Selected Quotes about Government

Controversial proposals, once accepted, soon become hallowed. -- Dean Acheson

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. -- Aesop

You do not think you live in a real democracy, because still you have a special type of government department like the Intelligence service that are above the law. You cannot invoke them, they can do anything and they still do. -- Mohamed Al-Fayed

All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth. -- Aristotle

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. -- Frédéric Bastiat

Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made. -- Otto von Bismarck

I've got the greatest job in the world. There's no other job in government where cause and effect is so tightly coupled where you can make a difference every day in so many different ways and in so many different people's lives. It's a great challenge. -- Michael Bloomberg

I think if you look at people, whether in business or government, who haven't had any moral compass, who've just changed to say whatever they thought the popular thing was, in the end they're losers. -- Michael Bloomberg

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments. -- William H. Borah

Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians. -- Chester Bowles

Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. -- Louis D. Brandeis

My first rule – the golden rule – ensures that over the economic cycle the Government will borrow only to invest, and that current spending will be met from taxation. -- Gordon Brown

You know what's interesting about Washington? It's the kind of place where second-guessing has become second nature. -- George W. Bush

There is such a thing as society. It's just not the same thing as the state. -- David Cameron

Billions raised, billions spent. No idea where the money has gone. With a record like that the chancellor should be running for treasurer of the Labour Party. -- David Cameron

Without morals a Republic can not subsist any length of time; they therfore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure...are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free goverments. -- Charles Carroll

As soon as one nation claims the right to take preventive action, other countries will naturally do the same. If we go down that road, where are we going? -- Jacques Chirac

States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions. -- Noam Chomsky

So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent. -- Sir Winston Churchill

Italy advocates the adoption of a legal instrument on cultural diversity, guaranteeing every country the protection of its own historical identity and the uniqueness of its physical and intangible cultural heritage. -- Carlo Azeglio Ciampi

When George Washington threw the dollar across the Rappahannock River, he didn't realize he was establishing a precedent for government spending. -- Harold Coffin

Abraham Lincoln did not go to Gettysburg having commissioned a poll to find out what would sell in Gettysburg. There were no people with percentages for him, cautioning him about this group or that group or what they found in exit polls a year earlier. When will we have the courage of Lincoln? -- Robert Coles

The law is [sic] a ass - a idiot. -- Charles Dickens

The divine right of kings may have been a plea for feeble tyrants, but the divine right of government is the keystone of human progress, and without it governments sink into police, and a nation is degraded into a mob. -- Benjamin Disraeli

Instead of seeing government as a partner we fear, I think we should see them as a partner we welcome. -- Peter Drucker

A corporation's primary goal is to make money. Government's primary role is to take a big chunk of that money and give it to others. -- Larry Ellison

You'll run into problems where governments don't share those values. Long term, these values will win out. -- David Filo

A transitional government is the beginning of a transfer of sovereignty. It's a question of Iraqi security and moving forward with the political process. -- Joschka Fischer

The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem. -- Milton Friedman

You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

The citizen can bring our political and governmental institutions back to life, make them responsive and accountable, and keep them honest. No one else can. -- John Gardner

What generally happens in this county is that our politicians don't serve us well because they don't tell the truth, and they don't keep their promises. -- Peter Garrett

The challenge for governments is to adopt policies that address the increasing energy demand but within the long-term context of climate change. Many elements can be considered: ways of making coal cleaner; rapidly developing and supporting a suite of renewable energy technologies with an emphasis on increased energy efficiency; carbon caps and trading; and, of course, looking hard at ways of reducing and localising energy demand. -- Peter Garrett

I love building the products, seeing people use the products but you know along with success comes the need for a dialogue with the government. -- Bill Gates

We live in a dirty and dangerous world ... There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows. -- Katharine Graham

Anything that we can do to raise personal savings is very much in the interest of this country. -- Alan Greenspan

I think it is just stupid economics for a government to approach economic management from a strand of thinking regarding unions as enemies. -- Bob Hawke

There is no doubt that this government and this country are benefiting from the reforms that we brought in the 1980s, and that couldn't have been done without the co-operation of the trade union movement. -- Bob Hawke

How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think. -- Adolf Hitler

When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned. -- Herbert Hoover

I will be fighting every minute of every day of the campaign because I am determined to win and I think it's important that we have a strong experienced Government that knows it's own mind in these more difficult times. -- John Howard

One of the things the government can't do is run anything. The only things our government runs are the post office and the railroads, and both of them are bankrupt. -- Lee Iacocca

It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error. -- Justice Robert Houghwout Jackson

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned -- this is the sum of good government. -- Thomas Jefferson

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. -- Thomas Jefferson

No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him. -- Thomas Jefferson

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. -- Thomas Jefferson

That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves. -- Thomas Jefferson

If this Government cannot get the adjustment, get manufacturing going again, and keep moderate wage outcomes and a sensible economic policy, then Australia is basically done for. We will end up being a third rate economy... a banana republic. -- Paul Keating

The Wright Amendment is a pain in the ass, but not every pain in the ass is a constitutional infringement. -- Herb Kelleher

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. -- John F. Kennedy

Centralization at the national capital or within a business undertaking always glorifies the importance of pieces of paper. This dims the sense of reality. -- David E. Lilienthal

Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable - a most sacred right - a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. -- Abraham Lincoln

A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. -- James Madison

For years governments have been promising more than they can deliver, and delivering more than they can afford. -- Paul Martin

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under. -- H. L. Mencken

I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time. -- H. L. Mencken

The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. -- H. L. Mencken

As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. -- H. L. Mencken

I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air that progress made under the shadow of the policeman's club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave. -- H. L. Mencken

War is not solely past, it can be our future, and these are you, ladies and gentlemen deputies, who are the guardians of our peace, our security and our future. -- Francois Mitterrand

In parliament he again pressed the necessity of reducing expenditure. Friends warned him that he was flogging a dead horse. -- John Morley

What does libertarian mean? As much individual responsibility as possible, as little government as possible, as few rules as possible. But I'm not saying it should be taken to the absolute limit. -- Rupert Murdoch

As with all politically lead governments, foreign investment is the slowest in the media section. Politicians are somewhat paranoid about the media but we still think it’s worthwhile. -- Rupert Murdoch

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. -- Edward R. Murrow

Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions. -- Edward R. Murrow

All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state. -- Benito Mussolini

Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too. -- Richard M. Nixon

I don't think a woman should be in any government job whatever. I mean, I really don't. The reason why I do is mainly because they are erratic. And emotional. -- Richard Nixon

We must always remember that America is a great nation today not because of what government did for people but because of what people did for themselves and for one another. -- Richard Nixon

I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is opposed to every instinct in my body. But as president I must put the interests of America first Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. -- Richard Nixon

The world is waiting ... for new saints, ecstatic men and women who are so deeply rooted in the love of God that they are free to imagine a new international order. -- Henri Nouwen

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop. -- P. J. O'Rourke

Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. -- Thomas Paine

When the Kyoto Protocol enters into the force tomorrow, the world will take a significant and long-awaited first step towards stemming global warming. Instead of stepping forward as the world leader on climate change, however, the Bush Administration is clinging to the role of world obstructionist. -- Nancy Pelosi

We must remain focused on the greatest threat to the security of the United States, the clear and present danger of terrorism. We know what we must do to protect America, but this Administration is failing to meet the challenge. Democrats have a better way to ensure our homeland security. -- Nancy Pelosi

We have two oilmen in the White House. The logical follow-up from that is $3-a-gallon gasoline. It is no accident. It is a cause and effect. -- Nancy Pelosi

Protecting America from terrorism requires more than just resolve, it requires a plan. As we have seen in Iraq, planning is not the Bush Administration's strong suit. -- Nancy Pelosi

We are always in need of foreign policy and finance experts. -- Romano Prodi

Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business. -- Tom Robbins

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. -- Will Rogers

There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you. -- Will Rogers

Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what's going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House? -- Will Rogers

Lobbyists have more offices in Washington than the President. You see, the President only tells Congress what they should do. Lobbyists tell'em what they will do. -- Will Rogers

The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government. -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action. -- Bertrand Russell

Asia's governments come in two broad varieties: young, fragile democracies - and older, fragile authoritarian regimes. -- Paul Samuelson

Success and social promotion are not some right that anybody can claim after queuing at some [government office]. It is better: it is a right, a right that one can merit because of one's sweat. -- Nicolas Sarkozy

I see a military option a high-grade danger, ... Therefore I can certainly rule out that a German government under my leadership would take part in one. -- Gerhard Schroeder

Every tax ought to be so contrived as both to take out and to keep out of the pockets of the people as little as possible, over and above what it brings into the treasury of the state. -- Adam Smith

To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers. -- Adam Smith

The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities... -- Adam Smith

Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all. -- Adam Smith

It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense. They are themselves, always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. -- Adam Smith

If any foreign minister begins to defend to the death a "peace conference," you can be sure his government has already placed its orders for new battleships and aeroplanes. -- Joseph Stalin

After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood. -- Fred Thompson

Ninety eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hardworking, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them. -- Lily Tomlin

Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship. -- Harry S Truman

The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. -- Mark Twain

The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return. -- Gore Vidal

It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. -- Voltaire

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. -- George Washington

For every action there is an equal and opposite government program. -- Bob Wells

If there are men in this country big enough to own the government of the United States, they are going to own it. -- Woodrow Wilson

Democracy is not so much a form of government as a set of principles. -- Woodrow Wilson

A government is not an old pair of socks that you throw away. -- Boris Yeltsin

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