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Born in BCE[edit]

Lao Tzu[edit]

老子 Lǎozǐ (c. 6th-5th century BCE) was a Chinese monist philosopher; also called Laozi, Lao Zi, Lao Tzu, Lao Tse, or Lao Tze.  The Tao Te Ching (道德經, Pinyin: Dào Dé Jīng, or Dao De Jing) represents the sole document generally attributed to Laozi.

Melissus of Samos[edit]

What was was ever, and ever shall be.
Nor is anything empty:  For what is empty is nothing.  What is nothing cannot be.
Melissus of Samos (Greek: Μέλισσος; fl. fifth century BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, the third and last member of the ancient school of Eleatic philosophy, whose other members included Zeno and Parmenides.

Fragments of Melissus's On Nature[edit]

Translated 1920 by John Burnet.

Fragment 1[edit]

  • Καὶ Μέλισσος δὲ τὸ ἀγένητον τοῦ ὄντος ἔδειξε τῶι κοινῶι τούτωι χρησάμενος ἀξιώματι· γράφει δὲ οὕτως·

    ᾿ἀεὶ ἦν ὅ τι ἦν καὶ ἀεὶ ἔσται.  Εἰ γὰρ ἐγένετο, ἀναγκαῖόν ἐστι πρὶν γενέσθαι εἶναι μηδέν· εἰ τοίνυν μηδὲν ἦν, οὐδαμὰ ἂν γένοιτο οὐδὲν ἐκ μηδενός᾿.

    • What was was ever, and ever shall be.  For, if it had come into being, it needs must have been nothing before it came into being.  Now, if it were nothing, in no wise could anything have arisen out of nothing.

Fragment 7[edit]

  • Οὕτως οὖν ἀίδιόν ἐστι καὶ ἄπειρον καὶ ἓν καὶ ὅμοιον πᾶν.
  • Οὐδ᾿ ἂν τὸ ὑγιὲς ἀλγῆσαι δύναιτο· ἀπὸ γὰρ ἂν ὄλοιτο τὸ ὑγιὲς καὶ τὸ ἐόν, τὸ δὲ οὐκ ἐὸν γένοιτο.  Καὶ περὶ τοῦ ἀνιᾶσθαι ὡυτὸς λόγος τῶι ἀλγέοντι.  Οὐδὲ κενεόν ἐστιν οὐδέν· τὸ γὰρ κενεὸν οὐδέν ἐστιν· οὐκ ἂν οὖν εἴη τό γε μηδέν.  Οὐδὲ κινεῖται· ὑποχωρῆσαι γὰρ οὐκ ἔχει οὐδαμῆι, ἀλλὰ πλέων ἐστίν.  Εἰ μὲν γὰρ κενεὸν ἦν, ὑπεχώρει ἂν εἰς τὸ κενόν· κενοῦ δὲ μὴ ἐόντος οὐκ ἔχει ὅκηι ὑποχωρήσει.
    • Nor is anything empty:  For what is empty is nothing.  What is nothing cannot be.

      Nor does it move; for it has nowhere to betake itself to, but is full.  For if there were aught empty, it would betake itself to the empty.  But, since there is naught empty, it has nowhere to betake itself to.

Fragment 8[edit]

  • Τοῦ γὰρ ἐόντος ἀληθινοῦ κρεῖσσον οὐδέν.


As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.

Socrates [Σωκράτης] (c. 470 BC399 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher who is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy.

Socrates left no writings of his own, thus our awareness of his teachings comes primarily from a few ancient authors who referred to him in their own works (see Socratic problem).

As quoted by Plato[edit]

The words of Socrates, as quoted or portrayed in Plato's works, which are the most extensive source available for our present knowledge about his ideas.
  • Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.
  • ἐγὼ δὲ οὐδὲν ἐπίσταμαι πλέον πλὴν βραχέος, ὅσον λόγον παρ᾽ ἑτέρου σοφοῦ λαβεῖν καὶ ἀποδέξασθαι μετρίως.
    • I myself know nothing, except just a little, enough to extract an argument from another man who is wise and to receive it fairly.
      • Theaetetus, 161b
  • μοι νυνὶ γέγονεν ἐκ τοῦ διαλόγου μηδὲν εἰδέναι· ὁπότε γὰρ τὸ δίκαιον μὴ οἶδα ὅ ἐστιν, σχολῇ εἴσομαι εἴτε ἀρετή τις οὖσα τυγχάνει εἴτε καὶ οὔ, καὶ πότερον ὁ ἔχων αὐτὸ οὐκ εὐδαίμων ἐστὶν ἢ εὐδαίμων.
    • As for me, all I know is that I know nothing, for when I don't know what justice is, I'll hardly know whether it is a kind of virtue or not, or whether a person who has it is happy or unhappy.
      • Republic, 354b-c (conclusion of book I)
      • Confer Apology 21d (see below), Theaetetus 161b (see above) and Meno 80d1-3: "So now I do not know what virtue is; perhaps you knew before you contacted me, but now you are certainly like one who does not know."
      • Confer Cicero, Academica, Book I, section 1: "ipse se nihil scire id unum sciat ("He himself thinks he knows one thing, that he knows nothing"). Often quoted as "scio me nihil scire" or "scio me nescire." A variant is found in von Kues, De visione Dei, XIII, 146 (Werke, Walter de Gruyter, 1967, p. 312): " hoc scio solum, quia scio me nescire... [I know alone, that (or because) I know, that I do not know]." In the modern era, the Latin quote was back-translated to Greek as "ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα", hèn oîda hóti oudèn oîda). (See also "I know that I know nothing.")


Plato's account of the trial of Socrates.
  • πρὸς ἐμαυτὸν δ᾽ οὖν ἀπιὼν ἐλογιζόμην ὅτι τούτου μὲν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐγὼ σοφώτερός εἰμι· κινδυνεύει μὲν γὰρ ἡμῶν οὐδέτερος οὐδὲν καλὸν κἀγαθὸν εἰδέναι, ἀλλ᾽ οὗτος μὲν οἴεταί τι εἰδέναι οὐκ εἰδώς, ἐγὼ δέ, ὥσπερ οὖν οὐκ οἶδα, οὐδὲ οἴομαι· ἔοικα γοῦν τούτου γε σμικρῷ τινι αὐτῷ τούτῳ σοφώτερος εἶναι, ὅτι ἃ μὴ οἶδα οὐδὲ οἴομαι εἰδέναι.
    • When I left him, I reasoned thus with myself:  I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do.  In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know.
      • 21d
  • For if you kill me, you will not easily find another such person at all, even if to say in a ludicrous way, attached on the city by the god, like on a large and well-bred horse, by its size and laziness both needing arousing by some gadfly; in this way the god seems to have fastened me on the city, some such one who arousing and persuading and reproaching each one of you I do not stop the whole day settling down all over. Thus such another will not easily come to you, men, but if you believe me, you will spare me; but perhaps you might possibly be offended, like the sleeping who are awakened, striking me, believing Anytus, you might easily kill, then the rest of your lives you might continue sleeping, unless the god caring for you should send you another.
    • 30e
  • If I had engaged in politics, I should have perished long ago and done no good to either you or to myself. ...for the truth is that no man who goes to war with you or any other multitude, honestly struggling against the commission of unrighteouosness and wrong in the State, will save his life; he who will really fight for right, if he would live even for a little while, must have a private station and not a public one.
    • 31e
  • I have had no regular disciples: but if anyone likes to come and hear me while I am pursuing my mission, whether he be young or old, he may freely come.  …whether he turns out to be a bad man or a good one, that cannot be justly laid to my charge, as I never taught him anything.
    • 33a-b
  • Someone will say: Yes, Socrates, but cannot you hold your tongue, and then you may go into a foreign city, and no one will interfere with you? Now I have great difficulty in making you understand my answer to this. For if I tell you that this would be a disobedience to a divine command, and therefore that I cannot hold my tongue, you will not believe that I am serious; and if I say that the greatest good of a man is daily to converse about virtue, and all that concerning which you hear me examining myself and others, and that the life which is unexamined is not worth living—that you are still less likely to believe.
    • 37e-38a
The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.
  • ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ (ho de anexetastos bios ou biôtos anthrôpôi)
    • The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.
      • 38a
      • Variant translations:
        (More closely)  The unexamining life is not worth living for a human being
        The life which is unexamined is not worth living
        An unexamined life is not worth living
        The unexamined life is not the life for man
        Life without enquiry is not worth living for a man
  • I would rather die having spoken in my manner, than speak in your manner and live.  …  The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs deeper than death.
    • 38e-39a
  • For if you think that by killing men you can avoid the accuser censoring your lives, you are mistaken; that is not a way of escape which is either possible or honorable; the easiest and the noblest way is not to be crushing others, but to be improving yourselves.
    • 39c-d
The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die and you to live. Which is the better, only God knows.
  • The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die and you to live. Which is the better, only God knows.
    • 42a


Plato's account of Socrates' death.

Note: Generally, the early works of Plato are considered to be close to the spirit of Socrates, whereas the later works, including Phaedo, may possibly be products of Plato's elaborations.

  • In the course of my life I have often had intimations in dreams "that I should make music."  The same dream came to me sometimes in one form, and sometimes in another, but always saying the same or nearly the same words:  Make and cultivate music, said the dream.  And hitherto I imagined that this was only intended to exhort and encourage me in the study of philosophy, which has always been the pursuit of my life, and is the noblest and best of music.
  • And now that the hour of departure is appointed to me, this is the hope with which I depart, and not I only, but every man that believes that he has his mind purified.
    • Compare this to George Orwell’s 1984.
      • In the book, O’Brien says of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford, “By the time we had finished with them they were only the shells of men.  There was nothing left in them except sorrow for what they had done, and love of Big Brother.  It was touching to see how they loved him.  They begged to be shot quickly, so that they could die while their minds were still clean.”
      • In the 1984 film Nineteen Eighty-Four based on Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith is seen at the end of the film by the citizens of Oceania confessing, saying, “I’m glad I was caught.  I was mentally deranged.  Now I am cured.  I ask only for you to accept my love of our leader.  I ask only to be shot while my mind is still clean.”
  • …as there are misanthropists, or haters of men, there are also misologists or haters of ideas, and both spring from the same cause, which is ignorance of the world.  Misanthropy arises from too great confidence of inexperience; you trust a man and think him altogether true and good and faithful, and then in a little while he turns out to be false and knavish; and then another and another, and when this has happened several times to a man, especially within the circle of his most trusted friends, as he deems them, and he has often quarreled with them, he at last hates all men, and believes that no one has any good in him at all.  …The reason is that a man, having to deal with other men, has no knowledge of them; for if he had knowledge he would have known the true state of the case, that few are the good and few the evil, and that the great majority are in the interval between them.
  • …nothing is more uncommon than a very large or a very small man; and this applies generally to all extremes, whether of great and small, or swift and slow, or fair and foul, or black and white; and whether the instances you select be man or dogs or anything else, few are the extremes, but many are in the mean between them.
  • Let us…be careful of admitting into our souls the notion that there is no truth or health or soundness in any arguments at all; but let us rather say that there is as yet no health in us, and that we must quit ourselves like men and do our best to gain health…
  • * It may be said, indeed, that without bones and muscles and the other parts of the body I cannot execute my purposes.  But to say that I do as I do because of them, and that this is the way in which the mind acts, and not from the choice of the best, is a very careless and idle mode of speaking.  I wonder that they cannot distinguish the cause from the condition, which the many, feeling about in the dark, are always mistaking and misnaming.
Last words[edit]
  • Ὦ Κρίτων […] τῷ Ἀσκληπιῷ ὀφείλομεν ἀλεκτρυόνα. ἀλλὰ ἀπόδοτε καὶ μὴ ἀμελήσητε.
    • Crito, Crito, we owe a cock to Aesculapius.  Pay it and do not neglect it.
      • Phaedo 118a

As quoted by Plutarch[edit]

Socrates as quoted by Plutarch
  • I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.
    • Note: Compare doctrine of fidelity to Athenian law in Plato's Crito.

As quoted by Diogenes Laertius[edit]

Socrates as quoted in Diogenes Laertius' Lives of Eminent Philosophers
  • I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.
  • Socrates having heard Plato read the Lysis, said, "O Hercules! what a number of lies the young man has told about me." For he had set down a great many things as sayings of Socrates which he never said.


  • Know thyself.
    • This statement actually predates Socrates, and was used as an Inscription at the Oracle of Delphi.  It is a saying traditionally ascribed to one of the "Seven Sages of Greece," notably Solon, but accounts vary as to whom.  Socrates himself is reported to have quoted it although it is very likely that Thales was in fact the one who first stated it.

Quotes about Socrates[edit]

Alphabetized by author
  • It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.  And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.  The other party to the comparison knows both sides.
  • It's important to remember that Thomas Huxley recognized Socrates as the first agnostic.  Socrates very much believed in a God, although his deity was somewhat vague and outside of his people's polytheistic religion.  Philosophically Socrates was the very essence of agnosticism.
    • James Kirk Wall, in Agnosticism : The Battle Against Shameless Ignorance (2011), p. 10


Marcus Tullius Cicero (3 January 106 BC7 December 43 BC), also known by the anglicized name Tully, in and after the Middle Ages, was an orator and statesman of Ancient Rome.


Quintus Horatius Flaccus (8 December 65 BC27 November 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading lyric poet in Latin.

Odes (circa 23 BCE and 13 BCE)[edit]

  • Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
    Aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
    • As we speak cruel time is fleeing.  Seize the day, believing as little as possible in the morrow.
    • Book I, ode xi, line 7
    • Cf. John Conington's translation:
      In the moment of our talking, envious time has ebbed away,
      Seize the present, trust tomorrow e'en as little as you may.
  • Aequam memento rebus in arduis
    servare mentem.
    • In adversity, remember to keep an even mind.
    • Book II, ode iii, line 1

Born in the 1000s[edit]

Lady Godiva[edit]

Taxation itself is the evil, and there are many taxes which are inequitable, unfair, exorbitant.
Godiva (Old English: Godgifu; fl. 1040–1067), known as Lady Godiva, was an eleventh-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to a legend dating back at least to the thirteenth century, rode naked—covered only in her long hair—through the streets of Coventry in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband, Leofric, Earl of Mercia, on his tenants.  They had one proved son, Aelfgar, Earl of Mercia.

Born in the 1500s[edit]

Étienne de La Boétie[edit]

Étienne de La Boétie (1 November 153018 August 1563) was a French judge, political philosopher, and an early advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience.

Galileo Galilei[edit]

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.
Still it moves.
Galileo Galilei (15 February 15648 January 1642) was an Italian physicist and astronomer.
  • very great is the number of the stupid
  • sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo, sì perché le presenti osservazioni spogliano d'autorità i decreti de' passati scrittori, i quali se vedute l'avessero, avrebbono diversamente determinato.
    • for in the sciences the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason in an individual man.  Besides, the modern observations deprive all former writers of any authority, since if they had seen what we see, they would have judged as we judge.
      • Third letter on sunspots (December 1612) to Mark Wesler (1558 - 1614), as quoted in Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo (1957) by Stillman Drake, p. 134 - 135; Italian text online at Liber Liber, also from IntraText.
    • Variant translation: In questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.
      • As quoted in Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men (1859) by François Arago, as translated by Baden Powell, Robert Grant, and William Fairbairn, p. 365
    • Letter to Johannes Kepler (1596), as quoted in The Story of Civilization: The Age of Reason Begins, 1558–1648 (1935) by Will Durant, p. 603.
  • I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.


  • You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him to find it within himself.
    • As quoted in How to Win Friends and Influence People (1935) by Dale Carnegie, p. 117; also paraphrased as "You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him to find it for himself."
  • Mathematics is the key and door to the sciences.
    • As quoted in Building Fluency Through Practice and Performance (2008) by Timothy Rasinski and Lorraine Griffith, p. 64
  • I have never met a man so ignorant that I could not learn something from him.
    • As quoted in The Story of Civilization: The Age of Reason Begins, 1558-1648 (1935) by Will Durant, p. 605


  • Eppur si muove.
    • "And yet it moves" or "still it moves" is a comment he is alleged to have made in regard to the Earth after his recantation before the Inquisition. Giuseppe Baretti was apparently the first person to record the story. Noted as a misattribution in Paul F. Boller, John George, They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions (1990), p. 30.

Born in the 1600s[edit]

John Locke[edit]

John Locke (29 August 163228 October 1704) was an influential English philosopher and social contract theorist.  He developed an alternative to the Hobbesian state of nature and asserted a government could be good only if it received the consent of the governed and protected the natural rights of life, liberty, and estate.  If such a consent was not achieved, Locke argued in favour of a right of rebellion.


What we find in books is like the fire in our hearths. We fetch it from our neighbors, we kindle it at home, we communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.
François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694May 30, 1778), famous using his pen name Voltaire, was a French writer, deist and philosopher.
  • L'homme est libre au moment qu'il veut l'être.
    • Man is free at the instant he wants to be.
      • Source Brutus, act II, scene I (1730).
  • Il vaut mieux hasarder de sauver un coupable que de condamner un innocent.
    • It is better to risk sparing a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.
      • Zadig (1747).
  • C'est une des superstitions de l'esprit humain d'avoir imaginé que la virginité pouvait être une vertu.
    • It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.
      • Notebooks (c.1735-c.1750)
      • Note: This quotation is from the so-called Leningrad Notebook, also known as Le Sottisier; it is one of several posthumously published notebooks of Voltaire.
  • Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort.
    • It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.
      • "Catalogue pour la plupart des écrivains français qui ont paru dans Le Siècle de Louis XIV, pour servir à l'histoire littéraire de ce temps," Le Siècle de Louis XIV (1752)
      • Note: The most frequently attributed variant of this quote is: It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
  • Le doute n'est pas un état bien agréable, mais l'assurance est un état ridicule.
    • Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.
      • Letter to Frederick William, Prince of Prussia (28 November 1770). English: in S.G. Tallentyre (ed.), Voltaire in His Letters. New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1919. p.232. French: Au prince royal de prusse, le 28 novembre, in M. Palissot (ed.), Oeuvres de Voltaire: Lettres Choisies du Roi de Prusse et de M. de Voltaire, Tome II. Paris : Chez Baudoiun, 1802. p. 419.
  • Laissez lire, et laissez danser; ces deux amusements ne feront jamais de mal au monde.
    • Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.
      • "Liberty of the Press," Dictionnaire philosophique (1785-1789).
      • Note: The Dictionnaire philosophique was a posthumously published collection of articles combining the Dictionnaire philosophique portatif (published under various editions and titles from 1764 to 1777), the Questions sur l'Encyclopédie (published from 1770 to 1774), articles written for the Encyclopédie and the Dictionnaire de l'Académie française, the manuscript known as l'Opinion sur l'alphabet and a number of previously published miscellaneous articles.
  • La superstition met le monde entier en flammes; la philosophie les éteint.

Dictionnaire philosophique portatif (1764)[edit]

  • On dit quelquefois: "Le sens commun est fort rare."
    • People sometimes say: "Common sense is quite rare."
      • "Common Sense" (1765)
      • Note: The better known variant of this quote is "Common sense is not so common," found in the Philosophical Dictionary entry "Common sense" [sens commun].
  • La foi consiste à croire ce que la raison ne croit pas.
    • Faith consists in believing what reason cannot.
      • "The Flood" (1764)
  • Voulez-vous avoir de bonnes lois; brûlez les vôtres, et faites-en de nouvelles.
    • If you want good laws, burn those you have and make new ones.
  • Qu’est-ce que la tolérance? c’est l’apanage de l’humanité. Nous sommes tous pétris de faiblesses et d’erreurs; pardonnons-nous réciproquement nos sottises, c’est la première loi de la nature.
    • What is tolerance?  It is the consequence of humanity.  We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly — that is the first law of nature.
      • "Tolerance" (1764).

Questions sur l'Encyclopédie (1770–1774)[edit]

  • La vertu suppose la liberté, comme le transport d’un fardeau suppose la force active. Dans la contrainte point de vertu, et sans vertu point de religion. Rends-moi esclave, je n’en serai pas meilleur. Le souverain même n’a aucun droit d’employer la contrainte pour amener les hommes à la religion, qui suppose essentiellement choix et liberté. Ma pensée n’est pas plus soumise à l’autorité que la maladie ou la santé.
    • Virtue supposes liberty, as the carrying of a burden supposes active force.  Under coercion there is no virtue, and without virtue there is no religion.  Make a slave of me, and I shall be no better for it.  Even the sovereign has no right to use coercion to lead men to religion, which by its nature supposes choice and liberty.  My thought is no more subject to authority than is sickness or health.
      • "Canon Law: Ecclesiastical Ministry" (1771).
  • En général, l’art du gouvernement consiste à prendre le plus d’argent qu’on peut à une grande partie des citoyens, pour le donner à une autre partie.
    • In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
      • "Money" (1770).
  • Il est défendu de tuer; tout meurtrier est puni, à moins qu’il n’ait tué en grande compagnie, et au son des trompettes.
    • It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
      • "Rights" (1771).


  • God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.
    • For a discussion of this quotation, which is uncertain in origin but was quoted long before Voltaire, see the following: [1]
  • I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
    • Though these words are regularly attributed to Voltaire, they were first used by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing under the pseudonym of Stephen G Tallentyre in The Friends of Voltaire (1906), as a summation of Voltaire's beliefs on freedom of thought and expression.[2]
    • Another possible source for the quote was proposed by Norbert Guterman, editor of "A Book of French Quotations," who noted a letter to M. le Riche (6 February 1770) in which Voltaire is quoted as saying: "Monsieur l'abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write" ("Monsieur l'abbé, je déteste ce que vous écrivez, mais je donnerai ma vie pour que vous puissiez continuer à écrire").  This remark, however, does not appear in the letter.
  • No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

Quotes about Voltaire[edit]

  • Not a day goes by without our using the word optimism, coined by Voltaire against Leibniz, who had demonstrated (in spite of the Ecclesiastes and with the approval of the Church) that we live in the best of possible worlds. Voltaire, very reasonably, denied that exorbitant opinion... Leibniz could have replied that a world which has given us Voltaire has some right to be considered the best.

Born in the 1700s[edit]

Benjamin Franklin[edit]

Benjamin Franklin (17 January 170617 April 1790) was an American inventor, journalist, printer, diplomat, and statesman.

See also: Poor Richard's Almanack (1733–1758).
  • Thoſe who would give up eſſential Liberty, to purchaſe a little temporary Safety, DESERVE neither Liberty nor Safety.[3]
    • Often written in modern times as: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
      • This was first written by Franklin for the Pennsylvania Assembly in its Reply to the Governor (11 November 1755).
      • This quote was used as a motto on the title page of An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania (1759); the book was published by Franklin; its author was Richard Jackson, but Franklin did claim responsibility for some small excerpts that were used in it.
    • An earlier variant by Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanack (1738): "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."
    • Many paraphrased derivatives of this have often become attributed to Franklin:
      • They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
      • They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
      • Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.
      • He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security.
      • He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.
      • People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.
      • If we restrict liberty to attain security we will lose them both.
      • Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
      • He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.
      • Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither.
      • Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security.


  • Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.  Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
    • Widely attributed to Franklin on the Internet, sometimes without the second sentence.  It is not found in any of his known writings, and the word "lunch" is not known to have appeared anywhere in English literature until the 1820s, decades after his death.  The phrasing itself has a very modern tone and the second sentence especially might not even be as old as the Internet.  Some of these observations are made in response to a query at Google Answers.[4]

      The earliest known similar statements are:

      • A democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
        • Gary Strand, Usenet group sci.environment, 23 April 1990. [5]
      • Democracy is not freedom.  Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch.  Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote.
        • Marvin Simkin, "Individual Rights", Los Angeles Times, 12 January 1992:[6]
      • Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

Adam Smith[edit]

Adam Smith (16 June 172317 July 1790) was a Scottish born economist and philosopher, widely considered the so-called "father of modern economics."
  • This division of labour, from which so many advantages are derived, is not originally the effect of any human wisdom, which foresees and intends that general opulence to which it gives occasion.  It is the necessary, though very slow and gradual consequence of a certain propensity in human nature which has in view no such extensive utility; the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another.  …  In civilised society he [man] stands at all times in need of the cooperation and assistance of great multitudes, while his whole life is scarce sufficient to gain the friendship of a few persons.  …[M]an has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only.  He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them.  Whoever offers to another a bargain of any kind, proposes to do this.  Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of.  It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.  We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.  Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens.  Even a beggar does not depend upon it entirely.

Thomas Paine[edit]

Thomas Paine (29 January 17378 June 1809) was an English-American political writer, theorist, and activist who had a great influence on the thoughts and ideas which led to the American Revolution and the United States Declaration of Independence. He wrote three of the most influential and controversial works of the 18th Century: Common Sense, The Rights of Man and The Age of Reason.

Thomas Jefferson[edit]

Thomas Jefferson (13 April 17434 July 1826) was author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1777), founder of the University of Virginia (1819), the third president of the United States (1801–1809), a political philosopher, editor of Jefferson's Bible (1819), and one of the most influential founders of the United States.

Independence. Declaration of original Rough draught (Philadelphia: June 1776)[edit]

  • We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independant, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these ends, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government shall become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it
  • he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it's most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.  this piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers; is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought & sold he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce: and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.
    • Source.  Known as the "anti-slavery clause", this section was removed from the Declaration at the behest of representatives of South Carolina.

Notes on the State of Virginia (Paris: 1784)[edit]

Query VI[edit]

Query XIII[edit]

Query XIV[edit]

  • To emancipate all slaves born after passing the act.  The bill reported by the revisors does not itself contain this proposition; but an amendment containing it was prepared, to be offered to the legislature whenever the bill should be taken up, and further directing, that they should continue with their parents to a certain age, then be brought up, at the public expence, to tillage, arts or sciences, according to their geniusses, till the females should be eighteen, and the males twenty-one years of age, when they should be colonized to such place as the circumstances of the time should render most proper, sending them out with arms, implements of houshold and of the handicraft arts, feeds, pairs of the useful domestic animals, &c. to declare them a free and independant people, and extend to them our alliance and protection, till they shall have acquired strength.[7]

Query XVII[edit]

  • The error seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the coercion of the laws. But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. If it be said, his testimony in a court of justice cannot be relied on, reject it then, and be the stigma on him. Constraint may make him worse by making him a hypocrite, but it will never make him a truer man. It may fix him obstinately in his errors, but will not cure them. Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose to them, they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only. Had not the Roman government permitted free enquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free enquiry been indulged, at the aera of the reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away. If it be restrained now, the present corruptions will be protected, and new ones encouraged. Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potatoe as an article of food.
    • Since at least 1997 the statement "Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now" has been misquoted in paraphrased form as "If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny".
  • The Newtonian principle of gravitation is now more firmly established, on the basis of reason, than it would be were the government to step in, and to make it an article of necessary faith. Reason and experiment have been indulged, and error has fled before them.
  • Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned: yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. Let us reflect that it is inhabited by a thousand millions of people. That these profess probably a thousand different systems of religion. That ours is but one of that thousand. That if there be but one right, and ours that one, we should wish to see the 999 wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free inquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves. But every state, says an inquisitor, has established some religion. "No two, say I, have established the same". Is this a proof of the infallibility of establishments? Our sister states of Pennsylvania and New York, however, have long subsisted without any establishment at all.

Query XVIII[edit]

  • For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!
  • There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us.  The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other.  Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal.  This quality is the germ of all education in him.  …  And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other.[8]

Query XXII[edit]

  • It should be our endeavour to cultivate the peace and friendship of every nation, even of that which has injured us most, when we shall have carried our point against her. Our interest will be to throw open the doors of commerce, and to knock off all its shackles, giving perfect freedom to all persons for the vent of whatever they may chuse to bring into our ports, and asking the same in theirs. Never was so much false arithmetic employed on any subject, as that which has been employed to persuade nations that it is their interest to go to war.

Other Quotes[edit]

See also "What Lies Beneath," Sleepy Hollow (S2E16) for quotes from a fictional version of Thomas Jefferson.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe[edit]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 174922 March 1832) was a German novelist, dramatist, poet, humanist, scientist, philosopher, and for ten years chief minister of state at Weimar.

"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (1797)[edit]

Stanza 1, lines 1–8[edit]

In this stanza, the apprentice speaks with joy that his master is away, for it affords him the opportunity to employ the magicks he has watched his master use.
"Der Zauberlehrling"[edit]
  • Hat der alte Hexenmeiſter,
    Sich doch einmal wegbegeben!
    Und nun ſollen ſeine Geiſter
    Auch nach meinem Willen leben.
    Seine Wort und Werke
    Merkt ich, und den Brauch,
    Und mit Geiſtesſtärke
    Thu ich Wunder auch.

"The Pupil in Magic"[edit]
  • I am now,—what joy to hear it!—

    Of the old magician rid;

    And henceforth shall every spirit

    Do whate'er by me is bid;

    I have watched with rigour

    All he used to do,

    And will now with vigour

    Work my wonders too.

Stanza 3, lines 15–16[edit]

In these lines, the apprentice calls upon a broom to arise.
"Der Zauberlehrling"[edit]
  • Und nun komm du alter Beſen,
    Nimm die ſchlechten Lumpenhüllen,

"The Pupil in Magic"[edit]
  • And now come, thou well-worn broom,

    And thy wretched form bestir;

Stanza 7, line 46[edit]

In this line, the apprentice laments that his broom still lives.
"Der Zauberlehrling"[edit]
  • Wärſt du doch der alte Beſen!
"The Pupil in Magic"[edit]
  • Would thou wert a broom once more!

Stanza 8, line 55[edit]

In this line, the apprentice expresses terror.
"Der Zauberlehrling"[edit]
  • Ach! nun wird mir immer bänger!
"The Pupil in Magic"[edit]

Stanza 12, line 83[edit]

In this line, the apprentice describes the product of his attempt to rid himself of his problem by way of hatchet.
"Der Zauberlehrling"[edit]
  • Völlig fertig in die Höhe!

"The Pupil in Magic"[edit]

Stanza 14, lines 93–98[edit]

In this stanza, the master, having returned, speaks, thus quelling the disaster wrought by his apprentice.
"Der Zauberlehrling"[edit]
  • ”In die Ecke,

    Beſen! Beſen!

    Seyds geweſen.

    Denn als Geiſter

    Ruft euch nur zu ſeinem Zwecke,

    Erſt hervor der alte Meiſter.”

"The Pupil in Magic"[edit]

William Blake[edit]

William Blake (November 28 1757August 21 1827) was an English poet, Christian mystic, painter, printmaker, and engraver.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790–1793)[9][edit]

The Argument.  (Plates 2–3)[edit]

  • Without Contraries is no progreſsion. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are neceſsary to Human existence.
  • Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell.

The voice of the Devil  (Plates 4–6)[edit]

  • Man has no Body distinct from his Soul […]
  • Energy is Eternal Delight
  • It indeed appear'd to Reason as if Desire was cast out, but the Devils account is, that the Meſsiah fell. & formed a heaven of what he stole from the Abyſs

A Memorable Fancy.  (Plates 6–11)[edit]

  • […] as the sayings used in a nation, mark its character, so the Proverbs of Hell, shew the nature of Infernal wisdom […]
  • I saw a mighty Devil folded in black clouds […]
Proverbs of Hell.  (Plates 7–10)[edit]
  • Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.
  • A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
  • Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
  • The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom: no clock can measure.
  • No bird soars too high. if he soars with his own wings.
  • A dead body. revenges not injuries.
  • Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.
  • The nakedneſs of woman is the work of God.
  • The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.
  • What is now proved was once, only imagin'd.
  • One thought, fills immensity.
  • Always be ready to speak your mind, and a base man will avoid you.
  • Every thing possible to be believ'd is an image of truth.
  • As the plow follows words, so god rewards prayers.
  • You never know what is enough unleſs you know what is more than enough.
  • The soul of sweet delight, can never be defil'd,
  • As the catterpiller chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs on, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.
  • Exuberance is Beauty.
  • Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.

A Memorable Fancy.  (Plates 12–14)[edit]

  • [attributed to Isaiah] […] my senses discover'd the infinite in every thing […]
  • does a firm perswasion that a thing is so, make it so?
  • For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at tree of life, and when he does, the whole creation will be consumed, and appear infinite. and holy whereas. now it appears finite & corrupt.
  • If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.

    For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.

A Memorable Fancy  (Plates 15–17)[edit]

  • Thus one portion of being, is the Prolific. the other, the Devouring: to the devourer, it seems as if the producer was in his chains, but it is not so, he only takes portions of existence and fancies that the whole.

    But the Prolific would cease to be Prolific unleſs the Devourer as a sea recieved the exceſs of his delights.

A Memorable Fancy  (Plates 17–22)[edit]

  • [...] a void boundleſs as a nether sky appeard beneath us. & we held by the roots of treas and hung over this immensity [...]
  • By degrees we beheld the infinite Abyſs, fiery as the smoke of a burning city; beneath us at an immense distance was the sun, black but shining round it were fiery tracks on which revolv'd vast spiders, crawling after their prey; which flew or rather swum in infinite deep, in the most terrific shapes of animals sprung from corruption. & the air was full of them, & seemd composed of them; these are Devils. and are called Powers of the air [...]
  • [speaking of Leviathan] [...] soon we saw his mouth & red gills hang just above the raging foam tinging the black deep with beams of blood, advancing toward us with all the fury of a spiritual existence.
  • [the theme of a harper] The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, & breeds reptiles of the mind.
  • But I arose, and sought for the mill & there I found my Angel, who surprised asked me how I escaped?

    I answerd. All that we saw was owing to your metaphysics: for when you ran away, I found myself on a bank by moonlight hearing a harper,  But now we have seen my eternal lot, shall I show you yours?

  • [...] & I took him to the alter and open'd the Bible, and lo! it was a deep pit [...]
  • [...] & it is but lost time to converse with you [...]
  • I have always found that Angels have the vanity to speak of themselves as the only wise [...]
  • [...] for he only holds a candle in sunshine.

A Memorable Fancy  (Plates 22–24)[edit]

  • Once I saw a Devil in a flame of fire, who arose before an Angel that sat on a cloud. [...]

A Song of Liberty  (Plates 25–27)[edit]

Chorus  (Plates 27)[edit]
  • For every thing that lives is Holy

Robert Burns[edit]

Robert Burns (25 January 175921 July 1796) was a poet and pioneer of the Romantic movement and after his death became an important source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism.  He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland.

"To a Mouse" (1785, stanza 7)[edit]

"To a Mouse, On turning her up in her Neſt, with the Plough, November, 1785", Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (Kilmarnock: John Wilson, 1786), pp. 138–140

Scottish original[edit]

  •      But Mouſie, thou art no thy-land,
    In proving foreſight may be in vain:
    The beſt laid ſchemes o' Mice an' Men,
                                    Gang aft agley,
    An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
                                    For promiſ'd joy!

English translation[edit]

  •      But Mousie, thou art not alone,
    In proving foresight may be in vain:
    The best-laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
                                    Go oft awry,
    An' lea'e us naught but grief an' pain,
                                    For promis'd joy!

Simpler English translation[edit]

  •      But Mouse, you are not alone,
    In proving foresight may be in vain:
    The best-laid plans of Mice and Men,
                                    Often go awry,
    And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
                                    For promised joy!

William Curran's translation[edit]

  •      But, mousie, thou art not alane,
    In proving foresight may be in vain,
    The best laid schemes of mice and men,
                                    Go oft astray,
    And leave us nought but grief and pain,
                                    To rend our day.

"To a Louse" (1786, stanza 8)[edit]

"To a Louse, On Seeing one on a Lady's Bonnet at Church", Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (Kilmarnock: John Wilson, 1786), pp. 192–194

Scottish original[edit]

  •      O wad ſome Pow'r the giftie gie us
    To ſee ourſels as others ſee us!
    It wad frae monie a blunder free us
                                    An' fooliſh notion:
    What airs in dreſs an' gait wad lea'e us,
                                    And ev'n Devotion!

English translation[edit]

  •      O would some Pow'r the gift to give us
    To see ourselves as others see us!
    It would from many a blunder free us
                                    An' foolish notion:
    What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
                                    And ev'n Devotion!

Simpler English translation[edit]

  •      Oh would some Power the gift to give us
    To see ourselves as others see us!
    It would from many a blunder free us
                                    And foolish notion:
    What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
                                    And even Devotion!

Josiah Warren[edit]

Josiah Warren (1798April 14, 1874) was an individualist anarchist, inventor, musician, and author in the United States.

Born in the 1800s[edit]

Frédéric Bastiat[edit]

Claude Frédéric Bastiat (30 June 180124 December 1850) was proto-Austrian, free-market economist and classical liberal French author.

William Lloyd Garrison[edit]

William Lloyd Garrison (12 December 180524 May 1879) was an American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer.

Lysander Spooner[edit]

If our fathers, in 1776, had acknowledged the principle that a majority had the right to rule the minority, we should never have become a nation; for they were in a small minority, as compared with those who claimed the right to rule over them
Lysander Spooner (January 19, 1808May 14, 1887) was an American individualist anarchist, entrepreneur, political philosopher, abolitionist, supporter of the labor movement, and legal theorist of the nineteenth century.

No Treason (1867–1870)[edit]

  • A man's natural rights are his own, against the whole world; and any infringement of them is equally a crime, whether committed by one man, or by millions; whether committed by one man, calling himself a robber, (or by any other name indicating his true character,) or by millions, calling themselves a government.
  • The principle that the majority have a right to rule the minority, practically resolves all government into a mere contest between two bodies of men, as to which of them shall be masters, and which of them slaves; a contest, that—however bloody—can, in the nature of things, never be finally closed, so long as man refuses to be a slave.
  • It is true that the theory of our Constitution is, that all taxes are paid voluntarily; that our government is a mutual insurance company, voluntarily entered into by the people with each other; that each man makes a free and purely voluntary contract with all others who are parties to the Constitution, to pay so much money for so much protection, the same as he does with any other insurance company; and that he is just as free not to be protected, and not to pay any tax, as he is to pay a tax, and be protected.

    But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical fact.  The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: Your money, or your life.  And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.

    The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the road side, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets.  But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.

    The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act.  He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit.  He does not pretend to be anything but a robber.  He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a "protector," and that he takes men's money against their will, merely to enable him to "protect" those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection.  He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these.  Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do.  He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful "sovereign," on account of the "protection" he affords you.  He does not keep "protecting" you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands.  He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villainies as these.  In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

    The proceedings of those robbers and murderers, who call themselves "the government," are directly the opposite of these of the single highwayman.

    In the first place, they do not, like him, make themselves individually known; or, consequently, take upon themselves personally the responsibility of their acts.  On the contrary, they secretly (by secret ballot) designate some one of their number to commit the robbery in their behalf, while they keep themselves practically concealed.

  • A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.
    • A more widely spread wording: A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.
    • page 24
  • But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain—that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it.  In either case it is unfit to exist.

Natural Law; or The Science of Justice (1882)[edit]

The full title of this work is Natural Law; or The Science of Justice: A Treatise on Natural Law, Natural Justice, Natural Rights, Natural Liberty, and Natural Society; Showing that All Legislation Whatsoever is an Absurdity, a Usurpation, and a Crime. Part First.  No "Part Second" was ever authored.

Chapter I. The Science of Justice.[edit]

  • The science of mine and thine—the science of justice—is the science of all human rights; of all a man’s rights of person and property; of all his rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
    • Section I, page 5
  • These conditions are simply these: viz., first, that each man shall do, towards every other, all that justice requires him to do; as, for example, that he shall pay his debts, that he shall return borrowed or stolen property to its owner, and that he shall make reparation for any injury he may have done to the person or property of another.

    The second condition is, that each man shall abstain from doing to another, anything which justice forbids him to do; as, for example, that he shall abstain from committing theft, robbery, arson, murder, or any other crime against the person or property of another.

    So long as these conditions are fulfilled, men are at peace, and ought to remain at peace, with each other.

    • Section I, pages 5–6
  • Man, no doubt, owes many other moral duties to his fellow men; such as to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick, protect the defenceless, assist the weak, and enlighten the ignorant.  But these are simply moral duties, of which each man must be his own judge, in each particular case, as to whether, and how, and how far, he can, or will, perform them.  But of his legal duty—that is, of his duty to live honestly towards his fellow men—his fellow men not only may judge, but, for their own protection, must judge.  And, if need be, they may rightfully compel him to perform it.  They may do this, acting singly, or in concert.  They may do it on the instant, as the necessity arises, or deliberately and systematically, if they prefer to do so, and the exigency will admit of it.
    • Section II, page 6
  • No objection can be made to these voluntary associations upon the ground that they would lack that knowledge of justice, as a science, which would be necessary to enable them to maintain justice, and themselves avoid doing injustice.  Honesty, justice, natural law, is usually a very plain and simple matter, easily understood by common minds.  Those who desire to know what it is, in any particular case, seldom have to go far to find it.
    • Section IV, page 8
  • Children learn the fundamental principles of natural law at a very early age.  Thus they very early understand that one child must not, without just cause, strike or otherwise hurt, another; that one child must not assume any arbitrary control or domination over another; that one child must not, either by force, deceit, or stealth, obtain possession of anything that belongs to another; that if one child commits any of these wrongs against another, it is not only the right of the injured child to resist, and, if need be, punish the wrongdoer, and compel him to make reparation, but that it is also the right, and the moral duty, of all other children, and all other persons, to assist the injured party in defending his rights, and redressing his wrongs.  These are fundamental principles of natural law, which govern the most important transactions of man with man.  Yet children learn them earlier than they learn that three and three are six, or five and five ten.  Their childish plays, even, could not be carried on without a constant regard to them; and it is equally impossible for persons of any age to live together in peace on any other conditions.
    • Section IV, page 9

Chapter II. The Science of Justice (Continued)[edit]

  • If justice be not a natural principle, it is no principle at all.  If it be not a natural principle, there is no such thing as justice.  If it be not a natural principle, all that men have ever said or written about it, from time immemorial, has been said and written about that which had no existence.  If it be not a natural principle, all the appeals for justice that have ever been heard, and all the struggles for justice that have ever been witnessed, have been appeals and struggles for a mere fantasy, a vagary of the imagination, and not for a reality.

    If justice be not a natural principle, then there is no such thing as injustice; and all the crimes of which the world has been the scene, have been no crimes at all; but only simple events, like the falling of the rain, or the setting of the sun; events of which the victims had no more reason to complain than they had to complain of the running of the streams, or the growth of vegetation.

    If justice be not a natural principle, governments (so-called) have no more right or reason to take cognizance of it, or to pretend or profess to take cognizance of it, than they have to take cognizance, or to pretend or profess to take cognizance, of any other nonentity; and all their professions of establishing justice, or of maintaining justice, or of rewarding justice, are simply the mere gibberish of fools, or the frauds of imposters.

    But if justice be a natural principle, then it is necessarily an immutable one; and can no more be changed—by any power inferior to that which established it—than can the law of gravitation, the laws of light, the principles of mathematics, or any other natural law or principle whatever; and all attempts or assumptions, on the part of any man or body of men—whether calling themselves governments, or by any other name—to set up their own commands, wills, pleasure, or discretion, in the place of justice, as a rule of conduct for any human being, are as much an absurdity, an usurpation, and a tyranny, as would be their attempts to set up their own commands, wills, pleasure, or discretion in the place of any and all the physical, mental, and moral laws of the universe.

    If there be any such principle as justice, it is, of necessity, a natural principle; and, as such, it is a matter of science, to be learned and applied like any other science.  And to talk of either adding to, or taking from, it, by legislation, is just as false, absurd, and ridiculous as it would be to talk of adding to, or taking from, mathematics, chemistry, or any other science, by legislation.

    • Sections I–II, pages 11–12
  • If there be such a principle as justice, or natural law, it is the principle, or law, that tells us what rights were given to every human being at his birth; what rights are, therefore, inherent in him as a human being, necessarily remain with him during life; and, however capable of being trampled upon, are incapable of being blotted out, extinguished, annihilated, or separated or eliminated from his nature as a human being, or deprived of their inherent authority or obligation.

    On the other hand, if there be no such principle as justice, or natural law, then every human being came into the world utterly destitute of rights; and coming into the world destitute of rights, he must necessarily forever remain so.  For if no one brings any rights with him into the world, clearly no one can ever have any rights of his own, or give any to another.  And the consequence would be that mankind could never have any rights; and for them to talk of any such things as their rights, would be to talk of things that never had, never will have, and never can have any existence.

    • Section IV, pages 12–13
  • [A]ll human legislation is simply and always an assumption of authority and dominion, where no right of authority or dominion exists.  It is, therefore, simply and always an intrusion, an absurdity, an usurpation, and a crime.
    • Section V, page 13
  • If there be in nature such a principle as justice, it is necessarily the only political principle there ever was, or ever will be.  All the other so-called political principles, which men are in the habit of inventing, are not principles at all.  They are either the mere conceits of simpletons, who imagine they have discovered something better than truth, and justice, and universal law; or they are mere devices and pretences, to which selfish and knavish men resort as means to get fame, and power, and money.
    • Section VIII, page 15

Alphonse Karr[edit]

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (November 24, 1808September 29, 1890) was a French critic, journalist and novelist.
  • Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
    • The more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.
    • The more it changes, the more it stays the same.[10]
    • The more things change, the more they stay the same.[11]
    • The more that things change, the more they stay the same.
    • It changes superficially; but, underneath, its essence is always the same.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon[edit]

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (pronounced [ˈpruːd.ɒn] in BrE, [pʁu.dɔ̃] in French) (15 January 180919 January 1865) was the first individual to call himself an "anarchist."

Edgar Allan Poe[edit]

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19 1809October 7 1849) was an American poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, editor, critic and a leading American Romanticist.

"A Dream Within a Dream" (1849)[edit]

See also: "Sweat" by Tool
  • You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
  • All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

Charles Darwin[edit]

Charles Robert Darwin (12 February 180919 April 1882) was an English naturalist who outlined the theory of evolution and proposed that evolution could be explained in part through natural and sexual selection.  Prompted by awareness that Alfred Russel Wallace was developing similar theories, he published his own sooner than he had originally intended.  This theory is now an integral component of biological science.

Stephen Pearl Andrews[edit]

Stephen Pearl Andrews (22 March 181221 May 1886) was an American individualist anarchist, linguist, political philosopher, outspoken abolitionist, and author of several books on the labor movement and individualist anarchism.

Henry David Thoreau[edit]

Henry David Thoreau (12 July 18176 May 1862), born David Henry Thoreau, was an American writer and philosopher.

Frederick Douglass[edit]

Frederick Douglass (c. February 181820 February 1895) was an African American abolitionist, orator, author, editor, reformer, women's rights advocate, and statesman during the War Between the States.  He was born a slave in Maryland, as Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey.

Lucy Stone[edit]

Lucy Stone (13 August 181818 October 1893) was an American social activist: an abolitionist and early suffragette.  She was married to abolitionist Henry Brown Blackwell and was the mother of Alice Stone Blackwell.

Gustave de Molinari[edit]

Gustave de Molinari (3 March 181928 January 1912) was a Belgian political economist and classical liberal theorist.

Herbert Spencer[edit]

Herbert Spencer (27 April 18208 December 1903) was an English philosopher, prominent classical liberal political theorist, and sociological theorist of the Victorian era.  He developed an all-embracing conception of evolution as the progressive development of the physical world, biological organisms, the human mind, and human culture and societies.  He is most famous for coining the phrase "survival of the fittest".

Harriet Tubman[edit]

Harriet Tubman (c. 182210 March 1913)

Robert G. Ingersoll[edit]

Robert G. Ingersoll (11 August 183321 July 1899) was an American social activist, orator, and agnostic prominent during the Golden Age of Freethought.

Lord Acton[edit]

John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, 1st Baron Acton (10 January 183419 June 1902) was an English historian, commonly known simply as Lord Acton.

Auberon Herbert[edit]

Auberon Edward William Molyneux Herbert (18 June 18385 November 1906) was a writer, theorist, philosopher, and 19th century individualist.  A member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Herbert was a son of the Henry John George Herbert, 3rd Earl of Carnarvon.  He was member of Parliament for the two-member constituency of Nottingham between 18701874.  He promoted a classical liberal philosophy[1] and took the ideas of Herbert Spencer a stage further by advocating voluntary-funded government that uses force only in defence of individual liberty and private property.  He is known as the originator of voluntaryism.

William Graham Sumner[edit]

William Graham Sumner (October 30, 1840April 12, 1910) was a Classic Liberal American academic and "held the first professorship in sociology" at Yale College.

Benjamin Tucker[edit]

Benjamin Ricketson Tucker (April 17, 1854June 22, 1939) was a journalist, socialist, and the leading proponent of American individualist anarchism in the 19th century.

Clarence Darrow[edit]

Clarence Darrow (18 April 185713 March 1938) was an American lawyer, best known for having defended teenaged thrill killers Leopold and Loeb in their trial for murdering 14 year old Bobby Franks (1924) and defending John T. Scopes in the so-called "Monkey" Trial (1925), opposing William Jennings Bryan.

Voltairine de Cleyre[edit]

Voltairine de Cleyre (17 November 186620 June 1912) was an American anarchist and feminist writer and orator, who opposed statist policies, marriage, and the domination of religion in human sexual roles and women's opportunities. A proponent of libertarian socialism and the free thought movement, she was initially drawn to individualist anarchism but evolved into accepting mutualism and stateless communism, while formally labelling herself only an anarchist and shunning doctrinal fractiousness, believing that any system was acceptable as long as it did not involve coercive force.

Francis Dashwood Tandy[edit]

Francis Dashwood Tandy (186729 June 1913) was an individualist anarchist writer and publisher active in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Tandy was a member of the "Denver Circle", a group of men who associated with Benjamin Tucker and contributed to the periodical Liberty.  His major work was the book Voluntary Socialism: A Sketch (1896), a work on individualist anarchist political economy.

Earnest V. Starr[edit]

The mugshot of E. V. Starr
Earnest V. Starr (28 May 1870 – unknown) was a farmer and homesteader notable for being tried, convicted, and sentenced on 27 September 1918 to 10–20 years of hard labor in a state penitentiary as well as fined $500 plus court costs for the so-called crime of sedition by "utter[ing] contemptuous and slurring language about the flag [of the United States] and language calculated to bring the flag into contempt and disrepute."

Quotes about E. V. Starr[edit]

  • In the matter of his offense and sentence, obviously petitioner was more sinned against than sinning.  It is clear that he was in the hands of one of those too common mobs, bent upon vindicating its peculiar standard of patriotism and its odd concept of respect for the flag by compelling him to kiss the latter—a spectacle for the pity as well as the laughter of gods and men!  Its unlawful and disorderly conduct, not his just resistance, nor the trivial and innocuous retort into which they goaded him, was calculated to degrade the sacred banner and to bring it into contempt.  Its members, not he, should have been punished.
    • U. S. Judge George M. Bourquin, Ex parte Starr 263 Fed 145 (D. Mont. 1920)[12]
    • Although Bourquin denies Starr the writ of habeas corpus in this opinion, he makes it clear that he denied the writ solely because the law had been deemed "valid", not because he had any sense that there was any validity, virtue, or justice in Starr's actual imprisonment; that he was of the opinion that the mob's excessive patriotism "descend[ed]" to a "fanaticism" both "reprehensible" and "cruel"; and that the sentence rendered against Starr was "horrifying".
  • The most extreme penalty for oral flag desecration was handed down under Montana's draconian 1918 law:  E. V. Starr was sentenced during World War I to ten to twenty years at hard labor in the state penitentiary, along with a $500 fine, for refusing a mob's demands that he kiss the flag (a favorite wartime vigilante punishment for the allegedly disloyal) and for terming it "nothing but a piece of cotton" with "a little paint" and "some other marks" on it which "might be covered with microbes."16
    • Robert Justin Goldstein, "The Pre-1984 Origins of the American Flag Desecration Controversy", Ch. 1 of Burning the Flag: The Great 1989–1990 American Flag Desecration Controversy (Kent, O. H.: The Kent State University Press, 1996), p. 7
  • The permeability of the boundary between outlawing disrespect and compelling respect for the flag became especially clear during periods of crisis.  During World War I, hundreds of people suspected of political dissidence or merely of insufficiently enthusiastic patriotism were, as in the Starr case, attacked by mobs that sought to compel them to kiss the flag, often while government officials looked the other way or joined in.
    • Robert Justin Goldstein, "The Pre-1984 Origins of the American Flag Desecration Controversy", Ch. 1 of Burning the Flag: The Great 1989–1990 American Flag Desecration Controversy (Kent, O. H.: The Kent State University Press, 1996), p. 8
  • In compliance with Section Three of the Uniform State Flag Law, subversive elements could be arrested not only for supporting the enemy, but also casting contempt upon the flag by word or deed (Guenter, 1990).  In a case that demonstrates the unforgiving nature of compulsory patriotism during that period, E. V. Starr was arrested under the Montana sedition law for refusing a mob's demand that he kiss the flag and for denouncing it as "nothing but a piece of cotton" with "a little bit of paint."  For that transgression, Starr was sentenced to hard labor in the state penitentiary for 10 to 20 years, along with a $100 fine (Ex Parte Starr 1920; refer to Chapter 3).  Incidentally, the Montana sedition law (replete with provisions for flag protection) served as a model for the federal Sedition Act.  During the First World War, several states increased penalties for flag desecration: in Louisiana and Texas violations were punishable by five and twenty-five years in prison, respectively.
    • Michael Welch, "Flag Controversies During the World Wars" in Flag Burning: Moral Panic and the Criminalization of Protest (Hawthorne, N. Y.: Walter de Gruyter, Inc., 2000), p. 27
  • Despite mainline respect for the flag, U.S. history also includes incidents of fanaticism and fetishism, culminating in informal social control and vigilante justice (Welch, 1992).  Punishment for flag desecration, from a Durkheimian perspective, represents a communal reaction to violations of the sanctity of nationalism, a defense mechanism situated at the moral center of American society.  Whereas the formal penalties for violating flag protection laws are based on legal constructs borrowed from the religious sphere (i.e., desecration of a venerated object), informal punishments also reflect religious ideation in enforcing patriotism and condemning outcasts.  Throughout the history of the flag-protection crusade, especially during World War I, vigilante mobs forced persons of questionable patriotism to kiss the flag (Peterson and Fite, 1957; also see Watkins, 1993).  Kissing the flag is a symbolic expression of respect firmly rooted in formal religious rituals, resembling the kissing of the holy cross, holy relics, rosaries, and finger rings of bishops, Cardinals, and the pontiff.

    Perhaps the most draconian punishment for (oral) flag desecration was imposed on E. V. Starr in Montana during the First World War (see Chapter 1).  The sentence was upheld on appeal, as federal judges concurred with the Halter precedent.  Interestingly, though, District Court Judge George M. Bourquin admonished the sentence as "horrifying," but was himself powerless to overturn it.  "In the matter of his offense and sentence, obviously petitioner was more sinned against than sinning.  It is clear that he was in the hands of one of those too common mobs, bent upon vindicating its peculiar standard of patriotism and its odd concept for respect for the flag by compelling him to kiss the latter" (Starr, 1920, 146).  Referring to the unruly mob's "unlawful and disorderly conduct . . . they, not he, should have been punished" (Starr, 146).  Clearly, the Starr controversy blurs the line between formal and informal measures of social control.  Indeed, government and law enforcement officials often turned a blind eye to vigilante violence and in some cases participated in the victimization of flag desecrators and those unwilling to defer to the Stars and Stripes (see Peterson and Fite, 1957).

    • Michael Welch, "Civil Religion as Informal Control" in Flag Burning: Moral Panic and the Criminalization of Protest (Hawthorne, N. Y.: Walter de Gruyter, Inc., 2000), p. 38

Albert Jay Nock[edit]

Albert Jay Nock (13 October 187319 August 1945) was an influential American author, educational theorist, capitalist anarchist, social critic of the early and middle 20th century, and a philosophical founder of the modern libertarian movement later embraced by Karl Hess.

Albert Einstein[edit]

Albert Einstein (14 March 187918 April 1955) was a theoretical physicist widely regarded as one of the most influential scientists of all time.  He is most famous for his Special and General Theories of Relativity, but contributed in other areas of physics.  He won the Nobel Prize in physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.

H. L. Mencken[edit]

Henry Louis Mencken (12 September 188029 January 1956), better known as H. L. Mencken, was a twentieth-century journalist, satirist, social critic, cynic, and freethinker, known as the "Sage of Baltimore" and the "American Nietzsche".  He is often regarded as one of the most influential American writers of the early 20th century.

See also: Treatise on the Gods

Smedley Butler[edit]

Major General Smedley Darlington Butler (30 July 188121 June 1940) was a highly-decorated U. S. Marine, and one of the two Marines who received two Medals of Honor for separate acts of outstanding heroism.  He has a 34-year career as a Marine and is is well known for having later become an outspoken critic of U. S. wars and their consequences, as well as exposing the so-called "Business Plot", a purported plan to replace the U. S. president (Franklin D. Roosevelt) with a veteran-focused dictator whom the plotters had hoped would be even more fascistic than F. D. R. himself.  Butler is perhaps best known today as the author of the 1935 book War Is a Racket.

War Is a Racket (1935)[edit]

About Smedley D. Butler[edit]

  • Thus, Butler (and Archer) assumed that the existence of a financially backed plot meant that fascism was imminent, and that the planners represented a widespread and coherent group, having both the intent and the capacity to execute their ideas.  So, when his testimony was criticized, and even ridiculed, in the media, and ignored in Washington, Butler saw (and Archer sees) conspiracy everywhere.  Instead, it is plausible to conclude that the honest and straightforward, but intellectually and politically unsophisticated, Butler perceived in simplistic terms what were, in fact, complex trends and events.  Thus, he leaped to the simplistic conclusion that the President and the Republic were in mortal danger.  In essence, Archer swallowed his hero whole.
    • James E. Sargent, "Review of: The Plot to Seize the White House, by Jules Archer", The History Teacher (Society for History Education) 8, no. 1 (November 1974) pp. 151–2.

Ludwig von Mises[edit]

Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (29 September 188110 October 1973) was an Austrian economist, philosopher, author, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern libertarian movement and the Austrian School of economics.

Isabel Paterson[edit]

Isabel Paterson (22 January 18861961) was a best-selling writer, influential literary critic, and libertarian philosopher.  Although she was a leading and well-known literary critic of her day, she is best known today for her 1943 book The God of the Machine, and for being—along with Rose Wilder Lane and Ayn Rand—one of the three founding mothers of modern libertarianism.

Randolph Bourne[edit]

Rose Wilder Lane[edit]

Rose Wilder Lane (December 5 1886October 30 1968) was an American journalist, travel writer, novelist, and political theorist.  Although her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, is now the better known writer, Lane's accomplishments remain remarkable.  She is considered a seminal force behind the American Libertarian Party, and is regarded—along with Isabel Paterson and Ayn Rand—as one of the three founding mothers of modern libertarianism.

Henry Hazlitt[edit]

Henry Stuart Hazlitt (28 November 18949 July 1993) was a liberal American journalist who wrote about business and economics for such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, The American Mercury, Newsweek, and The New York Times.  Influenced by such economists as Frédéric Bastiat and Ludwig von Mises, his most popular work is Economics in One Lesson, and he is widely cited in libertarian circles.

Leonard Read[edit]

Leonard Edward Read (26 September 189814 May 1983) was the founder of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), which was one of the first modern libertarian institutions of its kind in the United States.  His most famous work is the classic essay, "I, Pencil."

Jorge Luis Borges[edit]

Jorge Luis Borges (24 August 189914 June 1986) was an Argentine writer who is considered one of the foremost literary figures of the 20th century.  Most famous in the English speaking world for his short stories and fictive essays, Borges was also a poet, critic, translator and man of letters.
  • El original es infiel a la traducción.
    • The original is unfaithful to the translation.
    • On William Thomas Beckford's Vathek (1782) and Samuel Henley's 1786 translation, in "Sobre el Vathek de William Beckford" (1943)
  • Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.
    • Statement to the Argentine Society of Letters (circa 1946)
  • No one is anyone, one single immortal man is all men.  Like Cornelius Agrippa, I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist.
    • "The Immortal" (1949)
  • His many years had reduced and polished him the way water smooths and polishes a stone or generations of men polish a proverb.
    • "The Man on the Threshold", in The Aleph (1949); tr. Andrew Hurley, Collected Fictions (1998). Cf. "The South" in Ficciones" (1944)
  • To die for a religion is easier than to live it absolutely.
    • "Deutsches Requiem" as translated by Julian Palley (1958)
  • Every novel is an ideal plane inserted into the realm of reality.
    • "Partial Magic in the Quixote", Labyrinths (1964)
  • As I think of the many myths, there is one that is very harmful, and that is the myth of countries.  I mean, why should I think of myself as being an Argentine, and not a Chilean, and not an Uruguayan.  I don't know really.  All of those myths that we impose on ourselves—and they make for hatred, for war, for enmity—are very harmful.  Well, I suppose in the long run, governments and countries will die out and we'll be just, well, cosmopolitans.

Born in the 1900s[edit]

Ayn Rand[edit]

Ayn Rand (2 February 19056 March 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter.  She is known for her best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system called Objectivism.  Along with Isabel Paterson and Rose Wilder Lane, she is regarded as one of the three founding mothers of modern libertarianism.

Robert LeFevre[edit]

Robert LeFevre (1911–1986) was an American libertarian, businessman, radio personality and primary theorist of autarchism.

Rosa Parks[edit]

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist and seamstress whom the U. S. Congress dubbed the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement".  She is famous for her refusal on December 1, 1955, to obey bus driver James Blake's demand that she relinquish her seat so a white man could sit in the row.

Murray Bookchin[edit]

Murray Bookchin (14 January 192130 July 2006) was an American libertarian socialist speaker and writer.

Karl Hess[edit]

Karl Hess (25 May 192322 April 1994) was an American national-level speechwriter and author.  He was also a political philosopher, editor, welder, motorcycle racer, tax resister, atheist, and libertarian activist.  His career included stints on the Republican right and the New Left before embracing free-market anarchism.

Barry Goldwater's speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination[edit]

Written by Karl Hess, delivered 16 July 1964, San Francisco.
  • The good Lord raised this mighty republic to be a home for the brave and to flourish as the land of the free—not to stagnate in the swampland of collectivism, not to cringe before the bullying of communism.

    Now, my fellow Americans, the tide has been running against freedom.  Our people have followed false prophets.  We must, and we shall, return to proven ways—not because they are old, but because they are true.  We must, and we shall, set the tides running again in the cause of freedom.  And this party, with its every action, every word, every breath, and every heartbeat, has but a single resolve, and that is freedom—freedom made orderly for this nation by our constitutional government; freedom under a government limited by the laws of nature and of nature's God; freedom balanced so that order-lacking-liberty will not become the slavery of the prison shell [cell]; balanced so that liberty-lacking-order will not become the license of the mob and of the jungle.

  • And because of this administration we are tonight a world divided; we are a nation becalmed.  We have lost the brisk pace of diversity and the genius of individual creativity.  We are plodding along at a pace set by centralised planning, red tape, rules without responsibility, and regimentation without recourse.
  • Small men, seeking great wealth or power, have too often and too long turned even the highest levels of public service into mere personal opportunity.
  • Those who seek to live your lives for you, to take your liberties in return for relieving you of yours, those who elevate the state and downgrade the citizen must see ultimately a world in which earthly power can be substituted for Divine Will, and this nation was founded upon the rejection of that notion and upon the acceptance of God as the author of freedom.
  • Now those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth.  They—and let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies.  Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed.  Their mistaken course stems from false notions, ladies and gentlemen, of equality.  Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences.  Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.
  • It is the cause of republicanism to ensure that power remains in the hands of the people.
  • And I know that the road to freedom is a long and a challenging road.  And I know also that some men may walk away from it, that some men resist challenge, accepting the false security of governmental paternalism.
  • In our vision of a good and decent future, free and peaceful, there must be room, room for deliberation of the energy and the talent of the individual; otherwise our vision is blind at the outset.
  • Our towns and our cities, then our counties, then our states, then our regional compacts—and only then, the national government.  That, let me remind you, is the ladder of liberty, built by decentralised power.  On it also we must have balance between the branches of government at every level.
  • I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

    And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

  • Our republican cause is not to level out the world or make its people conform in computer regimented sameness.  Our republican cause is to free our people and light the way for liberty throughout the world.

"Letter From Washington," The Libertarian Forum 1, no. 6 (15 June 1969), p. 2[edit]

  • Libertarianism is clearly the most, perhaps the only truly radical movement in America.  It grasps the problems of society by the roots.  It is not reformist in any sense.  It is revolutionary in every sense.
  • The truth, of course, is that libertarianism wants to advance principles of property but that it in no way wishes to defend, willy nilly, all property which now is called private.

    Much of that property is stolen.  Much is of dubious title.  All of it is deeply intertwined with an immoral, coercive state system which has condoned, built on, and profited from slavery; has expanded through and exploited a brutal and aggressive imperial and colonial foreign policy, and continues to hold the people in a roughly serf–master relationship to political–economic power concentrations.

  • Libertarians are concerned, first and foremost, with that most valuable of properties, the life of each individual.  …  Property rights pertaining to material objects are seen by libertarians as stemming from and…secondary to the right to own, direct, and enjoy one’s own life and those appurtenances thereto which may be acquired without coercion.
  • Libertarians, in short, simply do not believe that theft is proper whether it is committed in the name of a state, a class, a crises, a credo, or a cliche.

    This is a far cry from sharing common ground with those who want to create a society in which super capitalists are free to amass vast holdings and who say that that is ultimately the most important purpose of freedom.

  • Libertarianism is a people's movement and a liberation movement.  It seeks the sort of open, non-coercive society in which the people, the living, free, distinct people may voluntarily associate, dis-associate, and, as they see fit, participate in the decisions affecting their lives.  This means a truly free market in everything from ideas to idiosyncrasies.  It means people free collectively to organize the resources of their immediate community or individualistically to organize them; it means the freedom to have a community-based and supported judiciary where wanted, none where not, or private arbitration services where that is seen as most desirable.  The same with police.  The same with schools, hospitals, factories, farms, laboratories, parks, and pensions.  Liberty means the right to shape your own institutions.  It opposes the right of those institutions to shape you simply because of accreted power or gerontological status.
  • There is scarcely anything radical about, for instance, those who say that the poor should have a larger share of the Federal budget.  That is reactionary, asking that the institution of state theft be made merely more palatable by distributing its loot to more sympathetic persons.

Anarchism in America (15 January 1983)[edit]

Directed by Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher.
  • Narrator:  What’s your relationship with the IRS these days?
    Karl Hess:  [laughs]  Miserable.  Terrible.
    Narrator:  And why's that?
    Karl Hess:  Well, you know, they ask every now and then when I'm going to behave myself and I tell them never and I…
    Narrator:  Are you not paying federal taxes?
    Karl Hess:  Yeah, nothing.
    Narrator:  I guess they don’t take too kindly to that?
    Karl Hess:  No, they think it’s terrible.
    Therese Hess:  On the other hand, they're not being very active about it right now.
    Karl Hess:  Well, no, the last time he was here…
    Therese Hess:  It's like it's no fun anymore or something.
    Karl Hess:  Something like that.  The local people seem to take more of a kindly view as though they really think it's a rotten thing.  I'm not doing anybody any harm.  And…they seem to be more sensitive.  [laughs]  Or decent somehow.  I don't…I don't know, the federal people are…
    Narrator:  What can they do?
    Karl Hess:  Put me in jail.
  • Well, it's hard to tell on the basis of the Party's rhetoric, after all they're running for state office, but my experience is that most people who are in the Libertarian Party have pretty decent anarchist impulses, even if they do not say they are anarchists—most of them will say they are libertarians, at any rate.

    And one thing that is useful is that they have a fairly well-refined analysis of why they aren't conservative.  It took the New Left to do a proper analysis on American liberals, it seems to me, and I suspect that the libertarians are doing the best analysis of American conservatives.

    I think that they are quite good people, and that the Party contains within it probably more people of an anarchist tendency than any other organisation in the country.

  • [A]fter I got evicted from the Republican Party, I began reading considerably more of the works of American anarchists, thanks largely to Murray Rothbard…and I was just amazed.

    When I read Emma Goldman, it was as though everything I had hoped that the Republican Party would stand for suddenly came out crystallised.  It was a magnificently clear statement.  And another interesting things about reading Emma Goldman is that you immediately see that, consciously or not, she's the source of the best in Ayn Rand.  She has the essential points that the Ayn Rand philosophy thinks, but without any of this sort of crazy solipsism that Rand is so fond of, the notion that people accomplish everything all in isolation.  Emma Goldman understands that there’s a social element to even science, but she also writes that all history is a struggle of the individual against the institutions, which of course is what I’d always thought Republicans were saying, and so it goes.

    In other words, in the Old Right, there were a lot of statements that seemed correct, and they appeal to you emotionally, as well; it was why I was a Republican—isolationist, anti-authoritarian positions, but they’re not illuminated by anything more than statement.  They just are good statements.  But in the writings of the anarchists the same statements are made, but with this long illumination out of experience, analysis, comparison…it's rock-solid, and so I immediately realised that I'd been stumbling around inventing parts of a tradition that was old and thoughtful and already existed, and that's very nice to discover that—I don't think it's necessary to invent everything.

Foreword (1984) to The Market for Liberty (1970)[edit]

The Market for Liberty (1970) is by Linda & Morris Tannehill.
  • The most interesting political questions throughout history have been whether or not humans will be ruled or free, whether they will be responsible for their actions as individuals or left irresponsible as members of society, and whether they can live in peace by volitional agreements alone.

    The fundamental question of politics has always been whether there should be politics.

  • Without the state there would be anarchy for that is, despite all the perfervid ravings of the Marxist Left and statist Right, all that anarchy means—the absence of the state, the opportunity for liberty.
  • The nation state has never been associated with peace on earth.  Its most powerful recommendation and record is, as a matter of fact, as a wager of war.  The history of nation states is written around the dates of war, not peace, around arms and not arts.  The organization of warfare without the coercive power of the nation state is simply unimaginable at the scale with which we have become familiar.

Quotes about Karl Hess[edit]

  • The basic problem I really have is that whenever I meet leftists in the socialist and Marxist movements, I'm called a petit-bourgeois individualist.  [audience laughs]  I'm supposed to shrink after this—  Usually I'm called petit-bourgeois individualist by students, and by academicians, who’ve never done a days work life [sic] in their entire biography, whereas I have spent years in factories and the trade unions, in foundries and auto plants.  So after I have to swallow the word petit-bourgeois, I don't mind the word individualist at all!

    I believe in individual freedom; that's my primary and complete commitment—individual liberty.  That’s what it's all about.  And that's what socialism was supposed to be about, or anarchism was supposed to be about, and tragically has been betrayed.

    And when I normally encounter my so-called colleagues on the left—socialists, Marxists, communists—they tell me that, after the revolution, they're gonna shoot me.  [audience laughs, Murray nods]  That is said with unusual consistencyThey're gonna stand me and Karl up against the wall and get rid of us real fast; I feel much safer in your company.  [audience laughs and applauds]

  • At this point, it would be wise to pause in our narrative and ask ourselves: why was Karl Hess working for the Republican National Committee?  Why was he writing speeches for conservative politicians and drawing paychecks from the biggest and most influential (at that time) of the conservative think tanks?  …  In effect, then, Hess was deceived by the libertarian rhetoric the GOP and its conservative sympathizers began using in the early 1930s, in a frantic attempt to distinguish themselves from the New Deal Democrats who were pursuing policies long associated with the Republican Party and calling them "liberal."  It is doubtful, of course, that any Republican politician other than Ron Paul has ever taken that libertarian rhetoric seriously.
  • For Karl Hess, the awakening began in the early 1960s, when he was 40 years old,…for it was then that he began reading Ayn Rand.  Before long,…the Randian influence was showing up unmistakably in the 1964 presidential campaign platform of the GOP, written by Hess, and the speeches delivered by the party's presidential nominee for that year, US Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, for whose campaign Hess served as chief speechwriter.

    Meanwhile, he had met Murray Rothbard, and it wasn't long before he had put Objectivist minarchism behind him and moved on to Rothbardian anarchism.  Under Rothbard's influence he began reading classic anarchist writers.

  • The Karl Hess of the early 1970s was most often found attired in fatigues, a field jacket, and combat boots.  He rode a motorcycle.  He gave up his affiliation with the right-wing American Enterprise Institute for an affiliation with the leftwing Institute for Policy Studies.  He joined Students for a Democratic Society.  He learned welding, worked professionally as a welder, and joined the Wobblies—the IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World.  He hung out with the Black Panthers.  He started talking about "community" and about the concerns of "workers" and about the ways in which giant corporations, and the corporate lifestyle and the corporate mindset, menace and victimize ordinary, hardworking Americans.
  • By the mid '80s, he was, as Lennon and McCartney might say, back to where he once belonged.  Hess began contributing to movement magazines like Bill Bradford's Liberty.  He joined the Libertarian Party and spent three years as editor of the party's newspaper, the LP News.  When he started writing his autobiography in the late '80s and early '90s, he chose to portray himself in pretty much the way I have done in this essay—as a lifelong libertarian who had, somewhat ironically, spent most of his life wandering around searching for his true political identity and his true ideological home.  It's good to know that, before his premature death from heart failure in 1994, he finally found both of them.

Murray Rothbard[edit]


Murray Newton Rothbard (2 March 19267 January 1995) was an American economist of the Austrian School, an historian of both economic thought and American history, and a political philosopher whose writings and personal influence played a seminal role in the development of modern libertarianism.  Rothbard was the founder and leading theoretician of anarcho-"capitalism", a staunch advocate of natural law and natural rights, and a central figure in the twentieth-century American libertarian movement.  He was the author of over twenty books on anarchist theory, history, economics, and other subjects.

Martin Luther King, Jr.[edit]

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15 1929April 4 1968) was a Baptist minister, civil rights activist, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize of 1964.

Hilly Kristal[edit]

Hilly Kristal, birth name Hillel Kristal, (September 23, 1931 – August 28, 2007) was an American club owner and musician who was the owner of the iconic New York City club, CBGB, which opened in 1973 and closed in 2006 over a rent dispute.
  • I felt originality was the most important thing in rock.[16]
  • When I saw there were more and more bands that just wanted to play their own music, and there was no place to play, I didn't say they could play [original music], I said they have to play it.Ibid.

Harry Browne[edit]

Harry Edson Browne (17 June 19331 March 2006) was an American politician, libertarian writer and public speaker, and w:investment analyst.&bnsp; He was the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee in the U. S. elections of 1996 and 2000.  He was the author of 23[17] books that in total have sold more than 2 million copies and of thousands of articles, co-founder and Director of Public Policy of the libertarian Downsize DC Foundation, and host of two weekly network radio shows (The Libertarian Conversation and The Money Show) and of an eTV show (This Week in Liberty with Harry Browne).


Why Government Doesn't Work[edit]

  • Once its considered proper to use government force to solve one person's problem, force can be justified to solve anyone's problem.
    • Page 18
  • But coercion never produces harmony.  How harmonious are people who are being forced to act against their will?  Most likely, those who are coerced will resent those who benefit from the coercion.  This sets group against group; it doesn't bring them together.
    • Page 24
  • They seem to think the government that can't stop violence in American cities can somehow bring peace to the rest of the world.

    But one can support the newest foreign military adventures only by ignoring the wreckage left by all the previous military adventures.

    • Page 26
  • The government that's strong enough to give you what you want by taking it from someone else is strong enough to take everything you have and give it to someone else.

    The government you want to suppress your enemies can be used as easily by your enemies to attack you.

    • Page 27
  • •  A government that tries to help those who can’t help themselves will turn into a government that helps those with the most political power.
    •  A government we try to use as our servant inevitably will become our master.
    •  And a government formed to do for the people what they can't do so well for themselves will instead do to people what they don’t want done.
    • Page 32
  • Government doesn't work.  That's the first lesson we must learn if we want to improve society.
    • Page 35
  • Politicians always justify the human tragedies [of war] as being necessary for the greater good.  They speak movingly of giving one's life for one's country.  But it's always someone else's life they're talking about.

    The politicians' stirring phrases are meant to keep our eyes averted from the reality of war—to make us imagine heroic young men marching in parades, winning glorious battles, and bringing peace and democracy to the world.

    But war is something quite different from that.

    It is your children or your grandchildren dying before they're even fully adults, or being maimed or mentally scarred for life.  It is your brothers and sisters being taught to kill other people—and to hate people who are just like themselves and who don't want to kill anyone either.  It is your children seeing their buddies' limbs blown off their bodies.

    It is hundreds of thousands of human beings dying years before their time.  It is millions of people separated forever from the ones they love.

    It is the destruction of homes for which people worked for decades.  It is the end of careers that meant as much to others as your career means to you.

    It is the imposition of heavy taxes on you and on other Americans and on people in other countries—taxes that remain long after the war is over. It is the suppression of free speech and the jailing of people who criticize the government.

    It is the imposition of slavery by forcing young men to serve in the military.

    It is goading the public to hate foreign people and races—whether Arabs of Japanese or Cubans or Serbs.  It is numbing our sensibilities to cruelties inflicted on foreigners.

    It is cheering at the news of enemy pilots killed in their planes, of young men blown to bits while trapped inside tanks, of sailors drowned at sea.

    Other tragedies inevitably trail in the wake of war.  Politicians lie even more than usual.  Secrecy and cover-ups become the rule rather than the exception.  The press becomes even less reliable.

    War is genocide, torture, cruelty, propaganda, and slavery.

    War is the worst cruelty government can inflict upon its subjects.  It makes every other political crime—corruption, bribery, favoritism, vote-buying, graft, dishonesty—seem petty.

    • Pages 140 and 144


"A solution for the Middle East" (11 April 2002)[edit]

  • Government is good at one thing: It knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch, and say, "See, if it weren't for the government, you wouldn't be able to walk."

"Why I Am Obsessed with War" (28 January 2005)[edit]

  • Troops don't sacrifice. Only individuals can sacrifice. For some of them, the sacrifice is a year out of their lives. For others, the sacrifice is in living for a year or more in constant fear and danger.

    But for too many, the sacrifice is one's life. The loss of one's whole life.

    That's not the same as giving a tenth of your income to the church, or working 15 hours a week in a soup kitchen, or spending a day a week helping out at a nursing home. When you sacrifice your life, you give up everything. The world has ended. What you were no longer exists. No more life, no more love, no more music, no more sports, no more breathing, no more interest in anything.

  • The dead are dead, and they can't come back. They won't dance at any inaugural balls—or even attend their alumni reunions. They won't attend presidential banquets—or even eat at the local coffee shop. Not ever again.

    They are dead. And George Bush killed them. He killed them as certainly as though he personally had fired a rocket launcher at their homes.

  • I love life.  I love my wife Pamela.  I love being in love with her.  I love the 19 years we've been playing house together—pretending we're grown-ups, just like our parents.

    I love music.  I love food.  I love reading.  I love sports.  I even love sleeping.  I taste and love so many parts of life.

    I don't ever want to die.

Carl Sagan[edit]

Carl Edward Sagan (9 November 193420 December 1996) was an American astronomer and popular science writer.

Walter Block[edit]

Samuel Edward Konkin III[edit]

Samuel Edward Konkin III (8 July 194723 February 2004), also known as SEK3, was the author of the book New Libertarian Manifesto and a proponent of a revolutionary libertarian political philosophy which he named agorism.

Roy Childs[edit]

Roy Alan Childs, Jr. (4 January 194922 May 1992) was an American libertarian essayist and critic.

Bruce L. Benson[edit]

Wendy McElroy[edit]

Wendy McElroy (born 1951) is a Canadian individualist anarchist and individualist feminist.  She was a co-founder, along with Carl Watner and George H. Smith, of The Voluntaryist magazine in 1982.
  • Women are, and should be treated as, the equals of men.[18]
  • As an organized force, American feminism can be dated from the radical anti-slavery movement, known as abolitionism, that arose in the early 1830s and coalesced around the libertarian William Lloyd Garrison.  Although there were many courageous women who advanced the status of women prior to this period, such as Anne Hutchinson and Frances Wright, they spoke out as individuals rather than as part of a self-conscious organization dedicated to women's rights.

    Abolitionism demanded the immediate cessation of slavery on the grounds that every human being was a self-owner and had a moral jurisdiction over his or her own body.  Gradually, abolitionist women began to apply the principle of self-ownership not only to the slaves, but also to themselves.Ibid.

  • If "war is the health of state," as Randolph Bourne claimed, then it is the death of individualism.  At its roots, the individualist tradition is anti-statist, and war inevitably involves an increase in state power that never seems to roll back to prewar levels when peace resumes.Ibid.

Norma Jean Almodovar[edit]

Norma Jean Almodovar (born 27 May 1951) is an American author and sex workers activist.  Almodovar worked as a traffic control police officer for ten years.  In 1982, she quit her job with the Hollywood Division of the Los Angeles Police Department and began working as a call girl.  In 1984, she attempted to recruit a former coworker from the LAPD to begin working as a prostitute.  Her actions resulted in an arrest and conviction for pandering.  In 1986, Almodovar ran for lieutenant governor in the California gubernatorial election, as a Libertarian.  Almodovar's autobiography was published by Simon & Schuster in 1993.  She is the founder of the International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture and Education (ISWFACE).  As of 2012, Almodovar serves as the executive director of the Los Angeles branch of COYOTE.

Randy Barnett[edit]

J. Neil Schulman[edit]

Joseph Neil Schulman (born 16 April 1953) is a novelist who wrote Alongside Night (published 1979) and The Rainbow Cadenza (published 1983) which both received the Prometheus Award, a libertarian science fiction award.  His third novel, Escape from Heaven, was also a finalist for the 2002 Prometheus Award.  In addition, Schulman is the author of nine other books currently in print, including a short story collection, Nasty, Brutish, and Short Stories, Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns, and The Robert Heinlein Interview and Other Heinleiniana.[2]

Alex Grey[edit]

Alex Grey (born 29 November 1953, in Columbus, Ohio) is an artist specialising in spiritual and psychedelic art that is sometimes associated with the New Age movement.

Michael Badnarik[edit]

Michael J. Badnarik (born 1 August 1954) is an American software engineer, political figure, and educator.  He was the Libertarian Party nominee for president of the United States in the 2004 elections, and placed fourth in the race, slightly behind independent candidate Ralph Nader.

Roderick Long[edit]

Roderick Tracy Long (born 4 February 1964) is a professor of philosophy at Auburn University.  He also serves as a Senior Scholar for the Ludwig von Mises Institute, an editor of the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, director and president of the Molinari Institute, and an advisory panel member for the Center for a Stateless Society.

Krist Novoselic[edit]

America is a fucking police state.
People standing on escalators And that is a testimony to human laziness!  I mean, the guy who invented the escalator is just, probably, kicking himself in the ass.  Do you think the guy made the escalator so people—and they're made like stairs—just so people stand on it so you go up and down?  You're supposed to walk on 'em so you get there faster.  You know?  And then people stand on there.
I'm a, what, an anarcho-capitalist socialist…I don't know…I'm kinda a moderate, I think I'm moderate.  …  I mean I'm a gun-owning pacifist, so there you go.
Krist Anthony Novoselic II (16 May 1965 – present) is an American rock musician, best known for being the bassist and co-founder of the grunge band Nirvana.  (See also Nirvana below.)
  • I voted last week, and everything I voted for was defeated.  I voted for less police station money and against adding more courtrooms.  The guy I voted for, a congressman, lost big time because he's totally anti-military.  He wanted to cut the CIA budget!  He's really cool.  But he lost.
    • As quoted in "Take The Money and Run", Sounds (27 December 1990), interviewed by Keith Cameron on 23 September 1990[19]
  • America is a fucking police state.
    • As quoted in New Musical Express (12 November 1991)[20]
  • People standing on escalators And that is a testimony to human laziness!  I mean, the guy who invented the escalator is just, probably, kicking himself in the ass.  Do you think the guy made the escalator so people—and they're made like stairs—just so people stand on it so you go up and down?  You're supposed to walk on 'em so you get there faster.  You know?  And then people stand on there.  So every time I'm on an escalator, I'm just like, "Excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, pardon me…."  You know?  That's my pet peeve, right there.  And I'm gonna do something about it, and I'm urging you to do something about it!  Write your congressman, get a group together, get together, and—I think we can do something about this.

"Nirvana's Krist Novoselic on Punk, Politics, & Why He Dumped the Dems"[edit]

Krist Novoselic, interviewed by Nick Gillespie, "Nirvana's Krist Novoselic on Punk, Politics, & Why He Dumped the Dems", ReasonTV (19 June 2014)
  • I do feel like, kinda like a misfit; usually I feel, inside, I'm a misfit.  Like, I don't really watch sports, or a lot of…
    • 1:46–1:55
  • It seems like our politics is so old, like, it almost seems like turning on the t.v. and there's ABC and CBS and NBC, and, y'know, there's like one newspaper in town, and so they're all pushing things on us, and that's all going away.
    • 5:10–5:28
  • Nick Gillespie:  So, um, how do you self-describe politically?
    Krist Novoselic:  I'm a, what, an anarcho-capitalist socialist…I don't know…I'm kinda a moderate, I think I'm moderate.
    Nick Gillespie:  So you're an anarcho-capitalist socialist moderate.
    Krist Novoselic:  I mean I'm a gun-owning pacifist, so there you go.  I'm an anarcho-socialist—you know what I mean?
    Nick Gillespie:  Anarcho-socialist—
    Krist Novoselic:  —capitalist
    Nick Gillespie:  —capitalist, gun-toting…
    Krist Novoselic:  Yeah, it's just like I, y'know, I just tryin'a, tryin'a make it work in this world and...basically I'm just a small-D democrat.
    • 11:30–12:03
  • Well, I think it just goes back to the values that I grew up with in the punk rock world because it was this decentralised world, and so we just made our own way—like we'd be antigovernment or, you know—but we really didn't complain a lot; we were more action-oriented, like, people were publishing fanzines, we were setting up shows, we were getting in vans and touring around, and we were associating with other people, so…y'know, I just like that idea.
    • 11:43–15:10, about the value of decentralisation
  • I don't think that corporations are these big bogeymen that a lot of people paint them to be.
    • 15:30–15:37
  • A corporation is a group of people, and if you want to come together for profit or nonprofit, that's your business—whatever you want to do.
    • 17:10–17:20
  • Yeah, I was a Democrat for about four or five years—active Democrat—and I thought I could reform the party; maybe I wasn't going about it right, maybe somebody can and somebody will, y'know?  But I don't see it.  It's just a top-down structure, it's a soft-money conduit, and, y'know, and like Nancy Pelosi, she's gonna lose the election again, and it's just like, what's the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing—wrong, wrong thing—over and over again.  Republicans, they have a real big demographic problem, because they're the party of old white people, and they're not reaching out to folks.
    • 20:00–20:38
  • Well, it was just—it seemed like it was violence, and, like, 'cause I went by some of the stores that, like, I don't really eat at McDonald's, y'know, but a lot of people do, and so there are these people who want, y'know, they're-they're socialists but they hate people, y'know, so they go trash the McDonald's, and I just think it was just reckless violence, and they weren't tryin'a accomplish anything, and they said—he was writing something on the wall, some kind of graffiti that was just stupid and cliché, and I said, "Hey, how would you like if someone did that to your house?" and he yelled back, "Fuck you!" and these other people started yelling "Fuck you!" at me; I'm, like, "Oh," like "I'm in trouble."
  • Globalisation is a great thing, and the genie's out of the bottle; it's called the Information Revolution.  It has a promise to bring opportunity and information to all corners of the world.  It's a wonderful thing.
    • 29:41–29:55
  • If you hear a song you like, start dancing.  That's what I do, I'll just start dancing, and that's it.  That's all there is to it.
    • 34:23–34:29
  • We weren't really interested in those bands; we were—because we came out of this subterranean scene.  And then Nirvana breaks big, and it's just diametrically opposite: we have, like, facial hair, and just, kind of, logger shirts, but we're all, like, "sensitive" and "feminine"—you know what I mean?
    • 36:00–36:19, about mainstream rockers of the 1980s
  • I own guns.  I think they're a good tool to have out in the country, and I should be able to protect my home and my family.
    • 51:46–51:54
  • I like my guns.  Yeah, because it just makes me more comfortable.
    • 53:36–53:39
  • I don't really like his [Ted Nugent's] reactionary politics.  He's a lot like the people on the left, you know what I mean?
    • 54:25–54:32

John McWhorter[edit]

John Hamilton McWhorter V (1965 – present) is an American linguist and political commentator.  He is the author of a number of books on language and on race relations.

Kurt Cobain[edit]

At this point I have a request for our fans.  If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, please do this one favor for us - leave us the fuck alone!  Don't come to our shows and don't buy our records.
Kurt Donald Cobain (20 February 1967 – ca. 5 April 1994) was the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of the American grunge band, Nirvana.  (See also Nirvana below.)

Interviews (1989–1994)[edit]


  • It's really not hard to keep your dignity and sign to a major label.  It shouldn't be too hard.  Most people don't have any dignity in the first place.
  • I just don't see independent labels running their businesses any better.
  • All my life my dream has been to be a big rock star.
  • Maintaining the punk rock ethos is more important to me than anything.
    • As quoted in "Take The Money and Run", Sounds (27 December 1990), interviewed by Keith Cameron on 23 September 1990[21]
  • Rap music is the only vital form of music introduced since punk rock.
    • As quoted in "Metal On The Rise," M.E.A.T (September 1991)[22]
  • Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth.  And it happens every few minutes.  The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves.  What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape.  Go to the source and start there.
    • As quoted in New Musical Express (12 November 1991)[23]
  • I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience.  I know they're out there and it really bothers me.
    • As quoted in SPIN (December 1992)[24]
  • Yeah, I was run out of town.  They chased me up to the castle of Aberdeen with torches.  Just like the Frankenstein monster.  And I got away in a hot air balloon.  And I came here to Seattle.
    • As quoted in Monk Magazine (October 1992)[25]


  • They're claiming that [the grunge bands] finally put Seattle on the map, but, like, what map? ...I mean, we had Jimi Hendrix. Heck, what more do we want?
    • From an interview with Marc Coiteux on Musique Plus, 1991-09-21, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • They (Extreme) surround themselves with these professional, dickhead, commercial rock and roll guys...when they show up at an airport, their manager runs ahead of them and yells at the people greeting them, "No video!  We want a path straight to the van!  We don't want any pictures taken!"  Y'know, I'm like, "So what?"
    • Date unknown, but believed to be 1992-06-30 in Sweden[26]
  • Music comes first; lyrics are secondary.  Most of my lyrics are contradictions.  I'll write a few sincere lines, and then I'll have to make fun of [them].  I don't like to make it too obvious, because if it is too obvious, it gets really stale.  You shouldn't be in people's faces 100% all the time.  We don't mean to be really cryptic or mysterious, but I just think that lyrics that are different and weird and spacey paint a nice picture.  It's just the way I like art.

Stage banter[edit]

Note: All stage banter sourced from The Live Nirvana Tour History

  • Hello, we're major label corporate rock sell outs.

Incesticide liner notes (1992)[edit]

  • I don't feel the least bit guilty for commercially exploiting a completely exhausted Rock youth Culture because, at this point in rock history, Punk Rock (while still sacred to some) is, to me, dead and gone.
  • At this point I have a request for our fans.  If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, please do this one favor for us - leave us the fuck alone!  Don't come to our shows and don't buy our records.

Journals (2002)[edit]

ISBN 1-57322-359-X

  • To be positive at all times is to ignore all that is important, sacred or valuable.  To be negative at all times is to be threatened by ridiculousness and instant discredibility.
    • Page 18
  • I use bits and pieces of others [sic] personalities to form my own.
    • Page 95


See also[edit]

Jarret B. Wollstein[edit]

Jarret B. Wollstein is a libertarian writer who lived in Silver Spring, Maryland in August of 1969.  He is the author of 300 articles and audio-tapes and four books, including his most popular book, Society Without Coercion: A New Concept of Social Organization in 1969.  That same year, he founded the Society for Individual Liberty (SIL), which, in 1989, merged with Vince Miller's Libertarian International (LI) to become the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL), of which he serves as director.

Linda & Morris Tannehill[edit]

Linda & Morris Tannehill were two married libertarian activists and thinkers who lived in Lansing, Michigan in the early 1970s.  In 1969, they published Liberty via the Market, but they are best known for their 1970 anarcho-libertarian classic, The Market for Liberty.

At some point after 15 May 1972, the two got divorsed.[3][4]  Shortly after the divorce, Linda Tannehill reclaimed her maiden name, Locke.[4]  In 1998, Morris Tannehill died of liver failure, according to a 1991 issue of Liberty magazine.[4]  That said, the Laissez Faire Books publishing company claimed in 2008 that it had bought publishing rights from the Tannehills in 1994, making no note of Morris Tannehill's passing, and indeed insinuating that both authors were still alive enough to send correspondence and receive payments.[5]  Either way, Per L. Bylund writes that Morris Tannehill was living in Jackson, Michigan at the time of his death.[6]  Laissez Faire Books suggests the possibility that Linda remarried.[5]

Morris and Linda Tannehill[edit]

Liberty via the Market (1969)[edit]

The Market for Liberty (1970)[edit]

  • Government effects the economy in three major ways—1) by taxation and spending, 2) by regulation, and 3) by control of money and banking.  Taxation is economic hemophilia.  It drains the economy of capital which might otherwise be used to increase both consumer satisfaction and the level of production and thus raise the standard of living.  Taxing away this money either prevents the standard of living from rising to the heights it normally would or actually causes it to drop.  Since productive people are the only ones who make money, they are the only ones from whom government can get money.  Taxation must necessarily penalize productivity.

    Some people feel that taxation really isn't so bad, because the money taken from the "private sector" is spent by the "public sector," so it all comes out even.  But though government spends tax money, it never spends this legally plundered wealth the same way as it would have been spent by its rightful owners, the taxpaying victims.  Money which would have been spent on increased consumer satisfaction or invested in production, creating more jobs and more products for consumers, may be used instead to subsidize welfare recipients, controlling their lives and, thus, discouraging them from freeing themselves in the only way possible—through productive labor.  Or it may be used to build a dam which is of so little value to consumers and investors that it would never have been constructed without the force of government intervention.  Government spending replaces the spending which people, if free, would do to maximize their happiness.  In this way, government spending distorts the market and harms the economy as much or more than taxation.

    If taxation bleeds the economy and government spending distorts it, governmental regulation amounts to slow strangulation.  If a regulation requires businessmen to do what consumer desires would have caused them to do anyway, it is unnecessary.  If it forces businessmen to act against consumer desires (which it almost always does), it harms the businessman, frustrates the consumer, and weakens the economy—and the confused consumer can usually be propagandized into blaming the businessman.  By forcing businessmen to act against consumer desires, government regulation increases the cost of the regulated products (which, in our present economy, includes just about everything) and so lowers living standards for everyone and increases poverty.

  • The belief that the people of a democracy rule themselves through their elected representatives, though sanctified by tradition and made venerable by multiple repetitions, is actually mystical nonsense.  In any election, only a percentage of the people vote.  Those who can't vote because of age or other disqualifications, and those who don't vote because of confusion, apathy, or disgust at a Tweedledum-Tweedledummer choice can hardly be said to have any voice in the passage of the laws which govern them.  Nor can the individuals as yet unborn, who will be ruled by those laws in the future.  And, out of those who do "exercise their franchise," the large minority who voted for the loser are also deprived of a voice, at least during the term of the winner they voted against.

    But even the individuals who voted and who managed to pick a winner are not actually ruling themselves in any sense of the word.  They voted for a man, not for the specific laws which will govern them.  Even all those who had cast their ballots for the winning candidate would be hopelessly confused and divided if asked to vote on these actual laws.  Nor would their representative be bound to abide by their wishes, even if it could be decided what these "collective wishes" were.  And besides all this, a large percentage of the actual power of a mature democracy, such as the U.S.A., is in the hands of the tens of thousands of faceless appointed bureaucrats who are unresponsive to the will of any citizen without special pull.

    Under a democratic form of government, a minority of the individuals governed select the winning candidate.  The winning candidate then proceeds to decide issues largely on the basis of pressure from special-interest groups.  What it actually amounts to is rule by those with political pull over those without it.  Contrary to the brainwashing we have received in government-run schools, democracy—the rule of the people through their elected representatives—is a cruel hoax!

    Not only is democracy mystical nonsense, it is also immoral.  If one man has no right to impose his wishes on another, then ten million men have no right to impose their wishes on the one, since the initiation of force is wrong (and the assent of even the most overwhelming majority can never make it morally permissible).  Opinions—even majority opinions—neither create truth nor alter facts.  A lynch mob is democracy in action.  So much for mob rule.

  • [Government] attracts the worst kind of men to its ranks, shackles progress, forces its citizens to act against their own judgment, and causes recurring internal and external strife by its coercive existence.  In view of all this, the question becomes not, "Who will protect us from aggression?" but "Who will protect us from the governmental 'protectors'?"  The contradiction of hiring an agency of institutionalized violence to protect us from violence is even more foolhardy than buying a cat to protect one's parakeet.
  • A private defense service company, competing in an open market, couldn’t use force to hold onto its customers—if it tried to compel people to deal with it, it would compel them to buy protection from its competitors and drive itself out of business.  The only way a private defense service company can make money is by protecting its customers from aggression, and the profit motive guarantees that this will be its only function and that it will perform this function well.

    Private defense service employees would not have the legal immunity which so often protects governmental policemen.  If they committed an aggressive act, they would have to pay for it, just the same as would any other individual.  A defense service detective who beat a suspect up wouldn't be able to hide behind a government uniform or take refuge in a position of superior political power.  Defense service companies would be no more immune from having to pay for acts of initiated force and fraud than would bakers or shotgun manufacturers.  (For full proof of this statement, see Chapter 11.)  Because of this, managers of defense service companies would quickly fire any employee who showed any tendency to initiate force against anyone, including prisoners.  To keep such an employee would be too dangerously expensive for them.  A job with a defense agency wouldn't be a position of power over others, as a police force job is, so it wouldn't attract the kind of people who enjoy wielding power over others, as a police job does.  In fact, a defense agency would be the worst and most dangerous possible place for sadists!

    Government police can afford to be brutal—they have immunity from prosecution in all but the most flagrant cases, and their "customers" can't desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.  But for a free-market defense service company to be guilty of brutality would be disastrous.  Force—even retaliatory force—would always be used only as a last resort; it would never be used first, as it is by governmental police.

  • Government is an artificial construct which, because of what it is, is in opposition to natural law.  There is nothing in the nature of man which demands that he be governed by other men (if there were, then we would have to find someone to govern the governors, for they, too, would be men with a need to be governed).  In fact, the nature of man is such that, in order to survive and be happy, he must be able to make his own decisions and control his own life…a right which is unavoidably violated by governments.  The ruinous consequences of government's inescapable opposition to natural law are written in blood and human degradation across the pages of all man's history.
  • The belief that society couldn't be defended without a government also assumes that government does, indeed, protect the society over which it rules.  But when it is realized that government really has nothing except what it takes by force from its citizens, it becomes obvious that the government can't possibly protect the people, because it doesn't have the resources to do so.  In fact, government, without the citizens on whom it parasitizes, couldn't even protect itself!  Throughout history, people have been talked into submitting to the tyrannies of their governments because, they were told, their government was vitally necessary to protect them from the even more terrible depredations of other governments.  The governments, having put over this bit of propaganda, then proceeded to cajole and coerce their citizens into protecting them!  Governments never defend their citizens; they can't.  What they do is make the citizens defend them, usually after their stupid and imperialistic policies have aggravated or threatened another government to the point of armed conflict.  Governmental protection against foreign aggression is a myth (but a myth which, sad to say, most people actually believe in).

    Those who doubt that "the private sector" of the economy could sustain the expense of a free enterprise defense system would do well to consider two facts.  First, "the public sector" gets its money from the same source as does "the private sector"—the wealth produced by individuals.  The difference is that "the public sector" takes this wealth by force (which is legal robbery)—but it does not thereby have access to a larger pool of resources.  On the contrary, by draining the economy by taxation and hobbling it with restrictions, the government actually diminishes the total supply of available resources.  Second, government, because of what it is, makes defense far more expensive than it ought to be.  The gross inefficiency and waste common to a coercive monopoly, which gathers its revenues by force and fears no competition, skyrocket costs.  Furthermore, the insatiable desire of politicians and bureaucrats to exercise power in every remote corner of the world multiplies expensive armies, whose main effect is to commit aggressions and provoke wars.  The question is not whether "the private sector" can afford the cost of defending individuals but how much longer individuals can afford the fearsome and dangerous cost of coerced governmental "defense" (which is, in reality, defense of the government, for the government…by the citizens).

Morris G. Tannehill[edit]

Hospers–Tannehill correspondence (1970–1971)[edit]

Linda Locke[edit]

"Autobiographical Note: Freedom Now" (March 1991)[edit]

Linda Locke, "Autobiographical Note: Freedom Now," Liberty 4, no. 4 (March 1991)

  • I live on the road, in a converted school bus that i fixed up myself (and very nice it is, too).
  • I've fallen in love with the area around Glenwood, New Mexico.  The isolation, the scenery, the wilderness, and the independent-minded people all make it my kind of place.
  • As far as "history and memoirs," i think the only significant thing about me is that i stopped theorizing about a free society and instead devoted my energies to living as a free person.  I opted out of the producer–consumer–taxpayer system in which most people are enmeshed—i refused to be a cog in the Establishment's machine.  So i live wherever i want (in some of the most beautiful country there is) and come and go when i please.  I have lots of free time because i work only enough to keep myself in necessities (and it's amazing how little is really necessary to one's comfort and happiness).  I meet interesting people from many walks of life and have lots of friends.  In short, i've spent the last couple of decades living the way i want to, and not the way i "have" to.

    Many people tell me they envy my lifestyle and wish they could do it too.  I tell them they can, if they can get free from the artificial "need" for material goods that leads to three forms of slavery: consumer slavery, wage slavery, and debt slavery.  And most of them sigh, and keep on wishing.  I can only conclude that freedom belongs to those with the courage to grasp it.

Quotes about the authors[edit]

  • Morris and Linda Tannehill were two libertarian activists and thinkers who, in the early 1970s, made surprisingly profound advances in the theory of the stateless society.
  • Some great books are the product of a lifetime of research, reflection, and labored discipline.  But other classics are written in a white heat during the moment of discovery, with prose that shines forth like the sun pouring into the window of a time when a new understanding brings in the world into focus for the first time.

    The Market for Liberty is that second type of classic, and what a treasure it is.  Written by two authors—Morris and Linda Tannehill—just following a period of intense study of the writings of both Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard, it has the pace, energy, and rigor you would expect from an evening's discussion with either of these two giants.

    More than that, these authors put pen to paper at precisely the right time in their intellectual development, that period rhapsodic freshness when a great truth had been revealed, and they had to share it with the world.  Clearly, the authors fell in love with liberty and the free market, and wrote an engaging, book-length sonnet to these ideas.

    This book is very radical in the true sense of that term: it gets to the root of the problem of government and provides a rethinking of the whole organization of society.

    • Updates, "That Fiery Classic," Mises Economics Blog, Ludwig von Mises Institute (23 May 2006)

Julian Assange[edit]

Julian Paul Assange (born 1971) is an Australian journalist, programmer and Internet activist, best known for his involvement with Wikileaks, a whistleblower website.

Fiona Apple[edit]

Fiona Apple Maggart (born 13 September 1977), most famous as Fiona Apple, is a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter and pianist.
  • This world is bullshit.  And you shouldn't model your life—wait a second—you shouldn't model your life about what you think that we think is cool and what we're wearing and what we're saying and everything.  Go with yourself.  Go with yourself.

Edward Snowden[edit]

Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American former technical contractor for the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who leaked details of several top-secret U.S. and British government mass surveillance programs to the press.

Alexander S. Peak[edit]

Can't we just give peace, love, anarchy, natural law, and a free market a chance?
While the so-called progressive advocates regulation and centralised, domineering control in order to combat the ills of bigotry, the libertarian recognises that those tools can be just as easily harnessed to promote, enact, enforce, or reinforce bigotry.  Thus the libertarian, by contrast, recognises that only free competition and free cooperation can be effectively wielded against the evils of bigotry.  Or, to make it a bit more pithy, the so-called progressive gravitates toward the baton and the gun in fighting bigotry, while the libertarian gravitates to the handshake, realising that only the handshake can dismantle the paradigm of domination and exploitation and, in its stead, promote true mutual accord.
Alexander S. Peak (1985 – ) is a libertarian anarchist, a secular humanist, an abolitionist, an agnostic, a psychological egoist, a hard compatibilist, and a writer from Maryland.
  • Lies are nothing new to politics.  It's arguable that neoconservatives have lied to us on a regular basis on a variety of issues, ranging from foreign policy to the supposed destruction of the nuclear family, which they claim would result from allowing homosexuals the same rights held by heterosexuals.  But in each of these cases, the lie's impact is diminished by a healthy level of scepticism.  The most successful lie propagated by neoconservatives would have to be the conclusion that they are fiscal conservatives.
  • [F]ree will requires determinism, and is incompatible with indeterminism.
  • Can't we just give peace, love, anarchy, natural law, and a free market a chance?
    • Circa 2013.
  • The incongruity of bigotry with libertarianism is self-evident to anyone truly dedicated to a libertarian social order.

    The libertarian and the so-called progressive agree that bigotry is socially harmful and undesirable, their only difference of opinion on the matter being how to resolve the problem.  While the so-called progressive advocates regulation and centralised, domineering control in order to combat the ills of bigotry, the libertarian recognises that those tools can be just as easily harnessed to promote, enact, enforce, or reinforce bigotry.  Thus the libertarian, by contrast, recognises that only free competition and free cooperation can be effectively wielded against the evils of bigotry.  Or, to make it a bit more pithy, the so-called progressive gravitates toward the baton and the gun in fighting bigotry, while the libertarian gravitates to the handshake, realising that only the handshake can dismantle the paradigm of domination and exploitation and, in its stead, promote true mutual accord.

    • 7 February 2014.
  • Emotion without reason is blind, destructive rageReason without emotion is mechanical emptiness.  It is true that emotion must always be tempered with reason, that emotion untempered by reason is inhuman.  But, so too must it be said that reason without emotion is just as inhuman, for emotion is what gives reason its weight; without emotion, there can be no love for rationality, nor for liberty, nor justice nor humanity, nor for anything else that reason serves.  Emotion gives reason emotional weight just as reason gives emotion reasonable direction.
    • 23 August 2014.
  • Music bears much similarity to magic.
    • 24 August 2014.
  • Other than outright abolishing itself, the best thing the government can do to dramatically reduce the rate of violent crime is to end the war on guns, the war on drugs, and all military intervention.  The war on guns succeeds only in disarming the innocent while simultaneously leaving criminals (who have no qualms circumventing the law) armed to the teeth.  The war on drugs succeeds only in drawing young people away from education and into a life of gang warfare (while simultaneously undermining the safety of illicit drugs).  And militarism subverts the morality of society by giving mass aggression, and thus aggression in general, the air of being a legitimate means to ends.
    • 21 September 2014.
  • Tradition is good and virtuous whensoever it is on the side of liberty and justice.  But whenever it is not, it is neither good nor virtuous.
    • 19 March 2015.


  • No socialist monopoly (which is what all government is, foundationally) can compete with private enterprise.
  • They will continue competing for each others' business in the voluntary free marketplace, each attempting to provide the best and widest array of services at the least expense.  This is how capitalism does and is supposed to work.
    • These two statements actually come from an article by Alex R. Knight III called "Marx's Post Office", published by the Center for a Stateless Society on 26 March 2009.

Basil Gentleman[edit]

Basil Gentleman (1986 – ) is an Anglo-French aphorist and artist.  Basil was educated at the Lycée International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye near Paris and the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in London.  His books include My Thoughts by Montesquieu and Maxims by Christina, Queen of Sweden.  His aphorisms were featured by James Geary.

Maxims and Reflections Volume 1 (2014)[edit]

  • Men leer at nudes but shy from the naked truth.
  • Men do not strive for freedom when they believe they are free.
  • If you skim the surface, you won't have any depth.
  • A world in darkness is a world without power.
  • The true character of a man is not displayed in his portraits but in his actions.
  • Your enemy will be beaten, not by a stick, but by you sticking to something.
  • Men sink into holes so deep that it becomes exceedingly difficult to reach them.
  • Most people do not want to know, until trouble comes their way, or they are not far from dying; then they are dying to know.
  • We are careful how we lay the table but not careful what we eat.
  • The stupid are at times spared by the wicked on account of their shere stupidity.
  • Evil has many imitators yet few admirers, while goodness has few imitators but many admirers.
  • The rose is like a ball of fire.
  • The heart beats a drum.
  • Men have elevated themselves by writing with feathers.
  • A man's sight is obstructed by his newspaper.
  • The corpse of the animal finds its way to the plate of the prince.
  • We must think what we speak, but not necessarily speak what we think.
  • One learns as much watching a brave man fight, as a coward fleeing.
  • The art of war consists in always being able, even when one is all tied up.
  • It's when you don't run, that the angry mob runs around you.
  • You can only command the highest forces, when you are something of a slave.
  • It was the boat heading for nowhere that found the greatest prize.
  • One never discusses murder at the dinner-table, unless one is planning one.
  • It's when something is being held by the tail, that great tales are then told.
  • You can become dirty, by over-wearing a towel.
  • Every egg is golden at the centre.
  • Most men don't ever grow, except with their shafts.
  • People are more concerned with damaging their hearing, than with listening to nonsense.
  • People are torn between wishing to reveal everything and keeping everything secret.
  • The bad are secretly envious of the good and secretly admire them.
  • To presume to lead the people is not a loving act, but a demeaning one.
  • Knowledge is not in itself power; acting upon knowledge, that is where the power lies.
  • Such a marvel is Man, that even when he is living poorly, he can achieve the most amazing things.
  • A wise man is a prince kissing many sleeping beauties.

Maxims and Reflections Volume 2 (2014)[edit]

  • We sing about love and practice the opposite.
  • When two princes fight over the same state, it is like watching two dogs tugging at the same bone.
  • Musicians play instruments; rulers play people.
  • To find true happiness in society is like finding clean water in a sewer.
  • We dislike that reptilian, the crocodile, but we kill far more than him, and even prey on him.
  • It is the pale, the bald, the sickly ones, and the little, who have become leaders of great empires.
    • On Alexander, Caesar, Augustus and Napoleon.
  • Kings that held golden tridents were dethroned by peasants bearing pitchforks.
  • The dog's perfume is to roll in excrement.
  • Lizards lose their tails, we lose our brains.
  • It's fitting that sand which famously gets into everything, should be next to the sea, which washes everything away.
  • The key to becoming a good man, is, difficult as it is, to learn to love crowds.
  • The real orator gets crowds to roar like lions.
  • The problem with a world dominated by commerce is that everyone has a price.
  • One sustains more injuries cutting back an overgrown garden, than slaying men on the battlefield.
  • Venice was sprung from the waters, yet the Doge's palace went up in flames.
  • Smile long enough and watch another smile in return.
  • The more one prizes one's jewels, the more violently one is stripped of them.
  • He will despair, who does not have enough greedy hands to carry off all the booty.
  • An evil man will spare a wit, where a fool will kill him.
  • Great men, find themselves surrounded by pigeons; even in death.
  • The lizard has more sense than Man, in that he only gives his predator his tail.
  • Kings wear crowns, and in doing so, tell a story to their subjects.

Chelsea Manning[edit]

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning (born Bradley Edward Manning, December 17, 1987) is a United Sates Army soldier who was convicted in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after releasing the largest set of classified documents ever leaked to the public. Manning was sentenced in August 2013 to 35 years confinement with the possibility of parole in eight years, and to be dishonorably discharged from the Army.

Tank Man[edit]

The Tank Man, or the Unknown Protester, is the nickname of an anonymous male dissident who engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience by standing in front of a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, the morning after the Communist Chinese military had suppressed the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 by force.  The man achieved widespread international recognition due to the videotape and photographs taken of the incident despite censorship of the event by the Chinese government.  Although some have identified the man as Wang Weilin (王維林),[7][8], the real name has not been confirmed and little is known about him or of his fate after the confrontation that day.  It is not even known whether this brave individual is alive.  In April 1998, Time included the "Unknown Rebel" in a feature titled Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.[9]


  • Why are you here?  My city is in chaos because of you![9]
  • Go back!  Turn around!  Stop killing my people!
    • These two statements are frequently attributed to Tank Man on the Internet.  While it seems clear from the footage that some communication occurred between Tank Man and the people in the front tank, no confirmation has ever been made as to what was actually spoken.

See also[edit]

Caitlin Upton[edit]

I personally believe that U. S. Americans are unable to [locate the U. S. on a world map] because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our education, like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should—our education over here in the U. S. should help the U. S., uh, or, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children.
Lauren Caitlin Upton (27 March 1989 – ), also credited as Caitlin Upton, is an American fashion model and a beauty queen from Lexington, South Carolina.  On 24 August 2007, while Miss South Carolina Teen USA, Upton became an Internet meme for her rambling and unstructured response to a pageant question.

Cheryl K. Chumley[edit]

Cheryl K. Chumley is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times.  She is author of the book, Police State USA: How Orwell's Nightmare is Becoming Our Reality.
  • We are pretty free in America when you compare us to other nations around the world, but we're not pretty free in America when you compare us to past generations.

    If you look at the state of what's going on in America right now—and, y'know, in my book I chronicle easily a hundred different cases where government has overreached and encroached on Constitutional liberties of Americans—we're at the point now in America, a little girl can't run a lemonade stand in her driveway without having the local zoning zealots come in and fine her fifty dollars.  We're at the point now where elementary school kids down in Georgia have their irises scanned as they board the bus—all in the name of "safety."  We're at the point now where nebulous environmental laws prevent homeowners from building a shed in their own back yard because there might be a flood plain issue in a hundred years.

    This is the America where we're at, and I really implore people to read my book and tell me how we're not in a police state, because my research shows we're right on the cusp.

    • Interviewed by John Stossel, "The Riot Police", Stossel (21 August 2014), 9:08–9:09 PM ET
  • What's funny, if you look at the video of the National Guard and police, it's very difficult to tell the difference between who's who—who's the soldier tasked with serving and protecting for American security, who's the civilian police officer paid by taxpayers to protect, first and foremost, the citizen?  And that, in itself, speaks volumes: when you can't tell the difference between the soldier versus the police officer on the scene—we have a problem.
  • Interviewed by John Stossel, "The Riot Police", Stossel (21 August 2014), 9:13 PM ET

Paul Detrick[edit]

Paul Detrick has been producing short documentaries at Reason TV since 2009 out of Los Angeles, California, and his work covers police militarisation, privacy, civil liberties, and the First Amendment.  He's appeared on the BBC World Service, RT, and the Fox Business Network.

Evil quotes[edit]

Abraham Lincoln[edit]

Abraham Lincoln (12 February 180915 April 1865) was the 16th President of the United States and led the country during the War Between the States.  He enslaved innocent Americans by forcing them to serve in his military, and he jailed journalists and activists for speaking out against his war in order to censor their dissent.  His primary objective was not to end slavery, but rather to force the C.S.A. back into the U.S.A.  He was also a racist who thought whites were superior to blacks and who argued against the mixing of the races.
  • I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.
    • First Debate with Stephen Douglas in the Lincoln-Douglas debates of the 1858 campaign for the U.S. Senate, at Ottawa, Illinois (21 August 1858).  Lincoln later quoted himself and repeated this statement in his first Inaugural Address (4 March 1861) to emphasize that any acts of secession were over-reactions to his election.  During the war which followed his election he eventually declared the Emancipation Proclamation, pretending to free the slaves in those states over which he had no control, arguably as a war measure rather than as an entirely political or moral initiative.
  • While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing perfect equality between the negroes and white people.  While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me, I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it.  I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.  And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
  • I give him [Judge Douglas] the most solemn pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the marrying of white people with negroes.
    • Fourth Lincoln-Douglas Debate (18 September 1858).
  • I have upon all occasions declared as strongly as Judge Douglas against the disposition to interfere with the existing institution of slavery.
    • Seventh and Last Joint Debate with Steven Douglas, at Alton, Illinois (15 October 1858).

Francis Edward Smedley[edit]

Francis Edward Smedley (4 October 18181 May 1864) was an English novelist.  His name appears in print usually as Frank E. Smedley.
  • "You opened the letter!" exclaimed I.

    "In course I did how was I to read it if I hadn't? all's fair in love and war, you know—the blessed Duke of Wellington served Bony so many a time, I'll be bound; besides, hadn't he opened Miss Clara's, the blackguard?  Well, sir, I read it, and it's lucky as I did; oh! he's a bad un, he's a deal wickeder than Muster Richard hisself, and that's saying sumthing—it's from a Captain——"

    "Really, Peter, I cannot avail myself of information obtained in such a manner," interrupted I.

    • "A Ray of Sunshine," Chapter XLIX of Frank Fairlegh; or, Scenes from the Life of a Private Pupil (London: A. Hall, Virtue, & Co., 25 Paternoster Row, 1850), p. 434.
External links

Adolf Hitler[edit]

Adolf Hitler (20 April 188930 April 1945) was an evil dictator who ruled over Germany.  His specific form of totalitarianism was known as national socialism, a particularly racist and anti-Semitic form of fascism.
  • The party takes over the function of what has been society—that is what I wanted them to understand.  The party is all-embracing.  It rules our lives in all their breadth and depth.  We must therefore develop branches of the party in which the whole of individual life will be reflected.  Each activity and each need of the individual will thereby be regulated by the party as the representative of the general goodThere will be no licence, no free space, in which the individual belongs to himself.  This is Socialism—not such trifles as the private possession of the means of production.  Of what importance is that if I range men firmly within a discipline they cannot escape?  Let them then own land or factories as much as they please.  The decisive factor is that the State, through the party, is supreme over them, regardless whether they are owners or workers.  All that, you see, is unessential.  Our Socialism goes far deeper. It does not alter external conditions; no, it establishes the relation of the individual to the State, the national community.  It does this with the help of one party, or perhaps I should say of one order.
  • The day of individual happiness has passed.  Instead, we shall feel a collective happiness.  Can there be any greater happiness than a National Socialist meeting in which speakers and audience feel as one?  It is the happiness of sharing.  Only the early Christian communities could have felt it with equal intensity.  They, too, sacrificed their personal happiness for the higher happiness of the community.

    If we feel and experience this great era thus, then we shall not be disturbed by details and individual failures.  We shall know then that every road leads us forward, no matter how much it seems to go in another direction.  And above all, we shall then maintain our passionate desire to revolutionize the world to an extent unparalleled in history.  It gives us also a special, secret pleasure to see how the people about us are unaware of what is really happening to them.  They gaze fascinated at one or two familiar superficialities, such as possessions and income and rank and other outworn conceptions.  As long as these are kept intact, they are quite satisfied.  But in the meantime they have entered a new relation; a powerful social force has caught them up.  They themselves are changed.  What are ownership and income to that?  Why need we trouble to socialize banks and factories?  We socialize human beings.

  • The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms.  History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.
    • Adolf Hitler, dinner talk (11 April 1942), in Hitler's Table Talk 1941–44: His Private Conversations, pp. 425-426.
    • Die Bormann Vermerke: Transcripts of Hitler's conversations (5 July 1941 – 30 November 1944), made under the supervision of Martin Bormann, published in the UK as Hitler's Table Talks (1953).

See also[edit]

Adolf Hitler's religious views

John Dingell[edit]

John David Dingell, Jr. (born 8 July 1926) was a Democratic United States Representative from Michigan who served for over 59 years.
  • The harsh fact of the matter is, when you're going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways, it takes a long time to—to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.
    • From a live telephone interview he gave to Paul W. Smith on his morning radio show (on Detroit WJR News/Talk 760, 22 March 2010), about ObamaCare legislation

Fred Phelps[edit]

Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr. (13 November 192919 March 2014) was an angry, mean-spirited, homophobic American pastor and bully who founded the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), an independent Baptist church based in Topeka, Kansas that is notorious for its anti-homosexual protests.  In 2013, he was reportedly excommunicated from the church and allegedly abandoned his anti-homosexual views, dying in 2014.[32]

God Hates America (2001)[edit]

Concerning the September 11 attacks. The following quotes were taken from: "Sermon_20010914.mp3". WBC Download Center. Westboro Baptist Church. September 14, 2001.
  • God hates America, and those calamities last Tuesday are none other than the wrath of God, smiting fag America... That wasn't any accident. That wasn't any coincidence. There's only America to blame for those tragedies.
  • God hates America, and God demonstrated that hatred to some modest degree only last Tuesday—sent in those bombers, those hellacious 767 Boeing bombers, and it was a glorious sight.
  • This evil nation has smeared fag feces blended with dyke—fag semen and dyke feces on the Bible!

Bill O'Reilly & Rush Limbaugh: Satan's SpinDoctors (2006)[edit]

9/11: God's Wrath Revealed (2006)[edit]

The following quotes were taken from: "9/11: God's Wrath Revealed" WBC Video News. Westboro Baptist Church. September 8, 2006.
  • Thank God for 9/11.  Thank God that, five years ago, the wrath of God was poured out upon this evil nation.  America, land of the sodomite damned.  We thank thee, Lord God Almighty, for answering the prayers of those that are under the altar.
  • We told you, right after it happened five years ago, that the deadly events of 9/11 were direct outpourings of divine retribution, the immediate visitation of God's wrath and vengeance and punishment for America's horrendous sodomite sins, that worse and more of it was on the way.  We further told you that any politician, any political official, any preacher telling you differently as to the cause and interpretation of 9/11 is a dastardly lying false prophet, cowardly and mean, and headed for hell.  And taking you with him!  God is no longer with America, but is now America's enemyGod himself is now America's terrorist.

Insult to God Almighty (2007)[edit]

  • Same-sex marriage, by any name, civil union or otherwise, is the ultimate smashed-mouth in-your-face insult to God Almighty, and you think He's going to let England and America and the rest of this evil world get by with it? God Almighty has not joined fags in holy wedlock.

Quotes about Fred Phelps and the WBC[edit]

  • The Ku Klux Klan, LLC. has not or EVER will have ANY connection with The 'Westboro Baptist Church'. We absolutely repudiate their activities.

Madeleine Albright[edit]

I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it.
Madeleine Korbel Albright (born Marie Jana Korbelová on 15 May 1937) is a Czech-born American politician who served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations (19931997) and as the U. S. Secretary of State (19972001).  She is a warmonger and collectivist who cruelly decided that the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children was a price worth paying in order to maintain the sanctions that prevented food and medicines from reaching Iraqi civilians during the 1990s.
  • What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?
    • To Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the 1990s, on Bosnia, recounted in Madam Secretary (2003), p. 182.
      • Powell later wrote in his memoir, "I thought I would have an aneurysm.  American GIs were not toy soldiers to be moved around on some sort of global game board."
  • Lesley Stahl: We have heard that half a million children have died.  I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima.  And, you know, is the price worth it?
    Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it.
  • But if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation.
    • Stated on NBC's Today Show (19 February 1998)


  • Hugh, I know I shouldn't even be asking you this, but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event—something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world.  Could you have one of our U-2s fly low enough—and slow enough—so as to guarantee that Saddam could shoot it down?
    • See "The Evil of Madeleine Albright" by Gary Leupp
      • Hugh Shelton responded, "Why, of course we can.  Just as soon as we get your ass qualified to fly it, I will have it flown just as low and slow as you want to go."

Britney Spears[edit]

Britney Jean Spears (born 2 December 1981) is an American pop singer, dancer, and occasional actress.  She is unfortunately known for having promoted the fascistic view that subjects should have blind allegiance to their rulers.  (See Britney Spears below for song lyrics.)


Charlie Anderson[edit]

Charlie Anderson is the protagonist in the 1965 film Shenandoah.  He owns a farm in Virginia, and wishes to stay out of the War Between the States.


  • My corn I take serious because it's my corn, and my potatoes and my tomatoes and fences I take note of because they're mine.  But this war is not mine and I take no note of it!
  • I've got five hundred acres of good, rich dirt, here, and as long as the rains come and the sun shines, it'll grow anything I have a mind to plant.  And we pulled every stump, and we cleared every field, and we done it ourselves without the sweat of one slave.
  • That might me so, Johnson, but these are my sons!  They don't belong to the state.  When they were babies, I never saw the state coming around with a spare tit!  We never asked anything of the state, and never expected anything.  We do our own living and thanks to no man for the right.
  • You run a sad kind of train, mister.  It takes people away when they don't want to go, and won't bring them back when they're ready.
  • I'm not going to kill you.  I want you to live.  I want you to live to be an old man, and I want you to have many, many, many children, and I want you to feel about your children then the way I feel about mine now.  And someday, when a man comes along and kills one of 'em, I want you to remember!  Okay?  I want you to remember.
  • There's nothing much I can tell you about this war.  It's like all wars, I suppose.  The undertakers are winning it.  Oh, the politicians will talk a lot about the "glory" of it, and the old men'll talk about the "need" of it—the soldiers, they just want to go home.

John Bender[edit]

John Bender, who hails from a broken family, is a high schooler with rebellious, confrontational, destructive, and criminal tendencies.  He is one of the five high schoolers depicted in the 1985 film The Breakfast Club.

The Breakfast Club[edit]

  • Hey, how come Andrew gets to get up?  If he gets up, we'll all get up…it'll be anarchy![36]

Harrison Bergeron[edit]

Harrison Bergeron is the protagonist in Kurt Vonnegut's satirical and dystopian short story, "Harrison Bergeron", first published in October, 1961, in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

"Harrison Bergeron"[edit]

In this original incarnation, Harrison Bergeron is an intelligent, athletic fourteen-year-old who wishes to rule, or at least pretend fancifully to rule, over the people whose government has been unable to successfully keep him handicapped.

  • "I am the Emperor!" cried Harrison.  "Do you hear?  I am the Emperor!  Everybody must do what I say at once!"  He stamped his foot and the studio shook.
"Even as I stand here—" he bellowed, "crippled, hobbled, sickened—I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived!  Now watch me become what I can become!"
  • "I shall now select my Empress!" he said, looking down on the cowering people.  "Let the first woman who dares rise to her feet claim her mate and her throne!"
  • "Now—" said Harrison, taking her hand, "shall we show the people the meaning of the word dance?  Music!" he commanded.
The musicians scrambled back into their chairs, and Harrison stripped them of their handicaps, too.  "Play your best," he told them, "and I'll make you barons and dukes and earls."


In this incarnation, Harrison Bergeron is a libertarian hero, an anarchist rebel who has escaped from prison and announces on T. V. to the viewing audience the horrors of statism.  In the end, he is murdered by a political elite, but he intelligently ensures that it is done on live television so that all can see the guns of government.

  • My name is Harrison Bergeron.  I am a fugitive, and a public threat.  I am an abomination of the able.  I am an exception to the accepted.  I am the greatest man you have never known.  And for the last six years, I have been held prisoner by the state—sentenced, without trial, to torture without end.

    They…had hoped to destroy in me any trace of the extraordinary…but the extraordinary, it seems, was simply out of their reach.

    So now I stand before you today, beaten, hobbled, and sickened…but, sadly, not broken.  And I say to you, that if it is greatness we must destroy, then let us drag our enemy out of the darkness, where it has been hiding.  Let us shine a light so, at last, all the world can see!

Emmett Brown[edit]

Emmett Lathrop "Doc" Brown, Ph.D., is an eccentric genius, a student of all sciences who, in 1985, invented a time machine, which he built out of a DeLorean sports car.  He first appears in the 1985 film Back to the Future.

Back to the Future[edit]

  • Roads?  Where we're going, we don't need roads.
  • Great Scott!

Back to the Future Part II[edit]

Back to the Future Part III[edit]

  • It means your future hasn't been written yet.  No one's has.  Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.

A Million Ways to Die in the West[edit]

Winifred Burkle[edit]

Winifred Burkle, also known as Fred, is an extremely intelligent young woman from San Antonio, Texas who regularly smoked marijuana in high school and undergraduate school and who was studying physics in graduate school at the University of California, Los Angeles when, in 1996, she was drawn through a dimensional portal into Pylea.


Although Fred is rescued by Angel Investigations and, indeed, joins the team, she is ultimately killed when an ancient curse infects her, allowing Illyria to take over her shell of a body.


Castiel, which literally means "my cover is God" or "Shield of God", is considered another name for the angel Cassiel.


In this incarnation, Castiel is an angel and soldier who greatly values free will and humanity.  His actual size is approximately the size of the Chrysler Building, his true form and real voice can be overwhelming to humans, he can manifest himself as a multidimensional wavelength of celestial intent, and he occupies the vessel of James "Jimmy" Novak.  He was first introduced in "Lazurus Rising," an episode of Supernatural (S4E1, 18 September 2008).

"Lazurus Rising" (S4E1)[edit]

  • I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition.

"Swan Song" (S5E22)[edit]

  • Hey, assbutt!

Ichabod Crane[edit]

Ichabod Crane is a the protagonist in Washington Irving's short story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", first published in 1820.

Sleepy Hollow[edit]

In this incarnation, Ichabod Crane is an English professor who fought and died in the American Revolutionary War on the side of the revolutionary American secessionists.  After dying in combat, his witch wife performs a spell that affords him the opportunity to return to life, which he does in the early twenty-first century.

"Blood Moon" (S1E2)[edit]

  • What's insane is a ten-percent levy on baked goods.  You do realise the Revolutionary War began on less than two percent—how is the public not flocking to the streets in outrage!?  We must do something.

"Root of All Evil" (S2E3)[edit]

"What Lies Beneath" (S2E16)[edit]

"Tempus Fugit" (S2E18)[edit]

"I, Witness" (S3E18)[edit]

  • Now look here:  The right to personal property is a fundamental—[interrupted by Abbie Mills]
  • This is precisely the abuse of centralised federal power that Thomas Jefferson warned us against.

"Tempus Fugit" (S3E18)[edit]

Shelley Darlington[edit]

Shelley Darlington is the main character in the 2008 film The House Bunny.  She is a former Playboy bunny who becomes house mother for a sorority of misfits.

The House Bunny[edit]

  • The eyes are the nipples of the face.
  • I am just nuts about the paper.
  • [in response to the question of for whom she was planning to vote]  I'm not sure yet.  I definitely won't listen to what Simon says.  He is just so mean.  I usually always agree with Paula and Randy.

    Oh, you meant the President of the United States—the United States of America—U. S. A. for short—fifty states, if you include Hawaii—most people do—I'm definitely pro-Hawaii.

  • [in response to a waiter asking if she was a Playboy bunny]  No!  Those girls are all boobs and no brains. I'm too busy in a library, reading books…with dust on them.
  • I'm sorry about all the gravity.
  • Kindness is just love with its work boots on.


Death is the personification of death.  The concept of Death as a sentient entity has existed in many societies since the beginning of recorded history.  In English, Death is often given the name "the Grim Reaper" and, from the 15th century onwards, came to be shown as a skeletal figure carrying a large scythe and clothed in a black cloak with a hood.  In Jewish tradition, Death was referred to as the Angel of Life and Death (Malach HaMavet) or the Angel of Dark and Light stemming from the Bible and Talmudic lore.  In many languages (including English), Death is personified in male form, while in others, it is perceived as a female character (for instance, in Slavic and Romance languages).

The Book Thief[edit]

In this incarnation, Death is not a killer, but rather a self-described "result."  He carries souls to the "conveyor belt of eternity" not out of malice but merely because it is his job to do so.  He tries to focus on the colours around him to distract himself from the grieving of those "leftover humans" who remain alive.  In this story, Death is the narrator; he tells his reader of a story about a girl he calls "the book thief," whose real name is Liesel Meminger.

  • First the colors.

    Then the humans.

    That's usually how I see things.

    Or at least, how I try.

    You are going to die.
  • Where are my manners?

    I could introduce myself properly, but it's not really necessary.  You will know me well enough and soon enough, depending on a diverse range of variables.  It suffices to say that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible.  Your soul will be in my arms.  A color will be perched on my shoulder.  I will carry you gently away.

  • I am all bluster—
    I am not violent.
    I am not malicious.
    I am a result.
  • It probably had more to do with the hurled bombs, thrown down by humans hiding in the clouds.
  • A mountain range of rubble was written, designed, erected around her.  She was clutching at a book.
  • I wanted to stop.  To crouch down.  I wanted to say:

    "I'm sorry, child."

    But that is not allowed.

    I did not crouch down.  I did not speak.

  • They fall on top of each other.  The scribbled signature black, onto the blinding global white, onto the thick soupy red.
    A pair of train guards.
    A pair of grave diggers.
    When it came down to it, one of them called the shots.
    The other did what he was told.
    The question is, what if the other is a lot more than one?
  • There was something black and rectangular
    lodged in the snow.
    Only the girl saw it.
    She bent down and picked it up and
    held it firmly in her fingers.
    The book had silver writing on it.

The Book Thief[edit]

In this incarnation, Death delivers very little information about himself, other than that he tries to avoid the living, but nevertheless found himself invariably interested in Liesel Meminger.

  • One small fact:  You are going to die.  Despite every effort, no one lives forever.  Sorry to be such a spoiler.  My advice is, when the time comes, don't panic.  It doesn't seem to help.

    I guess I should introduce myself properly, but then again, you'll meet me soon enough—not before your time, of course; I make it a policy to avoid the living.

  • When I finally caught up with Max Vandenburg's soul, it was this moment that haunted him the most.  For leaving his mother.  For feeling that awful, light-headed relief that he would live.
  • It's always been the same, the excitement and rush to war.  I've met so many young men over the years who have thought they were running at their enemy, when the truth was, they were running to me.
  • The bombs were coming thicker now.  It's probably fair to say that no one was able to serve the Führer as loyally as me.
  • I've always quite liked the image of me with a sickle and cape, dark and formidable.  Unfortunately, I'm far more ordinary and commonplace.

    No one intended to destroy a street named after Heaven—it was a misread on a map.  No sirens that evening.

  • I wanted to tell the book thief she was one of the few souls that made me wonder what it was to live.  But in the end, there were no words, only peace.

    The only truth I truly know is that I am haunted by humans.

Gerald Dreyfuss[edit]

Dr. Gerald Dreyfuss is a character in the 2013 film Mama.


Tyler Durden[edit]

Tyler Durden is a nihilist and a figment of the imagination of the narrator of the 1996 Chuck Palahniuk novel Fight Club.  In the end, the narrator comes to realise that Tyler Durden is really nothing more than a manifestation of himself.

Fight Club[edit]

  • Narrator: One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort.  A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.


Estragon is a character in the play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.  Along with his friend Vladimir, he waits by a tree for a man named Godot.

Waiting for Godot[edit]

ACT I[edit]

ACT II[edit]

  • How should I know?  In another compartment.  There's no lack of void.
    • Page 56
    • This is Estragon's response to Vladimir when Vladimir asks Estragon where Estragon thinks the two of them had been the previous day.
  • We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?
    • Page 59
  • We are all born mad.  Some remain so.
    • Page 71

Del Griffith[edit]

Del Griffith is a travelling shower curtain ring salesman in the 1987 American comedy film Planes, Trains and Automobiles, whose wife, Marie, died eight years prior to the setting of the film.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles[edit]

  • You wanna hurt me?  Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better.  I'm an easy target.  Yeah, you're right.  I talk too much.  I also listen too much.  I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you, but I don't like to hurt people's feelings.  Well, you think what you want about me.  I'm not changing.  I like me.  My wife likes me.  My customers like me.  'Cause I'm the real article.  What you see is what you get.

Dante Hicks[edit]

Dante Hicks is a sales clerk in the View Askewniverse, first introduced in the 1994 film Clerks.


In this film, Dante Hicks works at the Quick Stop convenience store in Leonardo, New Jersey.

  • I'm not even supposed to be here today!

James Hook[edit]

Educated at Eton College, Captain James Hook (not his real name) is the elegant yet sinister pirate captain of the Jolly Roger who dons an iron hook in place of his right hand, which was severed by Peter Pan and fed to a crocodile.  He first appears in the 1904 J. M. Barrie play Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up.

Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up[edit]

In this incarnation, Captain James Hook docks his brig in the Never Never Land where he searches for Peter Pan in order to exact his vengeance.  Although the play was originally written in 1904, it wasn't published until 1928, and it was published with changes, e.g., the land is called the Never Land, not the Never Never Land.


  • I have waited long to shake his hand with this.  [luxuriating]  Oh, I'll tear him!
  • Yo ho, yo ho, when I say 'paw,'
    By fear they're overtook,
    Naught's left upon your bones when you
    Have shaken hands with Hook!


Once Upon a Time[edit]

In this incarnation, Killian Jones is the pirate captain of the Jolly Roger whose left hand is sliced off by Rumpelstiltskin in order to obtain a magic bean as well as in retaliation for Jones having won Milah's (Rumpelstiltskin's wife's) love.  He replaces his lost hand with a hook, thereby gaining the nicknames Hook and Captain Hook, and seeks to avenge the death of his beloved.  He has a penchant for drinking rum.

"The Queen Is Dead" (S2E15)[edit]

  • [to Rumpelstiltskin]  Tick-tock.  Time's up, crocodile.

"The New Neverland" (S3E10)[edit]

"Going Home" (S3E11)[edit]

"The Tower" (S3E14)[edit]


Illyria, also known as Illyria the Merciless, is an Old One, an ancient race of dæmons pure, older than the concept of time, that plagued the world before the advent of man and warred as we would breathe.  A great monarch and leader of the Army of Doom, Illyria was one of the most feared and worshipped in that epoch.  It first appears in "A Hole in the World," an episode of Angel (S5E15, 25 February 2004).


Illyria reёnters our world through an ancient curse that infects and kills Winifred Burkle.  Thus, Illyria uses Burkle's body as a shell to host its essence.  Its army, however, had perished in the millennia it was interred.

"A Hole in the World" (S5E15)[edit]

  • This will do.

"Shells" (S5E16)[edit]

  • I thought the humans would have long died out by now.
  • You seek to save what's rotted through.  This carcass is bound to me.
  • We cling to what is gone.  Is there anything in this life but grief?

"Underneath" (S5E17)[edit]

"Origin" (S5E18)[edit]

"Time Bomb" (S5E19)[edit]

"The Girl in Question" (S5E20)[edit]

"Power Play" (S5E21)[edit]

"Not Fade Away" (S5E22)[edit]

The Joker[edit]

The Joker is a psychotic, nihilistic, intelligent supervillain with a warped and homicidal sense of humour.  He was created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger, and Bob Kane, and first appeared in Batman #1 (Spring 1940).


In this incarnation, the Joker, whose real name is Jack Napier, is an an member of an organised crime syndicate who becomes disfigured after falling into a vat of chemical waste that causes his skin to turn chalk white, his hair and nails to turn emerald green, and his mouth to display a permanent, wide, ruby-red grin.  In addition to being a psychotic nihilist, he is extremely intelligent, with an expertise in chemistry and art.

The Dark Knight[edit]

In this incarnation, the Joker's real name is unknown.  His clothing is homemade.  And his mouth is scarred, having been cut at the edges into the shape of a ghastly grin.  He is a cunning and often-unpredictable villain, a psychopathic terrorist.  He is driven by his desire to prove that nothing matters, and is, in that sense, a militant nihilist.

  • Here's my card.
  • You wanna know how I got these scars?  My father was a drinker…and a fiend.  And one night, he goes off crazier than usual.  Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself.  He doesn't like that, not one bit.  So, me watching, he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it.  He turns to me, and he says, "Why so serious?"  He comes at me with the knife—"Why so serious?"  He sticks the blade in my mouth—"Let's put a smile on that face!"
  • Well, you look nervous.  Is it the scars?  You wanna know how I got 'em?  Come here—hey, look at me.  So, I had a wife who—beautiful, like you—who tells me I worry too much, who tells me I oughtta smile more, who gambles and gets in deep with the sharks.  Hey.  One day, they carve her face.  We have no money for surgeries.  She can't take it.  I just want to see her smile again.  Hmm?  I just want her to know that I don't care about the scars.  So, I stick a razor in my mouth and do this…to myself.  And you know what?  She can't stand the sight of me!  She leavesNow, I see the funny side.  Now, I'm always smiling.
  • Don't talk like one of them; you're not!—even if you'd like to be.  To them, you're just a freak, like me.  They need you right now, but when they don't, they'll cast you out—like a leper.  See, their morals, their "code"…it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble.  They're only as good as the world allows them to be.  I'll show ya:  When the chips are down, these, uh…these "civilised" people, they'll eat each other.  See, I'm not a monster; I'm just ahead of the curve.
  • The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.


In this incarnation, Jerome Valeska is a redheaded, eighteen-year-old boy who lived in a circus where he murdered his mother.

"Knock, Knock" (S2E2)[edit]

  • You're all prisoners.  What you call sanity is just a prison in your mind that stops you from seeing that you're just tiny, little cogs in a giant, absurd machine.  Wake up!!  Why be a cog when you can be free like us?  Just remember, smile.

John Locke[edit]

John Locke (not to be confused with John Locke above) was a Regional Collections Supervisor for the Tustin Box Company.  Along with others, he finds himself lost on a mysterious island after Oceanic Flight 815 crashes.


"The Hunting Party" (S2E11)[edit]

  • Who are we to tell anyone what they can or cannot do?


Lucifer, also known as Lucifer the Light Bearer or the morning star, is an archangel and was God's most beloved creation until he fell from grace, expelled from Heaven by the archangel Michael.  As a fallen angel, he took a third of the angels with him, and is now known as Satan, meaning the adversary, the devil, or the accuser.  He is regarded as the primary embodiment and/or prime source of evil in the universe, and the ruler of Hell.  He is popularly represented as a serpent and is sometimes called the Great Deceiver, the tempter, and even the Prince of Darkness.  He has also gone by the name Mr. Scratch.

Isaiah 14:12–15[edit]

King James Version New American Bible
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! How you have fallen from the heavens,
    O Morning Star, son of the dawn!
How you have been cut down to the earth,
    you who conquered nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: In your heart you said:
    “I will scale the heavens;
Above the stars of God
    I will set up my throne;
I will take my seat on the Mount of Assembly,
    on the heights of Zaphon.
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
    I will be like the Most High!”
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. No!  Down to Sheol you will be brought
    to the depths of the pit!

"N.I.B." by Black Sabbath[edit]

In this incarnation, Lucifer is singing to someone with whom he has fallen in love.  Lyricist Geezer Butler has said that "the song was about the devil falling in love and totally changing, becoming a good person."[10]

  • Some people say my love cannot be true
    Please believe me, my love, and I'll show you
    I will give you those things you thought unreal
    The sun, the moon, the stars all bear my seal
  • You are the first to have this love of mine
    Forever with me 'till the end of time
  • Now I have you with me, under my power
    Our love grows stronger now with every hour
    Look into my eyes, you'll see who I am
    My name is Lucifer, please take my hand

Oh, God! You Devil[edit]

In this incarnation, the devil goes by the name of Harry O. Tophet.  He looks and sounds just like God, but he dresses much snazzier, and his license plate says "HOT".

The Prophecy[edit]

In this incarnation, Lucifer is a fallen angel who revels in evil, but who wants only his domain (i.e., Hell) to be hellish.

  • God?  God is love.  I don't love you.
  • I can lay you out and fill your mouth with your mother's feces, or we can talk.
  • I was the first angel, loved once above all others—a perfect love.  [sings] But like all true loves, one day it withered on the vine.
  • I love you more than Jesus!


In this incarnation, Lucifer had been trapped in Hell for æons until Sam Winchester accidentally released him.  He aims to possess Sam's body in order to engage in a final battle on Earth with his brother Michael, who in turn must possess Sam's brother's body, the body of Dean Winchester.  The catch is that angels, and even archangels like Lucifer and Michael, can only possess human vessels with the permission of the vessel.

"Free to Be You and Me" (S5E3)[edit]

  • Sam Winchester:  You need my consent?
    Lucifer:  Of course, I'm an angel.
    Sam Winchester:  I will kill myself before letting you in.
    Lucifer:  And I'll just bring you back.

"The End" (S5E4)[edit]

  • Lucifer:  You don't have to be afraid of me, Dean.  What do you think I'm going to do?
    Dean Winchester:  I don't know—maybe deep-fry the planet?
    Lucifer:  Why?  Why would I want to destroy this stunning thing?  Beautiful, in a trillion different ways.  The last perfect handiwork of God.  You ever hear the story of how I fell from Grace?  …  You know why God cast me down?  Because I loved Him—more than anything.  And then God created… [smirks] you: the little, hairless apes.  And then he asked all of us to bow down before you.  To love you more than Him.  And I said, "Father…I can't."  I said, "These human beings are flawed.  Murderous."  And for that, God had Michael cast me into Hell.  Now tell me, does the punishment fit the crime?  Especially when I was right.  Look what six billion of you have done to this thing.  And how many of you blame me for it.

"Abandon All Hope" (S5E10)[edit]

  • I was a son.  A brother, like you, a younger brother, and I had an older brother who I loved—idolised, in fact.  And one day I went to him and I begged him to stand with me, and Michael…Michael turned on me.  Called me a freak.  A monster.  And then he beat me down—all because I was different, because I had a mind of my own.

"Hammer Of The Gods" (S5E19)[edit]

  • Gabriel:  Lucifer, you are my brother, and I love you, but you are a great big bag of dicks.
    Lucifer:  What did you say to me?
    Gabriel:  Look at yourself.  "Boo hoo, Daddy was mean to me, so I'm gonna smash up all his toys."
    Lucifer:  Watch your tone.
    Gabriel:  Play the victim all you want, but you and me, we know the truth.  Dad loved you best, more than Michael, more than me.  Then he brought the new baby home and you couldn't handle it.  So all of this is just a great big temper tantrum.  Time to grow up.

About Lucifer[edit]


Black Sabbath[edit]
"Black Moon"[edit]
  • Oh, the devil is rising with the moon
    He cries and my blood runs cold
  • I remember, He came here to steal
    And you are stealer of souls
  • I'm standing on the dark side of time
    Reaching for the power of her hand
    She's weaving an unholy light
    And calls from Lucifer's land
  • An angel of Hell is rising
"Heaven in Black"[edit]
  • Lucifer's to blame, the reason for the flame

There are other Black Sabbath songs that mention Satan or devil or Prince of Darkness or fallen angel.


Charlie Mackenzie[edit]

Charlie McKenzie is a beat poet who lives in San Francisco.

So I Married an Axe Murderer[edit]

Lucy Miller[edit]

Lucy Miller is a woman who, thanks to an experimental drug, begins accessing more and more of her cerebral capacity until she becomes God.



Nada is a working class drifter who, through use of special sunglasses, discovers that everyone in society is a "victim of alien mind control, that aliens are altering human consciousness without the consent of their victims."[11]

They Live[edit]

Patches O'Houlihan[edit]

Patches O'Houlihan is a dodgeball legend who volunteers to coach the Average Joe's dodgeball team.

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story[edit]

Peter Pan[edit]

Peter Pan is a young, mischievous boy who can fly and never grows up.  He first appears in the 1902 J. M. Barrie novel The Little White Bird.

Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up[edit]

In this incarnation, Peter Pan lives in the Never Never Land with the Lost Boys.  Although the play was originally written in 1904, it wasn't published until 1928, and it was published with changes, e.g., Peter's home is called the Never Land, not the Never Never Land.





Britta Perry[edit]

Britta Perry, born in October 1982 and of Swedish descent, is a politically interested and socially empathetic student at Greendale Community College.  Her political persuasions lean anarchist.


"Cooperative Calligraphy" (S2E8)[edit]

  • It all starts with a quick look-see into someone's bag and, before you can say "1984," the thought police are forcing you to bend and spread!

"Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality" (S5E7)[edit]

  • Don't listen to me—or anyone.  Just listen to yourself, and make sure you tell yourself the truth.


Pozzo is a character in the play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.  He owns a slave named Lucky.  Vladimir and Estragon meet him as they wait by a tree for a man named Godot.

Waiting for Godot[edit]

ACT I[edit]

  • He's stopped crying.  [To Estragon.]  You have replaced him as it were.  [Lyrically.]  The tears of the world are a constant quantity.  For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops.  The same is true of the laugh.  [He laughs.]  Let us not then speak ill of our generation, it is not any unhappier than its predecessors.  [Pause.]  Let us not speak well of it either.  [Pause.]  Let us not speak of it at all.  [Pause.  Judiciously.]  It is true the population has increased.
    • Page 24
  • I'd very much like to sit down, but I don't quite know how to go about it.
    • Page 27

ACT II[edit]

  • Sometimes I wonder if I'm not still asleep.
    • Page 77
  • They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.
    • Page 80

William Pratt[edit]

William Pratt, better known by his nicknames Spike and William the Bloody, is an English vampire poet.  Born circa 1850 to 1853 to Anne Pratt, he was sired in 1880 by Drusilla.  During his many decades as a vampire, he faced and killed two slayers, gaining for himself a reputation for evil and bloodshed.  He is also very perceptive.  He first appeared in "School Hard," an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (S2E3, 29 September 1997), having come to Sunnydale in order to add a third slayer to his roster.


"Not Fade Away" (S5E22)[edit]

Optimus Prime[edit]

Optimus Prime (formerly Orion Pax) is a member of a species of autonomous robotic organisms with synthetic intelligence from the planet Cybertron.  He is able to transform into a Kenworth K100 cab over truck and is the de facto leader of the Autobots from the Transformers franchise.  He first appeared in "More Than Meets the Eye," the miniseries pilot to The Transformers (September 1984).


In this incarnation, Optimus Prime is capable of transforming into a conventional Peterbilt 379 cab.

Vanellope von Schweetz[edit]

Vanellope von Schweetz is a character in the 2012 animated film Wreck-It Ralph.  She is both a tomboyish princess and a racer in the game Sugar Rush Speedway, although she aims to dispense with monarchical rule in favour of a constitutional democracy.  Her character also tends to glitch, which she sometimes uses to her advantage.

Wreck-It Ralph[edit]


Splinter is a rat who serves as mentor, father figure, and martial arts instructor to the four teenage, mutant, ninja turtles.  He was created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird and first appeared in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (May 1984).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles[edit]

In this incarnation, Splinter was born an ordinary rat in Japan, where he lived as a pet of his Master Yoshi, and only grew into a talking, humanoid, ratlike creature upon coming in contact in the New York sewers with a strange, glowing ooze.


V is a mysterious, near-anarchist[12] vigilante, revolutionary, bibliophile, and freedom fighter who is easily recognisable by his Guy Fawkes mask, long hair, and dark clothing.  Created by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, he first appeared in Warrior #1 (March 1982), and is the title character of the comic book series V for Vendetta.

V for Vendetta[edit]

In this incarnation, ...

  • Everybody is special.  Everybody.  Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain.  Everybody.
    • Book One, Chapter Three, page 26
  • They made you into a victim, Evey.  They made you into a statistic.  But that's not the real you.  That's not who you are inside.
    • Book One, Chapter Three, page 29
  • Admirable concern, commander.  Yet it's deuced odd, isn't it?  How you can show so much concern for porcelain and plastic…and show so little for flesh and blood.  Do you remember, commander?  Do you remember when it was people gathered in this sordid little enclosure?  People half dead with starvation and dysentery?
    • Book One, Chapter Four, page 33
  • Hello, dear lady.
    A lovely evening, is it not?
    Forgive me for intruding.  Perhaps you were intending to take a stroll.  Perhaps you were merely enjoying the view.
    No matter.  I thought that it was time we had a little chat, you and I.
    Ahh…I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced.
    I do not have a name.  You can call me V.
    Madam Justice…this is V.
    V…this is Madam Justice.
    Hello, Madam Justice.
    "Good evening, V."
    There.  Now we know each other.  Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time.  Oh, I know what you're thinking…
    "The poor boy has a crush on me…an adolescent infatuation."
    I beg your pardon, Madam.  It isn't like that at all.
    I've long admired you…albeit only from a distance.  I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child.
    I'd say, to my father, "Who is that lady?" and he'd say, "That's Madam Justice."  And I'd say, "Isn't she pretty."
    Please don't think it was merely physical.  I know you're not that sort of girl.  No, I loved you as a person.  As an ideal.
    That was a long time ago.  I'm afraid there's someone else now…
    "What?  V!  For shame!  You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!"
    I, Madam?  I beg to differ!  It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!
    Ah-ha!  That surprised you, didn't it?  You thought I didn't know about your little fling.  But I do.  I know everything!
    Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out.  You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.
    "Uniform?  Why, I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.  It was always you, V.  You were the only one…"
    Liar!  Slut!  Whore!  Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!
    Well?  Cat got your tongue?
    Very well.  So you stand revealed at last.  You are no longer my Justice.  You are his Justice now.  You have bedded another.
    Well, two can play at that game!
    "Sob!  Choke!  Wh-who is she, V?  What is her name?"
    Her name is Anarchy.  And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did!
    She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom.  She is honest.  She makes no promises and breaks none.  Unlike you, Jezebel.
    I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye.  Now I know.
    So goodbye, dear lady.  I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman that I once loved.
    Here is a final gift.  I leave it at your feet.

    The flames of freedom.  How lovely.  How just.  Ahh, my precious Anarchy…
    "O beauty, 'til now I never knew thee."

    • Book One, Chapter Five, pages 39–41
  • It's a quotation.  A motto…"Vi veri veniyersum vivus vici."  "By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe."  Latin.
    • Book One, Chapter Six, page 43
  • It was you!  You who appointed these people!  You who gave them power to make your decisions for you!  …  You have accepted without question their senseless orders.
  • You're in a prison, Evey.  You were born in a prison.  You've been in a prison so long, you no longer believe there's a world outside.
    • Book Two, Chapter Thirteen, page 170
  • No.  This is only the Land of Take-What-You-Want.  Anarchy means "without leaders"; not "without order."  With anarchy comes an age of ordnung, of true order, which is to say voluntary order.  This age of ordnung will begin when the mad and incoherent cycle of verwirrung that these bulletins reveal has run its course.  This is not anarchy, Eve.  This is chaos.
    • Book Three, Chapter Two, page 195
  • …And romance.  Always, always romance.
    • Book Three, Chapter Five, page 219
  • Did you think to kill me?  There's no flesh or blood within this cloak to kill.  There's only an idea.  Ideas are bullet-proof.
    • Book Three, Chapter Seven, page 236

V for Vendetta[edit]

In this incarnation, ...


Vladimir is a character in the play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett.  Along with his friend Estragon, he waits by a tree for a man named Godot.

Waiting for Godot[edit]

ACT I[edit]

  • One daren't even laugh any more.
    • Page 3
  • We're waiting for Godot.
    • Page 6
  • [distinctly]  We got rid of them.
    • Page 11
    • Vladimir is referring to his and Estragon's rights
  • We're waiting for Godot.
    • Page 39

ACT II[edit]

  • Wait for Godot.
    • Page 53
    • This is Vladimir's response to Estragon when Estragon asks Vladimir what the two of them are to do now
  • This is becoming really insignificant.
    • Page 59
  • How time flies when one has fun!
    • Page 66
  • In an instant all will vanish and we'll be alone once more, in the midst of nothingness!  [He broods.]
    • Page 71
  • Was I sleeping, while the others suffered?  Am I sleeping now?  Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today?  That with Estragon my friend, at this place, until the fall of night, I waited for Godot?  That Pozzo passed, with his carrier, and that he spoke to us?  Probably.  But in all that what truth will there be?  [Estragon, having struggled with his boot in vain, is dozing off again.  Vladimir looks at him.]  He'll know nothing.  He'll tell me about the blows he received and I'll give him a carrot.  [Pause.]  Astride of a grave and a difficult birth.  Down in a hole, lingeringly, the gravedigger puts on his forceps.  We have time to grow old.  The air is full of our cries.  [He listens.]  But habit is a great deadener.  [He looks again at Estragon.]  At me too someone is looking, of me too someone is saying, He is sleeping, he knows nothing, let him sleep on.  [Pause.]  I can't go on!  [Pause.]  What have I said?
    • Page 81

Bands and Musicians[edit]

Alice in Chains[edit]

Alice in Chains is an American grunge band from Seattle.

Dirt (1992)[edit]

"Them Bones"[edit]


  • Ain't found a way to kill me yet
Eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere
  • My buddy's breathing his dying breath

Alice in Chains (1995)[edit]

"Heaven Beside You"[edit]

  • Go out and seek your truth

Bad Religion[edit]


Black Sabbath[edit]

Black Sabbath are an English heavy metal band, formed in Birmingham in 1969, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, singer Ozzy Osbourne, and drummer Bill Ward.

Britney Spears[edit]

Britney Jean Spears (born 2 December 1981) is an American pop singer, dancer, and occasional actress.  (See Britney Spears above for quotes outside of her song lyrics.)

In the Zone (2003)[edit]


  • With a taste of your lips
    I'm on a ride
    You're toxic, I'm slipping under
    With a taste of a poison paradise
    I'm addicted to you
    Don't you know that you're toxic

Big Star[edit]

Big Star was an American rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1971 by Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel.  In its first era, the band's musical style drew on the vocal harmonies of The Beatles, as well as the swaggering rhythms of The Rolling Stones and the jangling guitars of The Byrds.  To the resulting power pop, Big Star added dark, existential themes, and produced a style that foreshadowed the alternative rock of the 1980s and 1990s.

#1 Record (1972)[edit]


Bloodhound Gang[edit]

The Bloodhound Gang is an American rock/hip-hop band with a punk-influenced sound.  They are originally from Quakertown, Pennsylvania.  The group formed in 1992.

Hooray for Boobies (2000)[edit]

"The Bad Touch"[edit]


Cell were a New York-based grunge band formed in 1990.  They were championed by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and signed to Geffen, but split circa 1995.

Death Cab for Cutie[edit]

Death Cab for Cutie is an American rock band, formed in Bellingham, Washington in 1997.

Plans (2005)[edit]

"I'll Follow You Into the Dark"[edit]

That they both are satisfied,
Illuminate the no's
On their vacancy signs;
If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks,
Then I'll follow you into the dark

Depeche Mode[edit]

Depeche Mode are a highly influential English electronic music band, formed in 1980 in Basildon, Essex.  They are one of the longest-lived and most successful bands to have emerged from the New Wave and New Romantic era, but were actually part of the "futurist" scene.

Violator (1990)[edit]

"Enjoy the Silence"[edit]

All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

En Vogue[edit]

En Vogue is an American R&B girl group formed in Oakland, California in 1989 whose original line-up consisted of Terry Ellis, Dawn Robinson, Cindy Herron, and Maxine Jones.  Jones left the group in 2001 and was replaced by Amanda Cole; however, in 2003, Cole left and was replaced by Rhona Bennett.  The original members united in 2005 and reunited again in 2009, after which point Robinson and Jones departed from the group to pursue solo careers, with Bennett rejoining the group as a trio.

Funky Divas (1992)[edit]

"Free Your Mind"[edit]

Eve 6[edit]

Eve 6 (sometimes typset as EVE 6 or EVƎ 6) is an American rock band from Southern California, who are most well known for their hit singles "Inside Out" and "Here's to the Night".

EVƎ6 (1998)[edit]

"Inside Out"[edit]

Foo Fighters[edit]

Foo Fighters are an American alternative rock and rock band, formed in Seattle in 1994.  It was founded by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl as a one-man project following the death of Kurt Cobain and the resulting dissolution of his previous band.  The group got its name from the unidentified flying objects and various aerial phenomena that were reported by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II, which were known collectively as foo fighters.

Foo Fighters (1995)[edit]

The Colour and the Shape (1997)[edit]

"Monkey Wrench"[edit]

There Is Nothing Left to Lose (1999)[edit]

One by One (2002)[edit]


fun. is an American indie pop band based in New York City.

Some Nights (2012)[edit]

"We Are Young" featuring Janelle Monáe[edit]


Garbage is an alternative rock band formed in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1993.  The group consists of Scottish singer Shirley Manson (vocals, guitar) and American musicians Duke Erikson (bass, guitar, keyboards, percussion), Steve Marker (guitar, keyboards), and Butch Vig (drums, percussion).  All four members are involved in songwriting and production.

Garbage (1995)[edit]


A falling star that you cannot live without
And I'll feed your obsession
There'll be nothing but this thing that you'll never doubt

"Only Happy When It Rains"[edit]

I'm only happy when it's complicated
And though I know you can't appreciate it
I'm only happy when it rains
And why it feels so good to feel so sad
I'm only happy when it rains
Pour your misery down on me
Pour your misery down
Pour your misery down on me
  • I'm only happy when it rains
I feel good when things are going wrong
I only listen to the sad, sad songs
I'm only happy when it rains
My only comfort is the night gone black
I didn't accidentally tell you that
I'm only happy when it rains
I'm only happy when it rains

"As Heaven Is Wide"[edit]

As angels can fly

"A Stroke Of Luck"[edit]

  • You say that you'll be there to catch me
Or will you only try to trap me
These are the rules I make
Our chains were meant to break
You'll never change me


"Stupid Girl"[edit]

You pretend you're bored
You pretend you're anything
Just to be adored
Don't believe in faith
Don't believe in anything
That you can't break
Is all you ever had
  • Don't believe in love
Don't believe in hate
Don't believe in anything
That you can't waste

"Fix Me Now"[edit]

Falling into night


Cool as the deep blue ocean

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet: Music from the Motion Picture (1996)[edit]

"#1 Crush"[edit]

  • I will cry for you
I will cry for you
I will wash away your pain with all my tears
And drown your fear

Version 2.0 (1998)[edit]

"When I Grow Up"[edit]

I'll be stable
When I grow up
I'll turn the tables

"You Look So Fine"[edit]

beautifulgarbage (2001)[edit]

"Silence Is Golden"[edit]

Special Collection (2002)[edit]

"Use Me"[edit]

Bleed Like Me (2005)[edit]

"Bad Boyfriend"[edit]

"Run Baby Run"[edit]

"Right Between the Eyes"[edit]

"Sex Is Not the Enemy"[edit]

Not Your Kind of People (2012)[edit]

"I Hate Love"[edit]

"Battle in Me"[edit]

Harvey Danger[edit]

Harvey Danger was an American indie rock band that formed in Seattle, Washington in 1993.

Where have all the merrymakers gone? (1997)[edit]

"Flagpole Sitta"[edit]

Jonathan Edwards[edit]

Jonathan Edwards (born 28 July 1946 in Aitkin, Minnesota) is an American singer-songwriter and musician best known for his 1972 hit single "Sunshine."

Jonathan Edwards (1971)[edit]


  • Some man's gone, he's trying to run my life; he don't know what he's asking
    When he tells me I better get in line, I can't hear what he's saying
    When I grow up, I'm gonna make it mine; these ain't dues I been paying
  • How much does it cost? I'll buy it!
    The time is all we've lost; I'll try it!
    And he can't even run his own life; I'll be damned if he'll run mine!
  • Working starts to make me wonder where the fruits of what I do are going
    He says in love and war all is fair, but he's got cards he ain't showing
  • This old world, she's gonna turn around; brand new bells will be ringing

Katy Perry[edit]

Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (born 25 October 1984), better known by her stage name Katy Perry, is an American singer-songwriter and musician.

Teenage Dream (2010)[edit]

"Teenage Dream"[edit]

Kings of Leon[edit]

Marcy Playground[edit]

Marilyn Manson[edit]

Mazzy Star[edit]

Mazzy Star was an American dream pop/alternative band.  They formed in 1989, from the band Opal, a collaboration of guitarist David Roback and bassist Kendra Smith.  Smith's friend Hope Sandoval became vocalist when Smith left the band.

Meat Puppets[edit]


With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Nature is a whore
Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be
Never met a wise man; if so, it's a woman
Just because you're paranoid don't mean they're not after you
Somewhere I have heard this before…in a dream my memory has stored…
She borrows time to self-invent
Teenage angst has paid off well
I think I'm dumb, or maybe just happy
Angel left wing, right wing, broken wing
You won't be afraid of fear
Nirvana is an American grunge band formed by singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987.  Nirvana went through a succession of drummers, the longest-lasting being Dave Grohl, who joined the band in 1990.  Despite releasing only three full-length studio albums in their seven-year career, Nirvana has come to be regarded as one of the most influential and important rock bands of the modern era.

"Bleach" (1989)[edit]

"Paper Cuts"[edit]

  • I see others just like me, why do they not try to escape?

"Swap Meet"[edit]

  • She loves him more than he will ever know
    He loves her more than he will ever show

"Mr. Moustache"[edit]

  • Yes I eat cow I am not proud.

Nevermind (1991)[edit]

"Smells Like Teen Spirit"[edit]

  • It's fun to lose and to pretend
  • I'm worst at what I do best
  • With the lights out, it's less dangerous
    Here we are now, entertain us
    I feel stupid and contagious
    Here we are now, entertain us

"In Bloom"[edit]

"Come As You Are"[edit]

  • Come
    As you are


  • Even if you have, even if you need
    I don't mean to stare, we don't have to breed
    We could plant a house, we could build a tree
    I don't even care, we could have all three


"Territorial Pissings"[edit]

  • Never met a wise man
    If so, it's a woman
  • Just because you're paranoid
    Don't mean they're not after you

"Stay Away"[edit]

"On a Plain"[edit]

  • It's safe to say, "Don't quote me on that"
  • Somewhere I have heard this before
    In a dream my memory has stored
  • It is now time
    To make it unclear
    To write off lines
    That don't make sense

Puss/Oh, The Guilt (1993 split single)[edit]

"Oh, the Guilt"[edit]

  • She likes the time
    She owns the time
    She borrows time to self-invent

Heart-Shaped Box (1993 single)[edit]


In Utero (1993)[edit]

"Serve The Servants"[edit]

  • Teenage angst has paid off well
    Now I'm bored and old
    Self-appointed judges judge
    More than they have sold
  • If she floats than she is not
    A witch like we had thought
  • I tried hard to have a father
    But instead I had a dad
  • I just want you to know that I
    Don't hate you anymore
    There is nothing I could say
    That I haven't thought before

"Heart-Shaped Box"[edit]

"Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle"[edit]

  • I miss the comfort in being sad
    • Sounds like: Why was she comforting me insane?
  • She'll come back as fire, to burn all the liars, [and] leave a blanket of ash on the ground
    • Liner notes include the "and", but I don't hear it in the actual track


"Very Ape"[edit]

  • I take pride as the king of illiterature
    • Sounds like: I take pride as the king of literature
  • If you ever need anything, please don't
    Hesitate to ask someone else first
    I'm too busy acting like I'm not naïve
    I've seen it all
    I was here first

"Milk It"[edit]

"Pennyroyal Tea"[edit]

"Radio Friendly Unit Shifter"[edit]

The Beavis and Butt-head Experience (1993)[edit]

"I Hate Myself and Want to Die"[edit]

Paul Revere & the Raiders[edit]

Paul Revere & the Raiders is an American rock band that saw considerable U. S. mainstream success in the second half of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Midnight Ride (1966)[edit]

"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"[edit]

  • I'm not your stepping stone


Peach (also known as Peach [gb]) was a progressive metal band from England that originally recorded between 1991 and 1994.  The band was renamed Sterling in 1995, and Simon Oakes and Rob Havis later reformed as Suns of the Tundra in 2000.

" Giving Birth to a Stone (1994)[edit]

"You Lied"[edit]

  • Setting sun can't shine, now you're gone
    Inside sleeping, my heart beating
    You know that you tried to hide it
    Shouldn't you have said what you meant?
  • Time heals, time congeals around you
    Painless hours of endless motion
    Understanding's not demanding
    You can't hide what you feel inside


Pussy Riot[edit]


Sex Pistols[edit]

Steve Miller Band[edit]

The Steve Miller Band is an American rock band formed in 1966 in San Francisco, California.  The band is managed by Steve Miller on guitar and lead vocals, and is best known today for a string of (mainly) mid-1970s hit singles that are staples of classic rock radio, as well as several earlier acid rock albums.

Fly Like an Eagle (1976)[edit]

"Fly Like an Eagle"[edit]

  • Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping…into the future

System of a Down[edit]

T. Rex[edit]

"Children of the Revolution"[edit]

  • But you won't fool the children of the revolution
    No, you won't fool the children of the revolution
    No, you won't fool the children of the revolution
    No, you won't fool the children of the revolution

The Doors[edit]

The Offspring[edit]

The Offspring is a popular American punk band from Orange County which formed in 1984.

The Soundtrack of Our Lives[edit]

The Soundtrack of Our Lives, often abbreviated T.S.O.O.L., was a Swedish alternative rock band that was formed in Gothenburg in 1995 and disbanded in 2012.  All lyrics were sung in English.

The Strokes[edit]

The Temptations[edit]

The Temptations are an American vocal group known for their success with Motown Records during the 1960s and 1970s.  Known for their choreography, distinct harmonies, and flashy wardrobe, the group was highly influential to the evolution R&B and soul music.

All Directions (1972)[edit]

"Mother Nature"[edit]

  • Mother Nature
    Go on and take your course
    And a-take me with you
    Hey, I wanna leave here, oh-oh

    Mother Nature
    Take the chains off me, me-e-e
    As long as I'm livin', livin'
    Hey, I wanna be free
    , hey

    Come on and let your sweet wine
    Rush to my head
    And make me feel fine

    Let me stand naked in the sun
    Hiding from no one

    Hey, hey, hey

    Mother Nature
    Come on and do your thing
    I want to start feeling, yeah
    All those good things you can bring
    Hey, hey


Seems like I'm slipping into a dream within a dream.
Choices always were a problem for you.
I don't want to be hostile, I don't want to be dismal, but I don't want to rot in an apathetic existence, either.
Why can't we not be sober?  I just want to start this over.  Why can't we sleep forever?  I just want to start this over.
Hoping I can clear the way by stepping through my shadow, coming out the other side.
Saw the gap again today.
It's some kind of psychedelic experience.
Desperate to control all and everything.
I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them fall away.
Stay inside of this holy reality, this holy experience.
This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality.  Embrace this moment, remember: we are eternal, all this pain is an illusion.
Over thinking, over analysing separates the body from the mind, withering my intuition, leaving all these opportunities behind.
May just go where no one's been, we'll ride the spiral to the end.
I may find peace within the emptiness.
The government knows about them.  And, th-there's a lot of safe areas in this world that they could begin moving the population to now.  They are not!  They want those major population centres wiped out so that the—the few that are left will be more easily controllable. ~ Recording from the Art Bell syndicated radio programme
Shine on forever.
He's guilty as the government.
Pure as we begin.
Father blessed them all with reason, and this is what they choose?
Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over pieces of the ground.  Silly monkeys, give them thumbs, they make a club and beat their brother down.  How they survive so misguided is a mystery.
Tool is an American progressive metal band from Los Angeles, California.  Formed in 1990, the group's line-up has included drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan.  Since 1995, Justin Chancellor has been the band's bassist, replacing their original bassist Paul D'Amour.  Tool has won three Grammy Awards, performed worldwide tours, and produced albums topping the charts in several countries.

Opiate (1992)[edit]


See also: "A Dream Within a Dream" by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Sweating, and breathing
    And staring, and thinking
    Sinking deeper
    And it's almost like I'm swimming
  • I'm trying to remember when, but it makes me dizzy
  • Seems like I've been here before
    Seems so familiar
    Seems like I'm slipping
    Into a dream within a dream



Undertow (1993)[edit]


  • I don't want to be hostile
    I don't want to be dismal
    But I don't want to rot in an
    Apathetic existence, either

"Prison Sex"[edit]

  • Do unto others what has been done to you


  • There's a shadow just behind me
    Shrouding every step I take
  • Jesus, won't you fucking whistle
    Something but the past and done?
    • Sounds like: Jesus wants his fucking whistle, something but the past in time
  • I am just a worthless liar
    I am just an imbecile
    I will only complicate you
    Trust in me and fall as well
    I will find a centre in you
    I will chew it up and leave
    I will work to elevate you
    Just enough to bring you down
  • Why can't we not be sober?
    I just want to start this over
    Why can't we sleep forever?
    I just want to start this over
    • Sounds like: Why can't we knock this over

"Bottom" (feat. Henry Rollins)[edit]

  • My compassion is broken now
  • So smell my soul is burning
  • If I let you, you would make me destroy myself.  In order to survive you, I must first survive myself.  And I can sink no further.  And I cannot forgive you.  There's no choice but to confront you, to engage you, to erase you.  I've gone to great lengths to expand my threshold of pain.  I will use my mistakes against you; there's no other choice.  Shameless, now.  Nameless, now.  I'm nothing, now.  I'm no one, now.  But my soul must be iron 'cause my fear is naked.  I'm naked and fearless.  And my fear is naked!
    • These lines constitute Henry Rollins's spoken-word portion of the song; Maynard resumes singing while Rollins is speaking the last three words.

"Swamp Song"[edit]




Ænima (1996)[edit]

"Forty-Six & 2"[edit]

  • Hoping I can clear the way
    By stepping through my shadow
    Coming out the other side


"Third Eye"[edit]

Salival (2000)[edit]

"Third Eye" (live)[edit]

"Merkaba" (live)[edit]


  • If you are calling from a secret spy phone, please press 5.

Lateralus (2001)[edit]


  • I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them fall away
  • Disintegrating as it goes, testing our communication
    The light that fueled our fire then has burned a hole between us so
    We cannot seem to reach an end, crippling our communication

    I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them tumble down
    No fault, none to blame—it doesn't mean I don't desire
    To point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over
    To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication

    The poetry that comes from the squaring off between
    And the circling is worth it, finding beauty in the dissonance

    There was a time that the pieces fit, but I watched them fall away

  • Cold silence has a tendency to atrophy any sense of compassion



"Ticks & Leeches"[edit]

  • You have turned my blood cold and bitter


See also Fibonacci numbers.


  • I may find peace within the emptiness
  • I must crucify the ego before it's far too late
  • And we will come to find that we are all one mind

"Faaip de Oiad"[edit]

According to Danny Carey, the voice in this song is a person who called the Art Bell syndicated radio programme on 11 September 2007.[37]  However, a YouTube video containing the original transmission can be found with an upload date predating the date provided by Carey.[38]  A caller admitted some point later that he was the caller and that his original call was fraudulent.[39]
  • I'm a former employee of Area 51.  …  What we're thinking of as—as aliens, uh—they're—th-they're extradimensional beings that an earlier precursor of the, um, the space programme made contact with.  Uh, they-they are not what they claim to be.  …  The government knows about them.  And, th-there's a lot of safe areas in this world that they could begin moving the population to now.  They are not!  They want those major population centres wiped out so that the—the few that are left will be more easily controllable.

10,000 Days (2006)[edit]


"Wings for Marie (Pt 1)"[edit]

  • What am I to say to all these ghouls tonight?

"10,000 Days (Wings Pt 2)"[edit]

  • Set as I am in my ways and my arrogance
    Burden of proof tossed upon the believers
    You were my witness, my eyes, my evidence
    Judith Marie, unconditional one
    • Judith Marie Keenan (22 November 1943 – 18 June 2003) was Maynard James Keenan's mother

"The Pot"[edit]

"Rosetta Stoned"[edit]


"Right in Two"[edit]

Other songs[edit]

"Divorced" (by the Melvins featuring Tool)[edit]

"Revolution" (demo collaboration by Tool and Rage Against the Machine)[edit]

About Tool[edit]

Violent Femmes[edit]

Big hands, I know you're the one

Violent Femmes are an American alternative rock band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, initially active from 1980 to 1987 and again from 1988 to 2009.  As of 2013, they are active again.  The band has performed as a trio, including: singer, guitarist and songwriter Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and three drummers, Victor DeLorenzo (1980–1993, 2002–2009, and 2013), Guy Hoffman (1993–2002), and Brian Viglione (2013–present).  Violent Femmes were one of the most successful alternative rock bands of the 1980s, selling over 9 million albums by 2005.


Violent Femmes (1983)[edit]

"Blister in the Sun"[edit]

  • When I'm awalking, I strut my stuff, and I'm so strung out
    I'm high as a kite; I just might stop to check you out
  • Let me go on like I blister in the Sun
    Let me go on; big hands, I know you're the one
  • My girlfriend, she's at the end, she is starting to cry

"Kiss Off"[edit]

  • I need someone, a person to talk to
    Someone who'd care to love
    Could it be you?
    Could it be you?
  • Well, you can all just kiss off into the air
    Behind my back, I can see them stare
    They'll hurt me bad, but I won't mind
    They'll hurt me bad, they do it all the time
  • I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record!
    Oh, yeah?  Well, don't get so distressed
    Did I happen to mention that I'm impressed?
  • I take one, one, one 'cause you left me
    And two, two, two for my family
    And three, three, three for my heartache
    And four, four, four for my headaches
    And five, five, five for my lonely
    And six, six, six for my sorrow
    And seven, seven, n-n-no tomorrow
    And eight, eight, I forget what eight was for
    But nine, nine, nine for the lost gods
    Ten, ten, ten, ten for everything, everything, everything, everything!

"Add It Up"[edit]

  • Day
    After day
    I will walk
    And I will play
    But the day
    After today
    I will stop
    And I will start
  • Why can't I get just one fuck?
    Why can't I get just one fuck?
    I guess it's got something to do with luck
    But I waited my whole life for just one—day
    After day
    I get angry
    And I will say
    That the day
    Is in my sight
    When I'll take a bow
    And say goodnight
  • Share a smoke
    Make a joke
    Grasp and reach for a leg of hope
  • Words all failed the magic prize
    Nothing I can say when I'm in your thighs
  • I would love to love you, lover
    The city is restless
    It's ready to pounce
    Here in your bedroom, ounce for ounce

"Prove My Love"[edit]


  • Do you know what it's like to hate
    When it's way down deep inside?
    Oh, God, I hate
    Wh-what's been done to my life
    I could rule the pain
    I could rule the night
    Oh, would I ruin my salvation?
    Ruin my mind
    Rue your pains
    Rulers of the night
    Ruin your salvation
    Ruin your mind
  • You know that I want your loving
    Well Mr. Logic—Mr. Logic tells me that it's never gonna happen
    And then my defenses say, "Well, I-I-I didn't want it anyway"
    But you know sometimes I'm a liar
    Could you ever want me to love you?
    Could you ever want me to care?
    Disregard my ner-vous-ness
    Pl-please ignore my vacant stares
    Just what I've been through
    Is nothing like what I'm going to
    Give me some sign to pursue—a promise
    A promise
    And you're unhappy
    And you're unhappy
    And you're unhappy
    And you're unhappy, but this is only a guess

"Gone Daddy Gone"[edit]

  • Tell by the way that you switch and walk
    I can see by the way that you baby-talk
    I can know by the way that you treat your man
    I can love you, baby, 'til it's a cryin'…
    • This verse was not written by the Violent Femmes, but rather first appears in "I Just Want to Make Love to You", a 1954 blues song written by Willie Dixon and first recorded by Muddy Waters.
    • Original lyrics:
      • Well I can see by the way that you switch and walk
        And I can tell by the way you baby talk
        And I know by the way you treat your man
        That I could love you, baby, 'til it's a cryin' shame

"Gimme the Car"[edit]

Hallowed Ground (1984)[edit]

"Country Death Song"[edit]

"Never Tell"[edit]

  • Hey, sister, have you heard?
    Some people stand like trees without a word
  • It's of utmost importance
    We're dealing with volatile substance
  • I've had so much
    On my mind
    I was so glad
    When I died!
  • Make sure no one finds out
    'Cause then the lights will go out
  • I stood right up in the heart of Hell!
    I never tell!

"Jesus Walking on the Water"[edit]

  • Did he, did he, did he
    Die upon that cross?
    And did he, did he, did he
    Come back across?

"I Know It's True But I'm Sorry To Say"[edit]

"Hallowed Ground"[edit]

"Sweet Misery Blues"[edit]

  • Yeah, I'm gonna corner you in an elevator
    And you won't be able to put me off 'til later
    I'll put on my charm, I'll tingle your spine
    I'll take off my charm, And then you'll wanna die

"Black Girls"[edit]

The Blind Leading the Naked (1986)[edit]

This title is a play on the figure of speech, "the blind leading the blind."

"No Killing"[edit]


"Breakin' Hearts"[edit]

  • See that girl
    She put me in a whirl


  • Special, special, what do you get?
    Another day older and deeper in debt
    • This line is partially lifted from "Sixteen Tons" by Merle Travis (Folk Songs of the Hills, 1947).
    • Original lyrics:
      • You load sixteen tons and what do you get?
        Another day older and deeper in debt
    • That line, in turn, came from a letter written by Travis's brother, John.

"Love & Me Make Three"[edit]

Written by Brian Ritchie and Victor DeLorenzo.

"I Held Her in My Arms"[edit]

  • I was with a girl
    But it felt like it was with a boy

    And I can't even remember
    If we were lovers
    Or if I just wanted to
    But I held her in my arms
    I held her in my arms
    I held her in my arms but it wasn't you

  • Help me, Lord
    Help me understand
    What it means to be a boy
    And what it means to be a man


  • I been workin' twenty-five hours a day
    I don't want to live this way

"Cold Canyon"[edit]

  • Just the other night I came face-to-face with my past
    Came down like a lightning bolt, struck me with a flash
  • Woke up in a strange room and then I saw a door
    I went right over and opened it though I'd never been there before

"World Without Mercy"[edit]

Written by Victor DeLorenzo.

3 (1989)[edit]


"Just Like My Father"[edit]

  • Oh, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts to be like Cain

"Dating Days"[edit]


  • I hope you got fat
    I hope you got really fat

"Fool in the Full Moon"[edit]

"Nothing Worth Living For"[edit]

  • The pain
    Is somewhere
    Very close
    To me

"Telephone Book"[edit]

"Mother of a Girl"[edit]


  • Well, I'm reading this poem and it's
    So profound, and I
    I like its rhythm, and I
    I like its sound, by a
    Very famous poet
    No critic can criticise, and then I
    I pause a moment
    And I start to realise
    He's tellin'
    Lies, lies, lies, lies
    Lies, lies, lies, lies
    Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies, lies
  • I never had this problem
    With nobody in the government
    I guess I always figured
    They never mean what they meant

"See My Ships"[edit]

Why Do Birds Sing? (1991)[edit]

"American Music"[edit]

  • Do you like American music?
    I like American music
    Don't you like American music, baby?
  • Did you do too many drugs?
    I did too many drugs
    Did you do too many drugs, too, baby?
  • You were born too late
    I was born too soon
    But every time I look at that ugly moon
    It reminds me of you
  • They didn't like American music
    They never heard American music
    They didn't know the music was in my soul-oul-oul-oul, baby
  • Do you like American music?
    We like all kinds of music
    But I like American music best, baby

"Out the Window"[edit]

"Look Like That"[edit]

"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" (Culture Club cover)[edit]

Original version written by George Alan O'Dowd, Michael Craig, Roy Hay, and Jon Moss.

  • I did dances inside my mind
    • The original Culture Club line was:
      • I have danced inside your eyes
  • In my mind my memory's burning
    • The original Culture Club line was:
      • In my heart the fires burning
  • I took a step, the step was learning
    That that's a step beyond a step too far
    • The original Culture Club line was:
      • Precious people always tell me
        That's a step a step too far
  • I told the truth but it was still a lie
    • This line bears so similarity to any line in the Culture Club original.

"Hey Nonny Nonny"[edit]

Most of the lyrics were lifted directly from a sixteenth century poem by Shepard Tonie titled "Colin."  Only the third verse is original to Gordon Gano.

  • Say, man, are you down for doing something positive in the community?
    No, I don't think I'll ever do that again.
    • This line does not appear in the original poem.

"Girl Trouble"[edit]

  • I got girl trouble up the ass

"He Likes Me"[edit]

"Life is a Scream"[edit]

  • Well, don't you know, baby, that life is a scream?

"Lack of Knowledge"[edit]

"I'm Free"[edit]

Add It Up (1981–1993) (1993)[edit]


  • The Violent Femmes, they bring all their equipment on the bus.  And you can't fuck with the Violent Femmes; you cannot fuck with this band!

"Waiting for the Bus"[edit]

Previously unreleased demo, 1981.

  • Would you please open up the back door?

"Gordon's Message"[edit]

Answering machine message, 1982.  Gordon left this message to explain why he would be late for their first recording session.

  • Hello, this is Gordon of the Violent Femmes and I've just been locked inside my house so I can't go out.


Recorded as a demo for the title track of a movie that was never made, 1985.

"I Hate the TV"[edit]

Previously unreleased, 1985.

  • I hate the president
    I hate the president
    I hate the president
    I hate the president
    Y'know that he's killing me
    Y'know that he's killing me

"America Is"[edit]

Previously unreleased, 1985.


Radio spot, 1985.

"Dance, Motherfucker, Dance!"[edit]

Previously released as a b-side in Australia and Europe.

  • When I say "dance," you best dance, motherfucker!

"Johnny" (live)[edit]

Recorded live at the Beneath It All Cafe, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 12 September 1981.

  • And I wonder what it's like to die
  • Can you tell me, John?
    Can you tell me what it's like to die?
    Can you tell me what it's like to die?
    Tell me what it's like to die

The Crow: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1994)[edit]

"Color Me Once"[edit]

  • Everlasting arms, you gotta keep me from these false alarms
  • The fire of her desire

New Times (1994)[edit]

"Don't Start Me on the Liquor"[edit]

"Breakin' Up"[edit]

  • Dark voices are talking to me
    Dark voices tell me the way it's supposed to be
  • They said "Breakin' up"
    They said "It's hard to do"
    But what they say about breakin' up
    Y'know it's just not true

"Key of 2"[edit]


"I'm Nothing"[edit]

  • I'm nothing, but I'm not proud
    'Cause bein' nothin', it's not allowed
  • What's your reality?
    It's not real to me

"I Saw You in the Crowd"[edit]

  • But I saw her face
    I saw her eyes
    I saw His grace
    In the dark'ning skies
  • I will not be boring

Rock!!!!! (1995)[edit]

"Living a Lie"[edit]

"Bad Dream"[edit]

  • I'm living in a bad dream
    I'm living in a bad dream
    I'm living in a bad dream gone bad
    I'm living in a bad dream
    I'm living in a bad dream
    I'm living in a bad dream that's sad

"Thanksgiving (No Way Out)"[edit]

"Life Is an Adventure"[edit]

"I Wanna See You Again"[edit]

"Death Drugs"[edit]

"Sweet Worlds of Angels"[edit]

  • And I'm breezing in and out
    Let it flow
    It's just so mellow under my pillow
    It's just so mellow
    I'm surrounded by pillows
  • I will come and run to meet the sun
    With my songs for the morning
    And then I will smile upon you
    With my peace and my yearning
    Let if flow
    It's just so mellow
    Under my pillow
    It's just so mellow
    I'm surrounded by pillows
    The sun was yellow
    Beneath the streaming through the trees
    Clouds are great pillows
    Floating so grandly above the trees

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture (1999)[edit]

"I Swear It (I Can Change)"[edit]

Viva Wisconsin (1999)[edit]

"I'm Nothing" (live)[edit]

  • words

"Don't Talk About My Music" (live)[edit]

  • words

Freak Magnet (2000)[edit]

"Hollywood Is High"[edit]

  • words

"Freak Magnet"[edit]

  • words


  • words

"All I Want"[edit]

  • words

"In the Dark"[edit]

  • words

"Rejoice and Be Happy"[edit]

  • words

"Mosh Pit"[edit]

  • words

"When You Died"[edit]

  • words

"At Your Feet"[edit]

  • words

"I'm Bad"[edit]

  • words

"Happiness Is"[edit]

  • words

"A Story"[edit]

  • words

Something's Wrong (2001)[edit]

"12 Steps"[edit]

  • words

"Yes Oh Yes"[edit]

  • words

"Rules of Success"[edit]

  • words


  • words

"Reckless Stones"[edit]

  • words


  • words

"Washtub Bender"[edit]

  • words


  • words

"Something's Wrong"[edit]

  • words


  • words

"I Know It's True"[edit]

  • words

"Waiting for a Bus"[edit]