The Hippest Things Anybody Ever Said About Politics

Big Brother is like the Uncertainty Principle. You can’t tell where he is and how fast he’s moving at the same moment. Dr. Agon

Apathy, lack of caring, isn’t the problem. The problem is caring too much about the wrong things. Anne Alexander

We weren’t put on this earth to be politicians. Jeff Ament

Once people have learned how to disengage their souls when being abused by the powers that be, the powers that be lose traction rapidly. Kirsten Anderberg

Don’t make the mistake of equating anarchy with liberty. Anarchy is liberty only for the strongest and cruelest. Real liberty is when people respect each other’s liberty, and are willing to voluntarily restrain themselves from doing things that impinge on the liberty of others. Carl Aron

So far, I’ve concluded that politics is all bullshit, but I haven’t worked up any political ideology much more sophisticated than that. Ace Backwords

This is a country with 250 million people who don’t want any news from Washington and, even if they did, wouldn’t expect any news from Washington because they don’t think Washington could pour stale beer out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel.

Governments exist to limit freedom. That’s their job. And to the extent that utterly unbridled liberty seems to favor the reptile in us, a little government is not such a bad thing. But it never knows when to quit. John Perry Barlow

For them, the question is always, “What kind of government intervention should we impose on the world?” They never think that maybe we shouldn’t. Dave Barry

To remain distinct within the mass we must be branded with a series of numbers and must recite them to be known and served and allowed to pursue our lives. Jacques Barzun

A reminder from history: the American Revolution was not financed with matching grants from the Crown.
David Bayles and Ted Orland

Every anarchist is in part a hedonist and wants to enjoy his freedom. Fighting is too likely to interfere with that enjoyment. Ned Beaumont

Because I don’t have a job, because I don’t have children, I can get up and say something at a public hearing other blacks can’t say. I can’t be threatened about my job or my children. MaVynee Betsch

Today, problems aren’t solved, they’re attacked. Like the War on Poverty. Remember that? I’m happy to report that it’s finally over. The poor people have all surrendered. Swami Beyondananda

Conspiracy Theory, Unofficial Definition: Anything which, were it true, we couldn’t handle. Steve Bhaerman

We can probably do more for peace and freedom in the world right here, on our own turf, than by exporting ideology to the rest of the world which has perhaps had its fill of our imperial outreach offerings. Bob Black

Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purpose is beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. Supreme Court Justice Brandeis

Capitalism with its appeal to greed was not on the face of it an attractive system, but it provided a counterweight to the power of the state, besides quickening the life of society by providing competition. Socialism, or rule by bureaucracy, meant, I thought, the dead hand on everything, the life-destroying tyranny of the anonymous. Gerald Brenan

Give government the weapons to fight your enemy and it will use them against you. Harry Browne

One’s got to be against the government, any government, because the people in it are bad people or else they wouldn’t have got in. Anthony Burgess

Public work should be avoided by men who care for their own peace of mind. Daniel Hudson Burnham

Drug control is a thin pretext, and getting thinner, to increase police powers and to brand dissent as criminal…. I now suggest to all competent young people that they emigrate to Canada, before they get busted. If you have a record, it is much more difficult. William S. Burroughs

Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we. George W. Bush

Christianity may be a powerful tonic, but Hislam remains the one true faith of the Republican party. John Calderazzo

Nothing could be more inaccurate than the lazy assumption of the policy elites that groups such as the Freemen and the various militia movements represent anarchistic ‘anti-government’ tendencies. If anything, the so-called anti-government forces of the radical right are among the most fanatical devotees of legal authority among us. Paul F. Campos

Politics is so corrupt even the dishonest people get fucked. George Carlin

It seems what is most feared by a lot of people is somebody else’s ability to act in an organized manner. Casale

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. Douglas Casey

Some people are cursed with personalities that disqualify them for anything except strident movements and, when one comes along, they tune up and howl. Dick Cavett

The way to move society on its axis is not to play politics. It is to persuade teachable people to think as you do. And the best way to do this is to be a good personal living example of the philosophy you hope to spread. John Chamberlain

The privileged people who actually run the country, they don’t want the state to have power to go after people like them. So they’ll actually protect the civil rights of people they hate if they come from the right class. Noam Chomsky

We seem to think having everyone vote works when it comes to running a country that can start wars, appropriate property, and execute malefactors, yet we assume it’s a bad way to run a business. The Cluetrain Manifesto (four authors)

A mixed herd of both sexes and all ages is the easiest kind to manage. Cowboy saying

Politics means nothing more than the ability to make the inevitable appear to be a matter of wise human choice. Quentin Crisp

As soon as you talk about social or political responsibility, you’ve amputated the best limbs you’ve got as an artist. You are plugging into a very restrictive system that is going to push and pull and mold you and is going to make your art totally useless and ineffective. David Cronenberg

The only way the Bill of Rights will protect you from much of anything nowadays is if you hold it over your head when it rains. Samantha Crouse

Legislative interference with the habits of the people produces the sneak, the spy, the fanatic, and the artful dodger. Aleister Crowley

Boredom and stupidity and patriotism, especially when combined, are three of the greatest evils of the world we live in. Robertson Davies

The sad truth is that individuals will always be under-equipped. We’re always going to have smaller engines. The CIA or whoever is always going to have the bigger infrastructure. Mark Dippe’

Dissent is seen as a form of betrayal. Free speech is seen as being most appropriately exercised when it is not exercised at all. Democracy is maintained by not thinking democratically. E. L. Doctorow

Neither charm nor patience nor endurance has ever wrested power from those who hold it. Frederick Douglass

Politics is an indigenous art form cultivated primarily by lawyers. Politics is about the only way for lawyers to get a little excitement. Peter Drucker

If one were to bring together all customs considered sacred by some group, and were then to take away all customs considered immoral by some group, nothing would remain. Will Durant

The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. Albert Einstein

I didn’t even know those people out there had gotten shoes yet, much less learned to read! I mean, if they could read, then they must have seen there were other names on the ballot than Reagan or Nixon. Harlan Ellison

It isn’t just propaganda any more, it’s ‘prop-agenda’. It’s not so much the control of what we think, but the control of what we think about. Brian Eno

By the time anybody gets around to saying “leadership”, it’s all over. Werner Erhard

The Bill of Rights and the First Amendment in particular are monuments to the right to doubt, and to the right of one person to doubt the rightness of 200 million. Steve Erickson

(about Russia) There has been a dictatorship there for so long, with so little real resistance, you must ask yourself how much sympathy you can have. Oriana Fallaci

There are these 12 guys running the country, and they all went to the right schools and they’re all trained for their jobs and they all have drawers full of classified information and they all have direct lines to the White House. So they resent it terribly when outsiders, like the American people, try to butt into their foreign policy. Jules Feiffer

Free your ass and your mind will follow. Gerry Fialka

It is the most opulent, most gorgeous land on earth, a land whose wisest are but little wiser than its dullest, where the rulers have minds like little children and the lawgivers believe in Santa Claus. F. Scott Fitzgerald

(On Hitler, 1936) He has a fine library of six thousand volumes, yet he never reads; books would do him no good – his mind is made up. Janet Flanner

I think Nixon did this country a great favor when he reinstilled in the American people a mistrust of government. Carol Fondiller

I don’t say this is a bad country – I say countries are bad. FrancEye

Gentlemen, you see we have been living under anarchy, yet the business of living has gone on as usual. Be careful; if our debates go on too much longer, people may come to see that they can get along very well without us. Ben Franklin

The liberal views of Robert Montgomery, professor of economics at the University of Texas, made him unpopular with the Texas legislature. An investigation was set in motion. When he was asked if he favored private property, Montgomery replied “I do – so strongly that I want everyone in Texas to have some.” John Kenneth Galbraith

The truth, as always, will set you free, but first it will make you sound dangerous. Kaye Gibbons

How small of all that human hearts endure/ That part which laws or kings can cause or cure. Oliver Goldsmith

A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away. Barry Goldwater

It is hard to give understanding to someone with no will, and more difficult to give will to someone with no understanding. Baltasar Gracian

It is true, of course, that war not only arouses suppressed forces slumbering in us, but also really does librate some people, be it from a hated environment, the slavery of daily work, or the burden of one’s own personality. That is one of the mysteries that will perpetuate wars forever. George Grosz

You are strangling freedom but the soul of the people knows no bondage. Graffiti in Moscow in the 70s

Coming back into this country is more horrifying than leaving. Graffiti

Politicians are like polkas – they have different names, but they all sound alike. Graffiti

Politicians are like diapers. They both should be changed often, and for the same reason. Graffiti

The word ‘politics’ is derived from the words ‘poly’ meaning many, and the word ‘tics’ meaning blood-sucking parasites. Larry Hardiman

The truth is that we are not fighting a “war on terror.” We are fighting a pestilential theology and a longing for paradise. Sam Harris

A lot of people who say they want a smaller government really do – it’s just that they want to be it. Dale Hartman

Freedom is doing what you want, when you please, and not being made to do anything. Freedom is not having to spend time with people in whose company you don’t want to spend time. Pat Hartman

What experience and history teach is this: that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it. George Hegel

Politicians are required to be full of shit because they have to thread their ways to the top through the hordes of amibitious, narcissistic, amoral, back-stabbing dickheads who run things in Washington. Cynthia Heimel

Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything — you can’t conquer a free man, the most you can do is kill him. Robert Heinlein

The notion of making the government behave as if it were really around to help people is radical in itself, and will cause tremors in the community that you cannot tell where it will lead. Karl Hess

The nonconformist is a more stable type than the conforming individual. It is the average man of today who shows the most striking differences from people of other ages and other civilizations. The rebel of today is twin brother of rebels in all ages and climes. Eric Hoffer

Identity politics, based on racial and gender categories, and on nihilistic assumptions that power is all, culminate in a posture in which the rules of civility and democratic process, not to mention the principles of academic freedom, are dismissed as so much social mystification. David Horowitz

The laws of God, the laws of man,
He may keep that will and can;
Not I: let God and man decree
Laws for themselves and not for me;
And if my ways are not as theirs
Let them mind their own affairs.
Their deeds, I judge and much condemn,
Yet when did I make laws for them?
A.E. Housman

If you don’t have a flag sticking out of your ass, you must be a communist. Chrissie Hynde

Medical bureaucracy creates ill-health by increasing stress, by multiplying disabling dependence, by generating new painful needs, by lowering the levels of tolerance for discomfort or pain, by reducing the leeway that people are wont to concede to an individual when he suffers, and by abolishing even the right to self-care. Ivan Illich

Everyone who has ever lost someone he or she loved in a war has an obligation to talk back to these chest-thumping jackasses who are so anxious to get other people’s sons killed. Molly Ivins

People ought to be free and the way to keep people free is to keep people in charge of politicians rather than the other way around. Paul Jacob

Generosity is a virtue for individuals, not governments. When governments are generous it is with other people’s money, other people’s safety, other people’s future. P. D. James (character)

The idea of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. Thomas Jefferson

It’s one thing to sacrifice truth for fairness. It’s another thing to sacrifice truth for success. You can only sacrifice an ethical principle for another ethical principle. Michael Josephson

To believe in conspiracies, one must assume that the government is organized. That is a leap of faith I am unwilling to make. PM Kellermann

I have discovered what previously I didn’t believe possible – that politicians behave in private life and say exactly the same things as they do in public. Their stupidity is inhuman. John Maynard Keynes

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. Martin Luther King

To vanish, to take a powder, to cut and run – from an army one can’t fight for, a community one can’t live with, or a directive one can’t obey – can be a legitimate political act, and sometimes the consummate political act. Walter Kirn

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation. Henry Kissinger

The War on Terror was never a war in the traditional sense. It is, instead, a kind of brand, an idea that can be easily franchised by any government in the market for an all-purpose opposition cleanser. Naomi Klein

The game that our politicians play with us is one of constraining political decisions to one of two equally worthless alternatives and portraying them as “the only game in town.” Thomas L. Knapp

Pseudo-patriots will employ their perverted nationalistic views of Americanism to work for their own freedom but to deprive others of theirs. Joe Knight

This is what we wanted, back in the Sixties. And now we have it. It used to be that only people with pigmented skin would get beat up by the cops. Now, anybody can get beat up be the cops. White grannies, Girl Scouts, nuns, anybody. Equality. Will Knott