Government, in its very essence, is opposed to all increase in knowledge. Its tendency is always towards permanence and against change … [T]he progress of humanity, far from being the result of government, has been made entirely without its aid and in the face if its constant and bitter opposition.
The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it’s good-bye to the Bill of Rights.
What chiefly distinguishes the daily press is its incurable fear of ideas, its constant effort to evade the discussion of fundamentals by translating all issues into a few elemental fears, its incessant reduction of all reflection to mere emotion.
It is the fundamental theory of all the more recent American law … that the average citizen is half-witted, and hence not to be trusted to either his own devices or his own thoughts.
When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that an old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had only one before.
The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the greatest liars: The men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.
Demagogue: One who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.
It is the invariable habit of bureaucracies, at all times and everywhere, to assume … that every citizen is a criminal. Their one apparent purpose, pursued with a relentless and furious diligence, is to convert the assumption into a fact. They hunt endlessly for proofs, and, when proofs are lacking, for mere suspicions. The moment they become aware of a definite citizen, John Doe, seeking what is his right under the law, they begin searching feverishly for an excuse for withholding it from him.
The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.
… All the odds are on the man who is, is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily and adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more closely the inner soul of the people.
We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.