Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.
Public services are never better performed than when their reward comes only in consequence of their being performed, and is proportioned to the diligence employed in performing them.
No society can surely be flourishing and happy of which by far the greater part of the numbers are poor and miserable.
The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another…
The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities.
In the common degree of the moral, there is no virtue. Virtue is excellence.
Virtue is excellence, something uncommonly great and beautiful, which rises far above what is vulgar and ordinary.
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.
What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom.
All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.
of their passions in the same object at that particular time.
I have always considered David Hume as approaching as nearly the idea of a perfectly wise and virtuous man as perhaps the nature of human frailty will allow.
People of the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment and diversion but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or in some contrivance to raise prices.
By pursuing his own interest (the individual) frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.
What can be added to the happiness of man who is in health out of debt and has a clear conscience?
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.
Poor David Hume is dying fast, but with more real cheerfulness and good humor and with more real resignation to the necessary course of things, than any whining Christian ever dyed with pretended resignation to the will of God.
To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.
Resentment seems to have been given us by nature for a defense, and for a defense only! It is the safeguard of justice and the security of innocence.
Adventure upon all the tickets in the lottery, and you lose for certain; and the greater the number of your tickets the nearer your approach to this certainty.
What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?
I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.
The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman is that of his customers. It is the fear of losing their employment which restrains his frauds and corrects his negligence.
The propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.
Great ambition, the desire of real superiority, of leading and directing, seems to be altogether peculiar to man, and speech is the great instrument of ambition.
This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.
Labour was the first price, the original purchase – money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.
No complaint… is more common than that of a scarcity of money.
Labor was the first price, the original purchase – money that was paid for all things.
Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.
As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce.
No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.