The Radical Center
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The Radical Center

Libertarian Quotes #16

“Had those who drew and ratified the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment known the components of liberty in its manifold possibilities, they might have been more specific. They did not presume to have this insight. They knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy • 1936 —

“Nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.”
Albert Einstein • 1879–1955

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
James Madison • 1751–1836

“The chancellor — the late chancellor — was only partly correct. He was obsolete, but so is the state, the entity he worshipped. Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man — that state is obsolete.”
The Twilight Zone “The Obsolete Man” 1959

“For years I’ve watched governments take control of our lives and their argument is always the same, fewer costs and greater efficiency, but the result is the same too, less control by the people, more control by the State until the individual’s own wishes count for nothing. That is what I consider my duty to oppose.”
Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) Downton Abbey

“To base one’s convictions on reason is to base them on the facts of reality. Faith is the acceptance of an idea without evidence or proof, or in spite of evidence to the contrary. To rest one’s advocacy of capitalism on faith is to concede that reason is on the side of one’s enemies.”
Barbara Branden • 1929–2013

“Progress in thought is the assertion of individualism against authority.”
Oscar Wilde • 1854–1900

“This, I believe, is one of the most important sources of America’s greatness. We lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people — our strength — from every country and every corner of the world. And by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation. While other countries cling to the stale past, here in America we breathe life into dreams. We create the future, and the world follows us into tomorrow.

Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier. This quality is vital to our future as a nation. If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.”
Ronald Reagan • 1911–2004

“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.”
Barry Goldwater • 1909–1998

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Benjamin Franklin • 1706–1790

“Deny human rights, and however little you may wish to do so, you will find yourself abjectly kneeling at the feet of that old-world god, Force — that grimmest and ugliest of gods that men have ever carved for themselves out of the lusts of their hearts; you will find yourselves hating and dreading all other men who differ from you; you will find yourselves obliged by the law of conflict into which you have plunged, to use every means in your power to crush them before they are able to crush you; you will find yourselves day by day growing more unscrupulous and intolerant, more and more compelled by the fear of those opposed to you, to commit harsh and violent actions, of which you would once have said ‘Is thy servant a dog taht he should do these things?’; you will find yourselves clinging to and welcoming Force, as the one and only form of protection left to you, when you have destroyed the rule of the great principles.”
Auberon Herbert • 1838–1906

“A great deal more might be said about the close connection between conservatism and nationalism, but I shall not dwell on this point because it may be felt that my personal position makes me unable to sympathize with any form of nationalism. I will merely add that it is this nationalistic bias which frequently provides the bridge from conservatism to collectivism: to think in terms of “our” industry or resource is only a short step away from demanding that these national assets be directed in the national interest.”
F.A. Hayek • 1838–1906

“In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.”
Voltaire • 1838–1906

“In order to get power and retain it, it is necessary to love power; but love of power is not connected with goodness but with qualities that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning, and cruelty.”
Leo Tolstoy • 1838–1906

Rose Wilder Lane

“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.”
Rose Wilder Lane • 1838–1906

“However sugarcoated and ambiguous, every form of authoritarianism must start with a belief in some group’s greater right to power, whether that right is justified by sex, race, class, religion or all four. However far it may expand, the progression inevitably rests on unequal power and airtight roles within the family.”
Gloria Steinem •1934–

“Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”
Daniel Webster •1782–1852

“Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage — the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.”
Ayn Rand • 1905–1982

Frederick Doublass

“There are such things in the world as human rights. They rest upon no conventional foundation, but are external, universal, and indestructible. Among these, is the right of locomotion; the right of migration; the right which belongs to no particular race, but belongs alike to all and to all alike. It is the right you assert by staying here, and your fathers asserted by coming here. It is this great right that I assert for the Chinese and Japanese, and for all other varieties of men equally with yourselves, now and forever.”
Frederick Douglass • 1818–1895

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James Peron

James Peron

James Peron is the president of the Moorfield Storey Institute, was the founding editor of Esteem a LGBT publication in South Africa under apartheid.