Quotes on Tyranny

The following quotes, in no particular order, make some important points about tyranny in all its manifestations.

Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
— Frederick Douglass, civil rights activist, Aug. 4, 1857

Political corruption begins with every voter who votes his pocketbook instead of for what's good for the country. There is little difference between the selling of his vote by an elected official and the selling of his vote by a voter, to whatever candidate promises him some benefit.
— Jon Roland, speech during his campaign for Congress, 1974

In politics nothing gets done until you first create a channel of corruption.
— Jesse Cuellar, cynical observer of the political scene, 1982

When Hitler came for the Jews... I was not a Jew, therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church — and there was nobody left to be concerned.
— Pastor Martin Niemoller, Congressional Record, October 14, 1968, vol. 114, p. 31636.

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evilminded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."
— Justice Louis D. Brandeis dissenting,Olmstead v. United States

So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.
— Voltarine de Cleyre

Every collectivist revolution rides in on a Trojan horse of "emergency". It was the tactic of Lenin, Hitler, and Mussolini. In the collectivist sweep over a dozen minor countries of Europe, it was the cry of men striving to get on horseback. And "emergency" became the justification of the subsequent steps. This technique of creating emergency is the greatest achievement that demagoguery attains. — Herbert Hoover.

Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power. — Giovanni Gentile, entry in the Encyclopedia Italiana, a defnition for which Mussolini later claimed credit.


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Original URL: http://www.constitution.org/tyr/quotes.htm | Text Version
Maintained: Jon Roland of the Constitution Society
Original date: 2000/02/24 —