Quote of the Day

In mankind’s history, the understanding of the government’s proper function is a very recent achievement: it is only two hundred years old and it dates from the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution. Not only did they identify the nature and the needs of a free society, but they devised the means to translate it into practice. A free society – like any other human product – cannot be achieved by random means, by mere wishing or by the leaders’ “good intentions�. A complex legal system, based on objectively valid principles, is required to make a society free and to keep it free – a system that does not depend on the motives, the moral character or the intentions of any given official, a system that leaves no opportunity, no legal loophole for the development of tyranny.

—From Ayn Rand: The Nature of Government (1963)

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Quote of the Day

The source of the government’s authority is “The consent of the governed�. This means that the government is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of the citizens; it means that the government as such has no rights except the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific purpose.

—From Ayn Rand: The Nature of Government (1963)

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Quote of the Day

The Proper functions of a government fall into three broad categories, all of them involving the issues of physical force and the protection of man’s rights: The Police, to protect men from criminals – The Armed Services, to protect men from foreign invaders – The Law Courts, to settle disputes among men according to objective laws.

These three categories involve many corollary and derivative issues – and their implementation in practice, in the form of specific legislation, is enormously complex. It belongs to the field of a special science: the philosophy of law. Many errors and many disagreements are possible in the field of implementation, but what is essential here is the principle to be implemented: the principle that the purpose of law and of government is the protection of individual rights.

Today, this principle is forgotten, ignored and evaded. The result is the present state of the world, with mankind’s retrogression to the lawlessness of absolutist tyranny, to the primitive savagery of rule by brute force.

—From Ayn Rand: The Nature of Government (1963)

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Quote of the Day

Under a proper social system, a private individual is legally free to take any social action he pleases (so long as he does not violate the rights of others), while a government official is bound by law in his every official act. A private individual may do anything except that which is legally forbidden; a government official may do nothing except that which is legally permitted.

This is the means of subordinating ‘might’ to ‘right’. This is the American concept of “A government of laws and not of men�.

—From Ayn Rand: The Nature of Government (1963)

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Quote of the Day

Today, when a concerned effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals – that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individual, only the conduct of the government – that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizens protection against the government.

–From Ayn Rand: The Nature of Government (1963)

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  1. Barb says:

    In her novel “Atlas Shrugged”, some of the characters speak to that idea as well. It is a significant point, and missed by SO many. Thanks for the reminder, David.

    You’re so reliable … *Grin* !

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