In responding to a post over at IshThink.org, I dug up these quotes by Adam Smith, John Locke and James Madison about the role of government in our lives. They've always stuck with me since I first read them.
When they were laying out the Federal Constitution James Madison emphatically argued that the goal of the American political system was "to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority." The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, 1:449-450
Or to quote John Locke out of the Two Treatises of Government, "Government has no other end but the preservation of property."Second Treatise, Sections 138-140
And lastly to quote the godfather of modern economics, Adam Smith, "Civil government...is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, of those who have some property against those who have none at all." An Inquiry into the Nature and the Wealth of Nations, 413