Pendulum Balance

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Collected Thoughts and Quotes About The Constitution, Liberty, and the Proper Role of Government

  • As government expands, liberty contracts. President Ronald Reagan
    (Video and Longer Speech Segment)

  • For some people, freedom means free to choose their own destiny. For other people, freedom means free to choose the destiny of others. (JB)

  • You either believe in freedom or you don't. If you act to destroy it by taking it from another, you don't believe in it. (JB)

  • If the desire of your heart is to shackle your neighbor, or to take from him for your own gain, government is the surest way. But be warned, by the same chains your forge for him, you too will be bound until you both are enslaved and impoverished. There will always be someone ready and willing to shackle and plunder you with the very tools of bondage you yourself made to shackle your neighbor. (JB)

    • The chains with which we bind our neighbor will someday bind us. (JB)

    • Unchecked, the common good eventually becomes common bondage. (JB)

    • The fundamental role of government is to protect rights, not take them away. (JB)

    • The more you advance tyranny and bondage for some, the more you advance it for all, including yourself. (JB)

    • Elected officials can be either the great protectors or the great destructors of freedom. (JB)

  • "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." Fifth Amendment, US Constitution

  • Taking from one to give to the whole is socialism, especially with no concern or just compensation for the one. (JB)

  • "We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force." Ayn Rand

  • There are two types of people in the world: Those who want to run their own lives, and those who want to run the lives of others. (JB)

  • “Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%.” (More on Mob Rule/Source)

  • A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner. What the wolves want matters, but so does what the sheep wants. (Source)

  • "In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." The Communist Manifesto

  • Marxism and Property Rights

  • Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent value is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)

  • The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. (Winston Churchill)

  • Democratic Socialsim: Where everything is free...except you. (Random Meme on Facebook)

  • People who have never been the target of government overreach or abuse are much less likely to see the need to keep the role of government in check. It is tempting to want to grow the power of government if you've never been harmed by government having too much power. Before using the government to control or take from someone else, imagine yourself as being the one controlled or taken from. (JB)

  • Some people view the government as a means to achieve legal theft of other people's stuff or rights. (JB)

  • "When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - You may know that your society is doomed." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

  • "Socialism = giving the government immense power to control almost every aspect of your life. While you may believe the current politician who is peddling this ridiculous notion is moral enough to handle that power with care, who is to say the next one will be, or the next one, or the next one. Politicians have agendas and agendas change. I realize that you feel you are being benevolent by voting for socialism, with the idea that you give the government enough power and they will take care of the poor, the hungry, and the needy, but that is simply not reality. Every single socialist government ever established has ended in bloodshed... every... single... one... As you may have heard, 'socialism is something you vote your way into but have to shoot your way out of...'" Brian Critchfield (See and Wicked Kings.)

  • Perhaps the amount of control the government should have over our lives should correlate to the level government is competent and moral. There are many public servants (both elected and staff) who are truly honest, decent, moral, competent, professional, and fully committed to serving the public, while not abusing their power. Sadly, all too often, public servants use their authority over our lives to advance their own self interest, deprive us of rightful liberties, or simply incompetently waste our resources and opportunities by pointless regulation or excessive taxation. Thus, it is essential to limit government authority due its limited ability to guarantee moral and competent governance. (JB)

  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves. (Rev. William John Henry Boetcker. Abbreviated.)

  • Quotes on Freedom by Eric Hoffer:

    • "A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business." Eric Hoffer
    • "People unfit for freedom—who cannot do much with it—are hungry for power. The desire for freedom…says: leave me alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities."
    • "The intellectual…derives his sense of usefulness mainly from directing, instructing, and planning—from minding other people's business…A free society is…a threat to the intellectual's sense of worth…Any social order that can function with a minimum of leadership will be anathema to the intellectual."
    • "The real 'haves' are they who can acquire freedom, self-confidence, and even riches without depriving others of them…by developing and applying their potentialities. On the other hand, the real 'have nots' are they who cannot have aught except by depriving others of it. They can feel free only by diminishing the freedom of others, self-confident by spreading fear and dependence among others, and rich by making others poor."
    • "Men of power…their main purpose is the elimination or neutralization of the independent individual…every device they employ aims at turning men into a manipulable 'animated instrument,' which is Aristotle's definition of a slave."
    • "Absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep."
    • "We all have private ails. The troublemakers are they who need public cures for their private ails."
    • "To the frustrated, freedom from responsibility is more attractive than freedom from restraint."
    • "No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion—it is an evil government."
    • More Eric Hoffer Quotes on Freedom

  • Scriptural warnings against the tyranny of man.


  • It is a sacred trust when we give our neighbors (and as proxy elected officials) authority over our lives and property. If the original purpose of that trust is lost, that authority can easily be abused whether by good or malicious intent. The result can be public theft of private life, liberty, or property. That theft is cloaked in many robes from common good to community vision to socialism to communism. In the end, theft is theft. (JB)

  • Zoning law used to protect is just. Zoning law used to take is theft. (JB)

  • Is the purpose of zoning laws to protect neighbors and the Town from harmful land use? Or is it to give the town a tool to take things from property owners to satisfy the needs of the Town? It is the latter if you seek a socialistic government. However, if you want a Constitutional government that protects liberty and the right to property, it is strictly limited to the former! (JB)

  • If you let a land owner do anything they want with no concern for harm to neighbors or community, you are abusing your authority. Likewise, if you give neighbors and community everything they want with no concern for harm to a property owner, you are also abusing your authority.

  • To elected officials who have been given the authority to tell others what they can and can't do with their property: The burden should be on you to prove your reason for saying no instead of on the property owner to prove why you should say yes. Furthermore, to say no to someone without exhaustively listening and thoroughly justifying your denial using a Constitutional foundation is immensely immoral. (JB)

  • Encoded in the Oath of Office at every level of government is the sworn commitment to defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic. Why does that refer to "domestic" enemies? Because we have those among us who see the Constitution as a nuisance, a barrier to some other agenda, as a thing to be circumvented or even replaced. Those enemies of the Constitution may even see the liberty the Constitution is designed to defend as expendable in pursuit of other purposes. If you dilute or circumvent Constitutional liberties in your elected office, you have violated your sworn oath and are the enemy to the Constitution the rest have sworn to defend against. (JB)

  • Because of the sworn oath to defend the Constitution, the basic question all elected officials must constantly ask: What is the Constitutional and moral justification for your position? (JB)

    • To be elected, appointed, or hired as a public official with legal authority to control the rights, property, and lives of fellow citizens is first and foremost a sacred trust. No decision or act should ever be taken in that office without first considering with the deepest sense of study and respect both the moral and Constitutional basis from which you exercise control over other people's lives, liberty, and property. Just because something is legal, generally accepted, long standing in precedent, expected or even demanded by a segment of the public, does not necessarily mean it is either moral or Constitutional. When you exercise immoral or unconstitutional control or diminution of your fellow citizens rights, property, or lives, you ultimately diminish your own rights, property, and life as an equal citizen. (JB)

    • There is a moral and Constitutional line that is so very easy to cross without even knowing it. Decades of pattern and precedent, little by little blurring the line, have made crossing that line appear normal, justified, and even expected. We did not reach this state in one singular huge leap. Rather, little by little, generation by generation, rationalization by rationalization, the line has been blurred more and more both by the malicious enemies of Constitutional and moral governance and the well meaning misguided. (JB)

    • See Righteous Dominion

  • At it's best, zoning and land use policy are the means to build a smart, cohesive, quality, and sustainable community. As new things get built, neighbor's property is protected from harm and a healthy future for the community is sought. At its worst, it is a legalized means for the community to shackle and plunder the individual property owner either for the public good or worse, no good at all. In order for a community to build on a foundation of integrity and fairness, the only truly sustainable foundation, constant effort must be given to strive for the best and avoid the worst in dispensing the weighty authority to dictate the use of an individual's property. (JB)

  • A common and naive reason for an elected official say no to a land use request: "I wouldn't want to live there or have that kind of house, so I don't think anyone else would or should want to live there or in a house like that either." How does that have anything to do with the proper role of government? That is like saying "I don't like chocolate ice cream, so I think we should make a law against it." (JB)

  • In today's world if you own property and want to do something with it you have to prove to the government why you should be able to do that. That is not right. Instead, government should have to prove why you shouldn't. Sadly and unjustly, government can say no without justification, explanation, or recourse. Most of the time, though not always, they may have legal standing to say no. But surprisingly often, they say no without moral standing, logical basis, real world justification, or concern for the potentially harmful impacts to the person they are saying no to. Even if you do make a compelling case to prove why you should be able to do something, they are not required to methodically refute your logic and can simply ignore you and say no anyway. Not only is there typically no real appeal process or recourse to a denial, but often a denial means you can't come back and ask again for as much as a year. This one-sided system is harsh, imbalanced, heavily weighted to the government, and, it is legal. But I say again, just because it is legal does not mean it is ethical. (JB)

  • Here is a fundamental problem with well-meaning but misplaced ideas to solve problems with government. The bureaucracy of an idea never fades without forcible and difficult action. The morality and wisdom of those who created the idea may not only be flawed and limited, but what morality, wisdom, and decent intent the idea started out with always fades as elected bodies and hired staff rotate out leaving nothing behind but the immoral and unwise bureaucratic shadow of the original idea. Like a cancer or virus, bad and ill-conceived ideas fester and grow generation after generation giving the false illusion that they are entirely meaningful and meant to be there, that they are based on a moral and wise premise which they are not. By the second generation, and for sure the third, everyone assumes that 'bureaucracy' was always there, is immeasurably important to their protection, and is entirely legitimate. Even ideas that start out with the most pure, noble, and justified of reasons are at great risk of being morphed into something harmful and not representative of its original intent through this same process. (JB)

  • We live in a bizarre era where people who seek success are demonized when they succeed and heaven forbid, make a profit. The prosperity and quality of life we enjoy in this nation is built upon the success and failure of entrepreneurs taking both the risks and rewards of the market. As land developers, we unabashedly seek to make a profit in everything we do. Without that, the development community doesn't exist. In conjunction and partnership with the Town, a huge part of what ends up being identified as "community" gets built on the capital investment, risk taking, and profit seeking initiative of the development community. Parks. Shops. Restaurants. Trails. Offices. Streets. Amenities. Homes. Basic infrastructure. Profit is the engine that keeps the energy moving that builds our Town. If a developer thinks a project is going to lose money, he won't do the project. The development business is risky and mistakes can range from costly to financially catastrophic. There is a tendency to demonize the profit making motive. But without it, there is no community. Profit making should be cheered on so that the developer can live to build another day and continue to make stuff of value for the community. (JB)

  • If the town needs to reserve land for some particular future need, it would seem the town as a whole should share that cost and burden. For example, currently, Towns do not request individual property to provide land for future public parks. The Town purchases property for that use at market rates and holds it for an extended period until it has the money to build. However, the Towns do ask property owners to reserve land for other uses such as employment or retail for decades on the premise that it is a future need of the Town. This occurs even when there is not a verifiable market for the land use and more critically, without just compensation to the land owner for the cost of his property being rendered undevelopable for long periods of time or perhaps even permanently. Parks and employment/retail land are similar in that they both are set aside for the future, often a distant future. Both are for the benefit and need of the Town. But, the Town as a whole pays for one while shifting the cost of the other to just one or a few private property owners. (JB)

    • Some would argue that there is future revenue associated with industrial and retail land. While that is true, if that opportunity is 20 years out, that 20 years comes with a cost to the person being asked to wait. A basic principle of finance is the "time value of money." A dollar today is worth a dollar while the promise of a dollar in twenty years is worth next to nothing today. Meaning, industrial land that is many decades away from developing is worth little more than future park land in present day dollars. Some would also argue that pre-existing hard zoning represents some form of prior agreement between the land owner and Town. This is also true and each situation needs to be looked at on its own merits. But, as a general principle, both the reality of, and our understanding of markets change over time. (See more here.) What we thought made sense ten or twenty years ago may not make sense today. Blindly holding a property owner to a zoning designation that is no longer viable based the hope for an unproven future renders that property to have little value, again based on the time value of money. Much more importantly, zoning laws originated as a need for protecting Town and neighbors, not as a means for Towns to lever and "take" property to the ideal benefit of the Town. When a town uses its regulatory authority to deny a property owner the use of property for the future benefit of the town, without "Just Compensation," that is theft.

    • Simply put, if a town believes it needs a particular land use (i.e. retail or employment) for the good of the town, it should pay for that need as a public investment just like it does for parks, not forcibly shift it to an individual property owner. (JB)

(JB) Quote by Jason Barney

Pendulum Jail for Morrison

Graphic: The Balanced Pendulum of
Government Control
(PDF Version)

"Still Mine" Movie: The Proper and
Balanced Role of Government


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