Giving Thanks

A terrific article from John Stossel discussing the timeless economics lesson of the first Thanksgiving.

And over at Carpe Diem, a discussion of Jeff Jacoby’s 2003 Boston Globe article, “Giving Thanks for the Invisible Hand”.  Thank God there are no Turkey Czars among the turkeys in the White House.

Rush Limbaugh also told the True Story of Thanksgiving.

And finally, from Reason TV comes this lesson on Pilgrims and Property Rights:


Winston Churchill Quotes

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

“I like a man who grins when he fights.”

“There is no such thing as a good tax.”

“Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.”

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

“We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

“If you have ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law.”

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

“There is no greater mistake than to suppose that platitudes, smooth words, and timid policies offer a path to safety.”

“How many wars have been averted by patience and good will?”

“An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last.”

“If I were asked the difference between Socialism and Communism, I could only reply that the Socialist tries to lead us to disaster by foolish words and the Communist could try to drive us there by violent deeds.”

“Socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State.”

“No socialist system can be established without a political police.”

“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.”

“It is not alone that property, in all its forms, is struck at, but that liberty, in all its forms, is challenged by the fundamental conceptions of socialism.”

“‘All men are created equal’ says the American Declaration of Independence. ‘All men shall be kept equal’ say the Socialists.”

“If you destroy a free market, you create a black market.”

“Socialism assails the pre-eminence of the individual.”

“Is it better to have equality at the price of poverty or well-being at the price of inequality?”

“Let them quit these gospels of envy, hate, and malice. Let them abandon the utter fallacy, the grotesque, erroneous, fatal blunder of believing that by limiting the enterprise of man, by riveting the shackles of a false equality…they will increase the well-being of the world.”


Great motivational quotes

Lots of great motivational quotes are found at the website The Art of Manliness:

Theodore Roosevelt “The worst lesson that can be taught to a man is to rely upon others and to whine over his sufferings.”

Founding Fathers “One man with courage is a majority.” -Thomas Jefferson

Winston Churchill Part I Part II “I like a man who grins when he fights.”

George S. Patton “All glory is fleeting.”

For my list of some of the best conservative quotes, click here.


“Freedom is a rare and delicate flower.”


A classic discussion with economist Milton Friedman, just as relevant and powerful today as in 1975 (transcript here). You’ll find some of the best Milton Friedman quotes on government, capitalism and freedom here.


John Adams Quotes on Government and Liberty

We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.

Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people.

The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.

Let us disappoint the Men who are raising themselves upon the ruin of this Country.

I answered that the die was now cast; I had passed the Rubicon. Swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country was my unalterable determination.

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.

The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.

Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.

Be not intimidated… nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have… a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean the characters and conduct of their rulers.

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.

No good government but what is republican… the very definition of a republic is ‘an empire of laws, and not of men.’

The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.

You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments: rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the universe.

Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!” But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell.

Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty.

The happiness of society is the end of government.

The way to secure liberty is to place it in the people’s hands, that is, to give them the power at all times to defend it in the legislature and in the courts of justice.

Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.

When I went home to my family in May, 1770, from the town meeting in Boston, which was the first I had ever attended, and where I had been chosen in my absence, without any solicitation, one of their representatives, I said to my wife, “I have accepted a seat in the House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and to the ruin of our children. I give you this warning, that you may prepare your mind for your fate.” She burst into tears, but instantly cried out in a transport of magnanimity, “Well, I am willing in this cause to run all risks with you, and be ruined with you, if you are ruined.” These were times, my friend, in Boston, which tried women’s souls as well as men’s.

Be not intimidated…nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.


Milton Friedman on Poverty and the Poor


Walter Williams Quotes on Government, Capitalism and Liberty

A right, such as a right to free speech, imposes no obligation on another, except that of non-interference. The so-called right to health care, food or housing, whether a person can afford it or not, is something entirely different; it does impose an obligation on another. If one person has a right to something he didn’t produce, simultaneously and of necessity it means that some other person does not have right to something he did produce. That’s because, since there’s no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, in order for government to give one American a dollar, it must, through intimidation, threats and coercion, confiscate that dollar from some other American.

Government is necessary, but the only rights we can delegate to government are the ones we possess. For example, we all have a natural right to defend ourselves against predators. Since we possess that right, we can delegate authority to government to defend us. By contrast, we don’t have a natural right to take the property of one person to give to another; therefore, we cannot legitimately delegate such authority to government.

There are people in need of help. Charity is one of the nobler human motivations. The act of reaching into one’s own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else’s pocket is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

If we wish to be compassionate with our fellow man, we must learn to engage in dispassionate analysis. In other words, thinking with our hearts, rather than our brains, is a surefire method to hurt those whom we wish to help.

In a free society, government has the responsibility of protecting us from others, but not from ourselves.

Most of our country’s serious problems can be laid at the feet of Congress and the White House and not at capitalism.

Charity is reaching into one’s own pockets to assist his fellow man in need. Reaching into someone else’s pocket to assist one’s fellow man hardly qualifies as charity. When done privately, we deem it theft, and the individual risks jail time.

President Obama could rise several notches in my book if he refused the Nobel Peace Prize, with a nice letter to the Nobel Committee that might read: Since you did not see fit to award Ronald Reagan, the U.S. president who did the most for world peace in this century, by peaceably shutting down the Soviet Union, I respectfully decline your offer.

How you make it in this world, for the most part, depends more on what you do as opposed to whether people like or dislike you. In order to produce a successful life, one must find ways to please his fellow man. That is, find out what goods and services his fellow man values, and is willing to pay for, and then acquire the necessary skills and education to provide it.

One of the wonderful things about free markets is that the path to greater wealth comes not from looting, plundering and enslaving one’s fellow man, as it has throughout most of human history, but by serving and pleasing him.

People who denounce the free market and voluntary exchange, and are for control and coercion, believe they have more intelligence and superior wisdom to the masses. What’s more, they believe they’ve been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Of course, they have what they consider good reasons for doing so, but every tyrant that has ever existed has had what he believed were good reasons for restricting the liberty of others.

Equality before the general rules of law is the only kind of equality conducive to liberty that can be secured without destroying liberty. It is an equality that neither requires nor assumes people are in fact equal. Our attempt to make people equal in fact by rigging law to produce equal results destroys civility and generalized respect for the law. Government cannot create an advantage for one person without simultaneously creating a disadvantage for another.

Two vital marketplace signals are the profits that come with success and the losses that come with failure. When these two signals are not allowed to freely function, markets operate less efficiently.

In general, presidents and congressmen have very limited power to do good for the economy and awesome power to do bad. The best good thing that politicians can do for the economy is to stop doing bad. In part, this can be achieved through reducing taxes and economic regulation, and staying out of our lives.

Should the fact that if I become injured by not wearing a seatbelt or sick from eating and smoking too much, and become a burden on taxpayers, determine whether I’m free to not wear a seatbelt or puff cigarettes and gorge myself? Is there a problem with freedom? I say no, it’s a problem of socialism. There is absolutely no moral case for government’s taking another American’s earnings, through taxes, to care for me for any reason whatsoever. Doing so is simply a slightly less offensive form of slavery. Keep in mind that the essence of slavery is the forceful use of one person to serve the purposes or benefit of another.

What we call the market is really a democratic process involving millions, and in some markets billions, of people making personal decisions that express their preferences. When you hear someone say that he doesn’t trust the market, and wants to replace it with government edicts, he’s really calling for a switch from a democratic process to a totalitarian one.

Suppose I hire you to repair my computer. The job is worth $200 to me and doing the job is worth $200 to you. The transaction will occur because we have a meeting of the mind. Now suppose there’s the imposition of a 30 percent income tax on you. That means you won’t receive $200 but instead $140. You might say the heck with working for me — spending the day with your family is worth more than $140. You might then offer that you’ll do the job if I pay you $285. That way your after-tax earnings will be $200 — what the job was worth to you. There’s a problem. The repair job was worth $200 to me, not $285. So it’s my turn to say the heck with it. This simple example demonstrates that one effect of taxes is that of eliminating transactions, and hence jobs.

If I see a person in need of food, what if I walk up to another person and, through threats, intimidation and coercion, take his money and give it to the needy person? I believe and hope that most Americans would see such an act as theft. Would the conclusion differ if we collectively agreed to take one person’s money to feed the needy person? It’d still be theft. Immoral acts such as theft, rape and murder don’t become moral when done collectively through a majority decision.

We might think of dollars as being “certificates of performance.” The better I serve my fellow man, and the higher the value he places on that service, the more certificates of performance he gives me. The more certificates I earn, the greater my claim on the goods my fellow man produces. That’s the morality of the market. In order for one to have a claim on what his fellow man produces, he must first serve him. Contrast that moral standard to Congress’ standing offer, “Vote for me and I’ll take what your fellow man produces and give it to you.

The idea that minimum wage legislation is an anti-poverty tool is simply sheer nonsense. Were it an anti-poverty weapon, we might save loads of foreign aid expenditures simply by advising legislators in the world’s poorest countries, such as Haiti, Bangladesh and Ethiopia, to legislate higher minimum wages. Even applied to the United States, there’s little evidence suggesting that increases in the minimum wage help the poor. Plus, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 2.2 percent of working adults earn the minimum wage.

Many law professors, and others who hold contempt for our Constitution, preach that the Constitution is a living document. Saying that the Constitution is a living document is the same as saying we don’t have a Constitution. For rules to mean anything, they must be fixed. How many people would like to play me poker and have the rules be “living”? Depending on “evolving standards,” maybe my two pair could beat your flush.

Once one accepts the principle of self-ownership, what’s moral and immoral becomes self-evident. Murder is immoral because it violates private property. Rape and theft are also immoral — they also violate private property. Here’s an important question: Would rape become morally acceptable if Congress passed a law legalizing it? You say: “What’s wrong with you, Williams? Rape is immoral plain and simple, no matter what Congress says or does!” If you take that position, isn’t it just as immoral when Congress legalizes the taking of one person’s earnings to give to another? Surely if a private person took money from one person and gave it to another, we’d deem it theft and, as such, immoral. Does the same act become moral when Congress takes people’s money to give to farmers, airline companies or an impoverished family? No, it’s still theft, but with an important difference: It’s legal, and participants aren’t jailed.

The framers gave us the Second Amendment not so we could go deer or duck hunting but to give us a modicum of protection against congressional tyranny.

Try this thought experiment. Pretend you’re a tyrant. Among your many liberty-destroying objectives are extermination of blacks, Jews and Catholics. Which would you prefer, a United States with political power centralized in Washington, powerful government agencies with detailed information on Americans and compliant states or power widely dispersed over 50 states, thousands of local jurisdictions and a limited federal government?

Experts and the educated elite have replaced what worked with what sounded good. Society was far more civilized before they took over our schools, prisons, welfare programs, police departments and courts. It’s high time we ran these people out of our lives and went back to common sense.

The War between the States… produced the foundation for the kind of government we have today: consolidated and absolute, based on the unrestrained will of the majority, with force, threats, and intimidation being the order of the day. Today’s federal government is considerably at odds with that envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. … [The War] also laid to rest the great principle enunciated in the Declaration of Independence that ‘Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed’

Democracy and liberty are not the same. Democracy is little more than mob rule, while liberty refers to the sovereignty of the individual.

No matter how worthy the cause, it is robbery, theft, and injustice to confiscate the property of one person and give it to another to whom it does not belong.

History is not going to be kind to liberals. With their mindless programs, they’ve managed to do to Black Americans what slavery, Reconstruction, and rank racism found impossible: destroy their family and work ethic.

Tariff policy beneficiaries are always visible, but its victims are mostly invisible. Politicians love this. The reason is simple: The beneficiaries know for whom to cast their ballots, and the victims don’t know whom to blame for their calamity.

Why is it that Michael Jordan earns $33 million a year and I don’t even earn one-half of one percent of that? I can play basketball, but my problem is with my fellow man, who’d plunk down $200 to see Jordan play and wouldn’t pay a dollar to see me play. I’m also willing to sell my name as endorsements for sneakers and sport clothing, but no one has approached me. The bottom line explanation of Michael Jordan’s income relative to mine lies in his capacity to please his fellow man. The person who takes exception to Jordan’s salary or sees him, as my letter-writer does, as making “little contribution to society” is really disagreeing with decisions made by millions upon millions of independent decision-makers who decided to fork over their money to see Jordan play. The suggestion that Congress ought to take part of Jordan’s earnings and give it to someone else is the same as arrogantly saying, “I know better who ought to receive those dollars.

If we’re ignorant of the historical sacrifices that made our liberties possible, we will be less likely to make the sacrifices again so that those liberties are preserved for future generations. And, if we’re ignorant, we won’t even know when government infringes on our liberties. Moreover, we’ll happily cast our votes for those who’d destroy our liberties.

If we truly cared about our children and future generations, instead of demagoging about them, we’d worry more about saving liberty than saving Social Security.


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