Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Anarchy

"In the wildest anarchy of man’s insurgent appetites and sins there is still a reclaiming voice, a voice which, even when in practice disregarded, it is impossible not to own; and to which, at the very moment that we refuse our obedience, we find that we cannot refuse the homage of what ourselves do feel and acknowledge to be the best, the highest principles of our nature." - Thomas Chalmers

"With the seizing of the means of production by society, production of commodities is done away with, and, simultaneously, the mastery of the product over the producer. Anarchy in social production is replaced by plan-conforming, conscious organization. The struggle for individual existence disappears... Only from that time will man himself, with full consciousness, make his own history - only from that time will the social causes set in movement by him have, in the main and in a constantly growing measure, the results intended by him. It is the ascent of man from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom." - Friedrich Engels

"Beneath a free government there is nothing but the intelligence of the people to keep the people’s peace. Order must be preserved, not by a military police or regiments of horse-guards, but by the spontaneous concert of a well-informed population, resolved that the rights which have been rescued from despotism shall not be subverted by anarchy." - Edward Everett

"Plainly, the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy. A majority, held in restraint by constitutional checks, and imitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible; the rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy, or despotism in some form, is all that is left." - Abraham Lincoln

"It is clear that property in itself owes allegiance to no particular form of government, and is bound by no dynastic or legal ties. Its politics may be summed up in a single word: exploitation, or even anarchy. It is the most formidable enemy and most treacherous ally of any form of power. In short, in its relation to the State it is governed by only one principle, one sentiment, one concern: self-interest, or egoism... That is why all governments, all utopias, and all Churches distrust property... We can conclude that property is the greatest existing revolutionary force, with an unequaled capacity for setting itself against authority." - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

"We spend a good part of our time establishing personal boundaries, creating individuality by drawing lines that define the limits of the self. But it becomes increasingly clear that these limits are artificial. We are part of the fabric and cannot avoid being so. Mere anarchy is seldom loosed upon the real world." - Lyall Watson

"Idleness leads to relaxation, sooner or later bringing about ideological and material corruption, accompanied by lack of discipline, anarchy, chaos and defeat." - Samora Machel, fully Samora Moisés Machel

"If each man relies on his individual reason for his religious beliefs, the result will be anarchy of belief or the annihilation of religious sovereignty." - Joseph de Maistre, fully Joseph-Marie, comte de Maistre

"Trust is the fabric that binds us together, creating an orderly civilized society from chaos and anarchy… Trust must be carefully constructed, vigorously nurtured, and constantly reinforced." - Frank K. Sonnenberg

"Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society. The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil." - Albert Einstein

"In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law ... that would lead to anarchy. An individual who breaks a law that his conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Man is at bottom a wild and terrible animal. We know him only as what we call civilization has tamed and trained him; hence we are alarmed by the occasional breaking out of his true nature. But whenever the locks and chains of law and order are cast off, and anarchy comes in, he shows himself for what he really is." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"Periods of confused anarchy… seem always destined to precede the birth of every new society." - Gustave Le Bon

"We have two American flags always; one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly it it means that things are under control; when the poor fly it it means danger, revolution, anarchy." - Henry Miller, aka Henry Valentine Miller

"The worst thing in the world, next to anarchy, is government." - Henry Ward Beecher

"If the will, which is the law of our nature, were withdrawn from our memory, fancy, understanding, and reason, no other hell could equal, for a spiritual being, what we should then feel from the anarchy of our powers. It would be conscious madness, a horrid thought!" - John Milton

"Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means – to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal – would bring terrible retribution." - Louis D. Brandeis, fully Louis Dembitz Brandeis

"Are not laws dangerous which inhibit the passions? Compare the centuries of anarchy with those of the strongest legalism in any country you like and you will see that it is only when the laws are silent that the greatest actions appear." - Marquis de Sade, born Donatien Alphonse François de Sade

"For avoiding the extremes of despotism or anarchy ... the only ground of hope must be on the morals of the people. I believe that religion is the only solid base of morals and that morals are the only possible support of free governments." - Gouverneur Morris

"Democracy destroys itself because it abuses its right to freedom and equality. Because it teaches its citizens to consider audacity as a right, lawlessness as a freedom, abrasive speech as equality, and anarchy as progress." - Isocrates NULL

"America needs fewer laws, not more prisons. By trying to seize far more power than is necessary over American citizens, the federal government is destroying its own legitimacy. We face a choice not of anarchy or authoritarianism, but a choice of limited government or unlimited government." - James Bovard

"Tyranny and anarchy are never far apart. " - Jeremy Bentham

"We have only one alternative: either to build a functioning industrial society or see freedom itself disappear in anarchy and tyranny." - Peter F. Drucker, fully Peter Ferdinand Drucker

"Those who are persuaded that Anarchy is a collection of visions relating to the future, and an unconscious striving toward the destruction of all present civilization, are still very numerous; and to clear the ground of such prejudices of our education as maintain this view we should have, perhaps, to enter into many details which it would be difficult to embody in a single lecture. Did not the Parisian press, only two or three years ago, maintain that the whole philosophy of Anarchy consisted in destruction, and that its only argument was violence?" - Peter Kropotkin, fully Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin

"Politics is a pendulum whose swings between anarchy and tyranny are fueled by perpetually rejuvenated illusions." - Albert Einstein

"If, when the chips are down, the world's most powerful nation, the United States of America, acts like a pitiful, helpless giant, the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world." - Richard Nixon, fully Richard Milhous Nixon

"To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things." - Russell Kirk

"The primary goal in the education of children is to teach, and to give the example of a virtuous life." - John Chrysostom, fully Saint John Chrysostom

"It is for man to establish the reign of liberty in the midst of the world of the given. To gain the supreme victory, it is necessary, for one thing, that by and through their natural differentiation men and women unequivocally affirm their brotherhood." - Simone de Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir

"The first requisite of a good citizen in this Republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight; that he shall not be a mere passenger, but shall do his share in the work that each generation of us finds ready to hand; and, furthermore, that in doing his work he shall show, not only the capacity for sturdy self-help, but also self-respecting regard for the rights of others." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"Our fellow-citizens think they have a right to full information, in a case of such great concernment to them. It is their sweat which is to earn all the expenses of the war, and their blood which is to flow in expiation of the causes of it." - Thomas Jefferson

"You and I have formerly seen warm debates and high political passions. But gentlemen of different politics would then speak to each other and separate the business of the Senate from that of society. It is not so now. Men who have been intimate all their lives, cross the streets to avoid meeting, and turn their heads another way, lest they should be obliged to touch their hats. This may do for young men with whom passion is enjoyment. But it is afflicting to peaceable minds. Tranquility is the old man's milk." - Thomas Jefferson

"Where the bourgeois economists saw a relation between things (the exchange of one commodity for another) Marx revealed a relation between people." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"The essence of religion is the personal discovery of the meaning of life, the meaning of truth. Religion is related to the unconditional, total freedom that truth confers on us. It is a revolution of the whole way of living. Religion moves us from the superficial layers of existence and encourages us to go deeper to the roots of life. It is an inward journey to the depths of our being." - Vimala Thakar

"But how to consider, the finite and the infinite in the fact of positing [se poser]? Is there a more or less perfect way of positing? What is, is. That there be birth and death in no way affects the absolute character of an affirmation that refers only to itself." - Emmanuel Lévinas , originally Emanuelis Lévinas

"In our work with the developing countries we are at least forced to recognize the limitations of poverty, and this work can therefore be a wholesome school for all of us in which, while generally trying to help others, we may also gain knowledge and experience of how to help ourselves." - E. F. Schumacher, fully Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher

"A typical triumph of modern science to find the only part of Randolph that was not malignant and remove it."" - Evelyn Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh

"We once knew well our Elder Brother and our Father in Heaven. We rejoiced at the prospects of earth life that could make it possible for us to have a fullness of joy. We could hardly wait to demonstrate to our Father and our Brother, the Lord, how much we loved them and how we would be obedient to them in spite of the earthly opposition of the evil one. Now we are here. Our memories are veiled. We are showing God and ourselves what we can do. Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us." - Ezra Taft Benson