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Society


Democracy...  is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.
Plato  (427347 BC)

Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.
Plato  (427347 BC)

Democracy arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal.
Aristotle  (384322 BC)

The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.
Aristotle  (384322 BC)

Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.
Aristotle  (384322 BC)

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious.  But it cannot survive treason from within.  An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly against the city.  But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.  For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their garments, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men.  He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist.  A murderer is less to be feared.  The traitor is the carrier of the plague.
Cicero  (10643 BC)
Speech in the Roman Senate at 58 BC, as recorded by Sallust

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 and laughed delightedly at his licentiousness and thought it very superior of him to acquire vast amounts of gold illicitly.  Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the "new, wonderful good society" which shall now be Rome's, interpreted to mean "more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious."  Julius was always an ambitious villain, but he is only one man.
Cicero  (10643 BC) to Brutus

Small communities grow great through harmony, great ones fall to pieces through discord.
Sallust  (8634 BC)

An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.
Plutarch  (AD 46120)

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
Benjamin Franklin  (17061790)

Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites...
Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.
Edmund Burke  (17291797)

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.
George Washington  (17321799)

I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.
Thomas Jefferson  (17431826)

An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.
Thomas Jefferson  (17431826)

Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
Thomas Jefferson  (17431826)

Remember, democracy never lasts long.  It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.  There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
John Adams  (17351826)

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 treasure.  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.
The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years.  These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.
Alexander Tytler  (17471813)
 (On the fall of Athenian republic)

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
John Quincy Adams  (17671848)

Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it.  Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number.  Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality.  But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.
Alexis de Tocqueville  (18051859)

Amongst democratic nations men easily attain a certain equality of conditions: they can never attain the equality they desire.  It perpetually retires from before them, yet without hiding itself from their sight, and in retiring draws them on.  At every moment they think they are about to grasp it; it escapes at every moment from their hold.  They are near enough to see its charms, but too far off to enjoy them; and before they have fully tasted its delights they die.
Alexis de Tocqueville  (18051859)
"Democracy in America", Volume 2, 1840

There are two things which will always be very difficult for a democratic nation: to start a war and to end it.
Alexis de Tocqueville  (18051859)

The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.
Alexis de Tocqueville  (18051859)

Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.
Abraham Lincoln  (18091865)
Address on March 21, 1864

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe.  No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise.  Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Winston Churchill  (18741965)
Hansard, November 11, 1947

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings.  The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
Winston Churchill  (18741965)

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of miseries.
Winston Churchill  (18741965)

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule and both commonly succeed, and are right.
Henry Mencken  (18801956)

Every state begins in compulsion; but the habits of obedience become the content of conscience, and soon every citizen thrills with loyalty to the flag.
The citizen is right; for however the state begins, it soon becomes an indispensable prop to order.
Will Durant  (18851981)
"The Story of Civilization" 1 (11), Our Oriental Heritage, 1935

Men decided that it was better to pay taxes than to fight among themselves; better to pay tribute to one magnificent robber than to bribe them all.
Will Durant  (18851981)
"The Story of Civilization" 1 (11), Our Oriental Heritage, 1935

Man became free when he recognized that he was subject to law.
Will Durant  (18851981)

The chief difference [between totalitarian and free countries] is that only the totalitarians appear clearly to know how they want to achieve that result, while the free world has only its past achievements to show, being by its very nature unable to offer any detailed "plan" for further growth.
Friedrich Hayek  (18991992)
"The Constitution of Liberty", 1960

I was guilty of judging capitalism by its operations and socialism by its hopes and aspirations; capitalism by its works and socialism by its literature.
Sidney Hook  (19021989)

Most socialist doctrines and movements are literally saturated with the mood of death, catastrophe and destruction...  One could regard the death of mankind as the final result to which the development of socialism leads.
Igor Shafarevich  (Born 1923), "The Socialist Phenomenon",  (1980)
 (A history of socialism in theory and practice through the ages)

At the heart of the socialist vision is the notion that a compassionate society can create more humane living conditions for all through government "planning" and control of the economy...
Idealist socialists create systems in which idealists are almost certain to lose and be superseded by those whose drive for power, and ruthlessness in achieving it, make them the "fittest" to survive under a system where government power is the ultimate prize...
The issue is not what anyone intends but what consequences are in fact likely to follow.
Thomas Sowell  (Born 1930)


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