A Free-Market Energy Blog

Some of My Favorite Quotations–and Yours?

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 5, 2015

Here are some of my favorite quotations for a happy summer Friday.


“The problem is not too many people, but a lack of political and economic freedom.”

– Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2 (Princeton, N.Y.: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 11.

“Discoveries, like resources, may well be infinite: the more we discover, the more we are able to discover.”

– Ibid., p. 82.


“Energy is the master resource, because energy enables us to convert one material into another. As natural scientists continue to learn more about the transformation of materials from one form to another with the aid of energy, energy will be even more important.”

– Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 162.

Energy & the Environment

“The greenest fuels are the ones that contain the most energy per pound of material that must be mined, trucked, pumped, piped, and burnt. [In contrast], extracting comparable amounts of energy from the surface would entail truly monstrous environmental disruption…. The greenest possible strategy is to mine and to bury, to fly and to tunnel, to search high and low, where the life mostly isn’t, and so to leave the edge, the space in the middle, living and green.”

– Peter Huber, Hard Green: Saving the Environment from the Environmentalists (New York: Basic Books, 1999), pp. 105, 108.

Political Economy

“If the guiding agency is less knowledgeable than the system it is trying to guide—and even worse, if its actions necessarily result in further undesired consequences in the working of that system—then what is going on is not planning at all but, rather, blind interference by some agents with the plans of others.”

– Don Lavoie, National Economic Planning: What is Left? (Cambridge: Ballinger Publishing Company, 1985), p. 95.

“The existence of market failure . . . does not necessarily call for a nonmarket alternative. . . . The relevant comparison is between imperfect market solutions and imperfect bureaucratic solutions.”

– Terry Anderson, “The New Resource Economics: Old Ideas and New Applications,” American Journal of Natural Resources, December 1982, p. 934.

Political Capitalism/Rent Seeking

“Cronyism results when power determines wealth. Government power inevitably invites the trade of regulatory favors for political support. We limit rent-seeking by limiting the government’s ability to hand out goodies.”

– John Cochrane, “What the Inequality Warriors Really Want,” Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2014.

“Complex regulation in place of simple-rules capitalism disrupts market processes and corrupts business incentives.”

– Robert L. Bradley Jr., Capitalism at Work, p. 319

Business Ethics

“A new model of heroic capitalism based on principle-driven, free-market entrepreneurship deserves a central place in business-ethics thought and action.”

– Robert L. Bradley Jr., Capitalism at Work, p. 319

Self Help

“Diligence is the mother of good luck…. Luck whines, labor whistles.”

– Samuel Smiles, quoted in Robert Bradley, Capitalism at Work: Business, Government, and Energy (Salem, MA: Scrivener Publishing, 2009), pp. 49–50.


“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

– Ayn Rand, quoted in “About the Author” in Rand, (1992) [1957], Atlas Shrugged (35th Anniversary Edition). New York: Dutton, pp. 1170–71.

“So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life.”

– Ecclesiastes 8:15 (New Living Translation)


“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”

– attributed to French philosopher Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965)



  1. Mark Krebs  

    According to Gary Becker, a 1992 Nobel Laureate in economics: ” profits often are determined more by government subsidies, taxes and regulations than by traditional management or entrepreneurial skills.

    But is this a recent phenomenon?” In an article entitled, A Regulatory Compact Worthy of the Name, regulatory scholar Peter Bradford cites President Cleveland’s Attorney General Richard Olney advice to a group of utility executives in 1892 that regulation “can be of great use…. It satisfies the public clamor for a government supervision,.. [but].. at the same time that supervision is almost entirely nominal. The part of wisdom is not to destroy the Commission but to utilize it.”


    Albert Einstein: “A problem can never be solved by thinking on the same level that produced it. Solutions to problems should be as simple as possible; but no simpler.”

    Thomas Jefferson: “Mankind soon learns to make interested uses of every right and power which they possess, or may assume. The public money and public liberty…will soon be discovered to be sources of wealth and dominion to those who hold them; distinguished, too, by this tempting circumstance, that they are the instrument, as well as the object of acquisition. With money we will get men, said Caesar, and with men we will get money. Nor should our assembly be deluded by the integrity of their own purposes, and conclude that these unlimited powers will never be abused, because themselves are not disposed to abuse them. They should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when a corruption in this, as in the country from which we derive our origin, will have seized the heads of government, and be spread by them through the body of the people; when they will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price.
    (Notes on Virginia, 1784)

    James Madison: “There are more instances of the abridgement of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

    A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.”

    Benjamin Franklin: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” (Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759)

    Justice Louis Brandeis: “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

    (Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 479 (1928))

    John Stuart Mill: “The most cogent reason for restricting the interference of government is the great evil of adding unnecessarily to its power. Every function superadded to those already exercised by the government causes its influence over hopes and fears to be more widely diffused, and converts, more and more, the active and ambitious part of the public into hangers-on of the government, or of some party which aims at becoming the government.”

    Milton Friedman: “Force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.”

    Adam Smith: “The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with the most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council and senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.”

    Dante, “The Inferno”
    “The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in time of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

    Gary S. Becker
    “In modern economies, profits often are determined more by government subsidies, taxes and regulations than by traditional management or entrepreneurial skills.”

    Hosea 4:6
    “My People are destroyed for lack of knowledge”

    And now for some less reverent quotes to lighten things up a bit:

    “A thin line separates paranoia from an acute appreciation of reality.”

    “Stupidity can not be regulated out of existence. It can only be regulated in.”

    The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. What appears to be grass may be a thin film of algae floating on top of a cesspool.

    What some perceive as industry’s “movers and shakers” may be mistaking their behavior with underlying neurological disorders.

    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t prevent him from urinating in it.

    Sure you can kill a grizzly bear with a BB gun. Just sneak up on it while it’s sleeping, stuff the barrel up its nostril and shoot repeatedly before it wakes up.


  2. KuhnKat  

    A happy summer Friday?? It is 66F in Southern California. WHAT SUMMER?!?!?!?!


  3. Mary Kay Barton  

    “Wind is one of the greatest scams of the modern age.” ~ Robert Bryce (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crefcQpwA5w)

    “The only thing that has ever been reliably generated by industrial wind is complete and utter civil discord.” ~ Jon Boone

    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” – Adolph Hitler

    “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”~ Mark Twain

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. ~ Upton Sinclair

    “Nothing in this world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

    “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” ~ C.S. Lewis

    “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” ~ Albert Einstein

    “You’re gonna have to serve somebody, Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” ~ Bob Dylan

    “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” ~ Jesus Christ

    “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The Apostle, Paul, Ephesians 6:12

    “The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”~ George Orwell

    “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” ~ Abraham Lincoln


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