Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
When the people fear their government there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have … a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean the characters and conduct of their rulers.
We want a society in which we are free to make choices, to make mistakes, to be generous and compassionate. That is what we mean by a moral society – not a society in which the State is responsible for everything, and no one is responsible for the State.
All tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force.
Freedom is not a reward or a decoration that is celebrated with champagne … Oh no! It’s a … long distance race, quite solitary and very exhausting.
The government expands at will, based on what might be charitably called flimsy constitutional reasoning and less charitably and more accurately called arrogant judicial tyranny. Government authority these days rarely comes from the Constitution as written but from the last carefully crafted misinterpretation of it. This is called legal precedent.
How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively? Furthermore, does legality establish morality? Slavery was legal; apartheid is legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist urges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of moral people.
One of the most pathetic — and dangerous — signs of our times is the growing number of individuals and groups who believe that no one can possibly disagree with them for any honest reason.
It is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.
I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.
Posterity — you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.