Nations crumble from within when the citizenry asks of government those things which the citizenry might better provide for itself.
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.
Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it — that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life.
Every man is, no doubt, by nature, first and principally recommended to his own care; and as he is fitter to take care of himself than of any other person, it is fit and right that it should be so.
Government of the self was the original basis for republican government, reflecting the view that civil society was much more than politics. Society was made up of men and women who gave order to their lives by entering into associations on a voluntary basis, quite apart from government, for all the various reasons of fellowship, philanthrophy, faith, and commerce.
Absolute, arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.
If you see a man approaching you with the obvious intent of doing you good, you should run for your life.
Man exists for his own sake and not to add a laborer to the State.
I believe a man is happier, and happy in a richer way, if he has ‘the freeborn mind.’ But I doubt whether he can have this without economic independence, which the new society is abolishing. For economic independence allows an education not controlled by Government; and in adult life it is the man who needs, and asks, nothing of Government who can criticise its acts and snap his fingers at its ideology. Read Montaigne; that’s the voice of a man with his legs under his own table, eating the mutton and turnips raised on his own land. Who will talk like that when the State is everyone’s schoolmaster and employer? Admittedly, when man was untamed, such liberty belonged only to the few. I know. Hence the horrible suspicion that our only choice is between societies with few freemen and societies with none.
Most people are incapable of holding an unfashionable opinion.