Do you think if you get General Aidid, we will simply put down our weapons and adopt American democracy? That the killing will stop? We know this. Without victory, there will be no peace. There will always be killing, see? This is how things are in our world. – Abdullah Hassan

That America is an exceptional nation is unclear only to one who has not been taught its true history. It ceases to be exceptional only when its representative leaders cease to be exceptional. America, it has been said, is a nation of laws, not of men. The more it becomes a nation of men, the less it remains America.
-Ron Brackin

If anyone, then, asks me the meaning of our flag, I say to him – it means just what Concord and Lexington meant; what Bunker Hill meant; which was, in short, the rising up of a valiant young people against an old tyranny to establish the most momentous doctrine that the world had ever known – the right of men to their own selves and to their liberties. –Henry Ward Beecher

When the United States is able to know everything that everyone is doing, saying, thinking, and planning—its own citizens, foreign populations, international corporations, other government leaders—its power over those factions is maximized. That’s doubly true if the government operates at ever greater levels of secrecy. The secrecy creates a one-way mirror: the US government sees what everyone else in the world does, including its own population, while no one sees its own actions. It is the ultimate imbalance, permitting the most dangerous of all human conditions: the exercise of limitless power with no transparency or accountability. Glenn Greenwald,

Government should be good for the liberty of the governed, and that is when it governs to the least possible degree. It should be good for the wealth of the nation, and that is when it acts as little as possible upon the labor that produces it and when it consumes as little as possible. It should be good for the public security, and that is when it protects as much as possible, provided that the protection does not cost more than it brings in…. It is in losing their powers of action that governments improve. Each time that the governed gain space there is progress. Augustin Theirry

In this regard I plead guilty to the classical notion—more or less continuous from Herodotus and Thucydides to the close of the nineteenth century—of the primacy of military history. In theory, of course, all events have equal historical importance—the creation of a women’s school in nineteenth-century America, the introduction of the stirrup, the domestication of the chicken, or the introduction of the necktie. And such social or cultural developments, whether they are dramatic or piecemeal, do on occasion change the lives of millions. Yet in reality, all actions are still not so equal. We perhaps need to recall the more traditional definitions of the craft of history—a formal record of past events that are notable or worthy of remembrance. Whereas I Love Lucy might have transformed the way thousands of Americans in the 1950s and 1960s saw suburban life, women’s roles, or Cubans, it still did not alter the United States in the manner of a Yorktown, Gettysburg, or Tet—in creating, preserving, or almost losing an entire society. It was an event of the past, but not necessarily either notable or worthy of remembrance or commemoration.
Victor Davis Hanson

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
Daniel Webster

As the Founding Fathers knew well, a government that does not trust its honest, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens with the means of self-defense is not itself worthy of trust. Laws disarming honest citizens proclaim that the government is the master, not the servant, of the people.
Jeffrey R. Snyder

Disarmament palsies the hand and brutalizes the mind; an habitual disuse of physical force totally destroys the moral; and men lose at once the power of protecting themselves, and of discerning the cause of their oppression.
Joel Barlow