"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority.
It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made
to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.
There are men in all ages who mean to govern well,
but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters
. . . . . but they mean to be masters."- Noah Webster (1758–1843)
"Government's first duty is to protect people,
not to run their lives."- Ronald Reagan
"Can our system of government, our system of justice,
survive if one can be denied a freedom because he might abuse it?"- Harlon B. Carter"Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." - Phil Steffen
An Avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself. – Thomas Paine
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add "within the law," because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual. – Thomas Jefferson
The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. -- John Stuart Mill, "On Liberty", 1859
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.
-- C. S. Lewis