June 28, 2005

 

Unlimited Power



I came across the following quote today while reading the most-excellent Cloud Atlas as I waiting to be called for jury duty:
"Unlimited power in the hands of limited people always leads to cruelty." - Alexander Solzhenitsyn
It seemed more than appropriate for the times we live in. I googled the quote to make sure it was accurate (sorry to doubt you David) and found some more "fun" quotes. Here are a few of my faves. Enjoy:
"Fear is the foundation of most governments."
-John Adams

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence-it is force! Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."
-George Washington

"The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government, they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten, that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of an advance auction of the sale of stolen goods."
-H.L. Mencken

"There are two governments in the United States today. One is visible. The other is invisible."
-Thomas B. Ross

"Did the mass of men know the actual selfishness and injustice of their rulers, not a government would stand a year. The world would formant with revolution."
-Theodore Parker

"Those who take the most from the table teach contentment. Those for whom the taxes are destined demand sacrifice. Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry of wonderful Times to come. Those who lead the country into the abyss call ruling difficult for ordinary folk."
-Bertolt Brecht

"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."
-Voltaire

"A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
-James Madison 1822

"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error."
-Robert H. Jackson, U.S. Supreme Court Justice 1950

"Sometimes I wonder if the world is run by smart people who are putting us on, or imbeciles who really mean it."
-Mark Twain
They're just sayin'...

Comments:
I just finished Cloud Atlas and yes it is a wonderful book. A friend asked if I thought 'Old Georgie' was George (W). I hadn't made the connection but it provoked thought.
 
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