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Will Any ‘Last Rights’ Epigram Go to the Moon?

by | Feb 27, 2024

Will Any ‘Last Rights’ Epigram Go to the Moon?

by | Feb 27, 2024

last rights coves with 2 bullseyes

Epigrams are excellent propellants for seditious ideas. How far can one line go?

Thirty years ago, I casually appended a sentence to the end of a paragraph in the final chapter of my book, Lost Rights: The Death of American Liberty. I was amazed: “Democracy must be more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner” became one of the most popular worldwide epigrams on democracy. It was translated into almost fifty languages, quoted by the Chief Justice of Hong Kong, and is serving as a rallying cry for oppressed dissidents everywhere. That epigram circulated on coffee cups, t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, a video by the Cartoonist Laureate of the Netherlands, and appeared in the Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations and the Oxford Essential Quotations. When The New York Times published a series of articles on the worldwide crisis of democracy in September 2018, that quote provided the theme: “Are the Wolves Devouring Democracy?”

No wonder I like epigrams nowadays. My latest book, Last Rights: The Death of American Liberty, is stock full of zippety lines that will hopefully edify, amuse, and perhaps enrage readers. Will any of those lines catch fire and propagate?

Here are some snappy sentences from that book:

Americans today have the “freedom” to be fleeced, groped, wiretapped, censored, injected, disarmed, beaten, vilified, detained, & maybe shot by government agents.

We have an Impunity Democracy in which government officials pay no price for their crimes.

Americans today are more likely to believe in witches, ghosts, and astrology than to trust the federal government.

Politicians are increasingly dividing Americans into two classes — those who work for a living and those who vote for a living. But politicians cannot undermine self-reliance without subverting self-government.

Arbitrary power converts bureaucrats into czars who bedevil who they please. If government is not “under the law,” citizens will be under the federal boot.

The federal government is generating so many absurdities nowadays that even cynics cannot keep up.

Americans are more likely to encounter liberty in history books instead of their own lives. Many young people are unaware of bygone eras when citizens traveled without being groped or protested without being quarantined in an Orwellian “free-speech zone.”

Politicians are hell-bent on protecting citizens against everything except government.


Gun owners are America’s fastest-growing criminal class. One state after another is enacting “Show us the gun and we’ll find the crime” laws.

With a single lawless edict, a president can turn millions of peaceful gun owners into federal felons.

The civil disobedience of peaceful gun owners is one of the best hopes for the survival of American liberty.

Politicians ban guns so that no one can resist their decrees or their injections.

The rising number of people who carry concealed weapons epitomizes the new American self-reliance. For the average citizen walking down a dark street late at night, a promise from a politician is worth less than a .38 Special.

Politicians who pompously seek to destroy the Second Amendment cannot be trusted to respect any other constitutional right.


To serve and protect, police must be allowed to slander and destroy.

America is becoming a two-tiered society: those whom the law fails to bind and those whom the law fails to protect.

Police are automatically absolved for killing people with ideas that politicians disapprove.

The most dangerous inequality is that between the rulers and the ruled. No private citizen has a prerogative to forcibly accost, wrongly shoot, and wantonly plunder their neighbors.

Police have too much power because politicians have too much power.


Federal Truth Cops are training Americans to never doubt Uncle Sam.

In the 1960s, the “best and the brightest” claimed the right to lie Americans into the Vietnam War. Nowadays, swaggering Washingtonians claim the right to blindfold 330 million Americans.

“Truth” is whatever politicians proclaim. “Disinformation” is whatever contradicts the official decrees. Government retains a monopoly on truth regardless of its deceits.

Nullifying freedom of speech turns citizens into political pawns who will be sacrificed as their rulers please.
Should we replace the First Amendment with a simple disclaimer: “For your own good”?

“Informed consent” by voters is a sham if the feds pervert plain facts as they please.

“Disinformation” is often simply the lag time between the pronouncement and the debunking of government falsehoods.

Censorship rests on the presumed moral and intellectual superiority of the ruling class.  That illusion can be maintained only by suppressing all news of government fiascos and frauds.


Government officials endlessly invoked “science and data” to sanctify their power. But many repressive Covid policies were simply Political Science 101, using deceit and demagoguery to domineer humanity.   

A virus with a 99%+ survival rate spawned a 100% presumption in favor of despotism.

Shutting down entire states with Covid lockdowns was the equivalent of burning witches to appease angry viral gods.

In the name of saving lives, politicians entitled themselves to destroy an unlimited number of livelihoods.

Politicians promised to banish all Covid risk by abolishing almost all freedom.

Faith in absolute power is unscientific regardless of how many scientists kowtow to Washington for federal funding.

Politicians vilified individual freedom as the greatest threat to Americans’ survival.

In the long run, people have more to fear from politicians than from viruses. No-fault Czars are no substitute for individual liberty.


The government is committing more crimes than citizens will ever know.

Secrecy places the most dishonorable profession on the honor system. The more secrets politicians keep, the less trust they deserve.

Self-government has been defined down to paying, obeying, and wearing a federal blindfold.

Politicians and federal agencies recognize that “what people don’t know won’t hurt the government.”

Secrecy and lying are two sides of the same political coin.

Pervasive secrecy defines down democracy: people merely select their Supreme Deceivers.

Democracy perishes if there is no antidote to government lies. Deceiving the American people should no longer be treated as a victimless crime.

Federal secrecy is spawning a caste system that betrays our democracy.


We have a faux constitutional system where the nation’s founding document is retained for decorative purposes.

Winning votes doesn’t make scoundrels trustworthy.

A political system must offer more than imaginary remedies to uphold illusory rights.

How many elections have merely hammered more coffin nails into democracy?

Promising reforms is the easiest way to perpetuate abuses.

Is America becoming a Cage Keeper Democracy where voters merely ratify the latest demolition of their rights and liberties?

Citizens cannot shrug off rising oppression until a “Here Comes Tyranny!” neon sign flashes in Times Square.

Voting is no substitute for the self-government of one’s own life.

Jim Bovard

Jim Bovard

Jim Bovard is a Senior Fellow for the Libertarian Institute and author of the newly published, Last Rights: The Death of American Liberty (2023). His other books include Public Policy Hooligan (2012), Attention Deficit Democracy (2006), Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994), and seven others. He is a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors and has also written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy, The Washington Post, among others. His articles have been publicly denounced by the chief of the FBI, the Postmaster General, the Secretary of HUD, and the heads of the DEA, FEMA, and EEOC and numerous federal agencies.

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