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Quotes

My people and I have come to an agreement that satisfies us both. They are to say what they please, and I am to do what I please.

—Frederick the Great, c. 1770

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.

—E.B. White, 1944

He may be a patriot for Austria, but the question is whether he is a patriot for me.

—Emperor Francis Joseph, c. 1850

To be turned from one’s course by men’s opinions, by blame, and by misrepresentation shows a man unfit to hold office.

—Quintus Fabius Maximus, c. 203 BC

The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.

—G. K. Chesterton, 1908

I work for a government I despise for ends I think criminal.

—John Maynard Keynes, 1917

If you must take care that your opinions do not differ in the least from those of the person with whom you are talking, you might just as well be alone.

—Yoshida Kenko, c. 1330

Why has the government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.

—Alexander Hamilton, 1787

There is no method by which men can be both free and equal.

—Walter Bagehot, 1863

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure it is right.

—Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Envy is the basis of democracy.

—Bertrand Russell, 1930

No human life, not even the life of a hermit, is possible without a world which directly or indirectly testifies to the presence of other human beings.

—Hannah Arendt, 1958

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

—H.L. Mencken, 1921