(Michael Sandel, Justice: Free To Choose, February, 2011)
(Michael Sandel, Justice: What's A Fair Start?, February, 2011)
John Rawls (1921–2002):
Those who have been favored by nature, whoever they are, may gain from their good fortune, only on terms that improve the situation of those who have lost out.
(Quoted by Michael Sandel, Justice: What's A Fair Start?, February, 2011)
Thomas Paine (1737–1809):
[Government,] even in its best state, is but a necessary evil …
(Common Sense, 1776)
Ronald Reagan (1911–2004):
Government is not the solution …
Government is the problem. …
I continue to look to the Scriptures … for fulfilment and for guidance.
Indeed, it is an incontrovertible fact, that all the complex and horrendous questions confronting us at home, and worldwide, have their answer in that single Book. …
Edmund Burke (1729–1797):
To … love the little platoon we belong to, in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections.
It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love
- to our country, and
- to mankind.
John Edgar Hoover (1895–1972) [Director of the FBI, 1935-1972]:
Communism, in reality, is not a political party.
It is [an] evil and malignant way of life.
It reveals a condition akin to [a] disease that spreads like an epidemic.
And like an epidemic, a quarantine is necessary to keep it from infecting this nation.
I'm sick and tired of hearing about all of the radicals, and the perverts, and the liberals, and the Leftists, and the communists, coming out of the closet.
It's time for God's people to come out of the closet, out of the Churches, and change America.
George Wallace (1919–1998) [Governor of Alabama, 1983-87]:
And segregation forever!
Bronwyn Bishop [29th Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives]:
[What] we're really seeing in our county is a clash of cultures …
[The] headscarf is being used as [an] iconic item of defiance [by] the sort of people who want to overturn our values …
[Headscarves should be banned in Australian public schools (and veiled women segregated in the public galleries of the Federal Parliament). …]
[Hijab-wearing women are slaves who] can't deal with the choices that freedom offers.
(2005 and 2014)
[In 2007, Kevin Andrews (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) announced he would cut African immigration because Sudanese migrants were not integrating sufficiently.
Incredibly, [this decision was inspired by] the murder of Liep Gony, an eighteen-year-old Sudanese refugee, by two white kids.
[Of course, the] culture of these assailants and their capacity to integrate … was not questioned: only those of the victim.
(What's Right? The Future of Conservatism in Australia, Quarterly Essay, Issue 37, March, 2010)
Richard Russell [US Senator for Georgia (D), 1933-71]:
[The Civil Rights bill] is a perversion of the American way of life and a great blow at the right of dominion over private property that has been the genesis of our greatness.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882):
Do not tell me, as a good man did to-day, of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations.
Are they my poor?
I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent, I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong.
(Self-Reliance, Essays: First Series, 1841)
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859):
It is both necessary and desirable that the government of a democratic people should be active and powerful.
[Our] object should not be to render it weak or indolent, but solely to prevent it from abusing its aptitude and its strength.
(Democracy in America, 1835, p 867)
Christianity fuels everything I write. …
We should invade [Muslim] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.
We weren't punctilious about … punishing only Hitler and his top officers.
We carpet-bombed German cities …
[We] killed civilians.
And this is war. …
[Joe McCarthy] saved America and it was only another 20 years or so before Ronald Reagan came in and saved the world. …
Joseph Townsend (1739–1816)
[It] is only hunger which can spur and goad [the poor] on to labour. …
[Direct] legal constraint [to work] is attended with too much trouble, violence, and noise … whereas hunger is not only a peaceable, silent, unremitted pressure but, as the most natural motive of industry and labour, it calls forth the most powerful exertions. …
[The Poor Law, by helping the hungry,] tends to destroy the harmony and beauty, the symmetry and order, of that system which God and nature have established in the world. …
It seems to be a law of nature that the poor should be to a certain degree improvident, so that there may always be some to fulfil the most servile, the most sordid, the most ignoble offices in the community.
The stock of human happiness is thereby much increased, whilst the more delicate … are left at liberty without interruption to pursue those callings which are suited to their various dispositions.
(A Dissertation on the Poor Laws, by a Wellwisher of Mankind, 1786)
John Stuart Mill (1806–1873)
To those who have neither public or private affections, the excitements of life are much curtailed …
Next to selfishness, the principal cause which makes life unsatisfactory is want of mental cultivation.
A cultivated mind … finds sources of inexhaustible interest in all that surrounds it: in
- the objects of nature
- the achievements of art,
- the imaginations of poetry,
- the incidents of history,
- the ways of mankind, past and present, and their prospects in the future. …
As little is there an inherent necessity that any human being should be a selfish egotist, devoid of every feeling or care but those which center in his own miserable individuality. …
All the grand sources … of human suffering are in great degree … conquerable by human care and effort … though a long succession of generations will perish in the breach before the conquest is completed …
On Liberty (1859)
[If society] issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practises a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.
Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough: there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling …
There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence: and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism. …
All that makes existence valuable to any one, depends on the enforcement of restraints upon the actions of other people.
Some rules of conduct, therefore, must be imposed,
- by law in the first place, and
- by opinion on many things which are not fit subjects for the operation of law.
Wherever there is an ascendant class, a large portion of the morality of the country emanates from its class interests, and its feelings of class superiority.
- between Spartans and Helots,
- between planters and negroes,
- between princes and subjects,
- between nobles and roturiers,
- between men and women,
[The] sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection.
The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.
His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.
He cannot rightfully be compelled to do, or forbear,
- because it will be better for him to do so,
- because it will make him happier,
- because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right.
To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else.
The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others.
In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute.
Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign. …
Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end. …
But as soon as mankind have attained the capacity of being guided to their own improvement by conviction or persuasion [compulsion] is no longer admissible as a means to their own good, and justifiable only for the security of others. …
I regard utility as the ultimate appeal on all ethical questions …
[But] it must be utility in the largest sense, grounded on the permanent interests of a man as a progressive being. …
The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. …
Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion
If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. …
In politics … a party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life …
[And] it is in a great measure the opposition of the other that keeps each within the limits of reason and sanity. …
The Catholic Church … makes a broad separation between those who can be permitted to receive its doctrines on conviction, and those who must accept them on trust.
Neither, indeed, are allowed any choice as to what they will accept; but the clergy, such at least as can be fully confided in, may … make themselves acquainted with the arguments of opponents, in order to answer them, and may, therefore, read heretical books; the laity, not unless by special permission …
This discipline recognises a knowledge of the enemy's case as beneficial to the teachers, but finds means, consistent with this, of denying it to the rest of the world: thus giving to the elite more mental culture, though not more mental freedom, than it allows to the mass.
By this device it succeeds in obtaining the kind of mental superiority which its purposes require; for though culture without freedom [can] never made a large and liberal mind, it can make a clever advocate of a cause. …
[A] large portion of the noblest and most valuable moral teaching has been the work, not only of men who did not know, but of men who knew and rejected, the Christian faith. …
We have now recognised the necessity … of freedom of opinion, and freedom of the expression of opinion, on four distinct grounds …
- First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true.
To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.
- Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may … contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied.
- Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds.
- And … fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good [and an obstacle to] the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience. …
Among the works of man, which human life is rightly employed in perfecting and beautifying, the first in importance surely is man himself.
Supposing it were possible to get houses built, corn grown, battles fought, causes tried, and even churches erected and prayers said, by machinery — by automatons in human form — it would be a considerable loss to exchange for these automatons even the men and women who at present inhabit the more civilised parts of the world, and who assuredly are but starved specimens of what nature can and will produce.
Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing. …
As much compression as is necessary to prevent the stronger specimens of human nature from encroaching on the rights of others cannot be dispensed with; but for this there is ample compensation even in the point of view of human development.
The means of development which the individual loses by being prevented from gratifying his inclinations to the injury of others, are chiefly obtained at the expense of the development of other people.
And even to himself there is a full equivalent in the better development of the social part of his nature, rendered possible by the restraint put upon the selfish part.
To be held to rigid rules of justice for the sake of others, develops the feelings and capacities which have the good of others for their object. …
What has made the European family of nations an improving, instead of a stationary portion of mankind?
Not any [inherent] excellence in them … but their remarkable diversity of character and culture.
Of the Limits to the Authority of Society over the Individual
It would be a great misunderstanding of this doctrine [of individual freedom] to suppose that it is one of selfish indifference, which pretends that human beings have no business with each other's conduct in life, and that they should not concern themselves about the well-doing or well-being of one another, unless their own interest is involved.
Instead of any diminution, there is need of a great increase of disinterested exertion to promote the good of others.
Would you like to know more?
The Global War on Political Correctness
George Megalogenis: One Nation
Alexis de Tocqueville: A Thousand Years of Freedom
Naomi Oreskes: Corrupting Science
Al Gore: The Best Government Money Can Buy
Adam Curtis: Killing Our Way To Perfection
Francis Fukuyama: War is Peace
Rear Vision: The Tea Party Movement
Keith Windschuttle: A Threat to Freedom
Waleed Ali: The Future of Australian Conservatism
Andrew Bolt: The Tyranny of the Cultural Majority
George Soros: The Market Society
Joseph Stiglitz: Financial Alchemy
David Folkenflik: NPR caught in a media Sting