The Radical Center
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The Radical Center

Libertarian Quotes of the Week #21

“Opium and morphine are certainly dangerous, habit-forming drugs. But once the principle is admitted that it is the duty of the government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments … Is not the harm a man can inflict on his mind and soul even more disastrous than any bodily evils? Why not prevent him from reading bad books and bad plays, from looking at bad paintings and statues and from hearing bad music? The mischief done by bad ideologies, surely, is much more pernicious both for the individual and for the whole society, than that done by narcotic drugs.”
Ludwig Mises 1881–1973

“If a state prevents the development of the capacities which reside in man, if it interferes with the progress of the human spirit, then it is reprehensible and injurious, no matter how excellently devised, how perfect in its own way. Its very permanence in that case amounts more to a reproach than to a basis for fame; it becomes a prolonged evil, and the longer it endures, the more harmful it is….”
Friedrich Schiller 1759–1805

“The nature of freedom of choice is that some people will misuse their responsibility and hurt themselves in the process. We should do our best to educate them, but without diminishing choice for everyone else.”
George McGovern

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
Aldous Huxley

“Paradoxical as it may seem, men and women who are free to pursue individualism and material wealth turn out to be the most compassionate of all.”
The Financial Times November 21, 2001

“I believe there are two kinds of people in the world, and that’s the creator and the second hander. And creation comes before distribution or there’ll be nothing to distribute.”
Marva Collins 1936–2015

“We do not draw a firm conclusion… whether more rights cause higher levels of development of whether more developed countries tend to have more rights. The theoretical perspectives suggest that both directions are likely at work.”
The Williams Institute The Relationship between LGBT Inclusion and Economic Development

“Totalitarianism in power invariably replaces all first-rate talents, regardless of their sympathies, with crackpots and fools whose lack of intelligence and creativity is the best guarantee of their loyalty.”
Hannah Arendt1906–1975

“A bedrock assumption of classical liberalism is the opposite: people are natural equals and should be treated as such along all dimensions of political organization and action. In this sense, classical liberalism is profoundly egalitarian, rather than hierarchical. This attitude … must remain a crucial part of classical liberal faith…”
James Buchanan

“Our history shows the death penalty has been unjustly imposed, innocents have been killed by the state, effective rehabilitation has been impaired, judicial administration has suffered, crime has not been deterred. Society pays a heavy price for the penalty of death it imposes.”
Ramsey Clark

“Ethical liberalism abhors authoritarian regulation of the economic process because it considers it a humbling of the inventive faculties of man.”
Benedetto Croce 1866–1952

“These defenders of American morality are not merely anti-homosexual, they’re anti-anybody who is unlike them.”
Dr. Thomas Szasz 1920–2012

“Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.”
H.L. Mencken 1880–1956


“Socialism like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.”
Frédéric Bastiat 1801–1850

“The world is fast learning that of all forms of slavery there is none that is so harmful and degrading as that form of slavery which tempts one human being to hate another by reason of his race or color. One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in in the ditch with him. One who goes through life with his eyes closed against all that is good in another race is weakened and circumscribed, as one who fights in a battle with one hand tied behind him.”
Booker T. Washington 1856–1915

“Selfishness is not living your life as you wish, it is asking others to live their lives as you wish.”
Oscar Wilde 1854–1900

“In a civilized society, all crimes are likely to be sins, but most sins are not and ought not to be treated as crimes.”
Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher 1887–1972

“Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.”
F.A. Hayek 1899–1922

“The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition is so powerful that it is alone, and without any assistance, capable not only of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting 100 impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations.”
Adam Smith 1723–1790

“Government never furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way.”
Henry David Thoreau 1817–1862

“What leads legislators into this error, is confounding sins and crimes together — making no difference between moral evil and state rebellion: not considering that a man may be infected with moral evil, and yet be guilty of no crime, punishable by law. If a man worships one God, three Gods, twenty Gods, or no God — if he pays adoration one day in a week, seven days or no day — wherein does he injure the life, liberty or property of another? Let any or all these actions be supposed to be religious evils of an enormous size, yet they are not crimes to be punished by laws of state, which extend no further, in justice, than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor.”
Rev. John Leland 1754–1841

“Liberty for the few is not liberty. Liberty for me and slavery for you means slavery for both.”
Samuel M. Jones 1846–1904


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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.