Important Quotes by Important People

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." - Ronald Reagan

“That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where the property a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest.” – James Madison

"On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' And Vanity comes along and asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But Conscience asks the question 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right." - Martin Luther King Jr.

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and 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

"The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times and in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false." - Paul Johnson

"Let not him who is houseless tear down the house of another; rather, let him labor knowing that his own will be secure when it is completed." - Abraham Lincoln

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have." (Unknown who originally said it, often misattributed to Thomas Jefferson)

"... even if a government were superior in intelligence and knowledge to any single individual in the nation, it must be inferior to all the individuals of the nation taken together." - John Stuart Mill

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” - Friedrich Hayek

"It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it." - Thomas Sowell

"The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit." - Milton Friedman

"When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will be the end of the republic." - Ben Franklin

"The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property." - John Locke

“Individuality seems to me the point of departure, the motive, the universal wellspring to which Providence has confided human progress. It is surely in vain that modern socialists set themselves against this principle.” - Frederic Bastiat

"It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance." - Thomas Sowell

"Learn baby learn, so you can earn baby earn." - Martin Luther King Jr.

"There is no justification for the widespread belief that, so long as power is conferred by democratic procedure, it cannot be arbitrary; it is not the source of power which prevents it from being arbitrary; to be free from dictatorial qualities, the power must also be limited." - Friedrich Hayek

"We should measure welfare's success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added." - Ronald Reagan

“A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” – Milton Friedman

"And just remember, every dollar we spend on outsourcing is spent on U.S. goods or invested back in the U.S. market. That's accounting." - Arthur Laffer

"A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which 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

"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

"Justice has but one measure for all men." - John Locke

"It will be those whose vague and imperfectly formed ideas are easily swayed and whose passions and emotions are readily aroused who will thus swell the ranks of the totalitarian party." - Friedrich Hayek

"The Constitution only guarantees the pursuit of happiness. You have to catch it yourself." - Ben Franklin

"Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong." - Abraham Lincoln

"How can the modern relativist exercise tolerance if he doesn't believe in anything to begin with? It is not hard to exhibit toleration toward a point of view if you have no point of view of your own with which that point of view conflicts. It is the man who believes, and only he, who is capable of exhibiting the virtue of tolerance." - William F. Buckley Jr.

“In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all, security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted, not to give to society, but for society to give to them; when the freedom they wished for was the freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free, and was never free again.” - Edward Gibbon

"Implicit in the wide range of efforts on the left to get government to take over more of our decisions for us is the assumption that there is some superior class of people who are either wiser or nobler than the rest of us." - Thomas Sowell

“Nothing has shaped the modern world more powerfully than capitalism, destroying as it has millennia-old patterns of economic, social, and political life. Over the centuries it has destroyed feudalism and monarchism with their emphasis on bloodlines and birth. It has created an independent class of business people who owe little to the state and who are now the dominant force in every advanced society in the world. It has made change and dynamism – rather than order and tradition – the governing philosophy of the modern age. Capitalism created a new world, utterly different from the one that had existed for millennia.” – Fareed Zakaria

"'But,' people may insist, 'it is not enough to tear down; you must offer something constructive.' I, for my part, think that to tear down an error is to build up the truth that stands opposed to it." - Frederic Bastiat

"It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble. It's the things we know that just ain't so." - Henry Wheeler Shaw

"State power, considered in the abstract, need not restrict freedom: but absolute state power always does. The legitimate functions of government are actually conducive to freedom. Maintaining internal order, keeping foreign foes at bay, administering justice, removing obstacles to the free interchange of goods - the exercise of these powers makes it possible for men to follow their chosen pursuits with maximum freedom. But note that the very instrument by which these desirable ends are achieved can be the instrument for achieving undesirable ends - that government can, instead of extending freedom, restrict freedom. And note, secondly, that the 'can' quickly becomes 'will' the moment the holders of government power are left to their own devices. This is because of the corrupting influence of power, the natural tendency of men who possess some power to take unto themselves more power. The tendency leads eventually to the acquisition of all power - whether in the hands of one or many makes little difference to the freedom of those left on the outside." - Barry Goldwater

“Although we speak loosely of 'production,' man neither creates nor destroys matter, but only transforms it.” – Thomas Sowell

"It ought to be recollected that each merchant knows his own business better than the government can; that the whole nation's productive power is limited; that in a given time, it has but a given number of hands, and a given quantity of capital; that by forcing it to enter upon a kind of work which it did not previously execute, we almost always at the same time force it to abandon a kind of work which it did execute; whilst the most probable result of such a change is the abandonment of a more lucrative manufacture for another which is less so, and which personal interest had designedly overlooked." - Charles-Leonard Simonde de Sismondi