Since Oct 20, 2000
"If you have done nothing wrong, comrade, then you have nothing to fear."
- Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria (1899 - 1953), chief of the Soviet Secret Police (NKVD) under Stalin
Lavrenti Beria was one of the cruelest leaders in a regime known for its brutality. He first reached a position of power by working his way up the police organization in the Soviet republic of Georgia. In 1938, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin summoned him to Moscow to work as the deputy to the chief of the Soviet secret police (NKVD). Within months the chief had disappeared and Beria had replaced him. During the purges of the 1930s, many Soviet leaders issued lists of people they wanted arrested and shot, but Beria may have been the only one who personally got involved in torturing his victims. It is said that he invented the saying "Comrade, if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear," a line spoken with heavy irony by NKVD officers as they took political prisoners into custody during Stalin's purges.
As sad as it makes me, the ugly truth is this is no longer a free country, so please stop referring to it as such. Although the definition of freedom may vary, there is no question that free countries do not restrict political speech about candidates before an election. Referring to the USA as a free country while CFR stands cheapens the word, and is an insult to those of us who truly hold such values.
- freeeee 12/11/03
"This litigation is about preventing criticism of the government . I cannot say for certain that many, or some, or even any, of the Members of Congress who voted for this legislation did so not to produce "fairer" campaigns, but to mute criticism of their records and facilitate reelection...The first instinct of power is the retention of power, and, under a Constitution that requires periodic elections, that is best achieved by the suppression of election time speech...it is a sad day for free speech"
- Justice Anthony Scalia's dissenting opinion in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, which upheld Campaign Finance Reform
"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."
- President Harry Truman
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master."
- President George Washington
"Live free or die; death is not the worst of evils"
- Gen. John Stark 1809
"All power tends to corrupt, absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely."
- Lord Acton
"If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed"
- President George Washington's Farewell Address, 1796
"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."
- Thomas Paine
"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."
- Daniel Webster
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, then go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel or arms, crouch down and lick the hands which feed you, may your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen"
- Samuel Adams 1776
"The spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecution, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war (Revolutionary War) we shall be going downhill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion."
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, p. 169 (last part of Query, XVII), Boston: Lilly and Wait, 1832
"The problem with 'post-modern' society is there are too many people with nothing meaningful to do, building 'careers' around controlling the lives of others and generally making social nuisances of themselves. They justify their meddling by discovering social 'problems' and getting the media to magnify them out of all proportion...Absolutely nothing human beings do is to be left uncontrolled."
- Graham Strachan Waging War on the Lunchbox
"The sheep think patriotism is waving their Chinese-made flags and bleating whatever's fashionable. They can't even see the contradiction . . . a symbol of freedom most likely made by a Chinese dissenter whose only crime was trying to exercise the freedoms that flag represents . . . Freedoms which are being usurped by legislation they cheer for . . ."
- A US Serviceman
"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar".
- Yes, I know Caesar didn't say this but it's true all the same. If you want to attribute it to someone, you can attribute to me for all I care.
"The French under the old monarchy held it for a maxim that the king could do no wrong. The Americans entertain the same opinion with respect to the majority... If ever the free institutions of America are destroyed, that event may be attributed to the omnipotence of the majority."
- Alexis DeToqueville
"Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood : it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of float happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances - what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things: it has predisposed men to endure them, and oftentimes to look on them as benefits. After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp, and fashioned them at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting : such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till [this] nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."
- Alexis DeToqueville
"The utterly insufferable arrogance of power, and the need for it, is an absolute fact of the human condition. -- Nothing can be done about it. - Just as the poor shall always be with us, so shall we have these infinitely shrewd imbeciles who live to lay down their version of 'the law' to others."
"The continuous disasters of man's history are mainly due to his excessive capacity and urge to become identified with a tribe, nation, church or cause, and to espouse its credo uncritically and enthusiastically, even if its tenets are contrary to reason, devoid of self-interest and detrimental to the claims of self-preservation. We are thus driven to the unfashionable conclusion that the trouble with our species is not an excess of aggression, but an excess capacity for fanatical devotion."
"To be a conservative, above all else, is to believe in the founding ideals of America. It is more of a way of life than an ideology. It is based on the idea that America's purpose is to provide an evironment for the american people to live their lives, raise their children, worship God, and practice their culture....with as little interference from distant centers of authority as is possible.
Neoconservativism, which is not really conservative at all, sees every bit of this as antisocial and immoral. They harbor a megalomaniacal ideology that demands that individual americans sacrifice themselves on the altar of world empire. Who cares about the constitutional limitations on our federal govt? Who cares about fiscal responsibility? Who cares about the warnings of our founders that we avoid foreign entanglements?
The peasants job is to pay outrageous taxes, give away our freedom, and fight their wars....they are the philosopher kings of Plato's cave, and we are ignorant peasants.
These neocons are not really that different from the marxists from which they so recently sprang. We are now entering a conflict for the very soul of our nation."
10 posted on 08/20/2003 1:58 PM PDT by quebecois
"With the law books filled with a great assortment of crimes, a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some sort on the part of almost anyone. In such a case, it is not a question of discovering the commission of a crime and then looking for the man who committed it, it is a question of picking the man, and then searching the law books, or putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him."
- Justice Jackson, former US Attorney General and Justice of the US Supreme Court
"There is no way to rule innocent men. The only power 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 for men to live without breaking laws."
- Atlas Shrugged
"If you had two candidates for office, one running on the programs of Stalin and the other running on the programs of Jefferson the American people would probably vote for the candidate who represented the programs of Stalin. If you didn't put the name on it and just looked at the programs, they would say, Oh yeah, we believe in national health care and we believe in free education for everybody and we believe we should have gun control."
- Walter Williams (paraphrased by Congressman Ron Paul)
"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size.
I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom.
My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them.
It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden.
I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible.
And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' interests, I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."
- Barry Goldwater, "The Conscience of a Conservative"
"Self-determination is a human right we all should respect. If some people want socialism, that's their right - but it is not their right to use brute government power to force others, who want liberty, to be a part of it."
- Walter E. Williams, Getting Back Our Liberties
"This whole "globalism" movement is nothing more than a global "race to the bottom", where the lowest common denominator of the world becomes the standard by which all human affairs are conducted."
- Elliott Jackalope posted on 01/30/2004 11:12:13 AM PST
"The makers of the Constitution conferred the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by all civilized men the right to be let alone."
- Justice Louis D. Brandeis
"Democracy and liberty are often thought to be the same thing, but they are not. Democracy means that people ought to be able to vote for public officials in fair elections, and make most political decisions by majority rule. Liberty, on the other hand, means that even in a democracy, individuals have rights that no majority should be able to take away."
- The Bill of Rights, A Brief History
"Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority."
- Constitution of the State of Kentucky, Section 2
"There is a difference between Patriotism and Nationalism.
The difference comes in who does the thinking."
- McCheeseus from Fark.com
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would 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
"Rome established a republic in 509 B.C. The Senators who ruled the city were elected by popular vote, but Roman law restricted what they could do. As a result, the people were free, and most of them prospered. With the passage of time, however, a ruling class evolved and began using the Senate to pursue their expansionist agenda. A series of foreign wars ensued which enriched the oligarchy and impoverished the people. Those who acquired wealth purchased vast tracts of land and farmed them with slaves captured in battle. Small farmers couldn't compete with them, and they were forced to sell their land. Class warfare broke out, and the power of the State was expanded to control the populace. The right to vote was extended to promote democracy and quiet dissent. The oligarchy began fighting among themselves for positions of power, which led to ever increasing chaos. Eventually Augustus Caesar intervened and replaced the Roman Republic with the Roman Empire."
(Encyclopedia Americana Volume 23, pp. 665-69.)
"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."
- President Teddy Roosevelt, Kansas City Star, May 7, 1918
"If all that Americans want is security they can go to prison. They'll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government."
- Dwight Eisenhower 12/8/49
"It takes a village to raise a child. The village is Washington. You are the child."
- PJ O'Rourke
"Soccer moms, being necessary to the overprotective busybodying of a nanny state, the right of the people to only do that which is safe and approved by others, shall not be infringed."
- Son of Thunder from Fark.com
"Most Americans aren't the sort of citizens the Founding Fathers expected; they are contented serfs. Far from being active critics of government, they assume that its might makes it right."
- Joseph Sobrans
"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."
- Thomas Jefferson
"I may disagree with what you say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it."
"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
"It is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
- Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering
"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to government men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself."
- Federalist #51
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship."
- Alexander Tyler on the fall of the Athenian Republic
"It is the invariable habit of bureaucracies, at all times and everywhere, to assume...that every citizen is a criminal. Their one apparent purpose, pursued with a relentless and furious diligence, is to convert the assumption into a fact. They hunt endlessly for proofs, and, when proofs are lacking, for mere suspicions. The moment they become aware of a definite citizen, John Doe, seeking what is his right under the law, they begin searching feverishly for an excuse for withholding it from him."
- H. L. Mencken.
"Is this, sir, consistent with the character of a free government? Is this civil liberty? Is this the real character of our Constitution? No, sir, indeed it is not. The Constitution is libeled, foully libeled. The people of this country have not established for themselves such a fabric of despotism. They have not purchased at a vast expense of their own treasure and their own blood a Magna Carta to be slaves. Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war, in which the folly or the wickedness of government may engage it?"
- Daniel Webster speaking of conscription, 1814