Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Classical Liberalism on the Corollary Dynamics of Morality and Liberty

Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters. —Edmund Burke

Freedom, and not servitude, is the cure of anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the true remedy for superstition. —Edmund Burke

[W]hat is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils, for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint. —Edmund Burke

Any single man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant obedience or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are all qualified, entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of our rulers. This political judgment, moreover, is not simply or primarily a right, but like self-preservation, a duty to God. As such it is a judgment that men cannot part with according to the God of Nature. It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which we can preserve no other. —John Locke

The end of the law is not to abolish or restrain but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of laws, where there is no law, there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others; which cannot be where there is no law. —John Locke

The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations. —Adam Smith

It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt. —John Philpot

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling that thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. —John Stuart Mill

A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions:  in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty, and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it. —John Stuart Mill

The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum, whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.  —Ayn Rand

The sacred rights of property are to be guarded at every point. I call them sacred, because, if they are unprotected, all other rights become worthless or visionary. What is personal liberty, if it does not draw after it the right to enjoy the fruits of our own industry? What is political liberty, if it imparts only perpetual poverty to us and all our posterity? What is the privilege of a vote, if the majority of the hour may sweep away the earnings of our whole lives, to gratify the rapacity of the indolent, the cunning, or the profligate, who are borne into power upon the tide of a temporary popularity? —Judge Joseph Story

Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. —George Washington

God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it. —Daniel Webster

The tyranny of a principal in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy. —Montesquieu

Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.  —Alexis de Tocqueville 
When the taste for physical gratifications among them has grown more rapidly than their education . . . the time will come when men are carried away and lose all self-restraint. . . . It is not necessary to do violence to such a people in order to strip them of the rights they enjoy; they themselves willingly loosen their hold. . . .  They neglect their chief business which is to remain their own masters.  —Alexis de Tocqueville 

Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. —Frederick Douglass

In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all—security, comfort, and freedom. When . . . the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free. —Sir Edward Gibbon

A free society cannot work unless people take charge of their lives and assume responsibility for their actions. —Jim Powell

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