Editor's note: this is an excerpt from Tom Purcell's new book "Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes on a World Gone Nutty!"
Too many of our political leaders see government as the solution to our challenges. If only they paid more consideration to what some of our great minds had to say about government.
My favorite quotations reveal a general wariness of government -- a key principle upon which our republic was founded:
"A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take everything you have."
-- Barry Goldwater
"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country -- against his government."
-- Edward Abbey
"The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse."
-- Edmund Burke
Well, Eddie, you got that right. Before we allow President Obama to commence "making government cool again," we may want to consider this:
"The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare."
-- Daniel Patrick Moynihan
"Government is inherently incompetent, and no matter what task it is assigned, it will do it in the most expensive and inefficient way possible."
-- Charley Reese
"Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us."
-- Leo Tolstoy
Sorry, Leo, but folks often forget how unpleasant government can be. Just ask someone who recently got audited for supporting the wrong political party.
Here is where government is really effective:
"The government is good at one thing: It knows how to break your legs, then hand you a crutch and say, 'See, if it weren't for the government you wouldn't be able to walk.'"
-- Harry Browne
"Government's view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
-- Ronald Reagan
"Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer."
-- Ludwig von Mises