Screw the Government!
Promoting Peace and Tranquility across the Planet
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John Brown Mural

Is it not possible that an individual may be right and a government wrong? Are laws to be enforced simply because they were made? Or declared by any number of men to be good, if they are not good?
— Henry David Thoreau, defending the principals under which John Brown acted

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
— President Theodore Roosevelt, 1918, during WWI

They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.
— Benjamin Franklin

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
The Declaration of Independence

Change is difficult. You cannot expect people with great privileges taken at the expense of ordinary working people to surrender them lightly. But the history of humanity is that determined people will overcome obstacles. And we will overcome the problems that this country is facing as a result of George W. Bush and as a result of a Washington establishment that has forgotten who sent them there.

— Howard Dean, February 18, 2004, when he withdrew from presidential race

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

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where  it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism; ownership by an individual, by a group or by  any controlling private power. 
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted.
— James Madison

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
— Mark Twain

All these lies, whether their authors know it or not, harbor an element of violence; organized lying always tends to destroy what ever it has decided to negate, although only totalitarian governments have consciously adopted lying as the first step to murder.
Hannah Arendt "Truth and Politics," from Between Past and Future

The world will not evolve past  its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation.
— A. Einstein

Cunning leads to knavery. It is but a step from one to the other, and that very slippery. Only lying makes the difference; add that to cunning, and it is knavery.
— Ovid

Lying can never save us from another lie.
— Vaclav Havel

I know of no safe depository for the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.
— Thomas Jefferson

There are times when you have to obey a call which is the highest of all, i.e. the voice of conscience even though such obedience may cost many a bitter tear, and even more, separation from friends, from family, from the state, to which you may belong, from all that you have held as dear as life itself. For this obedience is the law of our being.
— Mahatma Gandhi

In the beginning of a change, the Patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a Patriot.
— Mark Twain

There is a condition worse than blindness, and that is, seeing something that isn't there.
— Thomas Hardy

Truth made you a traitor as it often does in a time of scoundrels.
— Lillian Hellman

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
— Arthur Schopenhauer

It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad.
— James Madison

Justice is the truth in action.
— Joseph Joubert

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
— Isaac Asimov

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.
— Mohandas Gandhi

All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.
— Leo Tolstoy

Truth is confirmed by inspection and delay; falsehood by haste and uncertainty.
— Tacitus

Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than the arguments of its opposers.
— William Penn

Justice requires that everyone should have enough to eat. But it also requires that everyone should contribute to the production of food.
— Elias Canetti

What many now call 'growth' will soon be seen as accelerated decay.
— Dan Fiscus

Washington, DC is to lying what Wisconsin is to cheese.
— Dennis Miller

Lying is like alcoholism. You are always recovering.

— Steven Soderbergh

... after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

— Cree Indian Prophecy

Respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality.
— Frank Herbert

Forests precede civilizations and deserts follow.
— Chateaubriand

When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do.
— William Blake

Truth is a tendency.
— R. Buckminster Fuller

Truth never comes into the world but like a bastard, to the ignominy of him that brought her birth.
— John Milton

"[The clergy] believe that any portion of power confided to me [as President] will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion."
— Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, 1800

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
— Samuel Johnson, April 7, 1775

Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. "Patriotism" is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, that by "patriotism" I mean that attitude which puts the own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice; not the loving interest in one's own nation, which is the concern with the nation's spiritual as much as with its material welfare --never with its power over other nations. Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one's country which is not part of one's love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.
— Erich Fromm

Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.
— Bertrand Russell

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness .
— Thomas Jefferson

Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.
— George Bernard Shaw

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!
— Benjamin Franklin

A politician will do anything to keep his job even become a patriot.
— William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) US newspaper publisher, Recalled on his death 14 Aug 1951

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.
— Edward Abbey (1927-1989) US author

The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.
— Samuel P. Huntington

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
— David Friedman

There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.
— Victor Hugo

I don't know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
— Albert Einstein

Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.
— Groucho Marx

I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded... I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed... I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
— Winston Churchill

Alliance: In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted into each others' pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.
— Ambrose Bierce

A pint of sweat saves a gallon of blood.
— George Patton

Today the real test of power is not the capacity to make war but the capacity to prevent it.
— Anne O'Hare McCormick

Only the dead have seen the end of war.
— Plato

When the rich make war it's the poor that die.
— Jean-Paul Sartre

Another victory like that and we are done for.
— Pyrrhus

Man and nations will act rationally when all other possibilities have been exhausted.
— Katz' Law

Riot: A popular entertainment given to the military by innocent bystanders.
— Ambrose Bierce

Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.
—Edward Everett

Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.
—Aldous Huxley

All violence, all that is dreary and repels, is not power, but the absence of power.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

It seems like the less a statesman amounts to, the more he loves the flag.

The superpowers often behave like two heavily armed blind men feeling their way around a room, each believing himself in mortal peril from the other, whom he assumes to have perfect vision. Each tends to ascribe to the other side a consistency, foresight and coherence that its own experience belies. Of course, even two blind men can do enormous damage to each other, not to speak of the room.
— Henry Kissinger

Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.
— Groucho Marx

I prefer the most unjust peace to the most righteous war.
— Marcus Tullius Cicero

Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.
— Benjamin Franklin

All warfare is based on deception.
— Sun Tzu

Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.
— Benjamin Franklin

Patriot : the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.
— Mark Twain

'My country, right or wrong' is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'
— Gilbert K. Chesterton

"Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right."
— Carl Schurz

Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country.
— Bertrand Russell

It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.
— Voltaire

A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.
— Sir Winston Churchill

A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.
— H. L. Mencken

A politician is a man who understands government. A statesman is a politician who's been dead for 15 years.
— Harry S. Truman

If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
— H. L. Mencken

Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.
— Charles de Gaulle

The most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice.
— Theodore Roosevelt

The average politician goes through a sentence like a man exploring a disused mine shaft-blind, groping, timorous and in imminent danger of cracking his shins on a subordinate clause or a nasty bit of subjunctive.
— Robertson Davies

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
— Doug Larson

The politician is trained in the art of inexactitude. His words tend to be blunt or rounded, because if they have a cutting edge they may later return to wound him.
— Edward R. Murrow

That politician who curries favor with the citizens and indulges them and fawns upon them and has a presentiment of their wishes, and is skillful in gratifying them, he is esteemed a great statesman.
— Plato

If you want total security , go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.
— Henry Ford

We have gone completely overboard on security . Everything has to be secured, jobs, wages, hours- although the ultimate in security is jail, the slave labor camp and the salt mine.
— Cola Parker

In a state-run society the government promises you security. But it's a false promise predicated on the idea that the opposite of security is risk. Nothing could be further from the truth. The opposite of security is insecurity, and the only way to overcome insecurity is to take risks. The gentle government that promises to hold your hand as you cross the street refuses to let go on the other side.
— Theodore Forstmann

If, sir, men were all virtuous, I should with great alacrity teach them all to fly. But what would be the security of the good if the bad could at pleasure invade them from the sky? Against an army sailing through the clouds neither wall, nor mountains, nor seas could afford any security.
— Samuel Johnson

Distrust and caution are the parents of security .
— Benjamin Franklin

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.
— Benjamin Franklin

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
— Benjamin Franklin

We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.
— Dwight D. Eisenhower

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.
— Helen Keller

Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh

True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

The man who looks for security , even in the mind, is like a man who would chop off his limbs in order to have artificial ones which will give him no pain or trouble.
— Henry V. Miller

No man's life, liberty , or property are safe while the congress is in session.
— Mark Twain

Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its one sure defense.
— Mark Twain

We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented, which was human liberty.
— Mark Twain

You know that being an American is more than a matter of where your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal and that everyone deserves an even break."
— Harry S. Truman

It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have these three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.
— Mark Twain (from Following the Equator

Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.
— Benjamin Franklin

The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the goverment.
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press and that cannot be limited without being lost.
—Thomas Jefferson

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
—President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953

This institution will be based upon the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.
— Thomas Jefferson

No one lies so boldly as the man who is indignant.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Americans detest all lies except lies spoken in public or printed lies.
— Edward W. Howe

It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.
— Thomas Paine

Man's greatness lies in his power of thought.
— Blaise Pascal

Should not even the desire to take, to profit at another’s expense, imply a desire [to] preserve that other as a potential source of wealth and profit?
— Tzvetan Todorov, The Conquest of America

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
— Sir Winston Churchill

We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
— Eric Hoffer

We tell lies when we are afraid... afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie , the thing that we fear grows stronger.
— Tad Williams

A man who tells lies , like me, merely hides the truth. But a man who tells half- lies has forgotten where he put it.
— Claude Rains

A lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies.
— Alfred Lord Tennyson

It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentionally lying that there is so much falsehood in the world..
— Samuel Johnson

I do myself a greater injury in lying than I do him of whom I tell a lie..
— Michel de Montaigne

The best liar is he who makes the smallest amount of lying go the longest way.
— Samuel Butler

Propaganda is that branch of the art of lying which consists in nearly deceiving your friends without quite deceiving your enemies.
— F. M. Cornford

Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within.
— Stephen Jay Gould

A resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible.
— Thomas Hardy

Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.
— Hannah Arendt

War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford.
— Hannah Arendt

There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous.
— Hannah Arendt

The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
— Hannah Arendt

The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.
— Hannah Arendt

We All Live Downstream.
— David Suzuki

And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad.
— Aldous Huxley

Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now - always.
— Albert Schweitzer

The education of today is nothing more than drill... children must be accustomed to obey, to believe, to think  according to the social dogmas which govern us.
— Francisco Ferrer

Either we have hope within us or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul, an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart -- not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense.
— Vaclav Havel

... to limit access in the news media to differing opinions is to acknowledge our democracy's defeat.
Tim Robbins

NOTHING appears more surprizing to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as FORCE is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, 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.

I have come to fear almost everything having to do with law. Though there are many fine people in the legal profession, and though law is necessary to protect society from descending into chaos, I now fear the legal profession more than I do Islamic terrorists.
— Dennis Prager, radio talk-show host, commenting in World Net Daily's Whistleblower Magazine (August 20, 2002):

We have gone from the world of George Orwell, where large empires confronted each other, to the universe of Ian Fleming and James Bond, where a megalomaniac billionaire hidden in a cave sends planes against American cities.
— Bulgarian historian Tzvetan Todorov, in the course of an interview with the NYT

John Brown, to the court, at his trial:

I have, may it please the Court, a few words to say.
In the first place, I deny everything but what I have all along admitted: of a design on my part to free slaves . . .
Had I interfered in the matter which I admit, and which I admit has been fairly proved . . . had I so interfered in behalf of the rich, the powerful, the intelligent, or the so-called great . . . and suffered and sacrificed, what I have in this interference, it would have been all right. Every man in this Court would have deemed it an act worthy of reward rather than punishment.
I see a book kissed which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament, which teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do unto me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me further to remember them that are in bonds as bound with them. I endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say that I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done, as I have always freely admitted I have done in behalf of His despised poor, I have done no wrong, but right.
Now if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel and unjust enactments, I say, let it be done.

The "Tree of Liberty" letter

DEAR SIR, -- I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of October the 4th, 8th, & 26th. In the last you apologise for your letters of introduction to Americans coming here. It is so far from needing apology on your part, that it calls for thanks on mine. I endeavor to show civilities to all the Americans who come here, & will give me opportunities of doing it: and it is a matter of comfort to know from a good quarter what they are, & how far I may go in my attentions to them. Can you send me Woodmason's bills for the two copying presses for the M. de la Fayette, & the M. de Chastellux? The latter makes one article in a considerable account, of old standing, and which I cannot present for want of this article. -- I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams I am to give my thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will be yet three weeks before I shall receive them from America. There are very good articles in it: & very bad. I do not know which preponderate. What we have lately read in the history of Holland, in the chapter on the Stadtholder, would have sufficed to set me against a chief magistrate eligible for a long duration, if I had ever been disposed towards one: & what we have always read of the elections of Polish kings should have forever excluded the idea of one continuable for life. Wonderful is the effect of impudent & persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independent 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & a half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order. I hope in God this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted. -- You ask me if any thing transpires here on the subject of S. America? Not a word. I know that there are combustible materials there, and that they wait the torch only. But this country probably will join the extinguishers. -- The want of facts worth communicating to you has occasioned me to give a little loose to dissertation. We must be contented to amuse, when we cannot inform. —From Thomas Jefferson to William Smith
Paris, November 13, 1787

Stephen Vincent Benét

Selections from "John Brown's Body"

Listen now,
Listen, the bearded lips are speaking now,
There are no more guerilla-raids to plan,
There are no more hard questions to be solved
Of right or wrong, no need to beg for peace,
Here is the peace unbegged, here is the end,
Here is the insolence of the sun cast off,
Here is the voice already fixed with night.

Cost of the War in Iraq
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