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Topic: Government, Limited, Matches 12 quotes.



In a real way, each generation of Americans has its chance to re-ratify the Constitution. We can do this by abiding by its principles and by leaving our own legacy to posterity; likewise, by both preserving our rights and filling our responsibilities. Otherwise, expressions of patriotism are no more than verbal veneration without actual emulation! Re-ratification will require statesmanship among both people and leaders. Statesmanship does not treat symptoms, but cures the underlying diseases. Our founding fathers did statesman-like work in 1776 and 1787. In our time, sadly, we seem preoccupied with treating symptoms, with quick fixes, and with getting by a little longer.

Yes, our Constitution has a marvelous system of checks and balances. But if uninspired individuals lack their own checks and balances, the inspired Constitution cannot correct that imbalance.

More remedies for our nation’s ills are to be found in individual restraint than in restraining orders. More remedies are to be found inside our souls than inside our courts. Or, in families than in legislative bodies! There is more need for neighborly affection than for litigation in resolving local disputes. Yes, courts can adjudicate between citizens, but courts cannot supply one citizen with esteem for his fellow citizens.

Washington in his “Farewell Address” counseled: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness—the firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity.”

Source: Neal A. Maxwell
Address given 4 July 1993 at the Freedom Festival at Provo, UT.

Topics: Government, Limited; Morality; Responsibility



The Nature of Government

Government is said to be a necessary evil. The saying appears to be without merit. For can anything be at once necessary and evil? True, all governments have had a history of evil-doing, more or less. However, it does not follow from this experience that their good is indistinguishable from their evil. Governments—assuming a proper limitation of their activities—are necessary and not evil. Their evil begins when they step out of bounds. The only necessity is that their evil actions be discontinued. Such an achievement is unlikely until the principles prescribing the boundary lines are searched for and found.

Source: Leonard E. Read
Government—An Ideal Concept, p. 9.

Topics: Government, Limited



The Meaning of the Term Government

There are, though, reasons for regretting that we in America ever adopted the word “government.” We borrowed an old-world term with all its connotations of “to govern,” “to rule,” in an overriding sense. Government with the aim of directing, controlling, steering is not what we really intended. We didn’t mean that our agency of common defense should “govern” us any more than we intend the factory guard to be the company’s general manager.

Actually, in spite of the original intent, government in the old-world sense is what we now have. Our federal agency and many of the state, district, and community agencies have far exceeded the bounds of protecting the life and property of all citizens equally, and invoking a common justice under law. They do far more than merely suppress and penalize fraud, violence, misrepresentation, and predatory practices. Today our federal agency and many of the others are the citizens’ general managers-and autocratic ones at that!

It is not government as general manager of America’s citizenry that is here defended. Rather, the aim is to present and defend an agency of limited scope, not unlike what the Founding Fathers originally intended—except for the slavery and tariff features, they being infractions or compromises of the original intentions.

Source: Leonard E. Read
Government—An Ideal Concept, pp. 13-14.

Topics: Government; Government, Limited



Direction through Aggression

This growing belief in the use of aggressive police action as a means to direct the creative activities of a people in society, and the consequent and corresponding loss in the belief that free men can direct their own creative activities, are understandable. The reason is this: When the state preempts any activity—that is, makes of it a state monopoly, such as carrying the mails—citizens cease their thinking on how the activity could be carried on as a private venture. Why waste time thinking about the impossible? With this absence of ideas as to how an affair could be conducted privately, there soon follows the belief that the activity cannot be conducted unless the state conducts it.

If, for example, the federal government had decreed at its inception that all boys and girls should be provided with shoes and stockings from birth to adulthood, and the practice of this subsidy had been going on for the last 165 years, one who challenged it today would be asked: “Oh! So you favor forcing boys and girls to go barefooted in the winter?”

Source: Leonard E. Read

Topics: Government; Government, Limited



Capital levies, inheritance and estate taxes, and income taxes are . . . self-defeating if carried to extremes.

It is one of the characteristic features of the market economy that the government does not interfere with the market phenomena and that its technical apparatus is so small that its maintenance absorbs only a modest fraction of the total sum of the individual citizens’ income. Then taxes are an appropriate vehicle for providing the funds needed by the government. They are appropriate because they are low and do not perceptibly disarrange production and consumption. If taxes grow beyond a moderate limit, they cease to be taxes and turn into devices for the destruction of the market economy....

[T]he true crux of the taxation issue is to be seen in the paradox that the more taxes increase, the more they undermine the market economy and concomitantly the system of taxation itself. Thus, the fact becomes manifest that ultimately the preservation of private property and confiscatory measures are incompatible: Every specific tax, as well as a nation’s whole tax system, becomes self-defeating above a certain height of the rates.

Source: Ludwig von Mises
Human Action, pp. 740-741

Topics: Government, Limited; Taxes



Freedom of religion, freedom of the press, trial by jury, habeas corpus, and a representative legislature... I consider as the essentials constituting free government, and... the organization of the executive is interesting as it may insure wisdom and integrity in the first place, but next as it may favor or endanger the preservation of these fundamentals.

Source: Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1815. ME 14:255

Topics: Government, Limited



There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, showers its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.

Source: Andrew Jackson

Topics: Government, Limited



Man is superior to government and should remain master over it.

Source: Ezra Taft Benson
General Conference, October 1968

Topics: Government, Limited



If Congress has the right [it doesn’t] to issue paper money [currency], it was given to them to be used by...[the government] and not to be delegated to individuals or corporations.

Source: President Andrew Jackson, Vetoed Bank Bill of 1836

Topics: Economics; Government, Limited

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