We all have private ails. The troublemakers are they who need public cures for their private ails.
Absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep.
[M]en of power…their main purpose is the elimination or neutralization of the independent individual…every device they employ aims at turning men into a manipulable ‘animated instrument’ which is Aristotle’s definition of a slave.
People unfit for freedom — who cannot do much with it — are hungry for power. The desire for freedom…says: leave me alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities.
The real ‘haves’ are they who can acquire freedom, self-confidence, and even riches without depriving others of them. They acquire all of these by developing and applying their potentialities. On the other hand, the real ‘have nots’ are they who cannot have aught except by depriving others of it…[who] feel free only by diminishing the freedom of others…
The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.
Government can be directed to restrain and punish violent aggressive citizens or it can use aggressive force to rule the people, redistribute wealth, make citizens follow certain moral standards, and force them to practice certain personal habits.
Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands?
[T]he States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore ... never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market.
Our liberties depend on our preserving the integrity of the Constitution and the mechanisms it established to deter tyranny. To the extent we dismantle those safeguards, we imperil our freedoms. When the political class is filled with those who are ideologically committed to certain political ends irrespective of the legality of the means used to achieve them, our system of checks and balances breaks down, which is one reason John Adams warned, 'Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.' November's elections cannot come fast enough.