Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quotes from FFF

From recent editions of the Email Update from the Future of Freedom Foundation:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Misuse of government power, particularly in times of stress, has brought suffering to humanity in all ages about which we have authentic history. Some of the world's noblest and finest men have suffered ignominy and death for no crime — unless unorthodoxy is a crime. Even enlightened Athens had its victims such as Socrates. Because of the same kind of bigotry, Jesus, the great Dissenter, was put to death on a wooden cross. The flames of inquisitions all over the world have warned that men endowed with unlimited government power, even earnest men, consecrated to a cause, are dangerous.
— Hugo L. Black, “
The Bill of Rights” [1960]

Thursday, May 14, 2009
Unlimited power is in itself a bad and dangerous thing. Human beings are not competent to exercise it with discretion. God alone can be omnipotent, because his wisdom and his justice are always equal to his power. There is no power on earth so worthy of honor in itself, or clothed with rights so sacred, that I would admit its uncontrolled and all-predominant authority. When I see that the right and the means of absolute command are conferred on any power whatever, be it called a people or a king, an aristocracy or a republic, I say there is the germ of tyranny, and I seek to live elsewhere, under other laws.

— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835]

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