For Liberty — The Consensus of Great Minds


The State must go.

Ibsen (dramatist)

Government has committed more crimes than it has prevented.

Robert Ingersoll.

In vain you tell me that artificial government is good, but that I fall out only with the abuse; the thing—the thing itself—is the abuse.

Edmund Burke.

(In Vindication of Natural Society.)

I think little of the direct influence of governments. I think it is gross delusion to believe in the sovereign power of political mastery.

Wendall Phillips in Speeches in 1863.

All the affairs of men should be managed by individuals and voluntary associations, and the State should be abolished.

Benjamin R. Tucker.

(In Instead of a Book.)

It is unquestionably true that government is begotten of aggression and by aggression.

Herbert Spencer.

(Man Versus the State.)

The State rests on the slavery of labor. If labor becomes free, the State is lost. —MAX STIRNER, in THE EGO AND HIS OWN.

The State! Whatever the State saith is a lie; whatever it hath is a theft; all is counterfeit in it, the gnawing, sanguinary, insatiate monster! It even bites with stolen teeth. Its very bowels are counterfeit!—Nietzsche.

Civilization has accomplished improvements in every direction except in politics, which continues to be a field for deceit, intrigue and contempt for right and liberty.

L. Proal.

Every actual State is corrupt. Good men must not obey the laws too well. What satire on Government can equal the severity of censure conveyed in the word politic, intimating that the State is a trick! —Emerson.

That government is best which governs least. —Jefferson.

That government is best which governs not at all. —Henry D. Thoreau.

I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government, enjoy in the general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under governments.

President T. Jefferson.

Is life so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!Patrick Henry.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; * * * that when any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.

—The American Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776).

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence—it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. —George Washington.

Although I am not a fanatic for liberty, yet I do think that it is far better to let every man do as he like.


People do not govern themselves in democracies more than in any other lands. They do not even choose their rulers. These rulers choose themselves, and by force and cunning and intrigue arrive at the same results that their primitive ancestor did with the aid of a club. —Clarence Darrow.

Oppressive government is fiercer and more dreaded than any tiger.—Confucius.

No laws are binding on the human subject which assault the body or violate the conscience.—Blackstone.

The age of veneration for governments is more and more passing away, and it is time for people to understand that governments not only are not necessary, but are harmful and most highly immoral institutions, in which a self-respecting, honest man can not and must not take part.Leo Tolstoy.

This country with its institutions belongs to the people who inhabit it. WHenever 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.Pres. Abraham Lincoln, in Second Inaugural Speech to Congress (1865).

Coercion is the central principle of government.—Lord Armstrong.

No good ever came from the law. All reforms have been the offspring of Revolution.—Buckle.

All our liberties are due to men who, when their conscience compelled them, have broken the laws of the land.—Dr. Clifford.

Nature rejects the monarch, not the man;
The subject, not the citizen: for kings
And subjects, mutual foes, forever play
A losing game into each other's hands,
Whose stakes are vice and misery. The man
Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys.
Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience,
Bane of all genius virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men, and of the human frame
A mechanized automaton.


I tell you there is something splendid in the man that will not always mind. Why, if we had done as the kings told us five hundred years ago, we should have all been slaves. If we had done as the priests told us we should all have been idiots. If we had done as the doctors told us, we would all have been dead. We have been saved by disobedience—by that splendid thing called independence, and I want to see more of it.—(Ingersoll).

Massachusetts, in its heroic days, had no government—was an anarchy. Every man stood on his own feet, was his own governor, and there was no breach of peace from Cape Cod to Mount Hoosac.—Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The State is the curse of the individual. It must be abolished! In that revolution I will take part. Undermine the idea of the State; make willingness and spiritual kinship the only essentials in case of a union, and you have the beginning of a liberty that is of some value. The changing of forms of government is mere toying with degrees—a little more or a little less—folly, the whole of it.—H. Ibsen.


I see a world where thrones have crumbled and where kings are dust. The aristocracy of idleness has perished from the earth. I see a world without a slave, man at last is free. I see a world at peace, adorned with every form of art; with music's myriad voices thrilled. I see a world without the beggar's outstretched palm, the miser's heartless, stony stare; the piteous wail of want, the livid lips of lies, the cruel eyes of scorn. I see a race without disease of flesh or brain; shapely and fair; the married harmony of form and function; and as I look life lengthens, joy deepens; love canopies the earth, and over all, in the great dome, shines the eternal star of human hope.Ingersoll.

Speaking generally, mankind can be divided into two groups, Authoritarians and Libertarians. The first believe in making people be good; the second believe in letting people be good. The first believes in compelling others to confirm to their wishes, the second thinks it better to convince than to compel.Charles Sprading, in Freedom and Its Fundamentals.

Good citizenship is not estab-lished by upholding unjust laws, but by vigorous opposition to them.Charles Sprading, Freedom and Its Fundamentals.

Inequality is the source of all revolutions; no compensation can make up for inequality.—Aristotle.

All social agitation arises from the persistence of right against the obstinacy of law. — Victor Hugo, in Deeds and Words.

As a corollary to the proposition that all institutions must be subordinated to the law of equal freedom, we cannot choose but admit the right of the citizen to adopt a condition of voluntary outlawry. — Herbert Spencer, in First Edition of Social Statics.

I fully admit and vehemently urge that the State at present is simply a huge machine for robbing and slave-driving the poor by brute force.—G. Bernard Shaw.