— A. E. van Vogt Canadian writer 1912 - 2000
Context: "You really don't understand. We don't worry about individuals. What counts is that many millions of people have the knowledge that they can go to a weapon shop if they want to protect themselves and their families. And, even more important, the forces that would normally try to enslave them are restrained by the conviction that it is dangerous to press people too far. And so a great balance has been struck between those who govern and those who are governed."
Cayle stared at her in bitter disappointment. "You mean that a person has to save himself? Even when you get a gun you have to nerve yourself to resist? Nobody is there to help you?"
It struck him with a pang that she must have told him this in order to show him why she couldn't help him.
Lucy spoke again. "I can see that what I've told you is a great disappointment to you. But that's the way it is. And I think you'll realize that's the way it has to be. When a people lose the courage to resist encroachment on their rights, then they can't be saved by an outside force. Our belief is that people always have the kind of government they want and that individuals must bear the risks of freedom, even to the extent of giving their lives."
Lucy Rail, and Cayle Clark in Ch. 5