December 7, 2008

If the capital enemy is the Government ...

The teaching of politics is that the Government, which was set for protection & comfort of all good citizens, becomes the principal obstruction & nuisance with which we have to contend. Wherever we look, whether to Kansas, to Utah, to the frontier—as Mexico & Cuba, or to laws, & contracts for internal improvement, the capital enemy in the in the way is always this ugly government.

We could manage very well by private enterprise, for carrying the mails, associations for emigration, & emigrant aid, for local police & defence, & for prevention of crime; but the cheat & bully & malefactor we meet everywhere is the Government.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson [from his journals, April-May 1860], in EMERSON IN HIS JOURNALS, selected and edited by Joel Porte, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachsetts) - London (England), 1982.