„p>So what is government? Very simply, it is an agency of coercion.Of course, there are other agencies of coercion—such as the Mafia. So to be more precise, government is the agency of coercion that has flags in front of its offices.Or to put it another way, government is society's dominant producer of coercion. The Mafia and independent bandits are merely fringe competitors—seeking to take advantage of the niches and nooks neglected by the government.</p“

—  Harry Browne, 1990s, Why Government Doesn't Work (1996), Part One, chapter 2, page 12
Harry Browne photo
Harry Browne
politico statunitense 1933 - 2006
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„If they will abandon the habit of mutilating, murdering, robbing, and of preventing honest persons who are attached to England from earning their livelihood, they may be sure there will be no demand for coercion. Well, you will be told you have no alternative policy. My alternative policy is that Parliament should enable the Government of England to govern Ireland. Apply that recipe honestly, consistently, and resolutely for 20 years, and at the end of that time you will find that Ireland will be fit to accept any gifts in the way of local government or repeal of coercion laws that you may wish to give her. What she wants is government—government that does not flinch, that does not vary—government that she cannot hope to beat down by agitations at Westminster—government that does not alter in its resolutions or its temperature by the party changes which take place at Westminster.“

—  Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury British politician 1830 - 1903
1880s, Speech to the National Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations in St. James's Hall, London (15 May 1886), quoted in The Times (17 May 1886), p. 6. The Liberal MP John Morley responded https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1886/jun/03/tenth-night#S3V0306P0_18860603_HOC_120 by claiming that Salisbury was in favour of "20 years of coercion" for Ireland, which Salisbury contested https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/lords/1886/jun/04/personal-explanation#S3V0306P0_18860604_HOL_10.

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„The belief that there is some hidden cabal directing the course of events is a type of anthropomorphism – a way of finding agency in the entropy of history.“

—  John Gray 1948
The Soul of the Marionette: A Short Enquiry into Human Freedom (2015), In the Puppet Theatre: Puppetry, Conspiracy and Ouija Boards (p. 133)

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„The way people in democracies think of the government as something different from themselves is a real handicap. And, of course, sometimes the government confirms their opinion.“

—  Lewis Mumford American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic 1895 - 1990
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„We are a nation that has a government — not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our Government has no power except that granted it by the people.“

—  Ronald Reagan American politician, 40th president of the United States (in office from 1981 to 1989) 1911 - 2004
1980s, First term of office (1981–1985), First Inaugural address (1981), Context: We are a nation that has a government — not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our Government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed. It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the Federal establishment and to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the Federal Government and those reserved to the States or to the people. All of us need to be reminded that the Federal Government did not create the States; the States created the Federal Government. Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it is not my intention to do away with government. It is, rather, to make it work-work with us, not over us; to stand by our side, not ride on our back. Government can and must provide opportunity, not smother it; foster productivity, not stifle it.

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„Strength, the American way, is not manifested by threats of criminal prosecution or police state methods.
Leadership is not manifested by coercion, even against the resented.“

—  Margaret Chase Smith Member of the United States Senate from Maine 1897 - 1995
Context: Strength, the American way, is not manifested by threats of criminal prosecution or police state methods. Leadership is not manifested by coercion, even against the resented. Greatness is not manifested by unlimited pragmatism, which places such a high premium on the end justifying any means and any methods. Declaration of Conscience‎ (1972), p. 293; also misquoted as ending with "the end justifying any means and any measures."

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„Nature must govern technology, not the other way around.“

—  Tom Robbins American writer 1936
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„Religions are manipulated in order to serve those who govern society and not the other way around.“

—  Gore Vidal American writer 1925 - 2012
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