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Learn from Those Who Came Before Us: Words on Government and the Constitution

Posted on 11/02/2008 12:24:27 PM PST by Ultra Sonic 007

I cannot accept, your canon that we are to judge pope and king unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they do no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way against holders of power ... Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

~Lord Acton

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.

~John Adams

If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.

~Samuel Adams

To the size of the state there is a limit, as there is to plants, animals and implements, for none of these retain their facility when they are too large.


Three groups spend other people's money: children, thieves, politicians. All three need supervision.

~Dick Armey

How many Catholic schools do you think teach the students to question the authority of the Pope? Do you believe Christian schools teach students to question or challenge the authority of Jesus Christ? Do military schools teach the cadets to challenge the authority of superior officers? Well, why should we then expect government schools to teach children to question the authority of government?

~Neal Boortz

Anybody that wants the Presidency so much that he'll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.

~David Broder

Too bad all the people who know how to run this country are busy running taxicabs or cutting hair.

~George Burns

Stripped of all its covering, the naked question is, whether ours is a federal or consolidated government; a constitutional or absolute one; a government resting solidly on the basis of the sovereignty of the States, or on the unrestrained will of a majority; a form of government, as in all other unlimited ones, in which injustice, violence, and force must ultimately prevail.

~John C. Calhoun

So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.

~Sir Winston Churchill

A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?

~Marcus Tullius Cicero

In dealing with the State, we ought to remember that its institutions are not aboriginal, though they existed before we were born; that they are not superior to the citizen; that every one of them was once the act of a single man; every law and usage was a man's expedient to meet a particular case; that they all are imitable, all alterable; we may make as good; we may make better.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand.

~Milton Friedman

Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.

~Benjamin Franklin

Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true.

~Eric Hoffer

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.

~John F. Kennedy

There is no such crime as a crime of thought; there are only crimes of action.

~Clarence S. Darrow

It is better, so the Fourth Amendment teaches us, that the guilty sometimes go free than the citizens be subject to easy arrest.

~Justice William O. Douglas

If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws.

~Alexander Hamilton

Limiting the freedom of news ‘just a little bit’ is in the same category within the classic example ‘a little bit pregnant’.

~Robert A. Heinlein

The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.

~Thomas Jefferson

If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution.

~Abraham Lincoln

A legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law.

~Justice John Marshall

The American constitutions were to liberty, what a grammar is to language: they define its parts of speech and practically construct them into syntax.

~Thomas Paine

Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: 'We the people.' 'We the people' tell the government what to do, it doesn't tell us. 'We the people' are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world's constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are. Our Constitution is a document in which 'We the people' tell the government what it is allowed to do. 'We the people' are free. This belief has been the underlying basis for everything I've tried to do these past eight years.

~Ronald Reagan

And to conclude...a bunch of words from P.J. O'Rourke:

Government does not cause affluence. Citizens of totalitarian countries have plenty of government and nothing of anything else.


When a government controls both the economic power of individuals and the coercive power of the state ... this violates a fundamental rule of happy living: Never let the people with all the money and the people with all the guns be the same people.


Now majority rule is a precious, sacred thing worth dying for. But, like other precious, sacred things…it’s not only worth dying for, it can make you wish you were dead. Imagine if all life were determined by majority rule. Every meal would be a pizza.


The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.


When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.


Something to think about.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Government; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: constitution; government; lessons; worldhistory
Learn from history!
1 posted on 11/02/2008 12:24:28 PM PST by Ultra Sonic 007
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To: YankeeMagic; Charles Henrickson; SunkenCiv; PJ-Comix; rlmorel; rdb3; dixiebelle; nodumbblonde; ...

Ping of interest.

2 posted on 11/02/2008 12:29:53 PM PST by Ultra Sonic 007 (Halo 3: Recon - Due out in Fall 2009!)
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To: Ultra Sonic 007
How many Catholic schools do you think teach the students to question the authority of the Pope?

Neal hasn't been around many Catholic schools recently. Some of them teach little else.

3 posted on 11/02/2008 12:44:20 PM PST by Sherman Logan (Everyone has a right to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.)
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To: Ultra Sonic 007
Bump to the top

An Appeal to Grass Roots America Part 1!


4 posted on 11/02/2008 1:11:39 PM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: Ultra Sonic 007

Thank you so much! I needed these today.

This whole election cycle has gotten me so discouraged at times! Not the election itself... just the vast amounts of stupidity and ignorance it’s brought to light. It’s hard for me to believe that a significant part of the population can’t be bothered with facts and common sense.

One of my son’s BO-supporting friends is staying with us while his parents are out of town. I had to tell him today how much I appreciate the fact that, even though we disagree politically, we can discuss the issues civilly without the screaming and yelling and name-calling I get from other Obots.

Sorry for the ramble! Thanks again for the quotes!

5 posted on 11/02/2008 1:12:09 PM PST by nodumbblonde
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To: Ultra Sonic 007

Great fun. I highlighted a number of the names and took a trip through time on wikipedia. History is so much more than what our high school teachers bored us with those many years ago.

Our ancestors were not stupid, nay they were wise beyond their time. Their words resonate today as if they were spoken at a campaign rally in Marietta Ohio.

Who do you suppose was in Marietta today?

Perhaps someone who will be similarly quoted by our great-great grandchildren.

6 posted on 11/02/2008 1:13:19 PM PST by turfmann
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To: Ultra Sonic 007; AdmSmith; Berosus; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fred Nerks; ..
Thanks Ultra Sonic 007.
Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents. It pulls and whirls the individual away from his own self, makes him oblivious of his weal and future, frees him of jealousies and self-seeking. He becomes an anonymous particle with a craving to fuse and coalesce with his like into one flaming mass... Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil... Common hatred unites the most heterogeneous elements. To share a common hatred, with an enemy even, is to infect him with a feeling of kinship, and thus sap his powers of resistance... We have it from Hitler... that the genius of a great leader consists in concentrating all hatred on a single foe. [Eric Hoffer, "The True Believer" pp 85-87]

7 posted on 11/02/2008 5:50:44 PM PST by SunkenCiv ( finally updated Saturday, October 11, 2008 !!!)
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