|Eminently Quotable||PERSPECTIVES HOME|
"Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can
"The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when
"One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen
these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding
fathers used in the great struggle for independence."
"There is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth,
without either virtue or talents... The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous
ingredient in government, and provisions should be made to prevent its
"[Being a humorist] is a useful trade, a worthy calling;
that with all its lightness and frivolity it has one serious purpose,
and it is constant to it -- the deriding of shams, the exposure of pretentious
falsities, the laughing of stupid superstitions out of existence; and
that whoso is by instinct engaged in this sort of warfare is the natural
enemy of royalties, nobilities, privileges and all kindred swindles,
and the natural friend of human rights and human liberties."
"War, at first, is the hope that one will be better off;
next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then,
that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's
being worse off."
"Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the
comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God's service when
violating all his laws."
"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you
"It does not require many words to speak the truth."
"When we have the courage to speak out -- to break our silence -- we
the rest of the "moderates" in our communities to speak up
"Lying is done with words and also with silence."
"If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who
would choose to
people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern
their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist
TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is
foul, foul, foul."
" It is one of the maladies of our age to profess a frenzied allegiance
truth in unimportant matters, to refuse consistently to face her where
graver issues are at stake."
"Whoever imagines himself a favorite with God holds others in contempt."
"We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security."
" Propaganda is a soft weapon; hold it in your hands too long, and it
move about like a snake, and strike the other way."
"An open mind is a prerequisite to an
"Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely
or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear."
"A society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates
aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field, or in the conduct
business, cannot help making celebrities of the people who would
"In all history there is no war which was not hatched by
the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests
of the people, to
war is always pernicious even when successful."
"For all our conceits about being
the center of the universe, we live in a
routine planet of a humdrum star stuck away in an obscure corner
... on an
unexceptional galaxy which is one of about 100 billion galaxies.
... That is the fundamental fact of the universe we inhabit, and it is
us to understand that."
"Intolerance of ambiguity is the mark of an
"The test of our progress is not whether we
add more to the abundance of
those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who
"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing
because he could
"I place economy among the first and most important republican
public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared. To preserve
our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened
the fiber of
"When people are fanatically dedicated to political or
any other kind of dogmas or goals, it's always because these dogmas or
goals are in doubt."
"Political freedom cannot exist in any land where religion
state, and religious freedom cannot exist in any land where the state
"A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but
by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them
"Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."
"The high minded man must care more for the truth than for what people
"A sneer is
the weapon of the weak."
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his
point of view."
"People who want to share their religious views with you almost never
you to share yours with them."
"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry."
"The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self,
more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion,
race or his holy cause. A man is likely to mind his own business when
worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own
affairs by minding other people's business."
"If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents,
he would promise them missionaries for dinner."
"We must not be frightened nor cajoled into accepting evil as
from evil. We must go on struggling to be human, though monsters of
abstractions police and threaten us."
"No society that feeds its children on tales of successful violence can
expect them not to believe that violence in the end is rewarded."
"True religion is the life we lead, not the creed we profess."
"The most tyrannical of governments are those which make crimes
opinions, for everyone has an inalienable right to his thoughts."
"Wherever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship."
"Doubt everything at least once, even the proposition that two times
"The people never give up their liberties, but under some delusion."
"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem
those who think alike than those who think differently."
"I am so convinced of the advantages of looking at mankind instead of reading
about them, and of the bitter effects of staying at home with all the narrow
of an Islander, that I think there should be a law amongst us to set our young
men abroad for a term among the few allies our wars have left us."
"There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience."
"The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out."
"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number
hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo,
Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert
"If it is committed in the name of God or country, there is no
crime so heinous that the public will not forgive it."
"As I stood before the gates I realized that I never
want to be as
about anything as were the people who built this
"Nature can provide for the needs of people; [she] can't provide for
greed of people."
"To know how to say what others only know how to think is what makes
poets or sages; and to dare to say what others only dare to think makes
martyrs or reformers - or both."
"The more people are reached by mass communication, the less they
communicate with each other."
"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity."
The moral test of government is how that government treats those who
the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life,
elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life - the sick, the needy
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a
"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who
putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it."
"Whenever 'A' attempts by law to impose his moral standards upon
'B', 'A' is
most likely a scoundrel."
"The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has
to come from
"When will our consciences grow so tender that we
will act to prevent human
misery rather than avenge it?"
"The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none."
"I love my country too much to be a nationalist."
"It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks
groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more
desolation. War is hell."
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned
to repeat it."
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
"It is always the secure who are humble."
"A great war leaves the country with three armies - an army of cripples,
army of mourners, and an army of thieves."
"It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defence, we
sanction the subversion of one of those liberties which make the
defence of our nation worthwhile."
ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it
"All political parties die at last
of swallowing their own lies."
"I ask you to judge me by the enemies
I have made."
"I distrust those people who know
so well what God wants them to do
I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
"As nightfall does not come at once,
neither does oppression. In both instances there is a twilight when
everything remains seemingly
And it is in such twilight that we all must be most
aware of change in
air - however slight - lest we become unwitting
victims of the darkness."
vote for the best candidate, vote for the one who will do the least
"Irreverence is the champion of
liberty and its only sure defense."
"Those who profess to favor freedom
and yet deprecate agitation, are men
who want crops without plowing the ground."
"The enemy is anybody who's going
to get you killed, no matter which side he's on."
"If you want total security, go
to prison. There you're fed, clothed,
medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is
people think they are worth a lot of money just because they have
is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless
they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
wishes to have truth on his side, but not everyone wishes to be on
the side of truth."
can put television in its proper light by supposing
that Gutenberg's great invention had been directed at
printing only comic books."
fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the
than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one."
you know that the worldwide food shortage that
threatens up to five
hundred million children could be alleviated at the
cost of only one
only ONE day, of modern warfare."
will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose
our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by
is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history
is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve
the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth
a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different
centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can
sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from
things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure
without conscience; wealth without
work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science
without humanity; and worship without sacrifice."
penalty that good men pay for not being interested
in politics is to be governed by men worse than
particularly condemn the way our political leaders supplied the manpower
for that war [The Vietnam War]. The policies determining who would
be drafted and who would be deferred, who would serve and who would
escape, who would die and who would live, were an anti-democratic
disgrace.... I am angry that so many sons of the powerful and well-placed
to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units. Of the many
tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the
to the ideal that all Americans are created equal and owe equal allegiance
to our country."
do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label 'Liberal?'
If by 'Liberal' they mean, as they want people to believe, someone
who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government,
and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer' s dollar, then the record
of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind
of 'Liberal.' But
if by a 'Liberal' they mean someone who looks ahead and not
behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone
who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their
housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their
civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate
and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what
they mean by a 'Liberal,' then I' m proud to say I'm
the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government
owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To
destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between
corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the
statesmanship of the day."
"Here in America we are
descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels--men
and women who
dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never
confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion."
cause suffering, put a premium on fraud and cruelty, infect whole
societies with anger, fear & pride. They are crusades that make the world
safe for spiritual darkness."
Limbaugh is a lame professional Swine and he makes a good living
are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservative."
patriot must always be ready to defend his country against its
important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason
never envelops itself in mystery, and the mystery in which it is
at any time enveloped is the work of its antagonist, and never of itself."
I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
"Face it," wrote Garrison Keillor, of A Prairie Home Companion, in Time Magazine, "a nation that maintains a 72% approval rating on George W. Bush is a nation with a very loose grip on reality."
is the only endeavor for which no previous experience is considered
Mahatma Ghandi was once asked what he thought about Western civilization. He replied, "That would be a good idea."
to escape scrutiny by fixing the public gaze upon the exceeding brightness
of military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of
that serpent’s eye, that charms to destroy, he plunged into war."
time will come when a politician who has willfully made war and promoted
international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer
of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those
who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own."
of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you
end up being governed by your inferiors."
will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked,
and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities,
and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations
them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just,
and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process
of grotesque self-deception."
bane of ideology is that it exalts abstractions over human beings.
It impoverishes our sense of reality, and it impoverishes our
places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral
crisis, maintain their neutrality."
is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to
place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do
can't end terrorism. War is terrorism."
even one American - who has done nothing wrong -- is forced by fear
shut his mind and close his mouth, then all Americans are in peril."
Thomas is a legend. She's known and covered every president since JFK.
In a candid moment, Ms. Thomas spoke a powerful truth. "George
W. Bush is the worst president in all of American history." Given
how Mr. Bush has squandered the surplus, trashed the economy and is
now hurdling toward a war that is unpopular, unjust, unwise and unwarranted,
I think I see Helen's point. Now, the GOP has moved into smear mode.
The RNC is urging it's faithful to, "call her out," which
apparently means harassing Helen by e-mail, and phone, and fax. I
guess nothing makes a Republican feel better than beating up on an
elective despotism is not the government we fought for."
doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change
the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those
who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too
gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket fired
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are
not fed, those
who are cold, and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending
money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of
scientists, the hopes of its children....This is not a way of life at
all in any true sense. Under the cloud of war, it is humanity hanging
on a cross of iron."
there is a class war raging in this country, but it is being waged not
by the poor, but against them. Those who would deny government relief
to the poor but demand they find jobs, when all of the jobs are hard
find and decent ones impossible, are waging a class war."
"Beware the leader who bangs the
drums of war in
order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for
patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It
both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind... And
when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils
with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing
the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear
and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the
leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And
I am Caesar."
who are willing to sacrifice their basic liberties to
assure their security deserve
ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest
seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced
patriots to prevent its ruin."
announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we
are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic
and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged
to provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad."
die behind closed doors."
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