Timely Quotes

In light of the 47% (oops, where did those one to two minutes of recording go?) non-controversy, I thought that a game of guess who said the quote would be fun.  Use of a search engine is verboten!

1.  A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.


2.  The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled. The assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.


3.  I accuse the present Administration of being the greatest spending Administration in peacetime in all American history – one which piled bureau on bureau, commission on commission, and has failed to anticipate the dire needs or reduced earning power of the people. Bureaus and bureaucrats have been retained at the expense of the taxpayer. We are spending altogether too much money for government services which are neither practical nor necessary. In addition to this, we are attempting too many functions and we need a simplification of what the Federal government is giving the people.


4.  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.


5.  It is an injustice, a grave evil and a disturbance of the right order, for a larger and higher organisation, to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller and lower bodies.


6.  The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves – in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.


7. I favor the policy of economy not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people. The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the government. Every dollar we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager. Every dollar that we prudently save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.


8.  While an equality of rights under a limited government is possible and an essential condition of individual freedom, a claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers.


9.  Why you fool, it’s the educated reader who CAN be gulled. All our difficulty comes with the others. When did you meet a workman who believes the papers? He takes it for granted that they’re all propaganda and skips the leading articles. He buys his paper for the football results and the little paragraphs about girls falling out of windows and corpses found in Mayfair flats. He is our problem. We have to recondition him. But the educated public, the people who read the high-brow weeklies, don’t need reconditioning. They’re all right already. They’ll believe anything.


10. A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.


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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. 1. I have heard it before, but forgot who said it. Franklin, Maritain, maybe even as far back as Socrates/Plato (kind of guessing here)?

    2. No idea, but I like it.

    3. Could have been almost anyone talking about any administration from WW I forward.

    4. no clue

    5 & 6 – no clue, but 5 sounds like something from a Pope or CCC on subsidiarity, and 6 sounds like subsidiarity as well

    7-10 – No clue, but they make sense.

    So let me tally that up here….. looks like I am 0 for 10. About the same as the likelihood of any of these ten points getting through to the thick skulls in D.C. and most state capitols.

  2. Quote No 6 – I wonder if Lincoln had Robespierre in mind, when he wrote that. “Democracy is a state in which the sovereign people, guided by laws that are of their own making, do for themselves all that they can do well, and by their delegates do all that they cannot do for themselves.” (La démocratie est un état où le peuple souverain, guidé par des lois qui sont son ouvrage, fait par lui-même tout ce qu’il peut bien faire, et par des délégués tout ce qu’il ne peut faire lui-même) [Speech to the Convention, 17 pluviôse An II]

    Both the sentiment and the expression are remarkably similar and many editions of the proceedings of the Convention were widely published, both in French and in English. Perhaps Lincoln had read it and the aphorism stuck in his memory, when the source was forgotten.

  3. A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.

    I am reminded here of an incident from the 1972 campaign. George McGovern was speaking at a group of auto workers and mentioned his plan to fund more lavish government spending by raising the estate tax; the audience booed him. McGovern couldn’t understand it. Those auto workers were never going to pay the estate tax, so why should they be so opposed to it being raised on the rich?

    Conservatives should not make McGovern’s mistake.

  4. “Quote No 6 – I wonder if Lincoln had Robespierre in mind,”

    Lincoln did write it MPS, although I doubt if he had Robespierre in mind. Outside of American history Lincoln didn’t read much history. During the 1860 campaign Lincoln learned that it was being claimed by his campaign that Lincoln had read Plutarch’s Lives. Lincoln hadn’t, but he immediately sat down and read it, to make the campaign claim true.

  5. I recognized the Lincoln quote and also No 9 (C S Lewis Hideous Strength)

    I would guess No 1 is Franklin – He certainly said something similar, which Lord Acton quoted.

    Must pass on the rest!

    By the by, Charlotte Corday took Plutarch’s Lives to read on her coach journey to Paris to kill Marat.

  6. I’ll take a guess at a few of these
    1. Alex de Tocqueville
    2. Julius Ceasar
    8. Hayek
    9. G. K. Chesterton
    10. John Adams
    I’m guessing here, but there honest guesses.

  7. My guess would be that #2 was uttered in 1932, 1946, or 1952. Possible candidates would be Franklin Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Robert Taft, Douglas MacArthur, or Dwight Eisenhower.

  8. As to number 9 Art you are correct. It is from That Hideous Strength and uttered by one of the villains. You are incorrect as to number 2, although the quotation was written in the last century.

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