If a tyrant is one man and his subjects are many, why do they consent to their own enslavement? [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude]
These are the ones who, having good minds of their own, have further trained them by study and learning. Even if liberty had entirely perished from the earth, such men would invent it. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude]
You [the peasant] yield your bodies unto hard labor in order that he [the tyrant or the state] may indulge in his delights and wallow in his filthy pleasures; you weaken yourselves in order to make him the stronger and the mightier to hold you in check. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude]
[B]ooks and teaching more than anything else give men the sense to comprehend their own nature and to detest tyranny. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude]
It is incredible how as soon as a people become subject, it promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom that it can hardly be roused to the point of regaining it, obeying so easily and willingly that one is led to say . . . that this people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude]
However, there is satisfaction in examining what they get out of all this torment, what advantage they derive from all the trouble of their wretched existence. Actually the people never blame the tyrant for the evils they suffer, but they do place responsibility on those who influence him; peoples, nations, all compete with one another, even the peasants, even the tillers of the soil, in mentioning the names of the favorites, in analyzing their vices, and heaping upon them a thousand insults, a thousand obscenities, a thousand maledictions. All their prayers, all their vows are directed against these persons; they hold them accountable for all their misfortunes, their pestilences, their famines; and if at times they show them outward respect, at those very moments they are fuming in their hearts and hold them in greater horror than wild beasts. This is the glory and honor heaped upon influential favorites for their services by people who, if they could tear apart their living bodies, would still clamor for more, only half satiated by the agony they might behold. For even when the favorites are dead those who live after are never too lazy to blacken the names of these people-eaters with the ink of a thousand pens, tear their reputations into bits in a thousand books, and drag, so to speak, their bones past posterity, forever punishing them after their death for their wicked lives. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude]
I should like merely to understand how it happens that so many men, so many villages, so many cities, so many nations, sometimes suffer under a single tyrant who has no other power than the power they give him; who is able to harm them only to the extent to which they have the willingness to bear with him; who could do them absolutely no injury unless they preferred to put up with him rather than contradict him. Surely a striking situation! Yet it is so common that one must grieve the more and wonder the less at the spectacle of a million men serving in wretchedness, their necks under the yoke, not constrained by a greater multitude than they . . . [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, p. 46]
Shall we call subjection to such a leader cowardice? . . . If a hundred, if a thousand endure the caprice of a single man, should we not rather say that they lack not the courage but the desire to rise against him, and that such an attitude indicates indifference rather than cowardice? When not a hundred, not a thousand men, but a hundred provinces, a thousand cities, a million men, refuse to assail a single man from whom the kindest treatment received is the infliction of serfdom and slavery, what shall we call that? Is it cowardice? . . . When a thousand, a million men, a thousand cities, fail to protect themselves against the domination of one man, this cannot be called cowardly, for cowardice does not sink to such a depth. . . . What monstrous vice, then, is this which does not even deserve to be called cowardice, a vice for which no term can be found vile enough . . . ? [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, p. 48]
If we led our lives according to the ways intended by nature and the lessons taught by her, we should be intuitively obedient to our parents; later we should adopt reason as our guide and become slaves to nobody. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, p. 55]
. . . obviously there is no need of fighting to overcome this single tyrant, for he is automatically defeated if the country refuses consent to its own enslavement. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude]
Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, pp. 50-53]
There are three kinds of tyrants: some receive their proud position through elections by the people, others by force of arms, others by inheritance. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, p. 58]
It is true that in the beginning men submit under constraint and by force; but those who come after them obey without regret and perform willingly what their predecessors had done because they had to. This is why men born under the yoke and then nourished and reared in slavery are content, without further effort, to live in their native circumstance, unaware of any other state or right, and considering as quite natural the condition into which they are born ... the powerful influence of custom is in no respect more compelling than in this, namely, habituation to subjection. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, p. 60]
Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience as naively, but not so creditably, as little children learn to read by looking at bright picture books. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, pp. 69-70]
[T]yrants, in order to strengthen their power, have made every effort to train their people not only in obedience and servility toward themselves, but also in adoration. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, p. 75]
Roman tyrants . . . provided the city wards with feasts to cajole the rabble.... Tyrants would distribute largesse, a bushel of wheat, a gallon of wine, and a sesterce: and then everybody would shamelessly cry, Long live the King! The fools did not realize that they were merely recovering a portion of their own property, and that their ruler could not have given them what they were receiving without having first taken it from them. A man might one day be presented with a sesterce and gorge himself at the public feast, lauding Tiberius and Nero for handsome liberality, who on the morrow, would be forced to abandon his property to their avarice, his children to their lust, his very blood to the cruelty of these magnificent emperors, without offering any more resistance than a stone or a tree stump. The mob has always behaved in this way--eagerly open to bribes . . . [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, p. 70]
[W]hen the point is reached, through big favors or little ones, that large profits or small are obtained under a tyrant, there are found almost as many people to whom tyranny seems advantageous as those to whom liberty would seem desirable. . . . Whenever a ruler makes himself a dictator, all the wicked dregs of the nation . . . all those who are corrupted by burning ambition or extraordinary avarice, these gather around him and support him in order to have a share in the booty and to constitute themselves petty chiefs under the big tyrant. [from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, pp. 78-79]
Shall we bind up our future with foreign powers and hazard the peace of this nation for all time by linking the destiny of American democracy with the ever menacing antagonisms of foreign monarchies? . . . Europe is cursed with a contagious, deadly plague, whose spread threatens to devastate the civilized world.
Most people, no doubt, when they espouse human rights, make their own mental reservations about the proper application of the word human.
Until economic freedom is attained for everybody, there can be no real freedom for anybody.
Laws are felt only when the individual comes into conflict with them.
This revolutionary basis is recognition of the fact that human rights are natural rights, born in every human being with his life, and inseparable from his life: not rights and freedoms that can be granted by any power on earth.
Anyone who says that economic security is a human right, has been to much babied. While he babbles, other men are risking and losing their lives to protect him. They are fighting the sea, fighting the land, fighting disease and insects and weather and space and time, for him, while he chatters that all men have a right to security and that some pagan god--Society, The State, The Government, The Commune--must give it to them. Let the fighting men stop fighting this inhuman earth for one hour, and he will learn how much security there is.
The pattern is as old as human life. The new rulers use more and more force, more police, more soldiers, trying to enforce more efficient control, trying to make the planned economy work by piling regulations on regulations, decree on decree. The people are hungry and hungrier. And how does a man on this earth get butter? Doesnt the government give butter? But government does not produce food from the earth; Government is guns. It is one common distinction of all civilized peoples, that they give their guns to the Government. Men in Government monopolize the necessary use of force; they are not using their energies productively; they are not milking cows. To get butter, they must use guns; they have nothing else to use.
What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
All free constitutions are formed with two views--to deter the governed from crime, and the governors from tyranny.
Of what does politics consist except the making of imperfect decisions, many of them unjust and quite a few of them deadly?
The supply of government exceeds the demand.
I had been in thirteen battle engagements, had sunk a submarine, and was the first man ashore in the landing at Roi. In that four years, I thought, What a hell of a waste of a man's life. I lost a lot of friends. I had the task of telling my roommate's parents about our last days together. You lose limbs, sight, part of your life-for what? Old men send young men to war. Flag, banners, and patriotic sayings. . .
[Nearly 70% of the military budget] is to provide men and weapons to fight in foreign countries in support of our allies and friends and for offensive operations in Third World countries. . . . Another big chunk of the defense budget is the 20% allocated for our offensive nuclear force of bombers, missiles, and submarines whose job it is to carry nuclear weapons to the Soviet Union. . . . Actual defense of the United States costs about 10% of the military budget and is the least expensive function performed by the Pentagon. . .
War has become a spectator sport for Americans.
We now kill people without ever seeing them. Now you push a button thousands of miles away. . . . Since its all done by remote control, theres no feeling of remorse. . . . Then we come home in triumph.
Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
In the process of politics what, broadly speaking, gets registered is not a will that is at each moment in accord with the state-purpose, but the will of those who in fact operate the machine of government. [Authority in the Modern State 1919:37]
No citizen enjoys genuine freedom of religious conviction until the state is indifferent to every form of religious outlook from Atheism to Zoroastrianism.
No man ever remains free who acquiesces in what he knows to be wrong.
Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.
The cold war provided the perfect excuse for Western governments to plunder and exploit the Third World in the name of freedom; to rig its elections, bribe its politicians, appoint its tyrants and, by every sophisticated means of persuasion and interference, stunt the emergence of young democracies in the name of democracy.
. . . he now understood why the army was organized as it was. It was indeed quite necessary. No rational form of organization would serve the purpose. He simply had not understood that the purpose was to enable men with machine guns to kill unarmed men and women easily and in great quantities when told to do so. Only he still could not see where courage, or manliness, or fitness entered in.
It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was no material success in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons. . . . My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.
It must never be forgotten. . . that the liberties of the people are no so safe under the gracious manner of government as by the limitation of power.
A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves. . . and include all men capable of bearing arms. . . To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms. . . The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle.
What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.
While I have considered the preservation of the constitutional power of the General Government to be the foundation of our peace and safety at home and abroad, I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, not only are essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of a free government. I consider it as the chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have peceded it. [December 15, 1866, in a letter to Lord Acton]
If men are good, you dont need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you dont dare have one.
Destroy the family, and the society will collapse.
Only an armed people can be the real bulwark of popular liberty.
People always have been and they always will be stupid victims of deceit and self-deception in politics.
Give peace a chance.
The legal system centered on legislation, while involving the possibility that other people (the legislators) may interfere with our actions every day, also involves the possibility that they may change their way of interfering every day. As a result, people are prevented not only from freely deciding what to do, but from foreseeing the legal effects of their daily behavior.
It is . . . paradoxical that the very economists who support the free market at the present time do not seem to care to consider whether a free market could really last within a legal system centered on legislation.
In a system where legislation is widely used to make law, nobody can tell whether a rule may be only one year or one month or one day old when it will be abrogated by a new rule. All these rules are precisely worded in written formulae that readers or interpreters cannot change at their will. Nevertheless, all of them may go as soon and as abruptly as they came. The result is that, if we leave out of the picture the ambiguities of the text. We are always certain as far as the literal content of each rule is concerned at any given moment, But we are never certain that tomorrow we shall still have the rules we have today.
The very idea of freedom presupposes some objective moral law which overarches rulers and ruled alike. Subjectivism about values is eternally incompatible with democracy. We and our rulers are of one kind only so long as we are subject to one law. But if there is no Law of Nature, the ethos of any society is the creation of its rulers, educators and conditioners; and every creator stands above and outside his own creation.
And all the time--such is the tragic comedy of our situation--we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
Under a tyranny, most friends are a liability. One quarter of them turn reasonable and become your enemies. One quarter are afraid to stop and speak. And one quarter are killed and you die with them. The blessed final quarter keep you alive.
Democracy: The state of affairs in which you consent to having your pocket picked, and elect the best man to do it.
Instead of the radical reorganization of society implicit in capitalism, the application of capitalism was circumscribed within a narrow range by the pre-capitalist institutional instruments of exploitation which continue in force. Thus, not only was the capitalist revolution thwarted in Western Europe and America, but their ruling classes were able to exploit the feudal conditions existing in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America through the system of imperialism. The imperialist power of the Western countries prevented the overthrow of feudalism by capitalist revolutions in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America and imposed on the worlds peoples a double or reinforced system of exploitative imperialism--by which the power of the Western governments maintains the local ruling class in exchange for the opportunity to superimpose Western exploitation upon existing exploitation by the local ruling states. Imperalism or double exploitation has caused the twentieth century struggle against feudalism and for progress to take a form different from the earlier Western European struggle against feudalism. [from Why the Futile Crusade?, p. 24]
I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races--that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by taking away mans initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. 
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union. 
I presume you all know who I am. I am humble Abraham Lincoln. I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate for the legislature. My politics are short and sweet, like the old womans dance. I am in favor of a national bank . . . in favor of the internal improvements system [government subsidies for railroad, shipping, and canal-building businesses] and a high protective tariff. 
The power confided in me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property, and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasionno using force against, or among the people anywhere. [First Inaugural Address]
You [blacks] and we [whites] are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between al,most any other two races . . . . This physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both . . . [and] affords a reason at least why we should be separated . . . . It is better for us both, therefore, to be seperated. [from Address on Colonization to a Committee of Colored Men, Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings, 1859-1865, pp. 353-357]
Great military peoples have conquered their known world time and time again through the centuries, only to die out in the inevitable ashes of their fire
Except in the sacred texts of democracy and in the incantations of orators, we hardly take the trouble to pretend that the rule of the majority is not at bottom a rule of force. What other virtue can there be in fifty-one percent except the brute fact that fifty-one is more than forty-nine? The rule of fifty-one per cent is a convenience, it is for certain matters a satisfactory political device, it is for others the lesser of two evils, and for others it is acceptable because we do not know any less troublesome method of obtaining a political decision. But it may easily become an absurd tyranny if we regard it worshipfully, as though it were more than a political device. We have lost all sense of its true meaning when we imagine that the opinion of fifty-one per cent is in some high fashion the true opinion of the whole hundred per cent, or indulge in the sophistry that the rule of a majority is based upon the ultimate equality of man.
Successful . . . politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies.
The time musr come when the defense program passes from being a gigantic pump-primer into being the main engine. [New York Herald Tribune, September 19, 1940]
The people cannot delegate to government the power to do anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves.
The end of the law is, not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.
For those who would persuade us that being born under any government we are naturally subjects to it and have no more any title of pretense to the freedom of the state of Nature, have no other reason (bating that of paternal power, which we have already answered) to produce for it, but only because our fathers or progenitors passed away their natural liberty, and thereby bound up themselves and their posterity to a perpetual subjection to the government which they themselves submitted to. It is true that whatever engagements or promises anyone has made for himself, he is under the obligation of them, but cannot by any compact whatsoever bind his children or posterity. For his son, when a man, being altogether as free as the father, any act of the father can no more give away the liberty of the son than it can of anyone slse.
There is a problem, too, of the tacit consent theory. If a young man at 21 opts to remain in the society where he has grown up rather than to emigrate, is he acting as a discrete or unprejudiced individual? Surely not--the scales are heavily weighted against his deciding to reject his own society, for he knows its language, has become an integral part of its culture, is adjusted to its customs and laws, and normally might find other ways of life strange and forbidding. To say that he is like the men who, prior to polite society, made a contract, and is therefore consenting freely, is difficult to believe.
If justice requires the consent of the governed, then our [U.S.] whole past record of expansion is a crime.
Geographically, Vietnam stands at the hub of a vast area of the world--Southeast Asia--an area with a vast population of 249 million persons. . . . He who holds or has influence in Vietnam can affect the future of the Philippines and Formosa to the East, Thailand and Burma with their huge rice surpluses to the West, and Malaysia and Indonesia with their rubber, ore and tin to the South. . . . Vietnam thus does not exist in a geographical vacuum--from its large storehouses of wealth and population can be influenced and undermined. [Boston Sunday Globe, February 28, 1965]
If they turn on their radars were going to blow up their goddamn SAMs [surface-to-air missiles]. They know we own their country. We own their airspace. . . . We dictate the way they live and talk. And thats whats great about America right now. Its a good thing, especially when there's a lot of oil out there we need. [directing bombing of Iraq in late 1990s, Washington Post, August 30, 1999]
He who is firmly seated in authority soon learns to think security, and not progress, the highest lesson of statecraft.
Politicians say theyre beefing up our economy. Most dont know beef from pork.
And they are ignorant that the purpose of the sword is to save every man from slavery.
Freedom for supporters of the government only, for members of one party only--no matter how big its membership may be--is no freedom at all. Freedom is always freedom for the man who thinks differently.