1. The first duty of a man is to think for himself
2. When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.
3. You show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker
4. Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.
5. Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.
6. The Revolution introduced me to art, and in turn, art introduced me to the Revolution!
7. The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end.
8. There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there – good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory… Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea – God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
9. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
10. The only way we’ll get freedom for ourselves is to identify ourselves with every oppressed people in the world. We are blood brothers to the people of Brazil, Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba — yes Cuba too.
11. If you can feel that staying human is worth while, even when it can’t have any result whatever, you’ve beaten them.
12. Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
13. “Everything is relative in this world, where change alone endures.
14. Despair is typical of those who do not understand the causes of evil, see no way out, and are incapable of struggle.
15. The greatest purveyor of violence in the world : My own Government, I can not be Silent.
16. The few own the many because they possess the means of livelihood of all … The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor. The majority of mankind are working people. So long as their fair demands – the ownership and control of their livelihoods – are set at naught, we can have neither men’s rights nor women’s rights. The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.
17. After all, if you do not resist the apparently inevitable, you will never know how inevitable the inevitable was.
18. Any war that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for support is a bad war.
19. Without Revolutionary theory, there can be no Revolutionary Movement.
20. When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.
22. If there is ever a fascist takeover in America, it will come not in the form of storm troopers kicking down doors but with lawyers and social workers saying. “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.
23. Genuine equality means not treating everyone the same, but attending equally to everyone’s different needs.
24. Fear of the mob is a superstitious fear. It is based on the idea that there is some mysterious, fundamental difference between rich and poor, as though they were two different races, like Negroes and white men. But in reality there is no such difference. The mass of the rich and the poor are differentiated by their incomes and nothing else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit. Change places, and handy dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief? Everyone who has mixed on equal terms with the poor knows this quite well. But the trouble is that intelligent, cultivated people, the very people who might be expected to have liberal opinions, never do mix with the poor. For what do the majority of educated people know about poverty?
25. A child who does not think about what happens around him and is content with living without wondering whether he lives honestly is like a man who lives from a scoundrel’s work and is on the road to being a scoundrel.
26. Socialism” is no more an evil word than “Christianity.” Socialism no more prescribed Joseph Stalin and his secret police and shuttered churches than Christianity prescribed the Spanish Inquisition. Christianity and socialism alike, in fact, prescribe a society dedicated to the proposition that all men, women, and children are created equal and shall not starve.
27. It is the fate of great achievements, born from a way of life that sets truth before security, to be gobbled up by you and excreted in the form of shit. For centuries great, brave, lonely men have been telling you what to do. Time and again you have corrupted, diminished and demolished their teachings; time and again you have been captivated by their weakest points, taken not the great truth, but some trifling error as your guiding principal. This, little man, is what you have done with Christianity, with the doctrine of sovereign people, with socialism, with everything you touch. Why, you ask, do you do this? I don’t believe you really want an answer. When you hear the truth you’ll cry bloody murder, or commit it. … You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman. You had the choice between Lenin’s truly democratic constitution and Stalin’s dictatorship. You chose Stalin’s dictatorship. You had your choice between Freud’s elucidation of the sexual core of your psychic disorders and his theory of cultural adaptation. You dropped the theory of sexuality and chose his theory of cultural adaptation, which left you hanging in mid-air. You had your choice between Jesus and his majestic simplicity and Paul with his celibacy for priests and life-long compulsory marriage for yourself. You chose the celibacy and compulsory marriage and forgot the simplicity of Jesus’ mother, who bore her child for love and love alone. You had your choice between Marx’s insight into the productivity of your living labor power, which alone creates the value of commodities and the idea of the state. You forgot the living energy of your labor and chose the idea of the state. In the French Revolution, you had your choice between the cruel Robespierre and the great Danton. You chose cruelty and sent greatness and goodness to the guillotine. In Germany you had your choice between Goring and Himmler on the one hand and Liebknecht, Landau, and Muhsam on the other. You made Himmler your police chief and murdered your great friends. You had your choice between Julius Streicher and Walter Rathenau. You murdered Rathenau. You had your choice between Lodge and Wilson. You murdered Wilson. You had your choice between the cruel Inquisition and Galileo’s truth. You tortured and humiliated the great Galileo, from whose inventions you are still benefiting, and now, in the twentieth century, you have brought the methods of the Inquisition to a new flowering. … Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal. ‘Why so tragic?’ you ask. ‘Do you feel responsible for all evil?’ With remarks like that you condemn yourself. If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place. Your great friends wouldn’t perish, struck down by your smallness.
28. In my opinion, our health care system has failed when a doctor fails to treat an illness that is treatable.
29. It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the ‘right’ to education, the ‘right’ to health care, the ‘right’ to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle.
30. Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters.
31. I knew I was alone in a way that no earthling has ever been before.
32. Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on “income distribution,” the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.
33. A socialist is just someone who is unable to get over his or her astonishment that most people who have lived and died have spent lives of wretched, fruitless, unremitting toil.
34. Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
35. Socialism needs to pull down wealth; liberalism seeks to raise up poverty. Socialism would destroy private interests, Liberalism would preserve [them] … by reconciling them with public right. Socialism would kill enterprise; Liberalism would rescue enterprise from the trammels of privilege and preference. Socialism assails the preeminence of the individual; Liberalism seeks … to build up a minimum standard for the mass. Socialism exalts the rule; Liberalism exalts the man. Socialism attacks capitalism; Liberalism attacks monopoly.
36. It still remains unrecognised, that to bring a child into existence without a fair prospect of being able, not only to provide food for its body, but instruction and training for its mind, is a moral crime, both against the unfortunate offspring and against society; and that if the parent does not fulfil this obligation, the State ought to see it fulfilled, at the charge, as far as possible, of the parent.
37. The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization. The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.
38. Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on.
39. The difference between Socrates and Jesus is that no one had ever been put to death in Socrates’ name. And that is because Socrates’ ideas were never made law. Law, in whatever name, protects privilege.
40.But love, like the sun that it is, sets afire and melts everything. what greed and privilege to build up over whole centuries the indignation of a pious spirit, with its natural following of oppressed souls, will cast down with a single shove.
41. It is easy to be conspicuously ‘compassionate’ if others are being forced to pay the cost.
42. There is no one of-woman-born who does not like Red Lobster cheddar biscuits. Anyone who claims otherwise is a liar and a Socialist.
43. Unity is a great thing and a great slogan. But what the workers’ cause needs is the unity of Marxists, not unity between Marxists, and opponents and distorters of Marxism..
44. We are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.
45. They want to be natural, the anti-social little beasts. They just don’t realize that everyone’s good depends on everyone’s cooperation.
46. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
Steal a fish from one guy and give it to another–and keep doing that on a daily basis–and you’ll make the first guy pissed off, but you’ll make the second guy lazy and dependent on you. Then you can tell the second guy that the first guy is greedy for wanting to keep the fish he caught. Then the second guy will cheer for you to steal more fish. Then you can prohibit anyone from fishing without getting permission from you. Then you can expand the racket, stealing fish from more people and buying the loyalty of others. Then you can get the recipients of the stolen fish to act as your hired thugs. Then you can … well, you know the rest.
47. If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people.
48. But who would build the roads if there were no government?
You mean to tell me that 300 million people in this country and 7 billion people on the planet would just sit around in their houses and think “Gee, I’d like to go visit Fred, but I can’t because there isn’t a flat thing outside for me to drive on, and I don’t know how to build it and the other 300 million or 7 billion people can’t possibly do it because there aren’t any politicians and tax collectors. If they were here then we could do it. If they were here to boss us around and steal our money and really inefficiently build the flat places, then we would be set. Then I would be comfortable and confident that I could get places. But I can’t go to Fred’s house or the market because we can’t possibly build a flat space from A to B. We can make these really small devices that enable us to contact people from all over the word that fits in our pockets; we can make machines that we drive around in, but no, we can’t possibly build a flat space.
49. If you personally advocate that I be caged if I don’t pay for whatever “government” things YOU want, please don’t pretend to be tolerant, or non-violent, or enlightened, or compassionate. Don’t pretend you believe in “live and let live,” and don’t pretend you want peace, freedom or harmony. It’s a simple truism that the only people in the world who are willing to “live and let live” are voluntaryists. So you can either PRETEND to care about and respect your fellow man while continuing to advocate widespread authoritarian violence, or you can embrace the concepts of self-ownership and peaceful coexistence, and become an anarchist.
50. The world, viewed philosophically, remains a series of slave camps, where citizens – tax livestock – labor under the chains of illusion in the service of their masters.
51. If you can convince people that freedom is injustice, they will then believe that slavery is freedom.
52. When we give government the power to make medical decisions for us, we in essence accept that the state owns our bodies.
53. [T]he useful idiots, the leftists who are idealistically believing in the beauty of the Soviet socialist or Communist or whatever system, when they get disillusioned, they become the worst enemies. That’s why my KGB instructors specifically made the point: never bother with leftists. Forget about these political prostitutes. Aim higher. […] They serve a purpose only at the stage of destabilization of a nation. For example, your leftists in the United States: all these professors and all these beautiful civil rights defenders. They are instrumental in the process of the subversion only to destabilize a nation. When their job is completed, they are not needed any more. They know too much. Some of them, when they get disillusioned, when they see that Marxist-Leninists come to power—obviously they get offended—they think that they will come to power. That will never happen, of course. They will be lined up against the wall and shot.
54. Deep pockets and empty hearts rule the world. We unleash them at our peril.
55. The paralysis of potential is essential to the manufacturing of victims.
56. If the bulk of the public were really convinced of the illegitimacy of the State, if it were convinced that the State is nothing more nor less than a bandit gang writ large, then the State would soon collapse to take on no more status or breadth of existence than another Mafia gang.
57. The rule apparently is – once a social revolution takes place there’s
no need to stoke the boiler. But I ask you: why, when this whole business started, should everybody suddenly start clumping up and down the marble staircase in dirty galoshes and felt boots? Why must we now keep our galoshes under lock and key? And put a soldier on guard over them to prevent them from being stolen? Why has the carpet been removed from the front staircase? Did Marx forbid people to keep their staircases carpeted? Did Karl Marx say anywhere
that the front door of No. 2 Kalabukhov House in Prechistenka Street must be boarded up so that people have to go round and come in by the back door? What good does it do anybody? Why can’t the proletarians leave their galoshes downstairs instead of dirtying the staircase?’
‘But the proletarians don’t have any galoshes, Philip Philipovich,’ stammered the doctor.
58. I am, at the Fed level, libertarian;
at the state level, Republican;
at the local level, Democrat;
and at the family and friends level, a socialist.
If that saying doesn’t convince you of the fatuousness of left vs. right labels, nothing will.
59. I think it’s terrible the way people don’t share things in this country. I think it’s a heartless government that will let one baby be born owning a big piece of the country, the way I was born, and let another baby be born without owning anything. The least a government could do, it seems to me, is to divide things up fairly among the babies.
60. I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.