Ciardi's. I enjoyed his commentary as well. As far as I what I quoted, though, I really love the line "Through me the way among the people lost" from Longfellow's translation. I had that as my user title for a while.
"[The socialists declare] that the State owes subsistence, well-being, and education to all its citizens; that it should be generous, charitable, involved in everything, devoted to everybody; ...that it should intervene directly to relieve all suffering, satisfy and anticipate all wants, furnish capital to all enterprises, enlightenment to all minds, balm for all wounds, asylums for all the unfortunate, and even aid to the point of shedding French blood, for all oppressed people on the face of the earth.
Who would not like to see all these benefits flow forth upon the world from the law, as from an inexhaustible source? … But is it possible? … Whence does [the State] draw those resources that it is urged to dispense by way of benefits to individuals? Is it not from the individuals themselves? How, then, can these resources be increased by passing through the hands of a parasitic and voracious intermediary?
...Finally…we shall see the entire people transformed into petitioners. Landed property, agriculture, industry, commerce, shipping, industrial companies, all will bestir themselves to claim favors from the State. The public treasury will be literally pillaged. Everyone will have good reasons to prove that legal fraternity should be interpreted in this sense: 'Let me have the benefits, and let others pay the costs.' Everyone's effort will be directed toward snatching a scrap of fraternal privilege from the legislature. The suffering classes, although having the greatest claim, will not always have the greatest success."
- Frédéric Bastiat, Justice and Fraternity (1848)
"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
- Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Sophisms (1845-1848)
"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain."
"... I've always been partial to one version of the 'government politics' explanation. A few years ago, I wrote a book arguing that 'Americans' unconfined conception of presidential responsibility is the source of much of our political woe and some of the gravest threats to our liberties.' If the political reality is such that the president will be held personally accountable for any domestic terror attack, don't be surprised when he seeks powers nearly as vast as the expectations put upon him."
- Gene Healy, "National Security State: The strange powerlessness of the 'most powerful man in the world'" (Reason, March 2015)
"The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society. Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a “social contract”; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation.
The classic paradigm was a conquering tribe pausing in its time-honored method of looting and murdering a conquered tribe, to realize that the time-span of plunder would be longer and more secure, and the situation more pleasant, if the conquered tribe were allowed to live and produce, with the conquerors settling among them as rulers exacting a steady annual tribute."
"Far from being immoral, libertarians simply apply a universal human ethic to government in the same way as almost everyone would apply such an ethic to every other person or institution in society. In particular, as I have noted earlier, libertarianism as a political philosophy dealing with the proper role of violence takes the universal ethic that most of us hold toward violence and applies it fearlessly to government.
'Libertarians make no exceptions to the golden rule and provide no moral loophole, no double standard, for government.'
Libertarians make no exceptions to the golden rule and provide no moral loophole, no double standard, for government. That is, libertarians believe that murder is murder and does not become sanctified by reasons of state if committed by the government. We believe that theft is theft and does not become legitimated because organized robbers call their theft 'taxation.' We believe that enslavement is enslavement even if the institution committing that act calls it 'conscription.' In short, the key to libertarian theory is that it makes no exceptions in its universal ethic for government."
"Many find the anarcho-capitalist vision a troubling one, chiefly due to a distrust of corporations. I will just make one suggestion for reflection. Imagine that someone proposed that the key to establishing social justice and restraining corporate greed was to establish a very large corporation, much larger than any corporation hitherto known—one with revenues in the trillions of dollars. A corporation that held a monopoly on some extremely important market within our society. And used its monopoly in that market to extend its control into other markets. And hired men with guns to force customers to buy its product at whatever price it chose. And periodically bombed the employees and customers of corporations in other countries. By what theory would we predict that this corporation, above all others, could be trusted to serve our interests and to protect us both from criminals and from all the other corporations? If someone proposed to establish a corporation like this, would your trepidation be assuaged the moment you learned that every adult would be issued one share of stock in this corporation, entitling them to vote for members of the board of directors? If it would not, is the governmental system really so different from that scenario as to explain why we may trust a national government to selflessly serve and protect the rest of society?"
- Michael Huemer, "The Problem of Authority" - lead essay, Cato Unbound - March 2013: Authority, Obedience, and the State
"Philosophical anarchism, as a form of anarchism, is of course committed to the central anarchist thesis of state illegitimacy. And, like other kinds of anarchism, philosophical anarchism is generally motivated either by the kinds of commitments or by the kind of scepticism [sic] I've just summarized. What is distinctive about philosophical anarchism, I will suggest, is its stance with respect to the moral content (or practical force) of judgments about state illegitimacy. Philosophical anarchists do not take the illegitimacy of states to entail a strong moral imperative to oppose or eliminate states. Rather, they typically take state illegitimacy to simply remove any strong moral presumption in favor of obedience to, compliance with, or support for (our own or other) existing states."