Tag Archives: government

Quotations about governments and governing

George Bernard Shaw – Organization of idolatry in government

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George Bernard ShawThe art of government is the organization of idolatry. The bureaucracy consists of functionaries; the aristocracy, of idols; the democracy, of idolaters. The populace cannot understand the bureaucracy: it can only worship the national idols.

George Bernard Shaw   (1856-1950)
Man and Superman

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Richard Feynman – No government has the right

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Richard FeynmanNo government has the right to decide on the truth of scientific principles, nor to prescribe in any way the character of the questions investigated. Neither may a government determine the aesthetic value of artistic creations, nor limit the forms of literary or artistic expression. Nor should it pronounce on the validity of economic, historic, religious, or philosophical doctrines. Instead it has a duty to its citizens to maintain the freedom, to let those citizens contribute to the further adventure and the development of the human race.

Richard Feynman   (1918-1988)

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Thomas Paine – Society versus government

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Thomas PaineSociety 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.

Thomas Paine   (1737-1809)

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John Adams – There is danger from all men

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John AdamsThere is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

John Adams   (1735-1826)
Notes for an Oration at Braintree

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Louis Brandeis – Government as a potent, omni-present teacher

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Louis BrandeisOur Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means — to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal — would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face.

Louis Brandeis   (1856-1941)

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David Hume – Government founded only on opinion

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David HumeIt is on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.

David Hume   (1711-1776)

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John F. Kennedy – America officially neither Catholic, Protestant…

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John F. KennedyI believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

John F. Kennedy   (1917-1963)

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