The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.
The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.
People do not expect to find chastity in a whorehouse. Why, then, do they expect to find honesty and humanity in government, a congeries of institutions whose modus operandi consists of lying, cheating, stealing, and if need be, murdering those who resist?
The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.
It is the classic fallacy of our time that a moron run through a university and decorated with a Ph.D. will thereby cease to be a moron.
The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.
The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out… without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right.
The State doesn’t just want you to obey, it wants to make you WANT to obey.
Sometimes the idiots outvote the sensible people.
Socialist: A man suffering from an overwhelming conviction to believe what is not true.
The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.
There is no idea so stupid that you can’t find a professor who will believe it.
The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.
The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens.
Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule—and both commonly succeed, and are right.
Liberty is of small value to the lower third of humanity. They greatly prefer security, which means protection by some class above them. They are always in favor of despots who promise to feed them. The only liberty an inferior man really cherishes is the liberty to quit work, stretch out in the sun, and scratch himself.
Freedom of press is limited to those who own one.
For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
The fact is that liberty, in any true sense, is a concept that lies quite beyond the reach of the inferior man’s mind. And no wonder, for genuine liberty demands of its votaries a quality he lacks completely, and that is courage. The man who loves it must be willing to fight for it; blood, said Jefferson, is its natural manure. Liberty means self-reliance, it means resolution, it means the capacity for doing without . . . the average man doesn’t want to be free. He wants to be safe.
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.