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Wednesday, 23 August 2006 08:01

Eminently Quotable

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"Evil is like a shadow - it has no real substance of its own, it is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it."
-- Shakti Gawain, teacher and author (1948-)

"Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm but the harm does not interest them."
-- T.S. Eliot, poet (1888-1965)

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."
-- George Washington, 1st US president (1732-1799)

"That wretched alchemist called money can turn a man's heart into a stone!"
-- Mehmet Murat Ildan, writer (1965- )

"Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle."
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

"We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate."
-- Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect and author (1743-1826)

"Dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed
doors."
-- Lewis H. Lapham, editor (1935- )

"You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."
-- Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th US president (1908-1973)

"War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves."
-- Leo Tolstoy, novelist and philosopher (1828-1910)

"Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can
have."
-- James Baldwin, writer (1924-1987)

"The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he
resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself."
-- Archibald MacLeish, poet and librarian (1892-1982)

"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."
-- Charles A. Beard, historian (1874-1948)

"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 ascendancy."
-- Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect and author (1743-1826)

"[Being a humorist] is a useful trade, a worthy calling; that with all its lightness and frivolity it has one serious purpose, one aim, one specialty, 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."
-- Mark Twain

"War, at first, is the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off."
-- Karl Kraus, writer (1874-1936)

"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 it is violating all his laws."
-- John Adams, 2nd US president (1735-1826)

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
-- Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

"It does not require many words to speak the truth."
-- Chief Joseph, native American leader (1840-1904)

"When we have the courage to speak out -- to break our silence -- we inspire the rest of the "moderates" in our communities to speak up and voice their views."
-- Sharon Schuster

"Lying is done with words and also with silence."
-- Adrienne Rich, writer and teacher (1929- )

"If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul."
-- Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920-1992)

" It is one of the maladies of our age to profess a frenzied allegiance to truth in unimportant matters, to refuse consistently to face her where graver issues are at stake."
-- Janos Arany, poet (1817-1882)

"Whoever imagines himself a favorite with God holds others in contempt."
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, lawyer and orator (1833-1899)

"We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security."
-- Dwight David Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th president (1890-1969)

" Propaganda is a soft weapon; hold it in your hands too long, and it will move about like a snake, and strike the other way."
-- Jean Anouilh, playwright (1910-1987)

"An open mind is a prerequisite to an open heart."
-- Robert M. Sapolsky, neuroscientist and author (1957- )

"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."
-- Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)

"A society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field, or in the conduct of its business, cannot help making celebrities of the people who would destroy it."
-- Lewis H. Lapham, editor and writer (1935- )

"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 whom war is always pernicious even when successful."
-- Leo Tolstoy, author (1828-1910)

"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 very good for us to understand that."
-- Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (1934-1996)

"Intolerance of ambiguity is the mark of an authoritarian personality."
-- Theodor Adorno, philosopher and composer (1903-1969)

"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 have too little."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd US President (1882-1945)

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could
do only a little."
-- Edmund Burke, statesman and writer (1729-1797)

"I place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and 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 debt."
-- Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect and author (1743-1826)

"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of
a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough."
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd US President (1882-1945)

"When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kind of dogmas or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt."
-- Robert T. Pirsig, author and philosopher (1928- )

"Political freedom cannot exist in any land where religion controls the state, and religious freedom cannot exist in any land where the state controls religion."
-- Samuel James Ervin Jr., lawyer, judge, and senator (1896-1985)

"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 for the injury."
-- John Stuart Mill, philosopher and economist (1806-1873)

"Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."
-- Flannery O'Connor, writer (1925-1964)

"The high minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think."
-- Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 BCE)

"A sneer is the weapon of the weak."
-- James Russell Lowell, poet, editor, and diplomat (1819-1891)

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view."
-- Harper Lee, writer (1926- )

"People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them."
-- Dave Barry, author and columnist (1947-)

"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry."
-- Thomas Paine, philosopher and writer (1737-1809)

"The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause. A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business."
-- Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)

"If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner."
-- H. L. Mencken, quoted from The Gist Of It

"We must not be frightened nor cajoled into accepting evil as deliverance from evil. We must go on struggling to be human, though monsters of abstractions police and threaten us."
-- Robert Hayden, poet and educator (1913-1980)

"No society that feeds its children on tales of successful violence can expect them not to believe that violence in the end is rewarded."
-- Margaret Mead, anthropologist (1901-1978)

"True religion is the life we lead, not the creed we profess."
-- Louis Nizer, lawyer (1902-1994)

"The most tyrannical of governments are those which make crimes of opinions, for everyone has an inalienable right to his thoughts."
-- Baruch Spinoza, philosopher (1632-1677)

"Wherever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship."
-- Harry S. Truman, 33rd US president (1884-1972)

"Doubt everything at least once, even the proposition that two times two equals four."
-- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, scientist and philosopher (1742-1799)

"The people never give up their liberties, but under some delusion."
-- Edmund Burke, statesman and writer (1729-1797)

"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."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)

"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 prejudices 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."
--Lord Byron, poet (1788-1824)

"There is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience."
-- French proverb

"The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out."
-- Chinese proverb

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein."
-- H. Jackson Brown, Jr., writer

"If it is committed in the name of God or country, there is no crime so heinous that the public will not forgive it."
- Tom Robbins, writer (1936- )

"As I stood before the gates I realized that I never want to be as certain about anything as were the people who built this place."
- Rabbi Sheila Peltz, on her visit to Auschwitz

"Nature can provide for the needs of people; [she] can't provide for the greed of people."
- Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

"To know how to say what others only know how to think is what makes men poets or sages; and to dare to say what others only dare to think makes men martyrs or reformers - or both."
- Elizabeth Charles, writer (1828-1896)

"The more people are reached by mass communication, the less they communicate with each other."
- Marya Mannes, writer (1904-1990)

"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity."
- George Orwell, writer (1903-1950)

The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life - the sick, the needy and the handicapped.
- Hubert Horatio Humphrey, US Vice President (1911-1978)

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell, writer (1903-1950)

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it."
- Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

"Whenever 'A' attempts by law to impose his moral standards upon 'B', 'A' is most likely a scoundrel."
- H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

"The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within."
- Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

"When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?"
- Eleanor Roosevelt, diplomat and writer (1884-1962)

"The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none."
- Thomas Carlyle, writer (1795-1881)

"I love my country too much to be a nationalist."
- Albert Camus, writer, philosopher, Nobel laureate (1913-1960)

"It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell."
- William Tecumseh Sherman, Union General in the American Civil War (1820-1891)

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
- Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963)

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
- Charles Darwin, naturalist and author (1809-1882)

"It is always the secure who are humble."
- G.K. Chesterton, essayist and novelist (1874-1936)

"A great war leaves the country with three armies - an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves."
- German proverb

"It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defence, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties which make the defence of our nation worthwhile."
- Earl Warren, jurist (1891-1974)

"The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian (1906-1945)

"All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies."
- John Arbuthnot, writer and physician (1667-1735)

"I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd US President (1882-1945)

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
-Susan B Anthony, reformer and suffragist (1820-1906)

"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air - however slight - lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."
-William O. Douglas, judge (1898-1980)

"Never vote for the best candidate, vote for the one who will do the least harm."
-- Frank Dane

"Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense."
-- Mark Twain

"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing the ground."
-- Frederick Douglass, abolitionist, editor and orator (1817-1895)

"The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on."
-- Joseph Heller, novelist (1923-1999)

"If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th president (1890-1969)

"Some people think they are worth a lot of money just because they have it."
-- Fannie Hurst, writer (1889-1968)

"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
-- Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

"Everyone wishes to have truth on his side, but not everyone wishes to be on the side of truth."
-- Richard Whately, philosopher, reformer, theologian, economist (1787-1863)

"We can put television in its proper light by supposing that Gutenberg's great invention had been directed at printing only comic books."
-- Robert M. Hutchins, educator (1899-1977)

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one."
-- George Bernard Shaw, writer, Nobel laureate (1856-1950)

"Did you know that the worldwide food shortage that threatens up to five hundred million children could be alleviated at the cost of only one day, only ONE day, of modern warfare."
-- Peter Ustinov, actor, writer and director (1921-2004)

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
-- Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President (1809-1865)

"The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts."
-- Edmund Burke, statesman and writer (1729-1797)

"It 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."
-- Robert F. Kennedy (1925 - 1968)

"Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat."
--Jean-Paul Sartre, writer and philosopher (1905-1980)

"The 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."
-- Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

"The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves."
-- Plato, philosopher (427-347 BCE)

"I 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 ... managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units. Of the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal and owe equal allegiance to our country."
-- Colin Powell in his book "My American Journey"

"What 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 a 'Liberal.'"
- John F. Kennedy, September 14, 1960

"Behind 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."
-Theodore Roosevelt, April 19, 1906

"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."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, May 31, 1954

"Wars 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."
- Aldous Huxley

"Rush Limbaugh is a lame professional Swine and he makes a good living at it."
- Hunter S. Thompson

"Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservative."
-John Stuart Mill, 1806-1873, British philosopher

"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against its government."
- Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."
- Albert Einstein

"Truth 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."
-Thomas Paine

"Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"
-Abraham Lincoln, 16th US president (1809-1865)

"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."

"Politics is the only endeavor for which no previous experience is considered necessary..."
-- Robert Louis Stevenson

Mahatma Ghandi was once asked what he thought about Western civilization. He replied, "That would be a good idea."

"Trusting to escape scrutiny by fixing the public gaze upon the exceeding brightness of military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood-- that serpent's eye, that charms to destroy, he plunged into war."
--Congressman Abraham Lincoln

"A 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."
--H. G. Wells (The Salvaging of Civilization)

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
--Plato

"Statesmen 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 of 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."
-- Mark Twain, "Chronicle of Young Satan"

"The bane of ideology is that it exalts abstractions over human beings. It impoverishes our sense of reality, and it impoverishes our imagination, too."
-- Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."
-- Dante

"Independence 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 good."
-- Thomas Paine, "The Rights of Man, Part II." (1792)

"War can't end terrorism. War is terrorism."
-- Philip Berrigan

"When even one American - who has done nothing wrong -- is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth, then all Americans are in peril."
-- Harry S. Truman

"Helen 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 82-year-old woman."
- Paul Begala, Crossfire, 02/24/03

"An elective despotism is not the government we fought for."
- Thomas Jefferson

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead

"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 have too little."
- Franklin Roosevelt

"Every 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 its 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."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953

"Actually, 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 to find and decent ones impossible, are waging a class war."
-- Fr. Charles Owen Rice

[NOTE: This quote is an urban legend.] "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."
-- William Shakespeare in The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

"Those who are willing to sacrifice their basic liberties to assure their security deserve neither."
--Benjamin Franklin

"If 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."
-- Samuel Adams

"To 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."
--Theodore Roosevelt

"Perhaps 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."
-- James Madison

"Democracies die behind closed doors."
-- JUDGE DAMON J. KEITH, in a ruling declaring that the Bush administration acted unlawfully in holding deportation hearings in secret. New York Times Quote of the Day, 8/27/02

Read 858 times Last modified on Tuesday, 02 January 2007 04:27