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

“Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.”     Barry Goldwater

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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