Despotism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "despotism" (showing 1-30 of 53)
Abraham Lincoln
“As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Letters

Thomas Jefferson
“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.”
Thomas Jefferson

George Washington
“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.”
George Washington, George Washington's Farewell Address

John Stuart Mill
“Even despotism does not produce its worst effects, so long as individuality exists under it; and whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called, and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.”
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

Philip G. Zimbardo
“Fear is the State's psychological weapon of choice to frighten citizens into sacrificing their basic freedoms and rule-of-law protections in exchange for the security promised by their all-powerful government.”
Philip G. Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

G.K. Chesterton
“If there is one fact we really can prove, from the history that we really do know, it is that despotism can be a development, often a late development and very often indeed the end of societies that have been highly democratic. A despotism may almost be defined as a tired democracy. As fatigue falls on a community, the citizens are less inclined for that eternal vigilance which has truly been called the price of liberty; and they prefer to arm only one single sentinel to watch the city while they sleep.”
G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Thomas Jefferson
“We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a featherbed.”
Thomas Jefferson

John  Adams
“This society [Jesuits] has been a greater calamity to mankind than the French Revolution, or Napoleon's despotism or ideology. It has obstructed the progress of reformation and the improvement of the human mind in society much longer and more fatally.

{Letter to Thomas Jefferson, November 4, 1816. Adams wrote an anonymous 4 volume work on the destructive history of the Jesuits}”
John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams

“The fact is that the modern implementation of the prison planet has far surpassed even Orwell’s 1984 and the only difference between our society and those fictionalized by Huxley, Orwell and others, is that the advertising techniques used to package the propaganda are a little more sophisticated on the surface.
Yet just a quick glance behind the curtain reveals that the age old tactics of manipulation of fear and manufactured consensus are still being used to force humanity into accepting the terms of its own imprisonment and in turn policing others within the prison without bars.”
Paul Joseph Watson

John Stuart Mill
“Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement.”
John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

G.K. Chesterton
“Man does not necessarily begin with despotism because he is barbarous, but very often finds his way to despotism because he is civilised. He finds it because he is experienced; or, what is often much the same thing, because he is exhausted”
G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

“First Afghanistan, now Iraq. So who's next? Syria? North Korea? Iran? Where will it all end?' If these illegal interventions are permitted to continue, the implication seems to be, pretty soon, horror of horrors, no murderously repressive regimes might remain.”
Daniel Kofman, A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq

Christopher Hitchens
“Call no man lucky until he is dead, but there have been moment of rare satisfaction in the often random and fragmented life of the radical freelance scribbler. I have lived to see Ronald Reagan called “a useful idiot for Kremlin propaganda” by his former idolators; to see the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union regarded with fear and suspicion by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (which blacked out an interview with Miloš Forman broadcast live on Moscow TV); to see Mao Zedong relegated like a despot of antiquity. I have also had the extraordinary pleasure of revisiting countries—Greece, Spain, Zimbabwe, and others—that were dictatorships or colonies when first I saw them. Other mini-Reichs have melted like dew, often bringing exiled and imprisoned friends blinking modestly and honorably into the glare. E pur si muove—it still moves, all right.”
Christopher Hitchens, Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports

Christopher Hitchens
“Suppose that we agree that the two atrocities can or may be mentioned in the same breath. Why should we do so? I wrote at the time (The Nation, October 5, 1998) that Osama bin Laden 'hopes to bring a "judgmental" monotheism of his own to bear on these United States.' Chomsky's recent version of this is 'considering the grievances expressed by people of the Middle East region.' In my version, then as now, one confronts an enemy who wishes ill to our society, and also to his own (if impermeable religious despotism is considered an 'ill'). In Chomsky's reading, one must learn to sift through the inevitable propaganda and emotion resulting from the September 11 attacks, and lend an ear to the suppressed and distorted cry for help that comes, not from the victims, but from the perpetrators. I have already said how distasteful I find this attitude. I wonder if even Chomsky would now like to have some of his own words back? Why else should he take such care to quote himself deploring the atrocity? Nobody accused him of not doing so. It's often a bad sign when people defend themselves against charges which haven't been made.”
Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left

Roger Scruton
“Sanctions make a substantial contribution to power based on privation, and they have never hurt a single despot in the whole history of their use.”
Roger Scruton, A Matter of Principle: Humanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq

Ryszard Legutko
“…egalitarianism and despotism do not exclude each other, but usually go hand in hand. To a certain degree, equality invites despotism, because in order to make all members of a society equal, and then to maintain this equality for a long period of time, it is necessary to equip the controlling institutions with exceptional power so they can stamp out any potential threat to equality in every sector of the society and any aspect of human life: to paraphrase a well-known sentence by one of Dostoyevsky’s characters, ‘We start with absolute equality and we end up with absolute despotism.’ Some call it a paradox of equality: the more equality one wants to introduce, the more power one must have; the more power one has, the more one violates the principle of equality; the more one violates the principle of equality, the more one is in a position to make the world egalitarian.”
Ryszard Legutko, Triumf człowieka pospolitego

Thomas Jefferson
“You seem to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.... Their power [is] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.”
Thomas Jefferson

Gregory David Roberts
“Despotism despieses nothing so much as righteousness in its victims”
Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

John  Myer
“History has seen many who claim to be deliverer and saviour of the people. They might come with force and violence and parade their might and splendour as conquerors. The pharaohs of Egypt, Sennacherib king of Assyria, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Darius of Persia, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Napoleon, Clive of India, Bismarck, the Kaiser, Hitler, Stalin. The story and scene is always the same. They claim to deliver the people from bondage and to establish justice, freedom and peace. They come in might, riding in splendour, dragging prisoners.”
John Myer, John Myer: A Collection of his Sermons and Writing, #1

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“Je voulais vous exposer mon livre aussi succinctement que possible; mais je vois qu'il me faudra y joindre encore quantité d'explications verbales. Mon exposé exigera donc au moins dix soirées d'après le nombre de chapitres de mon livre. (Il y eut quelques rires.) De plus, je dois vous prévenir que mon système n'est pas complètement achevé. (Nouveaux rires.) Je me suis embrouillé dans mes propres données et ma conclusion se trouve en contradiction directe avec l'idée fondamentale du système. Partant de la liberté illimitée, j'aboutis au despotisme illimité. J'ajoute à cela, cependant, qu'il ne peut y avoir d'autre solution du problème que la mienne.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Demons

“You give way to an enemy this evil with this much power and you condemn the galaxy to an eternity of submission.”
Alexander Freed, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Danielle Tremblay
“Despotism favors the despot, nepotism favors the despot's genes.”
Danielle Tremblay

Daniel Webster
“Whatever government is not a government of laws, is a despotism, let it be called what it may”
Daniel Webster

Kahlil Gibran
“Ve tahtından indirmek istediğiniz bir despotsa söz konusu olan, önce onun içinizde kurulu tahtını ortadan kaldırın. Bir zorba özgür ve gururlu olanlara nasıl hükmedebilir, eğer onların kendi özgürlüklerinde bir zorbalık, kendi gururlarında bir utanç yoksa? Ve üstünüzden atmak istediğiniz bir yükümlülükse söz konusu olan, bu yükümlülük size dayatılmadı, onu siz seçtiniz.”
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Tanya Thompson
“There’s no English equivalent for silovik. It doesn’t translate succinctly because to create something as Machiavellian as a silovik requires both the KGB and the GRU, and then a shift from communism to capitalism followed by a gear-grinding reverse into despotism.”
Tanya Thompson, Red Russia

Wilhelm Reich
“The German and Russian state apparatuses grew out of despotism. For this reason the subservient nature of the human character of masses of people in Germany and in Russia was exceptionally pronounced. Thus, in both cases, the revolution led to a new despotism with the certainty of irrational logic. In contrast to the German and Russia state apparatuses, the American state apparatus was formed by groups of people who had evaded European and Asian despotism by fleeing to a virgin territory free of immediate and effective traditions. Only in this way can it be understood that, until the time of this writing, a totalitarian state apparatus was not able to develop in America, whereas in Europe every overthrow of the government carried out under the slogan of freedom inevitably led to despotism. This holds true for Robespierre, as well as for Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. If we want to appraise the facts impartially, then we have to point out, whether we want to or not, and whether we like it or not, that Europe's dictators, who based their power on vast millions of people, always stemmed from the suppressed classes. I do not hesitate to assert that this fact, as tragic as it is, harbors more material for social research than the facts related to the despotism of a czar or of a Kaiser Wilhelm. By comparison, the latter facts are easily understood. The founders of the American Revolution had to build their democracy from scratch on foreign soil. The men who accomplished this task had all been rebels against English despotism. The Russian Revolutionaries, on the other had, were forced to take over an already existing and very rigid government apparatus. Whereas the Americans were able to start from scratch, the Russians, as much as they fought against it, had to drag along the old. This may also account for the fact that the Americans, the memory of their own flight from despotism still fresh in their minds, assumed an entirely different—more open and more accessible—attitude toward the new refugees of 1940, than Soviet Russia, which closed its doors to them. This may explain why the attempt to preserve the old democratic ideal and the effort to develop genuine self-administration was much more forceful in the United States than anywhere else. We do not overlook the many failures and retardations caused by tradition, but in any event a revival of genuine democratic efforts took place in America and not in Russia. It can only be hoped that American democracy will thoroughly realize, and this before it is too late, that fascism is not confined to any one nation or any one party; and it is to be hoped that it will succeed in overcoming the tendency toward dictatorial forms in the people themselves. Only time will tell whether the Americans will be able to resist the compulsion of irrationality or whether they will succumb to it.”
Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism

“An absolute law without hope of appeal that's despotism!”
Phineas Flynn

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