Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.”     Frederick Bastiat

January 25, 2009

Quote Of The Day

by Brad Warbiany

Relayed by the Mises folks:

The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.”
- J.R.R. Tolkien

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1 Comment

  1. In case anyone wants the context, this comes from a letter he wrote to his son Christopher in 1943 (cf The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, p. 63-64). The full quotation is:

    “My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)—or to ‘unconstitutional Monarchy.’ I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate realm of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights not mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate! If we could get back to personal names, it would do a lot of good. Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so as to refer to people. If people were in the habit of referring to ‘King George’s council, Winston and his gang,’ it would go a long way to clearing thought, and reducing the frightful landslide into Theyocacy. Anyway the proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity. The mediaevals were only too right in taking nolo episcopari ['I do not wish to be made a bishop'] as the best reason a man could give to others for making him a bishop.”

    Comment by Miko — January 25, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

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