1. Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.
2. We have the best government that money can buy.
3. The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
4. Loyalty to the Nation all the time, loyalty to the Government when it deserves it.
5. Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.
6. No man is good enough to govern another man without the other’s consent.
7. Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.
8. Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
9. If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
10. I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.
11. People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.
12. I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them
13. Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.
14. The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.
15. One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.
16. Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.
17. Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.
18. I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
19. A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
20. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
21. If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.
22. A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
23. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change.
24. The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.
25. You have to remember one thing about the will of the people: it wasn’t that long ago that we were swept away by the Macarena.
26. I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
27. Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.
28. History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.
29. legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
30. Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. No government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class – whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracy.
31. Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught
32. Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms
33. The greatest patriotism is to tell your country when it is behaving dishonorably, foolishly, viciously.
34. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions indeed generally establish the incroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government
35. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws
36. It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment
37. You never get it right, you people, do you? Either we’ve got Fudge, pretending everything’s lovely while people get murdered right under his nose, or we’ve got you, chucking the wrong people into jail and trying to pretend you’ve got ‘The Chosen One’ working for you!
38. When one with honeyed words but evil mind Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.
39. A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?
40. Governments want efficient technicians, not human beings, because human beings become dangerous to governments – and to organized religions as well. That is why governments and religious organizations seek to control education.
41. I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the 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. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.
42. Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.
43. When it can be said by any country in the world, my poor are happy, neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them, my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars, the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive, the rational world is my friend because I am the friend of happiness. When these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and government. Independence is my happiness, the world is my country and my religion is to do good
44. [F]reedom isn’t free. It shouldn’t be a bragging point that “Oh, I don’t get involved in politics,” as if that makes you somehow cleaner. No, that makes you derelict of duty in a republic. Liars and panderers in government would have a much harder time of it if so many people didn’t insist on their right to remain ignorant and blindly agreeable.
45. The government is merely a servant―merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.
46. If you can’t say “Fuck” you can’t say, “Fuck the government.
47. When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘Present’ or ‘Not Guilty’.
48. A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.
49. Everything not forbidden is compulsory
50. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
51. Dear Government… I’m going to have a serious talk with you if I ever find anyone to talk to.
52. If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.
53. I was ecstatic when they re-named “French fries” as “freedom fries.” Grown men and women in positions of power in the U.S. government showing themselves as idiots.
54. The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.
55. Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves.
56. No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.
57. It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.
58. The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual, crime.
59. The equal rights of man, and the happiness of every individual, are now acknowledged to be the only legitimate objects of government.
60. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.