„Liberty is an evil which government is intended to correct. This is the sole object of government.“

—  George Fitzhugh, p. 170
George Fitzhugh Foto
George Fitzhugh49
American activist 1806 - 1881
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„No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion — it is an evil government.“

—  Eric Hoffer American philosopher 1902 - 1983
Context: The only index by which to judge a government or a way of life is by the quality of the people it acts upon. No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion — it is an evil government. Section 147

Jeremy Bentham Foto

„Every law is an evil, for every law is an infraction of liberty: And I repeat that government has but a choice of evils“

—  Jeremy Bentham British philosopher, jurist, and social reformer 1748 - 1832
Context: It is with government, as with medicine. They have both but a choice of evils. Every law is an evil, for every law is an infraction of liberty: And I repeat that government has but a choice of evils: In making this choice, what ought to be the object of the legislator? He ought to assure himself of two things; 1st, that in every case, the incidents which he tries to prevent are really evils; and 2ndly, that if evils, they are greater than those which he employs to prevent them. There are then two things to be regarded; the evil of the offence and the evil of the law; the evil of the malady and the evil of the remedy. An evil comes rarely alone. A lot of evil cannot well fall upon an individual without spreading itself about him, as about a common centre. In the course of its progress we see it take different shapes: we see evil of one kind issue from evil of another kind; evil proceed from good and good from evil. All these changes, it is important to know and to distinguish; in this, in fact, consists the essence of legislation. Principles of Legislation (1830), Ch. X : Analysis of Political Good and Evil; How they are spread in society

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Margaret Peterson Haddix Foto
Louis Brandeis Foto

„Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.“

—  Louis Brandeis American Supreme Court Justice 1856 - 1941
Context: The defendants' objections to the evidence obtained by wire-tapping must, in my opinion, be sustained. It is, of course, immaterial where the physical connection with the telephone wires leading into the defendants' premises was made. And it is also immaterial that the intrusion was in aid of law enforcement. Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. Dissenting, Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1928). The last sentence is one of many quotations inscribed on Cox Corridor II, a first floor House corridor, U.S. Capitol.

„She finally came to admit sadly that the human race in its weakness demanded government and all government was evil because human nature was basically weak and weakness is evil.“

—  Katherine Anne Porter American journalist, essayist, short story writer, novelist, and political activist 1890 - 1980
Context: In 1935 in Paris, living in that thin upper surface of comfort and joy and freedom in a limited way, I met this most touching and interesting person, Emma Goldman, sitting at a table reserved for her at the Select, where she could receive her friends and carry on her conversations and sociabilities over an occasional refreshing drink. She was half blind (although she was only sixty-six years old), wore heavy spectacles, a shawl, and carpet slippers. She lived in her past and her devotions, which seemed to her glorious and unarguably right in every purpose. She accepted the failure of that great dream as a matter of course. She finally came to admit sadly that the human race in its weakness demanded government and all government was evil because human nature was basically weak and weakness is evil. She was a wise, sweet old thing, grandmotherly, or like a great-aunt. I said to her, "It's a pity you had to spend your whole life in such unhappiness when you could have had such a nice life in a good government, with a home and children." She turned on me and said severely: "What have I just said? There is no such thing as a good government. There never was. There can't be." I closed my eyes and watched Nietzsche's skull nodding.

Robert LeFevre Foto
Robert F. Kennedy Foto
Robert LeFevre Foto
Thomas Carlyle Foto
Gerald Ford Foto

„The Declaration was not a protest against government but against the excesses of government. It prescribed the proper role of government to secure the rights of individuals and to effect their safety and their happiness. In modern society, no individual can do this all alone, so government is not necessarily evil but a necessary good.“

—  Gerald Ford American politician, 38th President of the United States (in office from 1974 to 1977) 1913 - 2006
Context: The Declaration was not a protest against government but against the excesses of government. It prescribed the proper role of government to secure the rights of individuals and to effect their safety and their happiness. In modern society, no individual can do this all alone, so government is not necessarily evil but a necessary good. The framers of the Constitution feared a central government that was too strong, as many Americans rightly do today. The framers of the Constitution, after their experience under the Articles, feared a central government that was too weak, as many Americans rightly do today. They spent days studying all of the contemporary governments of Europe and concluded with Dr. Franklin that all contained the seeds of their own destruction. So the framers built something new, drawing upon their English traditions, on the Roman Republic, on the uniquely American institution of the town meeting. On the United States Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution at the U.S. Bicentennial celebrations, Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (4 July 1976)

John F. Kennedy Foto
Edmund Waller Foto

„The King governs by Law. Let us look back to the evils we had, in order to prevent more.“

—  Edmund Waller English poet and politician 1606 - 1687
Context: The King governs by Law. Let us look back to the evils we had, in order to prevent more. There was loan, and ship-money, and extremes begat extremes. The House would then give no money. Let the King rely upon the Parliament; we have settled the Crown and the Government. 'Tis strange that we have sat so many years, and given so much money, and are still called upon for Supply. The Lords may give Supply with their own money, but we give the peoples; we are their proxies. The King takes his measures by the Parliament, and he doubts not but that all the Commons will supply for the Government; but giving at this rate that we have done, we shall be "a branch of the revenue." They will "anticipate" us too. But, let the officers say what they will, we will not make these mismanagements the King's error. 'Tis better it should fall upon us than the King. We give public money, and must see that it goes to public use. Tell your money, fix it to public ends, and take order against occasions of this nature for the future. We cannot live at the expence of Spain, that has the Indies; or France, who has so many millions of revenue. Let us look to our Government, Fleet, and Trade. 'Tis the advice that the oldest Parliament-man among you can give you; and so, God bless you! Speech in parliament (19 October 1675) http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=40374.

Robert LeFevre Foto

„If men are good, you don’t need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don’t dare have one.“

—  Robert LeFevre American libertarian businessman 1911 - 1986
As quoted in Facets of Liberty: A Libertarian Primer, L.K. Samuels, editor, Freeland Press and Rampart Institute, Santa Ana: CA, Chap. 5, p. 70

Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury Foto
Daniel Webster Foto
Thomas Paine Foto

„Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one;“

—  Thomas Paine English and American political activist 1737 - 1809
Context: Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“