This article is from the Libertarian FAQ, by Joe Dehn firstname.lastname@example.org, Robert Bickford rab.AT.daft.com, Mike Huben email@example.com and Advocates for Self-Government http://www.self-gov.org/ with numerous contributions by others.
Alexander Fraser Tyler
* "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can
only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves
money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority
always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the
Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over
loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship." From: "The
Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic".
I wasn't aware that there was any "permanant form of government".
However, we could make a pretty good case that voters in the US have
always known that they could vote themselves benefits from the Public
Treasury. Indeed, it's been done pretty often. Yet we've lasted 200+
Unlike the Athenian Republic, in the USA the money in the Public
Treasury comes directly from the pockets of the majority, the middle
class. This might be the most significant deterrent to loose fiscal
* "I shall choose friends among men, but neither slaves nor masters."
Did Ayn Rand pay her taxes out of friendship then? That's a new one on
* "Liberals want the government to be your Mommy. Conservatives want
government to be your Daddy. Libertarians want it to treat you like an
Libertarians want to kill mommy and daddy so that they can stay up
later and buy more ice cream than they can now.
Bumper sticker analogies are as poor a method of understanding
libertarianism (let alone anything else) as science fiction. Too bad so
many libertarians make such heavy use of those methods.
James A. Donald
* "We have the right to defend ourselves and our property, because of the
kind of animals that we are. True law derives from this right, not from
the arbitrary power of the omnipotent state."
The two red-alert-for-a-whopper phrases in this quote are: "the kind of
animals that we are" and "true law".
People who compare us to animals usually know little about animals and
less about people. If we look to animals for models we can find all
sorts of unacceptable (and conflicting) behaviors which are entirely
natural. Characterizations of humans as animals for most philosophical
purposes have historically ignored sociological, anthropological, and
sociobiological knowledge in favor of conveniently parochial
There is no "true law". Innumerable political and religious sects might
claim it, but I'd think that if there was such a thing, people could
recognize it and agree on it.