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The emperor was probably born in the province of Galatia, whose inhabitants, the Gallo-Grecians, were supposed to unite the vices of a savage and a corrupted people.
There are two times in a man's life when he should not speculate: when he can't afford it, and when he can.
The Gauls were endowed with all the advantages of art and nature; but as they wanted courage to defend them, they were justly condemned to obey, and even to flatter, the victorious Barbarians, by whose clemency they held their precarious fortunes and their lives.
General Motors, like the other two geezers of the Old Three, is a sprawling retirement home with a small money-losing auto subsidiary.
Every man of genius is considerably helped by being dead.
Talent is that which is in a man's power; genius is that in whose power a man is.
There is a thin line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.
Sometimes men come by the name of genius in the same way that certain insects come by the name of centipede—not because they have a hundred feet, but because most people can't count above fourteen.
I have nothing to declare except my genius.
Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.
The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.
Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered—either by themselves or by others.
In the faculty of writing nonsense, stupidity is no match for genius.
The aspiring efforts of genius, or virtue, either in active or speculative life, are measured, not so much by their real elevation, as by the height to which they ascend above the level of their age and country; and the same stature, which in a people of giants would pass unnoticed, must appear conspicuous in a race of pygmies.
God created war so that Americans would learn geography.
It is of the essence of geopolitics to be able to distinguish between different degrees of evil.
The Great Spirit protects that man [George Washington], and guides his destinies—he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire!
She had exactly the German way: whatever was in her mind to be delivered, whether a mere remark, or a sermon, or a cyclopedia, or the history of a war, she would get it into a single sentence or die. Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of the Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.
[The] ferocious Germans, who have so often attempted, and who will always desire, to exchange the solitude of their woods and morasses for the wealth and fertility of Gaul.
I had no intention of giving her my vital statistics. "Let me put it this way," I said. "According to my girth, I should be a ninety-foot redwood."
Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.
True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read; and in so living as to make the world happier for our living in it.
Look back, and remember yourself to be but [a] man.
(Apparent derivations: "Remember that all glory is fleeting" and "Remember that thou art mortal")
It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.
The things that haven't been done before
Are the tasks worthwhile today;
Are you one of the flock that follows, or
Are you one that shall lead the way?
Are you one of the timid souls that quail
At the jeers of doubting crew,
Or dare you, whether you with or fail,
Strike out for a goal that's new?
God And Religion
During the past ten years I have stolen 75 Bibles, perhaps the national record.
Many of the insights of the saint stem from his experience as a sinner.
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
God uses lust to impel men to marry, ambition to office, avarice to earning, and fear to faith. God led me like an old blind goat.
If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss bank.
Creator—A comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh.
God is really another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things.
Pray as though everything depended on the Lord and then go out and work as if it all depended on you.
I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
Bart: How would I go about creating a half-man, half-monkey-type creature?
Teacher: I'm sorry, that would be playing God.
Bart: God, shmod, I want my monkey-man!
Doctors are busy playing God when so few of us have the qualifications. And besides, the job is taken.
Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
The Devil always builds a chapel there,
And 'twill be found upon examination,
The latter has the largest congregation.
God will forgive me, it is his business.
Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism.
It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
A Christian is a man who feels repentance on a Sunday for what he did on Saturday and is going to do on Monday.
There cannot be a God because, if there were one, I would not believe that I was not He.
When a pious visitor inquired sweetly, "Henry, have you made your peace with God?" [Thoreau] replied, "We have never quarreled."
Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.
There can be no surer sign of decay in a country than to see the rites of religion held in contempt.
It is conceivable that religion may be morally useful without being intellectually sustainable.
The saints are the sinners who keep on going.
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.
Archbishop, n. A Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ.
God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos; He will set them above their betters.
The god I believe in isn't short of cash.
Puritanism, n. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
Christian, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.
Repentance, n. The faithful attendant and follower of Punishment. It is usually manifest in a degree of reformation that is not inconsistent with continuity of sin.
I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind—that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.
To attempt to be religious without practicing a specific religion is as possible as attempting to speak without a specific language.
All great religions, in order to escape absurdity, have to admit a dilution of agnosticism. It is only the savage, whether of the African bush or the American gospel tent, who pretends to know the will and intent of God exactly and completely.
There was never a century nor a country that was short of experts who knew the Deity's mind and were willing to reveal it.
Religious insanity is very common in the United States.
Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.
You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.
Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
The LORD is my strength and my shield.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.
The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
"There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked."
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
But to have avoided [all religious fads] has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.
Samuel Johnson enjoined the preachers of his time not to inveigh against those who were absent from church on Sundays by scolding those who were not absent.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
The gods help them that help themselves.
In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.
Do not let your deeds belie your words, lest when you speak in church someone may say to himself, "Why do you not practice what you preach?"
The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."
Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
In the preceding volumes of this History, I have described the triumph of barbarism and religion …
[The] Christian clergy … has claimed, in every age, the privilege of dispensing honors, both on earth and in heaven.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
In the hands of a popular preacher, an earthquake is an engine of admirable effect.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
[Ennodius] adds weight to the narrative of Procopius, though we may doubt whether the devil actually contrived the siege of Pavia, to distress the bishop and his flock.
Six years [after Severinus's death], his body, which scattered miracles as it passed, was transported by his disciples into Italy.
[The Ascetics] seriously renounced the business, and the pleasures, of the age; abjured the use of wine, of flesh, and of marriage; chastised their body, mortified their affections, and embraced a life of misery, as the price of eternal happiness.
A sanguinary and covetous mind is not the symptom of a sincere conversion [to Christianity]: let [Clovis, King of the Franks,] show his faith by his works.
But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
The clergy successfully preached the doctrines of patience and pusillanimity …
[The] enthusiast who entered the dome of St. Sophia might be tempted to suppose that it was the residence, or even the workmanship, of the Deity. Yet how dull is the artifice, how insignificant is the labor, if it be compared with the formation of the vilest insect that crawls upon the surface of the temple!
The Gothic arms were less fatal to the schools of Athens than the establishment of a new religion, whose ministers superseded the exercise of reason, resolved every question by an article of faith, and condemned the infidel or skeptic to eternal flames.
[The Catholic church's] jurisdiction, wealth, and immunities, perhaps the most essential part of episcopal religion, were restored …
If a Christian power had been maintained in Arabia, [Muhammad] must have been crushed in his cradle, and Abyssinia would have prevented a revolution which has changed the civil and religious state of the world.
[And] the ambiguous word [of God], which contains the precept of Christ [concerning divorce], is flexible to any interpretation that the wisdom of a legislator can demand.
I know but of one religion in which the god and the victim [sacrifice] are the same.
Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ.
Justinian might have learned, "that religious controversy is the offspring of arrogance and folly; that true piety is most laudably expressed by silence and submission; that man, ignorant of his own nature, should not presume to scrutinize the nature of his God; and that it is sufficient for us to know, that power and benevolence are the perfect attributes of the Deity."
[Justinian] piously labored to establish with fire and sword the unity of the Christian faith.
[The] province which had been ruined by the bigotry of Justinian, was the same through which the [Muslims] penetrated into the empire.
The desire of gaining souls for God and subjects for the church, has excited in every age the diligence of the Christian priests.
[The Armenians] have often preferred the crown of martyrdom to the white turban of [Muhammad] …
If there is no God, everything is permitted.
Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
[The] fond alliance of the monks and females obtained a final victory over the reason and authority of man.
[Muhammad], with the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other, erected his throne on the ruins of Christianity and of Rome.
The Koran divides the world into two parts: the House of Islam (the part of the world controlled by Muslims) and the House of War (that part not yet controlled by Muslims).
The most rational of the Arabs acknowledged [God's] power, though they neglected his worship …
The moral attributes of Jehovah may not easily be reconciled with the standard of human virtue …
A prophet may reveal the secrets of heaven and of futurity; but in his moral precepts he can only repeat the lessons of our own hearts.
[Muhammad] has not specified the male companions of the female elect, lest he should either alarm the jealousy of their former husbands, or disturb their felicity, by the suspicion of an everlasting marriage.
Ye Christian dogs, you know your option; the Koran, the tribute, or the sword. We are a people whose delight is in war, rather than in peace; and we despise your pitiful alms, since we shall be speedily masters of your wealth, your families, and your persons.
In the opinion of the [Saracens], the difference of religion is a reasonable ground of enmity and warfare.
[The Arabs'] rapacious spirit was approved and animated by the precepts of the Koran.
The successors of St. Peter appear to have followed, rather than guided, the impulse of manners and prejudice; without much foresight of the seasons, or cultivation of the soil, they gathered the ripe and spontaneous fruits of the superstition of the times.
Utopian desires are part of the human condition, and the craving to create a heaven on earth is the inevitable consequence of a godless society.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.
Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.
And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion … Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
They that deny God destroy man's nobility: for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body; and, if he be not kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature.
Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.
I've been pope for nearly two years, a bishop for over twenty years, but for me the most important thing is still the fact that I am a priest.
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.
Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Taken literally, Islamophobia means 'fear of Islam.' OK, well, there are many Muslims who have gone to great lengths to convince us to fear it. So what if I finally oblige them?
A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.
Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we render to him, is doing Good to his other Children. That the Soul of Man is immortal, and will be treated with Justice in another Life respecting its Conduct in this …
God helps them that help themselves.
Think of three Things, whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account.
Many Princes sin with David, but few repent with him.
Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden but it is forbidden because it's hurtful.
The worst that you can say about Him (God) is that basically He's an underachiever.
God is not dead but alive and working on a much less ambitious project.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa [Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault].
Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return. (Memento, homo … quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.)
There is nothing to be feared but our own sin and sloth …
But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
What hath God wrought!
Golf is like a love affair: if you don't take it seriously, it's no fun; if you do take it seriously, it breaks your heart.
The only reason I ever played golf in the first place was so I could afford to hunt and fish.
Golf is a good walk spoiled.
You have to understand, I don't play golf for fun. It's my business. When the mailman starts delivering mail on his off day, that's when I'll start playing golf for the hell of it.
It used to be a good hotel, but that proves nothing—I used to be a good boy.
Good And Evil
It is a public scandal that gives offense and it is no sin to sin in secret.
The world is a dangerous place to live—not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
The word 'good' has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of 500 yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.
No good deed ever goes unpunished.
If I knew … that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.
No man deserves to be praised for his goodness unless he has the strength of character to be wicked. All other goodness is generally nothing but indolence or impotence of will.
My only policy is to profess evil and do good.
He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars: general good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite and flatterer. For art and science cannot exist but in minutely organized particulars.
If your morals make you dreary, depend on it they are wrong.
One murder makes a villain, millions a hero.
Cruelties should be committed all at once.
The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.
The wicked man flees though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
Of course heaven forbids certain pleasures, but one finds means of compromise.
Our repentance is not so much regret for the ill we have done as fear of the ill that may happen to us in consequence.
Don't worry about avoiding temptation—as you grow older, it starts avoiding you.
In spite of everything, I still believe that people are good at heart.
For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Beware the fury of a patient man.
It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake.
Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
I am in politics because of the conflict between good and evil, and I believe that in the end good will triumph.
To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he is doing is good …
Some people are worried about the difference between right and wrong. I'm worried about the difference between wrong and fun.
When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
You have a choice in life very often whether you do good or you feel good.
It is not up to you to finish the task, but neither are you free to desist [from trying].
… every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.
The eyes believe themselves; the ears believe other people.
Whoever gossips to you will gossip of you.
Some people will believe anything if you whisper it to them.
There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.
Gossip [is] the sewer of malice and envy …
Hear no ill of a Friend, nor speak any of an Enemy.
A gourmet is just a glutton with brains.
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
I would rather be governed by the first three hundred names in the Boston telephone book than by the faculty of Harvard University.
The point to remember is that what the government gives it must first take away.
No man should be in public office who can't make more money in private life.
The best government is a benevolent tyranny tempered by an occasional assassination.
Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.
A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.
The state, it cannot too often be repeated, does nothing, and can give nothing, which it does not take from somebody
How can you govern a country with two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?
The supply of government exceeds the demand.
Every nation has the government it deserves.
The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.
Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed. They produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock.
The federal government has three duties. Print the money, deliver the mail, and declare war.
There is very little to admire in bureaucracy, but you have got to hand it to the Internal Revenue Service.
No class of Americans, so far as I know, has ever objected … to any amount of governmental meddling if it appeared to benefit that particular class.
Any doctrine that … weakens personal responsibility for judgment and for action … helps create the attitudes that welcome and support the totalitarian state.
Today's rebel is tomorrow's tyrant.
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.
Why should any country continue, forever, to be "great"?
That government is best which governs least.
The wrong sort of people are always in power because they would not be in power if they were not the wrong sort of people.
Nothing is easier than spending the public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody.
The office of President is such a bastardized thing, half royalty and half democracy, that nobody knows whether to genuflect or spit.
When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it.
I have been told I was on the road to hell, but I had no idea it was just a mile down the road with a Dome on it.
In all my years of public life I have never obstructed justice … Your President is no crook!
In America any boy may become President and I suppose it's just one of the risks he takes.
What our generation has forgotten is that the system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not.
Who shall guard the guardians themselves? (quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
It is much more secure to be feared than to be loved.
There is a homely adage which runs: "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
Democracy, with its promise of international peace, has been no better guarantee against war than the old dynastic rule of kings.
There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.
This island is almost made of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organizing genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish in Great Britain at the same time.
The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.
I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
At a banquet Caligula was suddenly seized with a fit of helpless laughter. The consuls reclining next to him asked if they might share in the imperial merriment. Caligula, wiping the tears from his eyes, managed to gasp, "You'll never guess! It suddenly occurred to me that I had only to give a single nod, and both your throats would be cut on the spot."
The Labour Party Marxists see the consequences of their own folly all around them and call it the collapse of capitalism.
The task of weaning various people and groups from the national nipple will not be easy. The sound of whines, bawls, screams and invective will fill the air as the agony of withdrawal pangs finds voice.
Everybody has asked the question … "What shall we do with the Negro?" I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature's plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!
In all sorts of government man is made to believe himself free, and to be in chains.
[Government] is apprehended, not as a committee of citizens chosen to carry on the communal business of the whole population, but as a separate and autonomous corporation, mainly devoted to exploiting the population for the benefit of its own members.
When a private citizen is robbed, a worthy man is deprived of the fruits of his industry and thrift; when the government is robbed, the worst that happens is that certain rogues and loafers have less money to play with than they had before.
The natural tendency of every government is to grow steadily worse—that is, to grow more satisfactory to those who constitute it and less satisfactory to those who support it.
I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war on liberty, and that the democratic government is at least as bad as any of the other forms.
The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.
Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.
Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).
Only government can cause inflation, preserve monopoly, and punish enterprise.
You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.
The most valuable function performed by the federal government is entertainment.
The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.
[Government's modus operandi:] If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
The urgent consideration of the public safety may undoubtedly authorize the violation of every positive law. How far that, or any other, consideration may operate to dissolve the natural obligations of humanity and justice, is a doctrine of which I still desire to remain ignorant.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
[We] hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
He [is] the worst governor who [cannot] govern himself.
Governors ought to gain nothing by their governments but honor.
But the desire of obtaining the advantages, and of escaping the burdens, of political society, is a perpetual and inexhaustible source of discord.
[The one in authority] does not bear the sword for nothing.
[The] Roman government appeared every day less formidable to its enemies, more odious and oppressive to its subjects.
Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.
The whole idea of government is this: if enough people get together and act in concert, they can take something and not pay for it.
Government conspiracy? They can't even deliver our mail and it's got our address on it and everything!
Government subsidies can be critically analyzed according to a simple principle: You are smarter than the government, so when the government pays you to do something you wouldn't do on your own, it is almost always paying you to do something stupid.
For the people in government … Washington is an early-rising, hard-working city. It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.
Bureaucrats want bigger bureaus. Special interests are interested in whatever [is] special to them. These two groups bring great pressure to bear upon politicians who have another agenda yet: to cater to the temporary whims and fads of the public and the press.
When a private entity does not produce the desired results, it [is] done away with. But a public entity gets bigger.
How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!
The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action.
Expanded unemployment benefits … expand unemployment.
[East German's] were brought up to identify totally with the state; they may be slow to realize the extent to which they were victimized by the state.
The New Deal began, like the Salvation Army, by promising to save humanity. It ended, again like the Salvation Army, by running flop-houses and disturbing the peace.
Government doesn't solve problems; it subsidizes them.
Public spending expands to absorb all available tax revenues. … Public borrowing expands to absorb all available means of finance.
[The government is] now in a position to do what Franklin D. Roosevelt did during the Great Depression of the 1930s—use a crisis of the times to create new institutions that will last for generations. To this day, we are still subsidizing millionaires in agriculture because farmers were having a tough time in the 1930s.
If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible. He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants.
A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them.
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.
We have far more to fear from swift than from torpid government.
Take any three letters from the alphabet, put them in any order you want, and you will have an acronym designating a federal agency we could do without.
The history of the human race is one long story of attempts by certain persons and classes to obtain control of the power of the State, so as to win earthly gratifications at the expense of others.
[The] State cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man.
The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.
Big government makes small citizens.
The societies of antiquity were frequently destroyed by the growth of the state and its parasites. The process continues to our own day, changing only its outward form. It is one of the central themes of Smith's The Wealth of Nations that private individuals create wealth, and governments consume it. The more the government consumes, the less the private sector has to invest; so wealth accumulates more slowly, or not at all, or even declines.
Rags, wretchedness, poverty and dirt, those signs and symbols that indicate the presence of [Muslim] rule more surely than the crescent-flag itself, abound.
A man's admiration of absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him.
… with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens—a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.
Oderint dum metuant.
Let them hate, so long as they fear.
[Food activists] like to talk about market failures but are apparently blind to the abundance of government failures. If the process is so corruptible by corporate interests and mega farms, as they claim it is, then Uncle Sam is incapable of working in our food interests, and all the preaching of hope and change is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
The great scandal of American life is that we pay for German levels of government without enjoying the related benefits.
If we'd had government on [today's] scale in the 1840s, the stagecoaches would have hired lobbyists to get a bill passed that railroads could not travel faster than a horse because it would be an unfair competitive advantage.
As a broad generalization, big businesses have no moral objections to being whores. Getting into bed with Uncle Sam is all a question of price, not principle.
A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.
When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.
They're celebrating you graduating from eighth grade? We just went to your sixth-grade graduation two goddamned years ago! Jesus Christ, why don't they just throw a fucking party every time you properly wipe your ass?
He who receives a benefit should never forget it; he who bestow should never remember it.
The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.
[Where] gratitude is felt, resentment can never be very far behind.
[The] act of gratitude is nowadays is probably more often neglected than overdone.
God, Parents, and Instructors, can never be requited.
He is Governor that governs his Passions, and he a Servant that serves them.
Lend Money to an Enemy, and thou'lt gain him, to a Friend and thou'lt lose him.
I will gradually drop this subject of graveyards. I have been trying all I could to get down to the sentimental part of it, but I cannot accomplish it. I think there is no genuinely sentimental part to it. It is all grotesque, ghastly, horrible.
A great ship asks deep water.
The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor the great scholars great men.
The best things and best people rise out of their separateness; I'm against a homogenized society because I want the cream to rise.
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
But be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
Greece is a bleak, unsmiling desert, without agriculture, manufactures or commerce, apparently. What supports its poverty-stricken people or its Government, is a mystery.
Grief is the agony of an instant, the indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.
The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
You can go a long way with a smile. You can go a lot farther with a smile and a gun.
If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery [gunpowder] with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind.
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Last updated: August 10, 2019