Few consider how much we are indebted to government, because few can represent how wretched mankind would be without it.
Our whole way of life today is dedicated to the removal of risk. Cradle to grave we are supported, insulated, and isolated from the risks of life - and if we fall, our government stands ready with Band-Aids of every size.
There is no passion so distressing as fear, which gives us great pain and makes us appear contemptible in our own eyes to the last degree. Fear is in almost all cases a wretched instrument of government, and ought in particular never to be employed against any order of men who have the smallest pretensions to independency.
In the government you called civilized, the happiness of the people is constantly sacrificed to the splendor of the empire. Hence the origin of your codes of criminal and civil laws; hence your dungeons and prisons. We have no prisons; we have no written laws; and yet judges are as highly revered among us as they are among you, and their decisions are as much regarded. We have among us no exalted villains above the control of our laws. Daring wickedness is here never allowed to triumph over helpless innocence. The estates of widows and orphans are never devoured by enterprising swindlers. We have no robbery under the pretext of law.
How many of us are waiting for the opportunity to do some great thing for the betterment of our community, forgetting that the solution of the problem requires only the active intelligent fulfillment of individual civic duty. The only things which are wrong about our Government are the things which are wrong with you and me. Democracy is never a thing done; it is and always will be a goal to be achieved. It means action, not passive acquiescence in things as they are; it requires alertness to duty, a dynamic faith, a willingness to give for the good of all. It can live only as a result of loyalty and devotion to its principles expressed by daily needs.
The taxes were indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us, by allowing an abatement.
He that will do anything for his pleasure, must engage himself to suffer all the pains annexed to it; and these pains, are the natural punishments of those actions, which are the beginning of more harm than good. And hereby it comes to pass that intemperance is naturally punished with diseases; rashness with mischances; injustice with the violence of enemies: Pride, with ruin; cowardice, with oppression; negligent government of princes, with rebellion; and rebellion, with slaughter.
When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned.
Genuine self-government is possible only in very small groups, societies on a national or super-national scale will always be ruled by oligarchical minorities, whose members come to power because they have a lust for power.
Self-government, self-discipline, self-responsibility are the triple safeguards of the independence of man.
The most creative job in the world. It involves taste, fashion, decorating, recreation, education, transportation, psychology, cuisine, designing, literature, medicine, handicraft, art, horticulture, economics, government, community relations, pediatrics, geriatrics, entertainment, maintenance, purchasing, direct mail, law, accounting, religion, energy, and management. Anyone who can handle all those has to be somebody special. She is. She’s a homemaker.
If the basis of popular government in peacetime is virtue, its basis in a time of revolution is virtue and terror - virtue, without which terror would be barbaric; and terror, without which virtue would be impotent.
Liberty is not to be found in any form of government, she is in the heart of the free man, he bears her with him everywhere.
Religion in American takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must be regarded as the first of their political institutions... How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity?
The greatest right in the world is the right to be wrong. If the Government or majorities think an individual is right, no one will interfere with him; but when agitators talk against the things considered holy, or when radicals criticise, or satirize the political gods, or question the justice of our laws and institutions, or pacifists talk against war, how the old inquisition awakens, and ostracism, the excommunication of the church, the prison, the wheel, the torture-chamber, the mob, are called to suppress the free expression of thought.
"A family without government," says Matthew Henry, "is like a house without a roof, exposed to every wind that blows." He might better have said, like a house in flames, a scene of confusion, and commonly too hot to live in.
The tongue is, at the same, the best part of a man, and his worst; with good government, none is more useful; without it, none is more mischievous.
The best government rests on the people, and not on the few, on persons and not on property, on the free development of public opinion and not on authority.
Security is never absolute... The government of a free people must take certain chances for the sake of maintaining freedom which the government of a police state avoids because it holds freedom to be of no value.
Government is not a substitute for people, but simply an instrument through which they act. And if the individual fails to do his duty as a citizen, government becomes a very deadly instrument.