Monday, October 7, 2019

Danger of Government's Good Intentions--from the Quote File

Occasionally I take a look at what I’ve recently added to the quote file. I add randomly, depending on what I’ve happened upon that strikes me as worth saving. But sometimes there seems to be a theme. As I read through some recent additions, I saw these interconnected ideas: 
·         Government’s purpose is protecting life, liberty, and property. Anything else government attempts is tyranny. And we need to be constantly vigilant to prevent that.

·         Liberty and property are subsets of valuing life. Liberty is the freedom to make your life choices, think and say what you believe, simply to live your life. And property is what you accumulate by productively living your life. So to take what you have accumulated through your work—the way you spend your life—is to take those hours, days, or years of your life. In other words, to enslave you.
·         Government isn’t capable of charity, or even good intentions. It is only power.
·         No one can coerce income redistribution without enslaving some to serve whoever the slave driver deigns to benefit.

Words like these quotes are worth reading, and maybe re-reading, from time to time.

The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.—H. L. Mencken, Minority Report: H.L. Mencken’s Notebooks, 1956
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.—H. L. Mencken, In Defense of Women

Thomas Jefferson statue
in the Jefferson Memorial
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

The duty of the true patriot is to protect his country from its government.
—Thomas Paine

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.—Thomas Jefferson

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.―C. S. Lewis

One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results—Milton Friedman

In these days of uncertainty and unrest, liberty-loving people’s greatest responsibility and paramount duty is to preserve and proclaim freedom of the individual, his relationship to Deity, and the necessity of obedience to the principles of the Gospel of Christ—only thus will mankind find peace and happiness—David O. McKay, Conference Report, Apr. 1950, p. 37.

The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau.—Ludwig von Mises

This relationship between a spiritual faith—a religious faith—and our form of government is so clearly defined and so obvious that we should really not need to identify a man as unusual because he recognizes it.—Dwight D. Eisenhower

The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.—James Madison, 1794

Collectivism leads to concentration camps, leader worship, and war.
—George Orwell, The Observer, April 9, 1944

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.—George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Socialists cry “Power to the people,” and raise the clenched fist as they say it. We all know what they really mean—power over the people, power to the State.—Margaret Thatcher

David O. McKay
image from here
Our immediate concern, however, is not with parties, groups, or persons, but with principles. We therefore commend and encourage every person and every group who are sincerely seeking to study Constitutional principles and awaken a sleeping and apathetic people to the alarming conditions that are rapidly advancing about us. We wish all of our citizens throughout the land were participating in some type of organized self-education in order that they could better appreciate what is happening and know what they can do about it.—David O. McKay, Improvement Era, June 1966

Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel.—Ayn Rand

When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised…to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually.—George Mason, address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 14, 1788

"There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government. And that’s close to 40 percent of our national income.
—Milton Friedman in Fox News interview, May 2004

The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.—Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

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