These United States were once known as "the land of the free and the home of the brave."
Today, the United States is more accurately described as:
"The land of the servile and timid."
Here are some warnings which have gone unheeded:
"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force."
-- Ayn Rand (The Nature of Government)
Thus the State turns every contingency into a resource for accumulating power in itself, always at the expense of social power; and with this it develops a habit of acquiescence in the people. New generations appear, each temperamentally adjusted or as I believe our American glossary now has it, conditioned - to new increments of State power, and they tend to take the process of continuous accumulation as quite in order. All the State's institutional voices unite in confirming this tendency; they unite in exhibiting the progressive conversion of social power into State power as something not only quite in order, but even as wholesome and necessary for the public good.
-- A.J. Nock, (Our Enemy the State), 1935
As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."
-- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
"The safest road to hell is the gradual one the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."
-- C.S. Lewis
Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
-- C.S. Lewis
If once they ["our people"] become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter from Paris, 1787
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt, 1783
Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
-- Noah Webster
I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
-- James Madison
The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.
-- Edmund Burke
It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men.
-- Henry L. Mencken, 1926
"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws."
-- Ayn Rand, (Atlas Shrugged)
"There is none more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free!"
-- Johann W. von Goethe