Most popular government quotes
Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a handy servant and a dangerous master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
Government is not mere advice; it is authority, with power to enforce its laws.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.
Governments need both shepherds and butchers.
Every country has the government it deserves.
Government expands to absorb revenue, and then some.
Good government is no substitute for self-government.
If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
Governments are the only vessels that leak from the top.
The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.
You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.
Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.
Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.
An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.
A government is the only vessel known to leak from the top.
Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself.
The only good government... Is a bad one in a hell of a fright.
The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport.
Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.
No Government can be long secure without a formidable Opposition.
Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.
No man is good enough to govern another without the other's consent.
I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.
Fear and hope are the two great instruments for the governance of men.
I don't mind how much my Ministers talk, so long as they do what I say.
Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it.
Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government.
Government can't give us anything without depriving us of something else.
The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry.
The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of government power.
The great art of governing consists in not letting men grow old in their jobs.
The people will save their government, if the government itself will allow them.
All free governments are managed by the combined wisdom and folly of the people.
The less government we have the better-the fewer laws and the less confided power.
It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor.
A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
We don't have to expect everything from those who govern us; that would be juvenile.
Everybody wants to eat at the government's table, but nobody wants to do the dishes.
Some of us are like a shovel brigade that follow a parade down Main Street cleaning up.
Now that the House of Commons is trying to become useful, it does a great deal of harm.
There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
Governing a large country is like frying a small fish. You spoil it with too much poking.
Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.
Government never furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way.
The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare.
A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them.
There are two great antagonistic principles at the root of all government—stability and experiment.
Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
Nature, our father and mother, gave us all we have got. The state, our elder brother, swipes the lot.
There are two periods when Congress does no business. One is before the holidays, and the other after.
Government investigations have always contributed more to our amusement than they have to our knowledge.
Secrecy is an instrument of conspiracy; it ought not, therefore, to be a system of a regular government.
The mistakes made by Congress wouldn't be so bad if the next Congress didn't keep trying to correct them.
Britain has invented a new missile. It's called the civil servant – it doesn't work and it can't be fired.
Must a government be too strong for the liberties of its people or too weak to maintain its own existence?
Bad administration, to be sure, can destroy good policy, but good administration can never save bad policy.
When government accepts responsibility for people, then people no longer take responsibility for themselves.
A free press can be good or bad, but, most certainly, without freedom a press will never be anything but bad.
Knowing exactly how much of the future can be introduced into the present is the secret of a great government.
If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won't.
It will take some time to accomplish the things I have described. Government is an ocean liner, not a speedboat.
The essence of government is power, and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.
We should know everything we can about government — and the first thing we should know is what we're paying for it.
That all men are equal is a proposition to which, at ordinary times, no sane human being has ever given his assent.
In constitutional states, liberty is compensation for heavy taxes; in dictatorships, the substitute is light taxes.
It is simply, and solely, the abundance of money within a state that makes the difference in its grandeur and power.
The Government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a healthy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism while the wolf remains of a different opinion.
Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone.
It's a piece of cake until you get to the top. You find you can't stop playing the game the way you've always played it.
It's every American's duty to support his government, but not necessarily in the style to which it has become accustomed.
The government's like a mule, it's slow and it's sure; it's slow to turn, and it's sure to turn the way you don't want it.
In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to another.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge ... is itself a frightful despotism.
All government, whatever its forms or pretenses, is a dead weight that paralyzes the free spirit and activities of the masses.
Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change public opinion, can change the government, practically just so much.
Government remains the paramount area of folly because it is there that men seek power over others—only to lose it over themselves.
It is impossible to give a soldier a good education without making him a deserter. His natural foe is the government that drills him.
The greater the state, the more wrong and cruel its patriotism, and the greater is the sum of suffering upon which its power is founded.
It is perfectly true that that government is best which governs least. It is equally true that that government is best which provides most.
There can be no truer principle than this— that every individual of the community at large has an equal right to the protection of government.
I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.
We are willing to spend the least amount of money to keep a kid at home, more to put him in a foster home and the most to institutionalize him.
The biggest lesson I learned from Vietnam is not to trust our own government statements. I had no idea until then that you could not rely on them.
The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.
Government, in the Conservative view, is something like fire. Under control, it is the most useful of servants; out of control, it is a ravaging tyrant.
Nothing appears more surprising to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few.
A country is considered the more civilized the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak or a powerful one too powerful.
I do not deny the possibility that the people may err in an election; but if they do, the true [cure] is in the next election, and not in the treachery of the person elected.
It is a seldom proferred argument as to the advantages of a free press that it has a major function in keeping the government itself informed as to what the government is doing.
Congress is functioning the way the Founding Fathers intended-not very well. They understood that if you move too quickly, our democracy will be less responsible to the majority.
I am angry about policies that consistently favor the wealthy and powerful over average Americans, and insist that government has an important role in opening up opportunity to all.
Our government sprang from and was made for the people — not the people for the government. To them it owes an allegiance from them it must derive its courage, strength, and wisdom.
While the people retain their virtue, and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government, in the short space of four years.
I learned in business that you had to be very careful when you told somebody that's working for you to do something, because the chances were very high he'd do it. In government, you don't have to worry about that.
The reason stimulus plans of this sort do not work is a fundamental reality of governance: The government does not add value to the economy. It removes value from the economy by imposing taxes on one citizen and providing cash to another.
There is an important sense in which government is distinctive from administration. One is perpetual; the other is temporary and changeable. A man may be loyal to his government and yet oppose the particular principles and methods of administration.
People are historical subjects, which is to say, citizens and members of the pueblo [nation]. The state and society should generate the social conditions that promote and act as guardian of their rights and allow them to be builders of their own destiny.
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. When ever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
As the word "liberal" is, in its classical meaning, the opposite of authoritarian, it is more accurate, therefore, to characterize the Modern Liberal as a Statist. ... The primary principle around which the Statist organizes can be summed up in a single word—equality.
Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable—a most sacred right—a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.
I have seen it happen more often than not in government that when one asks for a choice, one is always given three: two absurd ones and the preferred one. And the experienced bureaucrat can usually tell the preferred one because it is almost always the one typed in the middle.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.
Personally, I think government is a tool, like a hammer. You can use a hammer to build with or you can use a hammer to destroy with. There is nothing intrinsically good or evil about the hammer itself. It is the purposes to which it is put and the skill with which it is used that determine whether the hammer's work is good or bad.
In a certain sense, and to a certain extent, he [the President] is the representative of the people. He is elected by them, as well as Congress is. But can he, in the nature [of] things, know the wants of the people, as well as three hundred other men, coming from all the various localities of the nation? If so, where is the propriety of having a Congress?
If the policy of the government, upon vital questions affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the people will have ceased, to be their own rulers, having, to that extent, practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Nor is there, in this view, any assault upon the court, or the judges. It is a duty, from which they may not shrink, to decide cases properly brought before them; and it is no fault of theirs, if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes.
The State is made for man, not man for the State.