.
The truth isn’t always beauty, but the hunger for it is.
Sentiment is for those who don’t know what to do next.
The creative act is not pure. History evidences it. Sociology extracts it. The writer loses Eden, writes to be read and comes to realize that he is answerable.
A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.
Gun control? It’s the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I’m a bad guy, I’m always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I’ll pull the trigger. We’ll see who wins.
It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a bible-reading people. The principles of the bible are the groundwork of human freedom.
You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.
If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.
For it is a truth, which the experience of ages has attested, that the people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion.
Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.
When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’
No matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other.
An armed society is a polite society.
Being generous is inborn; being altruistic is a learned perversity. No resemblance.
Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil.
If tempted by something that feels ‘altruistic,’ examine your motives and root out that self-deception. Then, if you still want to do it, wallow in it!
Of all the nonsense that twists the world, the concept of ‘altruism’ is the worst. People do what they want to, every time. If it pains them, to make a choice- if the ‘choice’ looks like a ‘sacrifice’ — you can be sure that it is no nobler than the discomfort caused by greediness.
How anybody expects a man to stay in business with every two-bit wowser in the country claiming a veto over what we can say and can’t say and what we can show and what we can’t show — it’s enough to make you throw up. The whole principle is wrong; it’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t eat steak.
I note one proposal to make this Congress a two-house body. Excellent — the more impediments to legislation the better. But, instead of following tradition, I suggest one house of legislators, another whose single duty is to repeal laws. Let the legislators pass laws only with a two-thirds majority… while the repealers are able to cancel any law through a mere one-third minority. Preposterous? Think about it. If a bill is so poor that it cannot command two-thirds of your consents, is it not likely that it would make a poor law? And if a law is disliked by as many as one-third is it not likely that you would be better off without it?
The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed.
Each generation thinks it invented sex; each generation is totally mistaken. Anything along that line today was commonplace both in Pompeii and in Victorian England; the differences lie only in the degree of coverup — if any.
I believe in — I am proud to belong to — the United States. Despite shortcomings, from lynchings to bad faith in high places, our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.
Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.
Take sides! Always take sides! You will sometimes be wrong — but the man who refuses to take sides must always be wrong.
People don’t really want change, any change at all — and xenophobia is very deep-rooted. But we progress, as we must — if we are to go out to the stars.
Age is not an accomplishment, and youth is not a sin.
Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
Democracy can’t work. Mathematicians, peasants, and animals, that’s all there is — so democracy, a theory based on the assumption that mathematicians and peasants are equal, can never work. Wisdom is not additive; its maximum is that of the wisest man in a given group.
A rational anarchist believes that concepts, such as “state” and “society” and “government” have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame … as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world … aware that his efforts will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.
I will accept the rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier.
You live and learn. Or you don’t live long.
I now define “moral behavior” as “behavior that tends toward survival.” I won’t argue with philosophers or theologians who choose to use the word “moral” to mean something else, but I do not think anyone can define “behavior that tends toward extinction” as being “moral” without stretching the word “moral” all out of shape.
Selfishness is the bedrock on which all moral behavior starts and it can be immoral only when it conflicts with a higher moral imperative. An animal so poor in spirit that he won’t even fight on his own behalf is already an evolutionary dead end; the best he can do for his breed is to crawl off and die, and not pass on his defective genes.
The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for your own immediate family. This is the level at which six pounds of mother cat can be so fierce that she’ll drive off a police dog. It is the level at which a father takes a moonlighting job to keep his kids in college — and the level at which a mother or father dives into a flood to save a drowning child … and it is still moral behavior even when it fails.
Men are expendable; women and children are not. A tribe or a nation can lose a high percentage of its men and still pick up the pieces and go on … as long as the women and children are saved. But if you fail to save the women and children, you’ve had it, you’re done, you’re through! You join Tyrannosaurus Rex, one more breed that bilged its final test.
The Almighty-God idea came under attack because it explained nothing; it simply pushed all explanations one stage farther away. In the nineteenth century atheistic positivism started displacing the Almighty-God notion in that minority of the population that bathed regularly. Atheism had a limited run, as it, too, explains nothing, being merely Godism turned upside down.
An anarchist is someone who doesn’t need a cop to make him behave. Anarchism is voluntary cooperation with the right of secession. The individual or the family or the small group as a unit instead of the State.
A pacifist between wars is like a vegetarian between meals.
Oh judge! Your damn laws! The good people don’t need them, and the bad people don’t obey them.
The dictionary definition of a Christian is one who follows Christ; kind, kindly, Christ-like. Anarchism is voluntary cooperation for good, with the right of secession. A Christian anarchist is therefore one who turns the other cheek, overturns the tables of the moneychangers, and does not need a cop to tell him how to behave. A Christian anarchist does not depend upon bullets or ballots to achieve his ideal; he achieves that ideal daily by the One-Man Revolution with which he faces a decadent, confused, and dying world.
Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolhardiness, as with the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. Therefore one with love, courage, and wisdom is one in a million who moves the world, as with Jesus, Buddha, and Gandhi.
Despite the popular idea of anarchists as violent men, Anarchism is the one non-violent social philosophy.… The function of the Anarchist is two-fold. By daily courage in non-cooperation with the tyrannical forces of the State and the Church, he helps to tear down present society; the Anarchist by daily cooperation with his fellows in overcoming evil with good-will and solidarity builds toward the anarchistic commonwealth which is formed by voluntary action with the right of secession.
The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun.
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.
Suspicion is a virtue as long as its object is the public good, and as long as it stays within proper bounds. … Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that precious jewel.
It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope and pride. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! – I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
There’s no such thing as a good gun. There’s no such thing as a bad gun. A gun in the hands of a bad man is a very dangerous thing. A gun in the hands of a good person is no danger to anyone except the bad guys.
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 ‘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.
No doubt, anarchy, once established, might not last forever. But if your house is on fire, the sensible course of action is to put out the fire, even though this extinguishment provides no guarantee that the house will never catch fire again.
The whole Good Cop / Bad Cop question can be disposed of much more decisively. We need not enumerate what proportion of cops appears to be good or listen to someone’s anecdote about his uncle Charlie, an allegedly good cop.
We need only consider the following:
(1) A cop’s job is to enforce the laws, all of them;
(2) Many of the laws are manifestly unjust, and some are even cruel and wicked;
(3) Therefore every cop has to agree to act as an enforcer for laws that are manifestly unjust or even cruel and wicked.
There are no good cops.
Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA – ordinary citizens don’t need guns, as their having guns doesn’t serve the State.
A soldier of the civil authority must be taught not to kill men and to refuse to do so if he is commanded, and to refuse to take an oath. If he is unwilling to comply, he must be rejected for baptism. A military commander or civic magistrate must resign or be rejected. If a believer seeks to become a soldier, he must be rejected, for he has despised God.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.
Any tax is a discouragement and therefore a regulation so far as it goes.
Free competition is worth more to society than it costs.
Certainty generally is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man.
The ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.
A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.
What refuge is there for the victim who is oppressed with the feeling that there are a thousand new books he ought to read, while life is only long enough for him to attempt to read a hundred?
Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving – we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.
He must be a poor creature that does not often repeat himself. Imagine the author of the excellent piece of advice, “Know thyself,” never alluding to that sentiment again during the course of a protracted existence! Why, the truths a man carries about with him are his tools; and do you think a carpenter is bound to use the same plane but once to smooth a knotty board with, or to hang up his hammer after it has driven its first nail? I shall never repeat a conversation, but an idea often. I shall use the same types when I like, but not commonly the same stereotypes. A thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times. It has come to you over a new route, by a new and express train of associations.
Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.
Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.
The creative action is not voluntary at all, but automatic; we can only put the mind into the proper attitude, and wait for the wind, that blows where it listeth, to breathe over it. Thus the true state of creative genius is allied to reverie, or dreaming.
It is by little things that we know ourselves; a soul would very probably mistake itself for another, when once disembodied, were it not for individual experiences which differ from those of others only in details seemingly trifling.
One could never remember himself in eternity by the mere fact of having loved or hated any more than by that of having thirsted; love and hate have no more individuality in them than single waves in the ocean;—but the accidents or trivial marks which distinguished those whom we loved or hated make their memory our own forever, and with it that of our own personality also.
Be polite and generous, but don’t undervalue yourself. You will be useful, at any rate; you may just as well be happy, while you are about it.
If a man has a genuine, sincere, hearty wish to get rid of his liberty, if he is really bent upon becoming a slave, nothing can stop him. And the temptation is to some natures a very great one. Liberty is often a heavy burden on a man. It involves that necessity for perpetual choice which is the kind of labor men have always dreaded. In common life we shirk it by forming habits, which take the place of self-determination. In politics party-organization saves us the pains of much thinking before deciding how to cast our vote.
It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.
You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea. It is the cloud which thunders around everything that shines. Fame must have enemies, as light must have gnats. Do not bother yourself about it; disdain. Keep your mind serene as you keep your life clear.
You insist on the example [of the death penalty]. Why? For what it teaches. What do you want to teach with your example? That thou shalt not kill. And how do you teach thou shalt not kill? By killing.
A day will come when there will be no battlefields, but markets opening to commerce and minds opening to ideas.
One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas.
To put everything in balance is good, to put everything in harmony is better.
Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don’t have a gun, freedom of speech has no power.