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

Second Amendment Quotes on Power and Personal SovereigntyPower 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.

“The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor. It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty – and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.”

“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.”

“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.”

“A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power.”

“Lust for power is the most flagrant of all the passions.”

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

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

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

“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.”

“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.”

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

“There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.”

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

“A nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves!”

Unknown

“The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other – instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.”

“Either we believe that the State exists to serve the individual or that the individual exists to serve the State.”

“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”

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

“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.”

“Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.”

“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”

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

Lycurgus, the legendary Spartan law-giver

“History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid.”

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

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

Arcesilaus, Greek philosopher and student of Plato

“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.”

“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

“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

“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.”

“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.”

“To be prepared against surprise is to be trained. To be prepared for surprise is to be educated.”

“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.”

“The power to cause pain is the only power that matters, the power to defend yourself and your loved ones, because if you cannot inflict pain on others then you are always subject to those who can, and nothing and no one will ever truly protect you.”

Unknown

“Free men own the means to protect themselves; serfs and slaves do not. Which are you?”

Unknown

“Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.”

“When only cops have guns, it's called a police state.”

Unknown

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

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

“And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

“From the beginning of our history the country has been afflicted with compromise. It is by compromise that human rights have been abandoned.”

“I bark at no man’s bid. I will never come and go, and fetch and carry, at the whistle of the great man in the White House no matter who he is.”

“If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”

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