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 (106–43 BC) Speech in the Roman Senate at 58 BC, as recorded by Sallust
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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...
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...
issue is not what anyone intends but what consequences are in fact likely to