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"Skepticism is not irrefutable, but obviously nonsensical, when it tries to raise doubts where no questions can be asked. For doubt can exist only where a question exists, a question only where an answer exists, and an answer only where something can be said."

— Ludwig Wittgenstein

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"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man’s fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action."

— Ludwig von Mises

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"We fight, get beaten, rise, and fight again."

— Nathanael Greene

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"I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant."

— H.L. Mencken

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"Learning is not virtue but the means to bring us an acquaintance with it. Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful."

— Nathanael Greene

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"The state — or, to make matters more concrete, the government — consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get, and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time it is made good by looting ‘A’ to satisfy ‘B’. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advanced auction on stolen goods.
[…]
Off goes the head of the king, and tyranny gives way to freedom. The change seems abysmal. Then, bit by bit, the face of freedom hardens, and by and by it is the old face of tyranny. Then another cycle, and another. But under the play of all these opposites there is something fundamental and permanent — the basic delusion that men may be governed and yet be free.”
[…]
All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him.
[…]
The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe."

— H.L. Mencken

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"Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does."

— Jean-Paul Sartre

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"Decadence is a difficult word to use since it has become little more than a term of abuse applied by critics to anything they do not yet understand or which seems to differ from their moral concepts."

— Ernest Hemingway

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"The majority of men prefer delusion to truth. It soothes. It is easy to grasp. Above all, it fits more snugly than the truth into a universe of false appearances—of complex and irrational phenomena, defectively grasped. But though an idea that is true is thus not likely to prevail, an idea that is attacked enjoys a great advantage. The evidence behind it is now supported by sympathy, the sporting instinct, sentimentality—and sentimentality is as powerful as an army with banners. One never hears of a martyr in history whose notions are seriously disputed today. The forgotten ideas are those of the men who put them forward soberly and quietly, hoping fatuously that they would conquer by the force of their truth; these are the ideas that we now struggle to rediscover.
[…]
Here, of course, is where even the most conscientious critic often goes aground; he is apt to be an artist before he is a scientist, and the impulse to create something passionately is stronger in him than the impulse to state something accurately."

— H.L. Mencken

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"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded."

— Ayn Rand

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"In battle, in the forest, at the precipice in the mountains,
On the dark great sea, in the midst of javelins and arrows,
In sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame,
The good deeds a man has done before defend him."

from The Bhagavad Gita

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"Our grand business undoubtedly is, not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand."

— Thomas Carlyle

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"A person becomes great not be sitting on some high seat, but through higher qualities. Can a crow become an eagle by simply sitting on the top of a palatial building?"

— Chanakya

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"Experience comprises illusions lost, rather than wisdom gained."

— Joseph Roux

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"With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to the truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two."

— Robert Louis Stevenson