Government Quotes

Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law. - Louis D. Brandeis


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


The art of government is to make two-thirds of a nation pay all it possibly can pay for the benefit of the other third. - Voltaire


The notion that big business and big labour and big government can sit down around a table somewhere and work out the direction of the American economy is at complete variance with the reality of where the American economy is headed. I mean, it's like dinosaurs gathering to talk about the evolution of a new generation of mammals. - Bruce Babbit


A pure democracy is a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person. - James Madison


I wish the government would put a tax on pianos for the incompetent. - Dame Edith Sitwell


The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is beside the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech. - Anthony Kennedy


Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted. - Ernesto 'Che' Guevara


The stakes are much too high for government to be a spectator sport. - Barbara Jordan


It might be more worthwhile if we stopped wringing our hands and started ringing our congressmen. - Unknown


The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. -Winston Churchill


If people behaved like governments, you'd call the cops. -Kelvin Throop


We are imperfect. We cannot expect perfect government. -William Howard Taft


Democracy gives every man the right to be his own oppressor. -James Russell Lowell


Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. -George Bernard Shaw


The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy. -Woodrow Wilson


In the absence of justice, what is sovereignty but organized robbery? -St. Augustine


Democracy: The state of affairs in which you consent to having your pocket picked, and elect the best man to do it. -Benjamin Lichtenberg


Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. -P.J. O'Rourke


If all the economists were laid end to end, they'd never reach a conclusion. -George Bernard Shaw


No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent. -Abraham Lincoln


Under capitalism man exploits man; under socialism the reverse is true. -Polish Proverb


The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them. -Karl Marx


Governments should not possess instruments of coercion and violence denied to their citizens. -Edgar A. Suter


Our government... teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. -Louis Brandeis


A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away. -Barry Goldwater


Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time. -Winston Churchill


Democracy is a government where you can say what you think even if you don't think. -Author Unknown


The cure for capitalism's failing would require that a government would have to rise above the interests of one class alone. -Robert L. Heilbroner


Majority rule only works if you're also considering individual rights. Because you can't have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper. -Larry Flynt


Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb. -Benjamin Franklin


Christmas is the time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell government what they want and their kids pay for it. -Richard Lamm


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


Ohio claims they are due a president as they haven't had one since Taft. Look at the United States, they have not had one since Lincoln. -Will Rogers


If you want to understand your government, don't begin by reading the Constitution. (It conveys precious little of the flavor of today's statecraft.) Instead, read selected portions of the Washington telephone directory containing listings for all the organizations with titles beginning with the word National. -George Will


This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer. -Will Rogers


Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens - and then everybody disagrees. -Boris Marshalov


Our political institutions work remarkably well. They are designed to clang against each other. The noise is democracy at work. -Michael Novak


I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it. -Alexander Woollcott


The worst thing in this world, next to anarchy, is government. -Henry Ward Beeche


People come to Washington believing it's the center of power. I know I did. It was only much later that I learned that Washington is a steering wheel that's not connected to the engine. -Richard Goodwin


Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be. -Sydney J. Harris


A civil servant is sometimes like a broken cannon - it won't work and you can't fire it. -George S. Patton


Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. -Denis Diderot


Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt. -Herbert Hoover, attributed


It's not the voting that's democracy; it's the counting. -Tom Stoppard, Jumpers


Talk is cheap - except when Congress does it. -Cullen Hightower


The most important political office is that of the private citizen. -Louis Brandeis


People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. -Walter H. Judd


How can one conceive of a one-party system in a country that has over two hundred varieties of cheese? -Charles de Gaulle, about France


Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds. -John Perry Barlow


A survey says that American workers work the first three hours every day just to pay their taxes. So that's why we can't get anything done in the morning: We're government workers. -Jay Leno


When a machine begins to run without human aid, it is time to scrap it - whether it be a factory or a government. -Alexander Chase, Perspectives, 1966


In a state-run society the government promises you security. But it's a false promise predicated on the idea that the opposite of security is risk. Nothing could be further from the truth. The opposite of security is insecurity, and the only way to overcome insecurity is to take risks. The gentle government that promises to hold your hand as you cross the street refuses to let go on the other side. -Theodore Forstmann


Treaties are like roses and young girls - they last while they last. -Charles de Gaulle


The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment. -Robert M. Hutchins, Great Books, 1954


It is hard to feel individually responsible with respect to the invisible processes of a huge and distant government. -John Gardner


Washington is a place where politicians don't know which way is up and taxes don't know which way is down. -Robert Orben


Everybody wants to eat at the government's table, but nobody wants to do the dishes. -Werner Finck


When government accepts responsibility for people, then people no longer take responsibility for themselves. -George Pataki


Morphine and state relief are the same. You go dopey, feel better and are worse off. -Martin H. Fischer


If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress? -Author Unknown


Democracy is an abuse of statistics. -Jorge Luis Borges


The mistakes made by Congress wouldn't be so bad if the next Congress didn't keep trying to correct them. -Cullen Hightower