Power and Personal Sovereignty: Quotes on Individual Freedom and the State

Power and personal sovereignty go hand in hand. While our individual freedoms and natural rights must be protected, it is governmental power that is usually the biggest threat to our liberty. Below are some of our favorite quotes about the fragility of personal sovereignty. Second Amendment Quotes on Power and Personal Sovereignty

“We are fast approaching the stage of ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission.”

“You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.”

“Where you find the laws most numerous, there you will find also the greatest injustice.”

Arcesilaus, Greek philosopher and student of Plato

“There's a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.”

“This manual of the Communist Party should be in the hands of every loyal American, that they may be alerted to the fact that it is not always by armies and guns that a nation is conquered.”

“Never do anything against conscience, even if the state demands it.”

“All government is authoritarian; and the more democratic a government is the more authoritative it is; for with the people behind it, it can push authority further than any Tsar or foreign despot dare do.”

“Liberty, as we all know, cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near-war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of central government.”

“If you take all the machinery in the world and dump it in the ocean, within months more than half of all humanity will die and within another six months they’d almost all be gone; if you took all the politicians in the world, put them in a rocket, and sent them to the moon, everyone would get along fine.”

“We are powerfully imprisoned in these Dark Ages simply by the terms in which we have been conditioned to think.”

“As for politics, I’m an anarchist. I hate governments and rules and fetters. Can’t stand caged animals. People must be free.”

“For in order to turn the individual into a function of the State, his dependence on anything beside the State must be taken from him.”

“School is the advertising agency which makes you believe you need the society as it is.”

“The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens.”

“That city is well-fortified which has a wall of men instead of brick.”

Lycurgus, the legendary Spartan law-giver

“Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.”

Abraham Lincoln, running for election to the U.S. Senate as a Republican in 1856

“Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the 'new, wonderful good society' which shall now be Rome, interpreted to mean 'more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.' ”

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.”

“The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

Fortunately, the Framers were wise enough to entrench the right of the people to keep and bear arms within our constitutional structure. The purpose and importance of that right was still fresh in their minds, and they spelled it out clearly so it would not be forgotten.”

“Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.”

“The hallmark of authoritarian systems is the creation of innumerable, indecipherable laws. Such systems make everyone an un-indicted felon and allow for the exercise of arbitrary government power via selective prosecution.”

“One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.”

“There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism -- by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide.”

Ayn Rand, in the L.A. Times on September 2, 1962

“Everything within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.”