I heartily accept the motto, - That government is best which governs
least; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and
systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also
believe, - That government is best which governs not at all; and when
men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they
An efficient and valuable man does what he can, whether the community
pay him for it or not. The inefficient offer their inefficiency to the
highest bidder, and are forever expecting to be put in office.
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.
Government never furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which
it got out of its way.
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances
confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the
life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in
If I deny the authority of the State when it presents my tax bill, it
will soon take and waste all my property, and so harass me and my
children without end. This is hard, this makes it impossible for a man
to live honestly, and at the same time comfortably, in outward respects.
The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited
monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the
individual. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement
possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further
towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never
be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to
recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which
all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.
The frontiers are not east or west, north or south, but wherever a man
"fronts" a fact.
The fact which the politician faces is merely that there is less
honor among thieves than was supposed, and not the fact that they are
Who said it?
Here's a clue: Mohandas Gandhi and ML King based prominent parts of
their movements on his words.
Here's another clue:
He was the author of
Resistance to Civil Government,
also known as