Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Patriotism v Nationalism

Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.
Charles de Gaulle

Monday, August 30, 2010

Capitalism and Leisure

It is not labor legislation and labor-union pressure that have shortened hours of work and withdrawn married women and children from the factories; it is capitalism, which has made the wage earner so prosperous that he is able to buy more leisure time for himself and his dependents.
Ludwig von Mises (Human Action, Ch 21, 1949)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Free man

You can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.
Robert A. Heinlein (If This Goes On, 1940)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Acts and Prices

all useful human acts deserve a price.
Luis de Molina

Friday, August 27, 2010


Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect,
Mark Twain

Thursday, August 26, 2010


"You are not sufficiently democratic," answered the policeman, "but you were right when you said just now that our ordinary treatment of the poor criminal was a pretty brutal business. I tell you I am sometimes sick of my trade when I see how perpetually it means merely a war upon the ignorant and the desperate. But this new movement of ours is a very different affair. We deny the snobbish English assumption that the uneducated are the dangerous criminals. We remember the Roman Emperors. We remember the great poisoning princes of the Renaissance. We say that the dangerous criminal is the educated criminal. We say that the most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men; my heart goes out to them. They accept the essential ideal of man; they merely seek it wrongly. Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. But philosophers dislike property as property; they wish to destroy the very idea of personal possession. Bigamists respect marriage, or they would not go through the highly ceremonial and even ritualistic formality of bigamy. But philosophers despise marriage as marriage. Murderers respect human life; they merely wish to attain a greater fullness of human life in themselves by the sacrifice of what seems to them to be lesser lives. But philosophers hate life itself, their own as much as other people's."
G.K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday, 1908)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Moral Values

Do you feel that man actually is incapable, as an individual, of knowing what is right or wrong: and that only the wisdom of "society" can establish such values?
Karl Hess (The Lawless State, 1969)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 - 1945, executed by Nazi Germany)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Modern Mind and Gold

The modern mind dislikes gold because it blurts out unpleasant truths.
Joseph Schumpeter

Sunday, August 22, 2010


if one writes a book or article having to do with "the child" (this has been done many times), this is an effective way of overgeneralizing without calling attention to the fact that a generalization has been made. It implies (but is careful not to state) that all children are alike and that the prototype, child, should be our primary concern. Similarly one may surreptitiously generalize about the newspaper reader, the churchgoer or the criminal. The honest thing is to speak of "children," "newspaper readers," "churchgoers," "criminals." If one wants to make generalizations, he can then do so at his own risk; the sneaky thing to do is to try to get the generalization by without stating it.
Roger J. Williams (1967, You Are Extraordinary)

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.
Henry David Thoreau (On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, 1849)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Government and Market

The state does not govern the market; in the market in which products are exchanged it may quite possibly be a powerful party, but nevertheless it is only one party of many, nothing more than that. 
Ludwig von Mises (The Theory of Money and Credit, 1912)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yes or No

Each citizen can ask himself the most grave questions in this regard. Frank self-answers should be revealing.

Do you feel that the state is more important than you are?

Do you feel that the state should enjoy freedoms that you do not?

Do you feel that the state should be able to rise above the law?

Do you feel that you could not live unless the state protected you?

Do you feel that you could not thrive unless the state nourished or subsidized you?

Do you feel that service to the state is more desirable or more noble than service to your self, your family, your neighbors, or your own ideals?

Do you feel that it actually is a privilege to pay taxes?

Do you feel that since the government, the state, is more important than any one man, that every single man should be prepared to give his all, even his life, to or for his government?

Do you feel that the state is something with a life and identity of its own, beyond the men who might hold office in it?

Do you feel that "the government" and "the country" are the same?

Do you feel that, when all is said and done, your life belongs to your government?

Do you feel that your "rights" are given to you by government?
Do you feel that, when all is said and done, if big problems are to be solved in this world that government will have to do it?

The crucial separation between men today is not anything more or anything less than the separation between those who answer yes to those questions and those who answer no. The only important gradations in the thinking that separates men today will be found along a scale of how many yes and how many no answers are given.

My own position is a resounding NO to every single one of these questions.

Karl Hess (The Lawless State, 1969)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Law

Today it is widely accepted, as a matter of fact, that Government Is The Law. Just as a "divine" king once could say, "I am the state," governments today everywhere say they are the law, even that they are the people.
Karl Hess (The Lawless State, 1969)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


One editor recently pointed out that in terms of sheer differences of political approach there now is more difference between factions behind the Iron Curtain than between the major political factions in the United States.
Karl Hess (The Lawless State, 1969)

Monday, August 16, 2010


The rest [excluding Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security which is consuming all federal revenue] of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans -- the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries, ...
Alan Simpson, 7/12/2010
  - former Republican senator of Wyoming
  - Co-chairman of US President Obama's Debt and Deficit Commission

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Waste and Happiness

If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.
Thomas Jefferson (To Thomas Cooper, 1802)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Soldier of the Queen

When you're wounded and left on
Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your
An' Go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!
Rudyard Kipling (Excerpt from The Young British Soldier)

Friday, August 13, 2010

On the Importance of Economic Knowlege

The importance of economic knowledge to moral analysis is amply reinforced in the case of the business cycle.  Without an adequate knowledge of the causes and cures of the cycle, someone trained in moral philosophy or theology cannot be sure that he is not in fact recommending a course of action that will only exacerbate the problems he aims to solve
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (Money and Morality: The Christian Moral Tradition and the best Monetary Regime, 2003)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pearl of High Price

It is not that pearls fetch a high price because men have dived for them; but on the contrary, men dive for them because they fetch a high price.
Richard Whatley Introductory Lectures on Political Economy par. IX.47

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Secret of Change

The secret of substantive change, the guarantee of change, and the dynamic through which change occurs all lie hidden within the process of restoring and purifying the human person,
Archbishop Anastasios (Yannoulatos) taken from Facing the World: Orthodox Christian Essays on Global Concerns, 1994

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Politicians Creed

I sit on a man's back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means - except by getting off his back
Leo Tolstoy (What Is to Be Done?, 1886)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Inflation and Gratification

Inflation thereby encourages a mentality of immediate gratification that is plainly at variance with the discipline and eternal perspective required to exercise principles of biblical stewardship - such as long-term investment for the benefit of future generations.
Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (Money and Morality: The Christian Moral Tradition and the bEst Monetary Regime, 2003)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Natural Law

Lex naturalis nihil aliud est quam participatio legis aeternae in rationali creatura

(Translated) The natural law (of mankind) is simply a reflection of the eternal law in a rational creature.

Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiæ, written 1265–1274)

Saturday, August 7, 2010


A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history
Mohandas Gandhi

Friday, August 6, 2010

Republic v Democracy

The guiding principle of republics is that they exercise narrow powers delegated to them by the people, who themselves, as individuals, posses such powers.  They cannot spring as they do in democracies, ex nihilo, from the mob's collective whim.
James Ostrowski (Direct Citizen Action, 2010)

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Government schools are glorified daytime prisons operating in an atmosphere of legally enforced nihilism which defaults into the pseudo-religion of hedonism.
James Ostrowski (Direct Citizen Action, 2010)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Taxation, Debt and Chains

To preserve [the] independence [of the people,] we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion  and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses, and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account, but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers.
Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:39

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Natural Rights

As regards humans, it is shown that from the beginning of their rational nature, they were born free .... For liberty is a right necessarily instilled in man from the beginning of rational nature and so from natural law ....
Bartholomew de Las Casas

Monday, August 2, 2010


Chaos is but unperceived order; it is a word indicating the limitations of the human mind and the paucity of observational facts. The words ‘chaos,’ ‘accidental,’ ‘chance,’ ‘unpredictable,’ are conveniences behind which we hide our ignorance.
Harlow Shapley  (1885-1972, an American astronomer)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Masters of Society

Those who argue that we have to an astounding degree learned to master the forces of nature but are sadly behind in making successful use of the possibilities of social collaboration are quite right so far as this statement goes.  But they are mistaken when they carry the comparison further and argue that we must learn to master the forces of society in the same manner in which we have learned to maser the forces of nature.  This is not only the path to totalitarianism but the path to the destruction of our civilization and a certain way to block future progress.
F.A. Hayek (Road to Serfdom, 1944)