Self-Government Quotes (displaying: 1 - 24 of 24 quotes )
It is not until one visits old, oppressed, suffering Europe, that he can appreciate his own government, "he observed, "that he realizes the fearful responsibility of the American people to the nations of the whole earth, to carry successfully through the experiment... That men are capable of self-government.
If the Bahreini royal family can have an embassy, a state, and a seat at the UN, why should the twenty-five million Kurds not have a claim to autonomy? The alleviation of their suffering and the assertion of their self-government is one of the few unarguable benefits of regime change in Iraq. It is not a position from which any moral retreat would be allowable.
That so many of the well fed young television-watchers in the world's most powerful democracy should be so completely indifferent to the idea of self-government, so blankly uninterested in freedom of thought and the right to dissent, is distressing, but not too surprising. "Free as a bird", we say, and envy the winged creatures for their power of unrestricted movement in all the three dimensions. But alas, we forget the dodo. Any bird that has learned how to grub up a good living without being compelled to use its wings will soon renounce the privilege of flight and remain forever grounded.
The people cannot look to legislation generally for success. Industry, thrift, character, are not conferred by act or resolve. Government cannot relieve from toil. It can provide no substitute for the rewards of service. It can, of course, care for the defective and recognize distinguished merit. The normal must care for themselves. Self-government means self-support.
Thus, it is a political axiom that power follows property. But it is now a historical fact that the means of production are fast becoming the monopolistic property of Big Business and Big Government. Therefore, if you believe in democracy, make arrangements to distribute property as widely as possible. Or take the right to vote. In principle, it is a great privilege. In practice, as recent history has repeatedly shown, the right to vote, by itself, is no guarantee of liberty. Therefore, if you want to avoid dictatorship by referendum, break up modern society's merely functional collectives into self-governing, voluntarily co-operating groups, capable of functioning outside the bureaucratic systems of Big Business and Big Government.
All great enterprises have a pearl of faith at their core, and this must be ours: that Americans are still a people born to liberty. That they retain the capacity for self-government. That, addressed as free-born, autonomous men and women of God-given dignity, they will rise yet again to drive back a mortal enemy.