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Quotes on Freedom (A thru F)

Listed below are quotes regarding various aspects of freedom, excluding education. The quotes are in alphabetical order by person/organization. This page contains quotes for persons/organizations A thru F. Click on the links below for other sections of quotes:

G thru M                    N thru S                    T thru Z                    Go to my page of Education Quotes.

Eventually (don't hold your breath!) I also intend to put these quotes into categories, such as liberty in general, gun control, freedom of the press, etc.

You can always reach this site by using the URL:

I have started a blog. I'm not sure how much I'll actually post to it. I call the blog Preserving Freedom

Quotation Ring Homepage, including joining info Next site in the Quotation Ring A random Quotation Ring site View a list of all Quotation Ring sites Quotation Ring

A - F

Lord ActonLord Acton: John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1834-1902) was an English historian and libertarian philosopher. Lord Acton's writings and lectures have had great influence on modern ideas about liberty. Lord Acton upheld the sovereignty of the individual, he believed that concentration of power was harmful both in church and state.


"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

-- Lord Acton (1887)

"Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought."

---Lord Acton

"Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end. It is not for the sake of a good public administration that it is required, but for the security in the pursuit of the highest objects of civil society, and of private life."

---Lord Acton

"There are many things the government can't do, many good purposes it must renounce. It must leave them to the enterprise of others. It cannot feed the people. It cannot enrich the people. It cannot teach the people. It cannot convert the people."

---Lord Acton

"The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities."

---Lord Acton

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."

-- John Adams (1814)

"America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She well knows that by enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standards of freedom."

-- John Quincy Adams (1821)

"The Constitution shall never be construed prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."

-- Samuel Adams

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

-- Samuel Adams

"Where morality is present, laws are unnecessary. Without morality, laws are unenforceable."

-- Anonymous

"To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege."

-- Arkansas Supreme Court, 1878

"Now who can hear Christ declare that his kingdom is not of this world, and yet believe that this blending of church and state together can be pleasing to him?"

-- Issac Backus (1724—1806)

"Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies."

-- Honore de Balzac

"Every dollar spent to punish a drug user or seller is a dollar that cannot be spent collecting restitution from a robber. Every hour spent investigating a drug user or seller is an hour that could have been used to find a missing child. Every trial held to prosecute a drug user or seller is court time that could be used to prosecute a rapist in a case that might otherwise have been plea bargained."

-- Randy E. Barnett, "Curing the Drug-Law Addiction"

"God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies. He has provided a social form as well as a human form. And these social organs of persons are so constituted that they will develop themselves harmoniously in the clean air liberty. Away, then, with quacks and organizers! Away with their rings, chains, hooks, and pincers! Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations!"

"And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty: for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works."

-- Frederic Bastiat (1801 - 1850), French statesman and author.

"Life, liberty and property do not exist because men made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place"

-- Frederic Bastiat (1801 - 1850), French statesman and author.

"The State is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else."

-- Frederic Bastiat (1801 - 1850), French statesman and author.

“Everyone wants to live at the expense of the State. They forget that the State lives at the expense of everyone.”

-- Frederic Bastiat (1801 - 1850), French statesman and author.

"The politician attempts to remedy the evil by increasing the very thing that caused the evil in the first place: legal plunder."

-- Frederic Bastiat (1801 - 1850), French statesman and author.

"When goods don't cross borders, soldiers will."

-- Frederic Bastiat (1801 - 1850), French statesman and author.

"Foreign aid is a phenomenon whereby poor people in rich countries are taxed to support the life-styles of rich people in poor countries"

-- Lord Peter Bauer (1915 - ) British Professor of Economics.

Note: See Doug Casey for a paraphrase of this quote.

"You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence."

-- Charles A. Beard (1874-1948)

"In 1940, teachers were asked what they regarded as the three major problems in American schools. They identified the three major problems as: Littering, noise, and chewing gum. Teachers last year were asked what the three major problems in American schools were, and they defined them as: Rape, assault, and suicide."

-- William Bennett (1993)

"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

-- The Bible, II Corinthians 3:17.

"Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."

-- The Bible, Levitcus 25:10.

"The framers [of the Constitution] knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny."

--Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (1960)

"The difference between libertarianism and socialism is that libertarians will tolerate the existence of a socialist community, but socialists can't tolerate a libertarian community."

-- David D. Boaz (1997)

"The question George Bush, along with Clinton, Gingrich, Gore and all the other boomer politicians who have admitted to a walk on the wild side but saw the error of their ways and support the drug laws now more than ever should be required to answer is simple. "At what point in your drug-using career would it have been a good thing for you to get arrested and go to prison?"

-- Alan Bock, Columnist in the November 1999 issue of Liberty

"War is the health of the State."

-- Randolph Bourne (1917)

"Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner."

-- James Bovard, (1994)

"America needs fewer laws, not more prisons."

-- James Bovard

"...let libertarians of every cultural or religious inclination realize that in a political context, liberty is what's important, not the cultural or religious differences you may have with other libertarians.

Liberty isn't good just for right-wingers or for left-wingers. Liberty is good for everybody."

-- R.W. Bradford (Editor of Liberty Magazine)

"Without free speech no search for truth is possible... no discovery of truth is useful.... Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race."

-- Charles Bradlaugh - (English reformer - 1890)

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."

-- John Bradshaw

"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

-- Justice Louis Brandeis (1928)

Harry BrowneHarry Browne: Harry Browne (1933 - ), is a financial advisor, was the Libertarian Party nominee for President in 2000 and also was the Libertarian Party candidate for President in 1996. He is the author of of ten books including: How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation (1970), How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World (1973), You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis (1974) and Why Government Doesn't Work (1995). His website is at


“A little government involvement is just as dangerous as a lot -because the first leads inevitably to the second.”

--Harry Browne (1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)

"The government is good at one knows how to break your legs, and then hand you a crutch and say 'see if it weren't for the government you wouldn't be able to walk.'"

--Harry Browne (1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)

"Some people say that Libertarians want anarchy. But anarchy is what we have now. Our cities aren't safe, our schools are centers of violence, the politicians have turned the rule of law into a chaotic web of millions of regulations and mandates. Libertarians want to restore order by removing, wherever possible, the destabilizing influence of government."

--Harry Browne (1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)

"The problem with politics isn't the money, it's the power. So long as politicians have the power to grant favors, exemptions, and business protection, people will find some way to subvert them -- if not with money now, then with promises to take care of them later. The only way we will clean up campaign financing is by taking power away from the politicians -- reducing the federal government to just the functions specified in the Constitution."

--Harry Browne (1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)

"In my experience, people who are truly compassionate rarely use the word 'compassion' Those who do talk compassion generally intend to be compassionate with your money, not their own. It's wrong for someone to confiscate your money, give it to someone else, and call that 'compassion.' "

--Harry Browne (1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)

"Conservatives say the government can't end poverty by force, but they believe it can use force to make people moral. Liberals say government can't make people be moral, but they believe it can end poverty. Neither group attempts to explain why government is so clumsy and destructive in one area but a paragon of efficiency and benevolence in the other."

--Harry Browne (1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)

"There are no violent gangs fighting over aspirin territories. There are no violent gangs fighting over whisky territories or computer territories or anything else that's legal. There are only criminal gangs fighting over territories covering drugs, gambling, prostitution, and other victimless crimes. Making a non-violent activity a crime creates a black market, which attracts criminals and gangs, which turns what was once a relatively harmless activity affecting a small group of people into a widespread epidemic of drug use and gang warfare."

--Harry Browne (1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)

"The free market punishes irresponsibility. Government rewards it."

--Harry Browne (1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)

If you ask the government to impose morality, then moral questions will be decided by whoever has the most political power.

--Harry Browne (1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)

Government seems to operate on the principle that if even one individual is incapable of using his freedom competently, no one can be allowed to be free.

--Harry Browne (1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)

"Robert Bork has said that Libertarians have an unrealistic "sweet view of human nature," and that is why they oppose government attempts to impose morality. He has this matter precisely backward. It is because there are evil, incompetent people in the world that we must never give government the power to enforce morality, economic equality, or any other social goal. The coercive power of government is always a beacon to those who want to dominate others -- summoning the worst dregs of society to Washington to use that power to impose their will upon others."

--Harry Browne (1996 & 2000 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate)

"A society is not 'free' merely because the freedoms the people are doing away with are those they voted at the last election to do without."

-- William F. Buckley, Jr. (founder of National Review)

"I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University."

-- William F. Buckley, Jr. (founder of National Review)

"They told me if I voted for Goldwater, he would get us into a war in Vietnam. Well, I voted for Goldwater and that's what happened."

-- William F. Buckley, Jr. (founder of National Review)

"No kingdom can be secured otherwise than by arming the people. The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion."

-- James Burgh (1774)

"Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist."

-- Edmund Burke - (British statesman - 1756)

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

-- Edmund Burke

"The true danger is when Liberty is nibbled away, for expedients."

-- Edmund Burke (1899)

"Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has."

-- William S. Burroughs

"After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. I sure as hell wouldn't want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military."

-- William S. Burroughs

"The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience."

- Albert Camus (1913-1960)

"Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries."

-- Douglas Casey (1992)

Note: This is apparently a paraphrase of a quote by Lord Peter Bauer (see above).

"If you have ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law."

-- Winston Churchill

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery."

-- Winston Churchill

"We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."

-- Winston Churchill (1903)

"Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum."

"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child."

-- Marcus Tullius Cicero

"More laws, less justice."

-- Marcus Tullius Cicero (42 BC)

"The road to tyranny, we must never forget, begins with the destruction of the truth."

-- William Jefferson Clinton, October 15, 1995 (Editorial comment: He not only said it, but he has put it into practice.)

"We could give it all back to you and hope you spend it right. But . . . if you don't spend it right, here's what's going to happen."

-- William Jefferson Clinton, President, on the 'budget surplus'.

"The Bill of Rights is a born rebel. It reeks with sedition. In every clause it shakes its fist in the face of constituted authority.... it is the one guarantee of human freedom to the American people."

-- Frank Cobb - (Editor, New York World - 1920)

"...we are living in a sick society filled with people who would not directly steal from their neighbor but who are willing to demand that the government do it for them."

-William L. Comer

Calvin CoolidgeCalvin Coolidge: John Calvin Coolidge (1872 - 1933), 30th president of the United States (1923-1929). Known for his laconic personality. Gained nationwide fame for his role in ending the Boston police strike in 1919. Beleved in minimal government interference in the economy or in the private lives of individuals.


"Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business."

-Calvin Coolidge

"It is the besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which the masses of men exhibit their tyranny."

-- James Fenimore Cooper - "The American Democrat" (1838)

"The condition upon which God hath given liberty to a man is eternal vigilance."

-- J. P. Curran (1790)

"Mankind is at its best when it is most free. This will be clear if we grasp the principle of liberty. We must recall that the basic principle is freedom of choice, which saying many have on their lips but few in their mind."

-- Dante - "Monarchy" (1309)

"Religious groups will be making a deal with the devil if they accept the 30 pieces of silver from the federal government. Accepting federal funds will put religious groups at the mercy of government bureaucrats, make them more dependent on government handouts, and politicize what should be very personal religious decisions. Jesus Christ wasn't a government bureaucrat -- and the religious groups that have been inspired by his ministry shouldn't become government bureaucrats, either. And the same is true for Jews, Muslims, and every other religious faith that may be tempted by this proposal."

--Steve Dasbach, National Director Libertarian Party (1998- )

"The politicians don't just want your money. They want your soul. They want you to be worn down by taxes until you are dependent and helpless."

-- James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

"Probably all laws are useless; for good men do not want laws at all, and bad men are made no better by them."

-- Demonax - (Roman philosopher c. 150 A.D.)

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they have resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress."

-- Frederick Douglas

"When a great truth once gets abroad in the world, no power on earth can imprison it, or prescribe its limits, or suppress it. It is bound to go on till it becomes the thought of the world."

-- Frederick Douglass (1817-1895)Writer, orator, abolitionist and former slave.

"This country is a one-party country. Half of it is called Republican and half is called Democrat. It doesn't make any difference. All the really good ideas belong to the Libertarians."

-- Hugh Downs (1997)

"Historically the belief in heaven and the belief in utopia are like compensatory buckets in a well: when one goes down the other comes up. When the classic religions decayed, communistic agitation rose in Athens (430 B.C.), and revolution began in Rome (133 B.C.); when these movements failed, resurrection faiths succeeded, culminating in Christianity; when, in our eighteenth century, Christian belief weakened, communism reappeared. In this perspective the future of religion is secure."

-- Will Durant

"Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias. For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies. Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically, as in England and America in the nineteenth century under laissez-faire. To check the growth of inequality, liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917. Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom, and in the end superior ability has its way."

-- Will Durant

"Forced to choose, the poor, like the rich, love money more than political liberty; and the only political freedom capable of enduring is one that is so pruned as to keep the rich from denuding the poor by ability or subtlety and the poor from robbing the rich by violence or votes."

-- Will Durant

"Government of the self was the original basis for republican government, reflecting the view that civil society was much more than politics. Society was made up of men and women who gave order to their lives by entering into associations on a voluntary basis, quite apart from government, for all the various reasons of fellowship, philanthrophy, faith and commerce."

-- Hans L. Eicholz, Senior Fellow at the Liberty Fund.

"Force always attracts men of low morality."

-- Albert Einstein

"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom."

-- Albert Einstein (1950)

The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this.

-- Albert Einstein

"The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure."

-- Albert Einstein

"Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have."

-- Harry Emerson Fosdick

Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin: Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), was an American statesman and diplomat. He was also a prolific author and inventor. Franklin helped draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Franklin grew up in modest circumstances as one of 17 children of Josiah Franklin. Franklin had three years of formal schooling from the age of 8 -10. As a teenager Franklin was a printer by trade and devoted his evenings to furthering his education by reading.


"There never was a good war or a bad peace."

-- Benjamin Franklin (1773)

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

-- Benjamin Franklin (1755)

"Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you"

-- Benjamin Franklin

"Greedy capitalists get money by trade, Good liberals steal it."

-- David Friedman, The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism (1973).

Milton FriedmanMilton Friedman: Milton Friedman (1912- ) is an American economist and author. His works include: Capitalism and Freedom (1962), A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960 (1963), Dollars and Deficits (1968), A Theoretical Framework for Monetary Analysis (1971), and along with his wife Rose Friedman Free to Choose (1980), and Tyranny of the Status Quo (1984). Friedman was awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize in economics.


"There's a widespread belief and common conception that somehow or other business and economics are the same, that those people who are in favor of a free market are also in favor of everything that big business does. And those of us who have defended a free market have, over a long period of time, become accustomed to being called apologists for big business. But nothing could be farther from the truth. There's a real distinction between being in favor of free markets and being in favor of whatever business does."

-- Milton Friedman, Nobel-prize winning economist. Speaking at the Cato Institute's Technology and Society Conference.

"The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another."

-- Milton Friedman, Nobel-prize winning economist.

"I'm in favor of legalizing drugs. According to my value system, if people want to kill themselves, they have every right to do so. Most of the harm that comes from drugs is because they are illegal."

-- Milton Friedman, Nobel-prize winning economist.

"If the government is to try and ban private consumption of alcohol and tobacco, it must surely ban such activities as hang-gliding, skiing, rock-climbing and so on. Where should it stop? Rugby? American Football? Ice Hockey? Insofar as the government has information not generally available about the merits or demerits of the items we ingest or the activities we engage in, let it give us the information. But let it leave us free to choose what chances we want to take with our own lives."

-- Milton Friedman

"Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program."

-- Milton Friedman

"Fundamentally, there are only two ways of coordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion--the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary cooperation of individuals--the technique of the marketplace."

-- Milton Friedman, Nobel-prize winning economist.

Click on the links below for other sections of quotes:

G thru M                    N thru S                    T thru Z                    Go to my page of Education Quotes.


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