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There is something that is much more scarce, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability.
They are able because they think they are able.
Natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study.
Speak no evil of an absent friend. (Non male loquare absenti amico.)
Seldom seen, soon forgotten.
The pain without the peace of death.
The absent are as good as dead.
The absent and the dead have no friends.
Absence makes the heart go wander.
Abstemiousness And Gluttony
To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.
If you find honey, eat just enough—
too much of it, and you will vomit.
Nothing under the sun is ever accidental.
If someone accuses you for something you haven't done he either has done it himself or he would do it if he were you.
No man has lived to much purpose unless he has built a house, begotten a son, or written a book.
Never mistake activity for achievement.
Accomplishing something provides the only real satisfaction in life.
The wisest man I have ever known once said to me: "Nine out of every ten people improve on acquaintance," and I have found his words true.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to min'?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' lang syne?
If a man is worth knowing at all, he is worth knowing well.
Acquaintance, n. A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.
A wise man knows everything; a shrewd one, everybody.
There are two kinds of people: those who don't do what they want to do, so they write down in a diary about what they haven't done, and those who haven't time to write about it because they're out doing it.
I plow, but I do not write about plowing.
It seems to me that man is made to act rather than to know: the principles of things escape our most persevering researches.
Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those, who in times of moral crisis, do nothing.
To an active mind, indolence is more painful than labor.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
"He means well" is useless unless he does well.
The inactivity of a conqueror betrays the loss of strength and blood …
No matter how big and tough a problem may be, get rid of confusion by taking one little step toward solution. Do something.
Colonel Brighton: Look, sir, we can't just do nothing.
General Allenby: Why not? It's usually best.
No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.
This world, where much is to be done and little to be known.
Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.
We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once.
I never worry about action, but only about inaction.
Actors are a nuisance in the earth, the very offal of society.
[Studio official's assessment of Fred Astaire:] Can't act. Slightly bald. Also dances.
In the Garden of Eden sat Adam,
Massaging the bust of his madam,
He chuckled with mirth,
For he knew that on earth,
There were only two boobs and he had 'em.
What could Adam have done to God that made Him put Eve in the garden?
The tomb of Adam! How touching it was, here in a land of strangers, far away from home, and friends, and all who cared for me, thus to discover the grave of a blood relation. True, a distant one, but still a relation.
It's like I have a shotgun in my mouth, and I've got my finger on the trigger, and I like the taste of the gun metal.
As to the adjective, when in doubt strike it out.
The adjective is the enemy of the noun.
Admiration is a very short-lived passion, that immediately decays upon growing familiar with its object.
Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.
Admonish your friends in private; praise them in public.
For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.
All at once he followed her [the adulteress] like an ox going to the slaughter
If a married woman shall be caught lying with another man, both shall be bound and thrown into the river.
But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment;
whoever does so destroys himself.
Between a man and his wife a husband's infidelity is nothing. The man imposes no bastards on his wife.
The adverb is the enemy of the verb.
In time of prosperity friends will be plenty;
In time of adversity not one in twenty.
In prosperity, caution; in adversity, patience.
By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.
While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.
Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.
You can't adjust the winds, but you can adjust your sails.
Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.
Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark: you know what you are doing, but nobody else does.
Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
I always hated those testimonials on TV … [where the actress says,] "If I can do it, you can do it." How the hell does she know what I can and cannot do?
When we ask advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice.
Whatever your advice, make it brief.
Advice is least heeded when most needed.
You may give him good advice, but who can give him wit to take it?
The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.
Beware the advice of a poor man.
Never advise anyone to go to war or to marry.
Years ago, my mother used to say to me, "In this world, Elwood, you must be be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.
Ask advice only of your equals.
Many receive advice, few profit by it.
Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.
[But] if the royal ear [of Theodoric] was open to the voice of truth, a saint and a philosopher are not always to be found at the ear of kings.
If you've ever taken advice from a cartoonist, there's a good chance it didn't end well.
We may give Advice, but we cannot give Conduct.
The qualities we have do not make us so ridiculous as those we affect to have.
One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell that would tell anything.
I'm very pleased with each advancing year. It stems back to when I was forty. I was a bit upset about reaching that milestone, but an older friend consoled me. 'Don't complain about growing old—many, many people do not have that privilege.'
Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternatives.
As for me, except for an occasional heart attack, I feel as young as I ever did.
You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.
Nothing so dates a man as decrying the younger generation.
There are three categories of age: youth, middle age, and "Gee, you're looking well."
Aggression unchallenged is aggression unleashed.
In every unbeliever's heart there is an uneasy feeling that, after all, he may awake after death and find himself immortal. This is his punishment for his unbelief. This is the agnostic's Hell.
Alice Roosevelt Longworth
I can do one of two things. I can be president of the United States or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both.
It is better to be alone than in ill company.
A man is never alone, not only because he is with himself and his own thoughts, but because he is with the Devil, who ever consorts with our solitude.
Vain the ambition of kings
Who seek by trophies and dead things
To leave a living name behind,
And weave but nets to catch the wind.
It seems that ambition makes most people wish to be loved rather than to love others.
Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything.
I would to God there were more ambition in the country … ambition of that laudable kind, to excel.
Men are generally idle, and ready to satisfy themselves, and intimidate the industry of others, by calling that impossible which is only difficult.
In England I would rather be a man, a horse, a dog, or a woman, in that order. In America I think the order would be reversed.
I regard England as my wife and America as my mistress.
The European traveler in America—at least if I may judge by myself—is struck by two peculiarities: first, the extreme similarity of outlook in all parts of the United States (except the Old South), and secondly, the passionate desire of each locality to prove that it is peculiar and different from every other. The second of these is, of course, caused by the first.
Because I really want to live in a country where the poor people are fat.
The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.
America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
America is not what's wrong with the world.
America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
I'll start to worry about America's standing in the world when people from all corners of the earth cease to want to come here.
America is harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend.
The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative.
We have learned one lesson in the last half-century: the well-being of the world depends, above all, on the sensible pursuit of common aims by the United States and the free European peoples. That the Japanese are rapidly transforming this relationship into a triangular one goes without saying. But the U.S.-European axis remains the fulcrum of stability, and the Europeans know it: it is the one fixed point in their geopolitics. For this reason they are remarkably dependent on the workings of the American system, and the character of the man it places in the White House.
I wonder if the word "American" will one day have the same connotation as the word "byzantine."
America is now a land that rewards failure—at the personal, corporate, and state level.
The later chapters of "The Decline and Fall of the United States" will make interesting reading.
I want no criticism of America at my table. The Americans criticize themselves more than enough.
Europe is the product of history. America is the product of philosophy.
Anyone, in any walk of life, who is content with mediocrity is untrue to himself and to American tradition.
It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776 … and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning cannot be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions.
No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.
The American people, taking one with another, constitute the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goosesteppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the Middle Ages.
The Americans are the illegitimate children of the English.
Americans are very smart about the things they care about, and ignorant about the things they don't.
We [Americans] are fat, overgrown lab rats, and we get too many reward pellets for too little effort.
There are no people in the world who are so slow to develop hostile feelings against a foreign country as the Americans and there are no people who once estranged, are more difficult to win back.
Ammianus is so eloquent, that he writes nonsense.
I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.
Nothing is so soothing to our self-esteem as to find our bad traits in our forebears. It seems to absolve us.
It is certainly desirable to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors.
He who boasts of his descent praises another.
A mule always boasts that its ancestors were horses.
Speak of the moderns without contempt and of the ancients without idolatry; judge them all by their merits and not by their age.
If we had had the cable telegraph in those days, this blood [from the battle of New Orleans] would not have been spilt, those lives would not have been wasted; and better still, Jackson would probably never have been president. We have gotten over the harms done us by the war of 1812, but not over some of those done us by Jackson's presidency.
The best cure for anger is delay.
How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.
Whate'er's begun in anger ends in shame.
When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.
Anger is a vulgar passion directed to vulgar ends, and it always sinks to the level of its object.
The size of a man can be measured by the size of the thing that makes him angry.
He who is slow to anger is longer getting over it.
Never forget what a man says to you when he is angry.
An angry man [differs] from a madman only in the shorter time which his passion [endures].
"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Anger so clouds the mind, that it cannot perceive the truth.
Dogs look up to you, cats look down on you. Give me a pig. He just looks you in the eye and treats you as an equal.
A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.
The pig, if I am not mistaken,
Supplies us sausage, ham, and bacon.
Let others say his heart is big—
I call it stupid of the pig.
If you have no trouble, buy a goat.
Our toil is lessened, and our wealth is increased, by our dominion over the useful animals …
No answer is also an answer.
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
Let others praise ancient times; I am glad that I was born in these.
Damn the age; I will write for antiquity.
All is not gold that shines like gold. (Non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut aurum.
- Everything that glitters is not gold.
- Do not hold as gold all that shines as gold.
Three-tenths of a good appearance are due to nature; seven-tenths to dress.
I … smell the stench of appeasement in the air.
I think that if I give him [Stalin] everything I possibly can and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.
My good friends this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honor. I believe it is peace in our time.
We seem to be very near the bleak choice between war and shame. My feeling is that we shall choose shame and then have war thrown in a little later on even more adverse terms than at present.
All man's efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied.
Subdue your appetites, and you've conquered human nature.
Appetite comes with eating … but the thirst goes away with drinking.
When most the world applauds you, most beware:
'Tis often less a blessing than a snare.
Better the oppression of Turks than the justice of Arabs.
The life of a wandering Arab [in the time of Gibbon] is a life of danger and distress; and though sometimes, by rapine or exchange, he may appropriate the fruits of industry, a private citizen in Europe is in the possession of more solid and pleasing luxury than the proudest emir, who marches in the field at the head of ten thousand horse.
[The] noblest of [Arabs] united the love of arms with the profession of merchandise.
[Arabs are] a people, whom it is dangerous to provoke, and fruitless to attack.
But [the Arabs'] friendship was venal, their faith inconstant, their enmity capricious: it was an easier task to excite than to disarm these roving barbarians; and, in the familiar intercourse of war, they learned to see, and to despise, the splendid weakness both of Rome and of Persia.
The character of Hatem is the perfect model of Arabian virtue: he was brave and liberal, an eloquent poet, and a successful robber …
He was swearing audibly, and when he found that the infirmities of the English tongue hemmed in his rage, he sought consolation in Arabic, which is expressly designed for the use of the afflicted.
The principal foundations of all states are good laws and good arms; and there cannot be good laws where there are not good arms.
Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.
An army of stags led by a lion is more to be feared than an army of lions led by a stag.
That's what an army is—a mob; they don't fight with courage that's born in them, but with courage that's borrowed from their mass, and from their officers.
[Their] minds were not yet humbled to their condition …
Art for art's sake makes no more sense than gin for gin's sake.
Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult.
Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is a sort of grandchild of God.
You must treat a work of art like a great man: stand before it and wait patiently till it deigns to speak.
No one can explain how the notes of a Mozart melody, or the folds of a piece of Titian's drapery, produce their essential effects. If you do not feel it, no one can by reasoning make you feel it.
I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like.
Another unsettling element in modern art is that common symptom of immaturity, the dread of doing what has been done before.
By a curious confusion, many modern critics have passed from the proposition that a masterpiece may be unpopular to the other proposition that unless it is unpopular it cannot be a masterpiece.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
I passionately hate the idea of being with it, I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.
I don't know what art is, but I do know what it isn't. And it isn't someone walking around with a salmon over his shoulder, or embroidering the name of everyone they have slept with on the inside of a tent.
The photographer is like the cod which produces a million eggs in order that one may reach maturity.
I always ask the sitter if they want truth or flattery. They always ask for truth, and I always give them flattery.
Yes—one does like to make one's mummy just as nice as possible!
All that I desire to point out is the general principle that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.
If a scientist were to cut his ear off, no one would take it as evidence of a heightened sensibility.
The joy of conceptual art is that the description is everything. Oh yes, there is real artistry at work here. It just isn't on the walls but in the catalogue descriptions.
The gods that first taught artists their craft laid a great curse on mankind.
Artists are on the average less happy than men of science.
There is no virtue in penance and fasting which waste the body; they are only fanatical and monkish.
A dominant religion is never ascetic.
Asceticism may be a mere expression of organic hardihood, disgusted with too much ease.
He that asketh faintly beggeth a denial.
The man who is afraid of asking is ashamed of learning.
Men would be angels, angels would be gods.
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's Heaven for?
The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life:
Try to be Shakespeare, leave the rest to fate.
Hitch your wagon to a star.
Assassination is the last resource of cowards.
I am always longing to be with men more excellent than myself.
When a dove begins to associate with crows its feathers remain white but its heart grows black.
[Astrology] is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune (often the surfeit of our own behavior) we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains by necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and teachers by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers by an enforced obedience of planetary influence.
I don't believe in astrology; I'm a Sagittarius and we're sceptical.
[The] sublime science of astronomy … elevates the mind of man to disdain his diminutive planet and momentary existence.
It is atheism and blasphemy to dispute what God can do: good Christians content themselves with His will revealed in His Word.
A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth a man's mind about to religion.
The three great apostles of practical atheism, that make converts without persecuting, and retain them without preaching, are wealth, health, and power.
Practical atheism, seeing no guidance for human affairs but its own limited foresight, endeavors itself to play the god, and decide what will be good for mankind and what bad.
The kingdom that is infested by atheists is beset by famine and disease and soon perishes.
To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition.
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
The best audience is intelligent, well-educated, and a little drunk.
The play was a great success, but the audience was a total failure.
The best part of every author is in general to be found in his book, I assure you.
While an author is yet living we estimate his powers by his worst performance, and when he is dead we rate them by his best.
An author is like a baker; it is for him to make the sweets, and others to buy and enjoy them.
An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations.
Authors with a mortgage never get writer's block.
An author places himself uncalled before the tribunal of criticism, and solicits fame at the hazard of disgrace.
Nothing has been found so mighty
That it has not found a master.
Autobiography is now as common as adultery and hardly less reprehensible.
An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last installment missing.
To write one's memoirs is to speak ill of everybody except oneself.
Is fuel efficiency really what we need most desperately? I say that what we really need is a car that can be shot when it breaks down.
I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either.
Men lose more conquests by their own awkwardness than by any virtue in the woman.
A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.
A baby is an alimentary canal with a loud voice at one end and no responsibility at the other.
A bachelor is a selfish, undeserving guy who has cheated some woman out of a divorce.
Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn't, they'd be married too.
Cock's bones! now again I stand
The jolliest bachelor i' th' land.
A single man has not nearly the value he would have in [a] state of union. He is an incomplete animal. He resembles the odd half of a pair of scissors.
An old bachelor is a poor critter.
A bachelor is one who enjoys the chase but does not eat the game.
Praise all wives, but remain a bachelor.
So long as a man is without a wife he is only half a man.
For 'tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petard …
No man becomes bad all at once.
One who is serious all day will never have a good time, while one who is frivolous all day will never establish a household.
There is nothing more contemptible than a bald man who pretends to have hair.
Honest men grow gray; others grow bald.
[The Balkans] produce more history than they can consume.
Where the banana grows man is sensual and cruel.
A banker is a man who lends you an umbrella when the weather is fair, and takes it away from you when it rains.
[The Gauls] derided the hairy and gigantic savages of the North; their rustic manners, dissonant joy, voracious appetite, and their horrid appearance, equally disgusting to the sight and to the smell.
Think! How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?
Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal.
To get thine ends, lay bashfulness aside;
Who fears to ask doth teach to be deny'd.
Though modesty be a virtue, yet bashfulness is a vice.
The bashful always lose.
Those born of sinful intercourse are not counted as children.
Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.
If your bayonet breaks, strike with the stock; if the stock gives way, hit with your fists; if your fists are hurt, bite with your teeth.
To extraordinary circumstance we must apply extraordinary remedies.
Well, well, General, bury these poor men, and let us say no more about it.
A spaniel, a woman, and a walnut tree,
The more they're beaten the better they be.
Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless: peacocks and lilies, for instance.
Why is it that beautiful women never seem to have any curiosity?
Is it because they know they're classical? With classical things the Lord finished the job. Ordinary ugly people know they're deficient and they go on looking for the pieces.
Beauty and wisdom are seldom found together.
A holy woman may be beautiful by the gift of nature, but she must not give occasion to lust. If beauty be hers, so far from setting it off she ought rather to obscure it.
Had she deigned to remove her veil, God Himself would have fallen in love with her.
A poor beauty finds more lovers than husbands.
Beauty and sadness always go together.
We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes.
It is better to be beautiful than to be good, but it is better to be good than to be ugly.
It is the beautiful bird which gets caged.
Beauty is a good letter of introduction.
Beauty and chastity are always quarreling.
[Beauty is] an outward gift which is seldom despised, except by those to whom it has been refused.
Beauty, Mr Rambler, has often overpowered the resolutions of the firm, and the reasonings of the wise, roused the old to sensibility, and subdued the rigorous to softness.
Loath to bed, and loath to rise.
No bed is big enough to hold three.
A husband and wife who have separate bedrooms have either drifted apart—or found happiness.
Beefsteaks and porter are gude belly mortar.
He that drinks strong beer,
And goes to bed mellow,
Lives as he ought to live,
And dies a hearty fellow.
I wish to see this beverage become common instead of the whisky which kills one-third of our citizens, and ruins their families.
With my beer
While golden moments flit:
And as they fly,
Sit, idly sipping here
There is no bad beer: some kinds are better than others.
Come and let me cheer your spirits,
Make you sing the songs of wisdom,
That with honor ye may praise me,
Sing the songs of beer immortal!
Thus was brewed the beer of Northland,
At the hands of Osmo's daughter;
This the origin of brewing
Beer from Kalew-hops and barley;
Great indeed the reputation
Of the ancient beer of Kalew,
Said to make the feeble hardy,
Famed to dry the tears of women,
Make the aged young and supple,
Make the brave men ever braver,
Fill the heart with joy and gladness,
Fill the mind with wisdom-sayings,
Fill the tongue with ancient legends,
Only makes the fool more foolish.
Beethoven can write music, thank God—but he can do nothing else on earth.
Beggars should be abolished. It annoys one to give to them, and it annoys one not to give to them.
It is a beggar's pride that he is not a thief.
The beginning is half of the whole.
Every beginning is hard.
I believe it because it is absurd.
We believe nothing so firmly as what we least know.
He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.
Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.
Never tell all that you know, or do all that you can, or believe all that you hear.
Belief forms behavior.
I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.
Alice: This is impossible.
The Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is.
The spectator and historian of [Belisarius's] exploits has observed, that amidst the perils of war, he was daring without rashness, prudent without fear, slow or rapid according to the exigencies of the moment; that in the deepest distress he was animated by real or apparent hope, but that he was modest and humble in the most prosperous fortune.
A full belly neither fights nor flies well.
Cui bono? (to whose benefit?)
You also, Brutus? (Et tu, Brute!, though what Caesar said, if anything, and in what language, is uncertain)
The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong—but that's the way to bet.
Biography is one of the new terrors of death.
Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man—the biography of the man himself cannot be written.
Birth, n. The first and direst of all disasters.
Blame is safer than praise.
Judge none blessed before his death.
May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour
Before the Devil knows you're dead.
May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.
May your neighbors respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you.
May the Good Lord take a liking to you, … but not too soon!
The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
It may well be a blessing in disguise. At the moment it seems quite effectively disguised.
Reading all the good books is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries.
There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read.
Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folk have lent me.
The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.
I never can understand how two men can write a book together; to me that's like three people getting together to have a baby.
I am being frank about myself in this book. I tell of my first mistake on page 850.
If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or, as it were, fondle them—peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on their shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that if you do not know what is in them, you will at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them at any rate be your acquaintances.
May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, or the Phoenicians, or whoever invented books.
The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no limit to this fever for writing; every one must be an author; some out of vanity, to acquire celebrity and raise up a name, others for the sake of mere gain.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.
A great [large] book is a great evil.
I keep to old books, for they teach me something; from the new I learn very little.
My books are friends that never fail me.
Books are a triviality. Life alone is great.
A room without books is like a body without a soul.
I buy books at a geometric rate, but read only arithmetically.
Another damned, thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr Gibbon?
Bore, n. A person who talks when you wish him to listen.
The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.
When people are bored, it is primarily with their own selves that they are bored.
Boredom is an evil that is not to be estimated lightly. It can come in the end to real despair. The public authority takes precautions against it everywhere, as against other universal calamities.
Ennui has made more gamblers than avarice, more drunkards than thirst, and perhaps as many suicides as despair.
Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.
Good-bye. I am leaving because I am bored.
Borrowing And Lending
Borrowing is not much better than begging.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
A boy is, of all wild beasts, the most difficult to manage.
The parent who could see his boy as he really is, would shake his head and say, "Willie is no good; I'll sell him."
One boy is more trouble than a dozen girls.
The fact that boys are allowed to exist at all is evidence of remarkable Christian forbearance among men—were it not for a mawkish humanitarianism, coupled with imperfect digestive powers, we should devour our young, as Nature intended.
A boy is a cross between a god and a goat.
Some have been thought brave because they were afraid to run away.
He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.
Birth's gude but breeding's better.
I have only made this letter rather long because I have not had time to make it shorter.
Do you wish to instruct? Be brief, that the mind may catch thy precepts and the more easily retain them.
In order to speak short upon any subject, think long.
That which is brief, if it be good, is good twice over.
It is not the burden but the overburden that kills the beast.
Brevity is the soul of wit.
A bridegroom is a guy who has lost his liberty in the pursuit of happiness.
In Britain, everything is policed except crime.
For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what LBJ's Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population.
Socialism has been preached for so long, the British people no longer have any sense of personal responsibility.
Build and borrow,
A sackful of sorrow.
(Bauen und Borgen,
Ein Sack voll Sorgen.)
Light burdens, long borne, grow heavy.
I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.
The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is inefficiency. An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty.
Hell hath no fury like a bureaucrat scorned.
The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.
It must not be forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave men in the minor details of life.
[I]n time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties … Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.
The basic concept of the Dilbert Principle is that the most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage: management.
If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to any patient who considered his work important.
Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.
Businessmen are notable for a peculiarly stalwart character, which enables them to enjoy without loss of self-reliance the benefits of tariffs, franchises, and even outright government subsidies.
The egalitarianism of the present tax structure is thought to be seriously dampening individual effort, initiative, and inspiration … [it] destroys ambition, penalizes success, discourages investment to create new jobs, and may well turn a nation of risk-taking entrepreneurs into a nation of softies.
It is a socialist idea that making profits is a vice; I consider the real vice is making losses.
Planned Economy: Where everything is included in the plans except economy.
No matter what you think your job is, your job is to make your boss's life easier.
Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
A man's work is his dilemma: his job is his bondage, but it also gives him a fair share of his identity and keeps him from being a bystander in somebody else's world.
It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job, it's a depression when you lose your own.
Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.
He had talents equal to business, and aspired no higher.
Successful investing is anticipating the anticipations of others.
If you owe the bank a thousand dollars, you have a problem; if you owe the bank a million dollars, the bank has a problem.
[The] clamour and sophistry of merchants and manufacturers easily persuade [the people], that the private interest of a part, and of a subordinate part, of the society, is the general interest of the whole.
None are so busy as the fool and knave.
He that is busy is tempted by but one devil; he that is idle, by a legion.
The busiest men have the most leisure.
The busy have no time for tears.
It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
For A to sit down and think, What shall I do? is commonplace; but to think what B ought to do is interesting, romantic, moral, self-flattering, and public-spirited all at once. It satisfies a great number of human weaknesses at once. To go on and plan what a whole class of people ought to do is to feel one's self a power on earth, to win a public position, to clothe one's self in dignity. Hence we have an unlimited supply of reformers, philanthropists, humanitarians, and would-be managers-in-general of society.
Let the buyer beware. (Caveat emptor.)
Cabbage twice cooked is death.
California's like an artificial limb the rest of the country doesn't really need.
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, then it's possible that you don't fully understand the situation.
Keep calm and carry on.
Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny.
The peasants either use a horse and a camel, a burro and a camel, a bull and a camel, or a bull and a horse. I am informed that they cannot use two camels because they fight each other. Any animal hooked up with a camel becomes disgusted and loses interest in life.
I wish the British Government would give you Canada at once. It is fit for nothing but to breed quarrels.
Canada could have enjoyed:
and American know-how.
Instead it ended up with:
and American culture.
England would be better off without Canada; it keeps her in a prepared state for war at a great expense and constant irritation.
Americans are benevolently ignorant about Canada, while Canadians are malevolently well informed about the United States.
Those who pillory capitalism for "creating artificial needs" strike me as timid and dismal souls. You might just as well denounce Monet for creating an "artificial need" for Impressionism.
Despite the miracles of capitalism, it doesn't do well in popularity polls. One of the reasons is that capitalism is always evaluated against the non-existent, non-realizable utopias of socialism or communism. Any earthly system, when compared to a Utopia, will pale in comparison. But for the ordinary person, capitalism, with all of its warts, is superior to any system yet devised to deal with our everyday needs and desires.
The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.
If you can't be good be careful.
The wife of a careless man is almost a widow.
Caroline of England
Most gracious queen, we thee implore
To go away and sin no more,
But if that effort be too great,
To go away at any rate.
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
In a free trade, an effectual combination cannot be established but by the unanimous consent of every single trader, and it cannot last longer than every single trader continues of the same mind. The majority of a corporation can enact a bye-law, with proper penalties, which will limit the competition more effectually and more durably than any voluntary combination whatever.
That country [Carthage] was rapidly sinking into the state of barbarism from whence it had been raised by the Phoenician colonies and Roman laws; and every step of intestine discord was marked by some deplorable victory of savage man over civilized society.
In God we trust; all others must pay cash.
There is a demand today for men who can make wrong appear right.
When I play with my cat, who knows whether I do not make her more sport than she makes me?
Stately, kindly, lordly friend
Here to sit by me.
Any member introducing a dog into the Society's premises shall be liable to a fine of £10. Any animal leading a blind person shall be deemed to be a cat.
I've never understood why women love cats. Cats are independent, they don't listen, they don't come in when you call, they like to stay out all night, and when they're home they like to be left alone and sleep. In other words, every quality that women hate in a man, they love in a cat.
If man could be crossed with a cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.
Cats are cleverer than we think, but less clever than they think.
If we take the widest and wisest view of a Cause, there is no such thing as a Lost Cause, because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause. We fight for lost causes because we know that our defeat and dismay may be the preface to our successors' victory, though that victory itself will be temporary; we fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation it will triumph.
Cause And Effect
For want of a nail the shoe is lost; for want of a shoe the horse is lost; and for want of a horse the rider is lost.
The thorns which I have reap'd are of the tree I planted.
After this, therefore because of this. (Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.)
The cautious seldom make mistakes.
Think much and often, speak little, and write less.
If not chastely, then at least cautiously. (Nisi caste, saltem caute.)
Drive carefully. We have two cemeteries [but] no hospital.
Marriage may often be a stormy lake, but celibacy is almost always a muddy horsepond.
The fence around a cemetery is foolish, for those inside can't get out and those outside don't want to get in.
He who seeks equality should go to a cemetery.
If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruption.
The public, with its mob yearning to be instructed, edified and pulled by the nose, demands certainties; it must be told definitely and a bit raucously that this is true and that is false. But there are no certainties.
If you forsake a certainty and depend on an uncertainty, you will lose both the certainty and the uncertainty.
In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.
Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.
If you are sure you understand everything that is going on, you are hopelessly confused.
A mind [David Howell's] not so much open as permanently vulnerable to a succession of opposing certainties.
Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so.
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.
Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.
There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new …
Everything changes but the avant-garde.
The more that things change, the more we need to depend upon those things that never change.
If nothing changes, nothing changes. If you keep doing what you're doing, you're going to keep getting what you're getting. You want change, make some.
There are things about me you wouldn't understand, things you couldn't understand, things you shouldn't understand.
The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons.
Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.
A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another's.
If I keep my good character, I shall be rich enough.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
There is something even more valuable to civilization than wisdom, and that is character.
The older I grow the less I esteem mere ideas. In politics, particularly, they are transient and unimportant … There are only men who have character and men who lack it.
Mankind is made up of inconsistencies, and no man acts invariably up to his predominant character. The wisest man sometimes acts weakly, and the weakest sometimes wisely.
When wealth is lost, nothing is lost;
When health is lost, something is lost;
When character is lost, all is lost!
But the human character, however it may be exalted or depressed by a temporary enthusiasm, will return by degrees to its proper and natural level, and will resume those passions that seem the most adapted to its present condition.
There never could be a man so brave that he would not sometime, or in the end, turn part or all coward; or so wise that he was not, from beginning to end, part ass if you knew where to look; or so good that nothing at all about him was despicable.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
Tell me with whom you consort and I will tell you who you are; if I know how you spend your time, then I know what might become of you.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Charity and pride have different aims, yet both feed the poor.
He gives twice that gives soon; i.e., he will soon be called to give again.
I cannot describe to you the despairing sensation of trying to do something for a man who seems incapable or unwilling to do anything further for himself.
Do not tell me of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations. Are they my poor? I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong.
With one hand I take thousands of rubles from the poor, and with the other I hand back a few kopecks.
The charity that hastens to proclaim its good deeds, ceases to be charity, and is only pride and ostentation.
His [Charles I] policy was a series of intrigues which failed, and a succession of bargains in which he asked much, offered little, and got nothing.
Charming people live up to the very edge of their charm, and behave as outrageously as the world will let them.
All charming people, I fancy, are spoiled. It is the secret of their attraction.
Give me chastity and continence, but not just now.
Chaste makes waste.
An untempted woman cannot boast of her chastity.
Although the progress of civilization has undoubtedly contributed to assuage the fiercer passions of human nature, it seems to have been less favorable to the virtue of chastity … The refinements of life corrupt while they polish the intercourse of the sexes.
A reputation for chastity is necessary to a woman. Chastity itself is also sometimes useful.
Che was an enemy of freedom, and yet he has been erected into a symbol of freedom. He helped establish an unjust social system in Cuba and has been erected into a symbol of social justice. He stood for the ancient rigidities of Latin-American thought, in a Marxist-Leninist version, and he has been celebrated as a freethinker and a rebel.
What we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.
He that cheats me once, shame on him; he that cheats me twice, shame on me. (He that cheats me ance, shame fa' him; he that cheats me twice; shame fa' me.)
Be cheerful while you are alive.
Chicago has a strange metaphysical elegance of death about it.
The child is not the mere creature of the state.
A child is a lifetime of worry.
Small child, small problems. Big child, big problems.
Even very young children need to be informed about dying. Explain the concept of death very carefully to your child. This will make threatening him with it much more effective.
Teach your child to hold his tongue, he'll learn fast enough to speak.
Grow up, and that is a terribly hard thing to do. It is much easier to skip it and go from one childhood to another.
The childless escape much misery.
I am married to Beatrice Salkeld, a painter. We have no children, except me.
Children enjoy the present because they have neither a past nor a future.
Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your children.
Anybody who hates children and dogs can't be all bad.
Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.
Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.
I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home.
My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can't decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives.
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune, for they are impediments to great enterprises.
When children stand quiet they have done some ill.
We are given children to test us and make us more spiritual.
Learning to dislike children at an early age saves a lot of expense and aggravation later in life.
Every generation faces a barbarian invasion in the form of its own children, who need to be civilized.
It was no wonder that people were so horrible when they started life as children.
It's never the right time to have kids, but it's always the right time for screwing. God's not a dumb shit. He knows how it works.
Children's tongues are filled with questions,
Children cannot speak in wisdom, …
May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.
To be mistaken in believing that the Christian religion is true is no great loss to anyone; but how dreadful to be mistaken in believing it to be false!
It is no fault of Christianity that a hypocrite falls into sin.
I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.
Civilizations die from suicide, not murder.
Yet the experience of four thousand years should enlarge our hopes, and diminish our apprehensions: we cannot determine to what height the human species may aspire in their advances towards perfection; but it may safely be presumed, that no people, unless the face of nature is changed, will relapse into their original barbarism.
Civilization is an enormous improvement on the lack thereof.
A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.
Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil. It is not a historical inevitability. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, because evil doesn't recede willingly before the wheels of progress.
Some of us worry about a resurgent Islam and its attendant complications for a decayed Western civilization; some of us worry about global warming. In twenty years' time, one of us will be proved right …
Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.
There is the moral of all human tales;
'Tis but the same rehearsal of the past,
First Freedom, and then Glory—when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption—barbarism at last.
A charlatan makes obscure what is clear; a thinker makes clear what is obscure.
I prefer clarity to agreement.
The class distinctions simply result from the different degrees of success with which men have availed themselves of the chances which were presented to them. Instead of endeavoring to redistribute the acquisitions which have been made between the existing classes, our aim should be to increase, multiply, and extend the chances.
There was no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse.
Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them.
They [clichés] will construct your sentences for you—even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent—and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself.
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Oh, no doubt the cod is a splendid swimmer—admirable for swimming purposes but not for eating.
Coffee, because adulting is hard.
Of all the unchristian beverages that ever passed my lips, Turkish coffee is the worst. The cup is small, it is smeared with grounds; the coffee is black, thick, unsavory of smell, and execrable in taste.
I cannot pretend to feel impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.
Any color—so long as it's black.
The funniest thing about comedy is that you never know why people laugh. I know what makes them laugh but trying to get your hands on the why of it is like trying to pick an eel out of a tub of water.
They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian … They're not laughing now.
He that cannot obey, cannot command.
[It] is sad to remember that, when anyone has fairly mastered the art of command, the necessity for that art usually expires—either through the termination of the war or through the advanced age of the commander.
In my experience, all very successful commanders are prima donnas, and must be so treated. Some officers require urging, others require suggestions, very few have to be restrained.
Committee: A group of the unfit appointed by the unwilling to do the unnecessary.
I've searched all the parks in all the cities — and found no statues of Committees.
Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.
[As] a rule, only very learned and clever men deny what is obviously true; common men have less brains, but more sense.
The great enemy of communication, we find, is the illusion of it.
The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
Communism requires of its adherents that they arise early and participate in a strenuous round of calisthenics. To someone who wishes that cigarettes came already lit the thought of such exertion at an hour when decent people are just nodding off is thoroughly abhorrent.
Communism is the opiate of the intellectuals.
I sometimes think that the entire [Communist movement] was just a front for the cement industry.
Losing you is not a loss, and keeping you is no specific gain.
For over ten years, bombs rained down on every village and hamlet in South Vietnam, and no one budged. It took the coming of a Communist 'peace' to send hundreds of thousands of people out into the South China Sea, on anything that could float, or might float, to risk dehydration, piracy, drowning …
Like most people, I have no wish to live in a community organized by community organizers.
The thirteenth rule of radical tactics: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
The organizer must become schizoid, politically, in order to slip into becoming a true believer. Before men can act an issue must be polarized. Men will act when they are convinced their cause is 100 percent on the side of the angels and that the opposition are 100 percent on the side of the devil. He knows there can be no action until issues are polarized to this degree.
Dostoevsky said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future.
The classic statement on polarization comes from Christ: 'He that is not with me is against me.' (Luke 11:23) He allowed no middle ground to the moneychangers in the Temple. One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.
It should be borne in mind that the target is always trying to shift responsibility to get out of being the target. There is a constant squirming and moving and strategy … on the part of the designated target. The forces for change must keep this in mind and pin that target down securely. If an organization permits responsibility to be diffused and distributed in a number of areas, attack becomes impossible.
We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink …
If we wish to feel good, compassion is excellent. But if we want to do good, our compassion must be guided by moral standards.
Of all the human qualities, the one I admire the most is competence. A tailor who is really able to cut and fit a coat seems to me an admirable man, and by the same token a university professor who knows little or nothing of the thing he presumes to teach seems to me to be a fraud and a rascal.
The best competition I have is against myself to become better.
Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others …
Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining.
Increasingly, people seem to misinterpret complexity as sophistication, which is baffling—the incomprehensible should cause suspicion rather than admiration. Possibly this trend results from a mistaken belief that using a somewhat mysterious device confers an aura of power on the user.
There is nothing you can say in answer to a compliment. I have been complimented myself a great many times, and they always embarrass me—I always feel that they have not said enough.
The good composer is slowly discovered, the bad composer is slowly found out.
The public doesn't want new music; the main thing that it demands of a composer is that he be dead.
Yet we are constantly annoyed, and the legislatures are kept constantly busy, by the people who have made up their minds that it is wise and conducive to happiness to live in a certain way, and who want to compel everybody else to live in their way.
But they [computers] are useless. They can only give you answers.
To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.
Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random numbers is, of course, in a state of sin.
Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.
Whenever I'm on my computer, I don't type 'lol'. I type 'lqtm': 'laugh quietly to myself'. It's more honest.
A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila.
The computer, with its multiplying forums for spontaneous free expression from e-mail to listservs and blogs, has increased facility and fluency of language but degraded sensitivity to the individual word and reduced respect for organized argument, the process of deductive reasoning.
Real programmers don't comment their code. It was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.
A good programmer can overcome a poor language or a clumsy operating system, but even a great programming environment will not rescue a bad programmer.
[The C programming language] is a razor-sharp tool, with which one can create an elegant and efficient program or a bloody mess.
Sometimes a programmer confronted with a problem thinks, "I know, I'll use regular expressions." Now he has two problems.
Let us change our traditional attitude to the construction of programs. Instead of imagining that our main task is to instruct a computer what to to, let us concentrate rather on explaining to human beings what we want a computer to do.
Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.
As soon as we started programming, we found to our surprise that it wasn't as easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent in finding mistakes in my own programs.
[The C programming language] makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows your whole leg off.
Theory is when you know something, but it doesn't work. Practice is when something works, but you don't know why. Programmers combine theory and practice: Nothing works and they don't know why.
When someone says, "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I want done," give him a lollipop.
That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers.
Einstein argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature, because God is not capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software engineer.
PHP is a minor evil perpetrated and created by incompetent amateurs, whereas Perl is a great and insidious evil, perpetrated by skilled but perverted professionals.
We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil.
Correctness is clearly the prime quality. If a system does not do what it is supposed to do, then everything else about it matters little.
The most amazing achievement of the computer software industry is its continuing cancellation of the steady and staggering gains made by the computer hardware industry.
To this very day, idiot software managers measure "programmer productivity" in terms of "lines of code produced," whereas the notion of "lines of code spent" is much more appropriate.
Generally, the length of a variable name should be inversely related to its scope.
If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
[Con] men have long known … that their job is not to convince skeptics but to enable the gullible to continue to believe what they want to believe.
Positive, adj. Mistaken at the top of one's voice.
Rational confidence [is] the just result of knowledge and experience.
Confidence comes from being prepared.
You need confidence to play a sport well. How do you get confidence? You get confidence from playing well.
I can't believe that there are any heights that can't be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence.
Since it is now fashionable to laugh at the conservative French Academy, I have remained a rebel by joining it.
Confusion is always the most honest response.
It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.
Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
Oh, I don't blame Congress. If I had $600 billion at my disposal, I'd be irresponsible, too.
A philosopher may deplore the eternal discords of the human race, but he will confess, that the desire of spoil is a more rational provocation than the vanity of conquest.
Resistance was fatal; flight was impracticable; and the patient submission of helpless innocence seldom found mercy from the Barbarian conqueror.
The Anglo-Saxon conscience does not prevent the Anglo-Saxon from sinning, it merely prevents him from enjoying his sin.
Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels so good.
Bachelors have consciences. Married men have wives.
Cowardice asks: Is it safe? Expediency asks: Is it politic? But Conscience asks: Is it right?
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
First [a man facing temptation] sees difficulty, then he sees the danger, then he sees wrong.
Consensus is the absence of leadership.
Nothing is more obstinate than a fashionable consensus.
To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.
The herd is usually wrong.
If you do what you should not, you must hear what you would not.
Grief often treads upon the Heels of Pleasure, Marry'd in Haste, we oft repent at Leisure …
Because we can expect future generations to be richer than we are, no matter what we do about resources, asking us to refrain from using resources now so that future generations can have them later is like asking the poor to make gifts to the rich.
I am a Conservative to preserve all that is good in our constitution, a Radical to remove all that is bad. I seek to preserve property and to respect order, and I equally decry the appeal to the passions of the many or the prejudices of the few.
[Conservatives are inclined] to believe that old wisdom is plentiful while new wisdom is scarce and suspect.
The facts of life are conservative.
Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?
Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind.
Well, one can always consult a man and ask him, "Would you like your head cut off tomorrow?" and after he has said "I would rather not," cut it off. "Consultation" is a vague and elastic term.
Content and riches
Seldom meet together.
Riches take thou,
Contentment I had rather.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.
A gossip talks about others, a bore talks about himself—and a brilliant conversationalist talks about you.
Learned conversation is either the affectation of the ignorant or the profession of the mentally unemployed.
Talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you …
I like to do all the talking myself. It saves time, and prevents arguments.
When I left the dining room from sitting next to Mr Gladstone I thought he was the cleverest man in England, but after sitting next to Mr Disraeli I thought I was the cleverest woman in England.
Although there exist many thousand subjects for elegant conversation, there are persons who cannot meet a cripple without talking about feet.
'Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on. 'I do,' Alice hastily replied; 'at least—at least I mean what I say—that's the same thing, you know.' 'Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. 'Why, you might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see!"'
Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.
In fact, it is my opinion that co-ordination is a very much-misused word and its accomplishment is difficult.
I want either less corruption, or more chance to participate in it.
My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
Long before they slump into poverty, great powers succumb to a poverty of ambition.
[A London clubman's view of the country:] A damp sort of place where all sorts of birds fly about uncooked.
[Courage] arises in a great measure from the consciousness of strength …
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
Do not take counsel of your fears.
No sane man is unafraid in battle, but discipline produces in him a form of vicarious courage which, with his manhood, makes for victory.
Courage And Cowardice
The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner.
There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.
We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man. The coward despairs.
The better part of valor is discretion.
[William Strunk Jr.] scorned the vague, the tame, the colorless, the irresolute. He felt it was worse to be irresolute than to be wrong.
There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.
Valor, n. A soldierly compound of vanity, duty, and the gambler's hope.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
No herb of help to heal a coward heart.
It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.
I scorned the sword of Catiline, I will not quail before yours.
I was a coward on instinct.
Had I been present at the Creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.
The most gifted members of the human species are at their creative best when they cannot have their way, and must compensate for what they miss by realizing and cultivating their capacities and talents.
Crime And Punishment
Hanging one scoundrel, it appears, does not deter the next. Well, what of it? The first one is at least disposed of.
The argument that capital punishment degrades the state is moonshine, for if that were true then it would degrade the state to send men to war … The state, in truth, is degraded in its very nature: a few butcheries cannot do it any further damage.
But I wonder where we will land if trial judges begin deciding that the fact that a man has committed an atrocious crime is proof sufficient that he is not responsible for his acts.
[The] penalty of death was abolished in the Roman empire, a law of mercy most delightful to the humane theorist, but of which the practice, in a large and vicious community, is seldom consistent with the public safety.
It is worse than a crime, it is a blunder.
Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves.
The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.
Taking to pieces is the trade of those who cannot construct.
To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
The most worthless of mankind are not afraid to condemn in others the same disorders which they allow in themselves; and can readily discover some nice difference of age, character, or station, to justify the partial distinction.
To find a fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.
Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who'll argue with you.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
All cruelty springs from weakness.
I must be cruel, only to be kind:
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.
I don't give a shit what time you get home, just don't wake me up. That's your curfew: not waking me up.
Curiosity is a lust of the mind.
The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only that the cat died nobly.
Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.
May you live in interesting times.
Despair, and die!
Custom does often reason overrule
And only serves for reason to the fool.
You say that it is your [Hindu] custom to burn widows. Very well. We [British] also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.
Just because you don’t know why we do something doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason for it.
Cynicism—the intellectual cripple's substitute for intelligence.
A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
Cynic—a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.
Dancing begets warmth, which is the parent of wantonness. It is, Sir, the great grandfather of cuckoldom.
Music and dancing (the more's the pity) have become so closely associated with ideas of riot and debauchery among the less cultivated classes, that a taste for them, for their own sakes, can hardly be said to exist, and before they can be recommended as innocent or safe amusements, a very great change of ideas must take place.
Custom has made dancing sometimes necessary for a young man; therefore mind it while you learn it, that you may learn to do it well, and not be ridiculous, though in a ridiculous act.
Listen, sister. I don't dance and I can't take time out now to learn.
There are those who dance to the rhythm that is played to them, those who only dance to their own rhythm, and those who don't dance at all.
How inimitably graceful children are in general before they learn to dance!
Mr. Lincoln at least you're a man of honor. You said you wanted to dance with me in the worst way, and I must say that you've kept your word. That's the worst way I've ever seen.
Here be dragons.
The dark cloud, which had been cleared by the Phoenician discoveries, and finally dispelled by the arms of Caesar, again settled on the shores of the Atlantic, and a Roman province [Britain] was again lost among the fabulous Islands of the Ocean.
Seize the day, put no trust in the morrow! (Carpe diem, quàm minimùm credula postero.)
The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.
I'm not afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens.
He was dying all his life.
It is the duty of a doctor to prolong life and it is not his duty to prolong the act of dying.
I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming and terrified like his passengers.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.
Birth, copulation, and death.
That's all the facts when you come to brass tacks.
Nearby, a younger man was nursing a martini and a cigarette, slowly dying by his own hand.
The wailing of the newborn infant is mingled with the dirge for the dead.
Man weeps to think that he will die so soon; woman, that she was born so long ago.
We should weep for men at their birth, not at their death.
Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough.
Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. My advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.
Death is nature's way of telling you to slow down.
For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off.
The late F. W. H. Myers used to tell how he asked a man at a dinner table what he thought would happen to him when he died. The man tried to ignore the question, but, on being pressed, replied: "Oh well, I suppose I shall inherit eternal bliss, but I wish you wouldn't talk about such unpleasant subjects."
Eternity is a terrible thought. I mean, where's it going to end?
I did not attend his funeral; but I wrote a nice letter saying I approved of it.
I have had a number of threatening letters each week, some telling me the actual time and method of my death, and I don't like it.
After death there is nothing.
We begin to die at birth; the end flows from the beginning.
No one wept for the dead, because everyone expected death itself.
It was a time when only the dead smiled, happy in their peace.
Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.
Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.
From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives forever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.
For dust you are and to dust you will return.
All come from dust, and to dust all return.
And I declared that the dead,
who had already died,
are happier than the living,
who are still alive.
Naked a man comes from his mother's womb,
and as he comes, so he departs.
The King is dead! Long live the King!
[Sara and I] have parted forever, though my ashes will soon be mingling with hers. I'll have her in mind until thought and memory adjourn, but that is all … We were happy together, but all beautiful things must end.
The world is so ordered that we must, in a material sense, lose everything we have and love, one thing after another, until we ourselves close our eyes.
There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.
What I look forward to is continued immaturity followed by death.
He was released from the miseries of life …
Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.
Death is not the worst than can happen to men.
[Pyrrhus] grieved greatly over the death of Aeropus; not so much because he was dead, for that, he said, was the common lot of mankind, but because he himself had delayed repaying him a kindness until it was too late. Debts of money, he said, can be paid to the heirs of a creditor, but men of honour are grieved at not being able to return a kindness during the lifetime of their benefactor.
[They] were leveled in the grave …
[The] groans of the dying excited only the envy of their surviving friends.
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.
As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.
Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.
I guess that's how death works. It doesn't matter if we're ready or not. It just happens.
Of human life, the most glorious or humble prospects are alike and soon bounded by the sepulchre.
Nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it.
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become,
As they draw near to their eternal home.
Death is nothing; but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.
If a man comes to kill you, rise early and kill him first.
Death takes no bribes.
Death, be not proud …
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more. Death, thou shalt die.
When I die, I die. I could give a shit, 'cause it ain't my problem. I'd just rather not shit my pants on the way there.
The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways—I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.
A trail of tears and death …
"I will make you shorter by the head.
He has joined the great majority.
When you lose a parent, you lose your past; when you lose a spouse, you lose your present; when lose a child you lose your future.
Anyone's death always releases something like an aura of stupefaction, so difficult is it to grasp this irruption of nothingness and to believe that it has actually taken place.
Say not in grief, "He is no more," but live in thankfulness that he was.
I like not brains that can dispute on both sides, and yet conclude nothing certain.
Creditors have better memories than debtors.
It's the easiest Thing in the World for a Man to deceive himself.
Who has deceiv'd thee so oft as they self?
Make a decision, even if it's wrong.
Declaration of Independence
It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776 … and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning cannot be applied to this great charter [the Declaration of Independence]. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions.
Let them grumble, that is how it is going to be (Ainsi sera, groigne qui groinge).
A delay is better than a disaster.
Deliberation, n. The act of examining one's bread to determine which side it is buttered on.
Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule—and both commonly succeed and are right.
Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
Democracy is a kingless regime infested by many kings who are sometimes more exclusive, tyrannical, and destructive than one, if he be a tyrant.
It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Democracy is … a form of religion; it is the worship of jackals by jackasses.
Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
High hopes were once formed of democracy; but democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
Under a democratical government, the citizens exercise the powers of sovereignty; and those powers will be first abused, and afterwards lost, if they are committed to an unwieldy multitude.
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
But a wild democracy … too often disdains the essential principles of justice.
The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time.
Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man.
You can be right or you can be popular. And we live in a democracy.
Every flaw in consumers is worse in voters.
I belong to no organized party—I am a Democrat.
The Democratic Party is like a mule—without pride of ancestry or hope of posterity.
Republicans raise dahlias, Dalmatians, and eyebrows. Democrats raise Airedales, kids, and taxes.
Republicans sleep in twin beds—some even in separate rooms. That is why there are more Democrats.
My Grandmother wouldn't even speak the word Democrat if there were children in the room, she'd say Bastards instead.
He's turned his life around. He used to be depressed and miserable. Now he's miserable and depressed.
Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.
Depression manifests itself in a lack of will.
Some lawns have all the cheer of old cemeteries.
My daily routine is very simple. I wake up and I suffer. It's a simple life.
Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep.
Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
[Job's] wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"
Never despair; but if you do, work on in despair.
Despair is a sin.
What if this is as good as it gets?
Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.
If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.
Never flinch, never weary, never despair.
I'm so tired of trying …
Aside from my normal sense of despair, I feel fine.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.
Nowadays men lead lives of noisy desperation.
Tempt not a desperate man.
A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.
A nation ignorant of the equal benefits of liberty and law, must be awed by the flashes of arbitrary power: the cruelty of a despot will assume the character of justice; his profusion, of liberality; his obstinacy, of firmness.
Despotism is unjust to everybody, including the despot, who was probably made for better things.
The progress of despotism tends to disappoint its own purpose.
Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called.
Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.
Our life is frittered away by detail … Simplify, simplify!
It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.
Great engines turn on small pivots.
Detroit's political leadership is a parasite that has outgrown its host.
Dictators ride to and for on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.
Lexicographer. A writer of dictionaries, a harmless drudge.
Defining what is unknown in terms of something equally unknown.
The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.
I'm on a whisky diet. I've lost three days already.
You'd never say to an alcoholic—have just one glass of wine—so don't [offer food] to people who are trying to lose weight.
I may eat a healthy selection, but I never leave anything on my plate. (I think it goes back to all those starving children overseas that my parents told me about. I always wondered how stuffing my face helped those starving kids, but who was I to question my parents?)
[The] difference of language, dress, and manners … severs and alienates the nations of the globe.
When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
I liken the French/British relationship to a very old married couple who often think of killing each other but would never dream of divorce.
The French are masters of 'the dog ate my homework' school of diplomatic relations.
An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country.
I have discovered the art of deceiving diplomats. I tell them the truth and they never believe me.
If we don't change the direction we are headed, we will end up where we are going.
When you start off by telling those who disagree with you that they are not merely in error but in sin, how much of a dialogue do you expect?
Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar and often convincing.
He who spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
[The] LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Content makes poor men rich; Discontent makes rich men poor.
Disease generally begins that equality which death completes.
Pneumonia is the old man's friend [because it offers a relatively quick and painless death to the aged].
What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.
Conrad Hilton was very generous to me in the divorce settlement. He gave me 5,000 Gideon Bibles.
Alimony is a system by which, when two people make a mistake, one of them continues to pay for it.
Alimony is like buying oats for a dead horse.
I heard from my cat's lawyer today. My cat wants $12,000 a week for Tender Vittles.
He taught me housekeeping; when I divorce, I keep the house.
She cried—and the judge wiped her tears with my checkbook.
For a while we pondered whether to take a vacation or get a divorce. We decided that a trip to Bermuda is over in two weeks, but a divorce is something you always have.
The difference between divorce and legal separation is that a legal separation gives a husband time to hide his money.
The happiest time of anyone's life is just after the first divorce.
You don't know a woman till you've met her in court.
Alimony, n. The ransom that the happy pay to the devil.
Whenever I date a guy, I think, "Is this the man I want my children to spend their weekends with?"
Passion, interest, or caprice, suggested daily motives for the dissolution of marriage; a word, a sign, a message, a letter, the mandate of a freedman, declared the separation; the most tender of human connections was degraded to a transient society of profit or pleasure.
[The] liberty of divorce does not contribute to happiness and virtue. The facility of separation would destroy all mutual confidence, and inflame every trifling dispute …
The husband was a teetotaller, there was no other woman, and the conduct complained of was that he had drifted into the habit of winding up every meal by taking out his false teeth and hurling them at his wife.
I don't think I'll get married again. I'll just find a woman I don't like and give her a house.
A TV host asked my wife, 'Have you ever considered divorce?' She replied: 'Divorce never, murder often.'
Well, we never wanted to get divorced at the same time.
Love the quest; marriage the conquest; divorce the inquest.
God heals, and the doctor takes the fees.
Our doctor would never really operate unless it was necessary. He was just that way. If he didn't need the money, he wouldn't lay a hand on you.
The more one gets to know of men, the more one values dogs.
There's nothing within science per se that says medical researchers must not experiment on human subjects; it is the imposition of ethical dogma that constrains the scientist.
If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.
Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one.
People who insist on telling their dreams are among the terrors of the breakfast table.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.
Drinking And Drugs
They talk of my drinking but never my thirst.
You are not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
An Irish queer: a fellow who prefers women to drink.
The whole world is about three drinks behind.
The church is near but the road is icy; the bar is far away but I will walk carefully.
Uppers are no longer stylish, Methedrine is almost as rare as pure acid or DMT. "Consciousness Expansion" went out with LBJ and it is worth noting, historically, that downers came in with Nixon.
All I can say is that I have taken more out of alcohol than it has taken out of me.
A woman drove me to drink and I never even had the courtesy to thank her.
To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I've done it a thousand times.
"Mr. Churchill, you are drunk."
"Madame, you are ugly."
"Mr. Churchill, you are extremely drunk!"
"And you, Madame, are extremely ugly. But tomorrow, I shall be sober."
One reason I don't drink is that I want to know when I'm having a good time.
Actually, it only takes one drink to get me loaded. Trouble is, I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or the fourteenth.
I always keep a stimulant handy in case I see a snake—which I also keep handy.
What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?
I don't drink. I don't like it. It makes me feel good.
I drink to forget I drink.
One more drink and I'll be under the host.
Drugs have taught an entire generation of American kids the metric system.
Reality is just a crutch for people who can't cope with drugs.
Cocaine is God's way of saying you're making too much money.
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.
A fool who, after plain warning, persists in dosing himself with dangerous drugs should be free to do so, for his death is a benefit to the race in general.
Not all men who drink are poets. Some of us drink because we aren't poets.
Drink and be merry, for our time on earth is short, and death lasts forever.
Bacchus hath drowned more men than Neptune.
Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
I envy people who drink. At least they have something to blame everything on.
[Brendan Behan was] too young to die, but too drunk to live.
I only take a drink on two occasions—when I'm thirsty and when I'm not.
To alcohol! The cause of—and solution to—all of life's problems.
[One] must not demand prudence from a man who is never sober.
When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.
One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.
I don't get hangovers. You have to stop drinking to get a hangover.
My dad was the town drunk. Usually that's not so bad, but New York City?
He that spills the Rum, loses that only; He that drinks it, often loses both that and himself.
Drink does not drown Care, but waters it, and makes it grow faster.
Nothing more like a Fool, than a drunken Man.
One evening in October, when I was one-third sober,
An' taking home a 'load' with manly pride;
My poor feet began to stutter, so I lay down in the gutter,
And a pig came up an' lay down by my side;
Then we sang 'It's all fair weather when good fellows get together,'
Till a lady passing by was heard to say:
'You can tell a man who "boozes" by the company he chooses'
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.
When I was younger I made it a rule never to take a strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast.
Good cognac is like a woman. Do not assault it. Coddle and warm it in your hands before you sip it.
I neither want it [brandy] nor need it but I think it pretty hazardous to interfere with the ineradicable habit of a lifetime.
A single glass of champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced, the imagination is agreeably stirred, the wits become more nimble. A bottle produces a contrary effect.
Claret is the liquor for boys, port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.
I exercise strong self control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast.
Kalsarikännit, n (Finnish). Getting drunk in one's underpants at home, usually alone.
No use saying sorry, it's something that I enjoy.
I'm a heroin addict. I need to have sex with women who have saved someone's life.
As regards drink, I can only say that in Dublin during the Depression when I was growing up, drunkenness was not regarded as a social disgrace. To get enough to eat was regarded as an achievement. To get drunk was a victory.
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish,
And wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Remember: it’s not what you drink, or how much you drink, it’s how fast you drink it.
What was said of Rome, adorned by Augustus, may be applied by an easy metaphor to English poetry embellished by Dryden, lateritiam invenit, marmoream reliquit, he found it brick, and he left it marble.
I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."
Duties are not performed for duties' sake, but because their neglect would make the man uncomfortable. A man performs but one duty—the duty of contenting his spirit, the duty of making himself agreeable to himself.
Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.
[It] is all wrong to preach to the Forgotten Man that it is his duty to go and remedy other people's neglect. It is not his duty … The exhortations ought to be expended on the negligent—that they take care of themselves.
For it is a poor service to God and the kingdom to take their pay and to decline their work.
The long habit of living indisposeth us for dying.
The dying man doesn't struggle much and he isn't much afraid. As his alkalies give out he succumbs to a blest stupidity. His mind fogs. His will power vanishes. He submits decently. He scarcely gives a damn.
Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.
I'm always angry when I'm dying
Do you know the famous last words of the Fatted Calf? 'I hear the young master has returned.'
What a blessing it would be if we could open and shut our ears as easily as we open and shut our eyes!
Earnestness is just stupidity sent to college.
It is in vain, I perceive, to look for ease and happiness in a world of troubles.
In general they [my children] refused to eat anything that hadn't danced on TV.
"There's nothing like eating hay when you're faint" … "I didn't say there was nothing better," the King replied, "I said there was nothing like it.
We each day dig our graves with our teeth.
He found that a fork in his inexperienced hand was an instrument of chase rather than capture.
Don't graze—unless you are a cow or want to be the size of one.
The statesman, who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.
No nation was ever ruined by trade.
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.
There's no such thing as a free lunch.
The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.
Blockading squadrons are a means whereby nations seek to prevent their enemies from trading; protective tariffs are a means whereby nations attempt to prevent their own people from trading. What protectionism teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.
It is impossible to understand the history of economic thought if one does not pay attention to the fact that economics as such is a challenge to the conceit of those in power.
At least half of the popular fallacies about economics come from assuming that economic activity is a zero-sum game, in which what is gained by someone is lost by someone else. But transactions would not continue unless both sides gained, whether in international trade, employment, or renting an apartment.
[The] zero-sum caricature [applies] much more accurately to socialism, which stifles the creation of new wealth and thus fosters a dog-eat-dog struggle over existing material resources.
The active, insatiate principle of self-love can alone supply the arts of life and the wages of industry; and as soon as civil government and exclusive property have been introduced, they become necessary to the existence of the human race.
The economic miracle that has been the United States was not produced by socialized enterprises, by government union-industry cartels or by centralized economic planning. It was produced by private enterprises in a profit-and-loss system.
There is no such thing on this earth as something for nothing.
It is one of history's great ironies that capitalists built decent and humane societies on the basis of an amoral approach to the economics of pricing, whereas socialists built exploitative and inhumane societies on the basis of a morally inflamed approach to economics.
There cannot be overproduction of anything which men and women want. And their wants are unlimited, except by the size of their stomachs.
An economist is someone who sees something working in practice and wonders if it will work in theory.
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
"Whom are you?" he asked, for he had attended business college.
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
I find the three major administrative problems on a campus are sex for the students, athletics for the alumni and parking for the faculty.
Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.
It takes me several days, after I get back to Boston, to realize that the reference "the president" refers to the president of Harvard and not to a minor official in Washington.
I've over-educated myself in all the things I shouldn't have known at all.
I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly
An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
The learned are seldom pretty fellows, and in many cases their appearance tends to discourage a love of study in the young.
The trouble is not chiefly that our universities are unfit for students but that many present-day students are unfit for universities.
I was a modest, good-humored boy. It is Oxford that has made me insufferable.
… school teachers, taking them by and large, are probably the most ignorant and stupid class of men in the whole group of mental workers.
The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.
More than any other class of blind leaders of the blind they are responsible for the degrading standardization which now afflicts the American people.
Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.
I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
Give your ears, hear the sayings,
Give your heart to understand them;
It profits to put them in your heart.
The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.
It is better to learn late than never.
Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men's minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.
[It] is not sufficiently considered, that men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.
In the productions of the mind, as in those of the soil, the gifts of nature are excelled by industry and skill …
Genius may anticipate the season of maturity; but in the education of a people, as in that of an individual, memory must be exercised, before the powers of reason and fancy can be expanded: nor may the artist hope to equal or surpass, till he has learned to imitate, the works of his predecessors.
Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.
The idea of education has been so tied to schools, universities, and professors that many assume there is no other way, but education is available to anyone within reach of a library, a post office, or even a newsstand.
If I am through learning, I am through.
One of the benefits of a bad education is the constant pleasure of discovery.
No other society in human history has placed such a strong and consistent emphasis on education at all levels as the United States has from its very inception. But there has been a failure somewhere. … There is a universal complaint in Europe and North America that the young emerge from high school (and often from university) with only tolerable literacy, unable to write their own language well, ignorant of other languages, knowing little of their country's history, literature, and culture—fitter candidates for a mob than for a citizenry.
The purpose of a college education is to give you the correct view of minorities, and the means to live as far away from them as possible.
[Bilingual education:] a school system that can't teach its charges in one language has smoothly diversified into not teaching them in two.
Repetition is the mother of pedagogy.
In modern education, girls are treated as the gold standard, and boys are treated as "defective girls."
Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
Learn of [from] the skillful: He that teaches himself, hath a fool for his master.
[Authentic] education is not "value-neutral" but includes moral education that explains the standards for right and wrong.
In this life we get nothing save by effort. Freedom from effort in the present, merely means that there has been stored-up effort in the past.
I don't let the hate go to my heart, and I don't let the praise go to my head.
An egotist is a man who thinks that if he hadn't been born, people would have wondered why.
Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.
Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.
Emacs is a nice [operating system], but a weird editor.
[An] extensive empire must be supported by a refined system of policy and oppression; in the centre, an absolute power, prompt in action and rich in resources; a swift and easy communication with the extreme parts; fortifications to check the first effort of rebellion; a regular administration to protect and punish; and a well-disciplined army to inspire fear, without provoking discontent and despair.
One reason empires fail is that they are too big to run; they are easier to create than to administer, consolidate and defend.
The Earth is littered with the ruins of empires that believed they were eternal.
Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
All lovely things will have an ending,
All lovely things will fade and die,
All youth, that's now so bravely spending,
Will beg a penny by and by.
The line, often adopted by strong men in controversy, of justifying the means by the end.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
Whoever has his foe at his mercy, and does not kill him, is his own enemy.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
He makes no friend who never made a foe.
We should forgive our enemies, but only after they have been hanged first.
Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
The savage nations of the globe are the common enemies of civilized society; and we may inquire, with anxious curiosity, whether Europe is still threatened with a repetition of those calamities, which formerly oppressed the arms and institutions of Rome.
Yet this apparent security should not tempt us to forget, that new enemies, and unknown dangers, may possibly arise from some obscure people, scarcely visible in the map of the world. The Arabs or Saracens, who spread their conquests from India to Spain, had languished in poverty and contempt, till [Muhammad] breathed into those savage bodies the soul of enthusiasm.
I have made plenty of enemies in my lifetime, but none has ever done me as much injury as I do myself.
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea.
There are three principal ways to lose money: wine, women, and engineers. While the first two are more pleasant, the third is by far the more certain.
If you can write code and understand systems, you're a geek. If you can communicate, coordinate, and control—you're an engineer.
To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day.
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England.
Industrialization came to England but has since left.
The difference between the vanity of a Frenchman and an Englishman seems to be this: The one thinks everything right that is French, the other thinks everything wrong that is not English.
The English instinctively admire any man who has no talent and is modest about it.
An Englishman thinks he is moral when he is only uncomfortable.
If the King's English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!
The most dangerous thing in the world is to make a friend of an Englishman, because he'll come sleep in your closet rather than spend ten shillings on a hotel.
The English find ill-health not only interesting but respectable and often experience death in the effort to avoid a fuss.
Naturally I am biased in favor of boys learning English. I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honour, and Greek as a treat. But the only thing I would whip them for is not knowing English, I would whip them hard for that.
People are easily anesthetized by overstatement, and there is a danger that the environmental movement will fall flat on its face when it is most needed, simply because it has pitched its tale too strongly.
Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.
Worshiping the earth is more fun than going to church. It's also closer.
A pleasant natural environment is a good—a luxury good, philosophical good, a moral goody-good, a good time for all. Whatever, we want it. If we want something, we should pay for it, with our labor or our cash. We shouldn't beg it, steal it, sit around wishing for it, or euchre the government into taking it by force.
[The land] was then covered with morasses and forests, which spread to a boundless extent, whenever man has ceased to exercise his dominion over the earth.
Once ecology became a fashionable good cause, as it did in the late 1960s, reason, logic and proportion flew out of the window. It became a campaign not against pollution, but against growth itself, and especially against free enterprise growth—totalitarian communist growth was somehow less morally offensive.
Generally speaking, [climate] skeptics are not skeptical of any human influence. We are skeptical of (1) the size of the influence, (2) whether it presents any substantial danger, and (3) whether doing something about it with current alternative energy technologies would do more good than harm.
The [climate] models are what are being relied upon for proposed changes in energy policy; the observations are, apparently, a mere curiosity.
Truly environmentalism has displaced economics as the dismal science.
Benign environmentalists are opposed to pollution, as all sensible people are; malign environmentalists are opposed to energy and most of what it enables.
Pity is for the living, envy is for the dead.
Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple.
[They] saw, they envied …
The covetous man is ever in want.
If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.
Pause, stranger, when you pass me by.
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be.
So prepare for death and follow me.
Here lies W. C. Fields. I would rather be living in Philadelphia.
Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here;
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.
Here lies my wife: here let her lie!
Now she's at rest, and so am I.
Once I was not. Now I am not. I know nothing about it, and it is no concern of mine.
The Romans had aspired to be equal; they were leveled by the equality of servitude …
The yearning after equality [in economic outcome] is the offspring of envy and covetousness, and there is no possible plan for satisfying that yearning which can do aught else than rob A to give to B; consequently all such plans nourish some of the meanest vices of human nature, waste capital, and overthrow civilization.
The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of the truth—that error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it has been cured of one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.
Where error is irretrievable, repentance is useless.
Three generations of imbeciles are enough.
Go through the towns and ask yourselves whether these people should reproduce! Let them go to their whores!
Europe is secure from any future irruptions of Barbarians; since, before they can conquer, they must cease to be barbarous.
When life becomes an extended picnic, with nothing of importance to do, ideas of greatness become an irritant. Such is the nature of the Europe syndrome.
In Europe, nothing is certain except death and welfare, and why let the former get in the way of the latter?
The world is already drifting into three huge trading systems—the Americas, East Asia, and Europe. There is no doubt that the French, and the bulk of the Brussels machine, see the EC as an internal free-trading area, surrounded by a high protective wall—Fortress Europe. If the French determine the European pattern, then the Big Three will emerge as fiercely antagonistic, repelling one another's trade and fostering their own. The scene would be set for the greatest trade wars the world has ever known—and history teaches that trade wars lead to real ones. We could well face the nightmare of that tripartite world, engaged in perpetual warfare, foreseen in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The beginning of evil is the assault on truth. The first sin, of Adam, was preceded by the first lie, Satan's, and its unthinking repetition by Eve. The metaphor of Genesis teaches that anti-truth is the cause of active evil. Lying is the prolegomenon, the foreword, to the encyclopaedia of evil.
[Back] in Sudan, the killing went on: hundreds of thousands of people were murdered. With machetes … The mound of corpses piled up around the world at the turn of the century was not from high-tech nuclear states but from low-tech psycho states.
Instead of learning to fight evil, the Germans learned that fighting is evil.
Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
There are very few true monsters in the world. Most evil is committed by banal men holding evil beliefs.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
[Example] is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test before presenting the lesson.
Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.
A few strike out, without map or chart,
Where never a man has been,
From the beaten paths they draw apart
To see what no man has seen.
Many people do not realize that the real adversary of extremism is not its opposite, but moderation.
A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction.
Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts.
I never ponder counterfactuals.
Mistakes are often the stepping stones to utter failure.
In your code, never check for an error condition you don't know how to handle.
Restlessness is discontent—and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man—and I will show you a failure.
I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure—which is: Try to please everybody.
The doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.
[After an appendectomy and a devastating electoral loss, Churchill found himself] without an office, without a seat, without a party, and without an appendix.
Experience, n. A series of failures. Every failure teaches a man something, to wit, that he will probably fail again next time.
Our achievements speak for themselves. What we have to keep track of are our failures, discouragements and doubts. We tend to forget the past difficulties, the many false starts, and the painful groping. We see our past achievements as the end results of a clean forward thrust, and our present difficulties as signs of decline and decay.
Three failures denote uncommon strength. A weakling has not enough grit to fail thrice.
The most basic of conservative principles is that if you reward bad behavior you get more of it.
Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.
It is hard to fail; but is worse never to have tried to succeed.
A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks.
[Tests] are not unfair. Life is unfair and tests measure the results.
Those of little faith are of little hatred.
Failure of faith almost always arises from lack of humility. Pride destroys faith, and pride is the déformation professionnelle of the theologian.
"Do you cheat on your wife?" asked the psychiatrist.
"Who else?" answered the patient.
"Before we get married," said the young woman to her fiance, "I want to confess some affairs that I've had in the past."
"But you told me all about those a few weeks ago," her young man replied.
"Yes, darling," she explained, "but that was a few weeks ago."
Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.
Now when I bore people at a party, they think it's their fault.
In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.
Fame may last a minute, but infamy lasts a lifetime.
… the threat to the family posed by modern radical collectivism is in the long run no less grave, and far more stealthy and difficult to fight. Nor is it a theoretical or distant threat. It is real and imminent, especially in the America of the 1980s. I can sum it up in one sentence: the United States is in the process of establishing a social and legal system in which marriage has no legitimate status and the family no natural role.
If the family structure breaks down, you'll need the government welfare state to expand to take care of the women and children, and you'll need the police state to expand to take care of the young men.
African famine is not a visitation of fate. It is largely man-made, and the men who made it are largely Africans.
A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Recluse fanatics have few ideas or sentiments to communicate …
Goose pimples rose all over me, my hair stood on end, my eyes filled with tears of love and gratitude for this greatest of all conquerors of human misery and shame, and my breath came in little gasps. If I had not known that the Leader would have scorned such adulation, I might have fallen to my knees in unashamed worship, but instead I drew myself to attention, raised my arm in the eternal salute of the ancient Roman Legions and repeated the holy words, "Heil Hitler!"
Whenever the spirit of fanaticism, at once so credulous and so crafty, has insinuated itself into a noble mind, it insensibly corrodes the vital principles of virtue and veracity.
[Fanaticism] obliterates the feelings of humanity.
The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything he produces at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.
Every generation laughs at the old fashions but religiously follows the new.
Art produces ugly things which frequently become beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.
And by my grave you'd pray to have me back
So I could see how well you look in black.
Sweatpants are a sign of defeat.
When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting.
When asked why he did not become a father, Thales answered, "Because I am fond of children."
No man is responsible for his father. That was entirely his mother's affair.
If we had no faults we should not take so much pleasure in noting those of others.
Be to her virtues very kind. Be to her faults a little blind.
We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones.
Neglect mending a small Fault, and 'twill soon be a great one.
Never let your inferiors do you a favor. It will be extremely costly.
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
[It] was fear that was then making you a good citizen, which is never a lasting teacher of duty.
[The] sentiment of fear is nearly allied to that of hatred.
Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.
I'm saying, if something's scaring you out, don't run from it. Find out everything you can about it. Then it ain't the unknown anymore and it ain't scary … Or I guess it could be a shitload scarier. Mostly the former, though.
I just mean that every time you're uncomfortable and you get the option to sit something out, you sit it out. So all I was saying to you was: when your asshole gets tight, don't listen to your gut, 'cause you've filled it with shit.
When it's asshole-tightening time, that's when you see what people are made of. Or at least what their asshole is made of.
I was scared then, I'm not now. How long do you want me to be scared?
Every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he's not, he's a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared.
All men [in war] are frightened. The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened. The courageous man is the man who forces himself, in spite of his fear, to carry on. Discipline, pride, self-respect, self-confidence, and the love of glory are attributes which will make a man courageous even when he is afraid.
Extreme fear can neither fight nor fly.
We're used to saying, "I'm fine," but it's rarely true. I often joke, "If a woman says she's fine, call 911."
Feminism has betrayed women, alienated men and women, replaced dialogue with political correctness.
Feminism was always wrong to pretend that women could "have it all." It is not male society but mother nature who lays the heaviest burden on woman.
Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters.
Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.
Never fight fair with a stranger, boy. You'll never get out of the jungle that way.
The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out.
We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
[If] a man consults whether he is to fight, when he has the power in his own hands, it is certain that his opinion is against fighting.
Have fun and don't screw with anyone bigger than you.
It's over, and can't be helped, and that's one consolation, as they always say in Turkey, when they cut the wrong man's head off.
Occasionally we passed grim and taciturn men, huddled from the wind under wide green umbrellas, working the waters with every conceivable device of piscatorial ingenuity, in the pursuit of bream, tench, gudgeon and other inedible creatures. What pleasure did they derive from this dank and unrewarding pastime? Was it, perhaps, the negative comfort of escaping from wives, mothers, girlfriends, into one of the last bastions of unreformed masculinity?
Fly fishing may be a very pleasant amusement; but angling or float fishing I can only only compare to a stick and a string, with a worm at one end and a fool at the other.
The land and the people and the flag—the land a continent, the people of every race, the flag a symbol of what humanity may aspire to when the wars are over and the barriers are down; to these each generation must be dedicated and consecrated anew, to defend with life itself, if need be, but, above all, in friendliness, in hope, in courage, to live for.
'Tis an old maxim in the schools,
That flattery's the food of fools—
Yet now and then your men of wit
Will condescend to take a bit.
Flattery is a foolish suicide; she destroys herself with her own hands.
[Flattery] adheres to power, and envy to superior merit.
You know the oxygen masks on airplanes? I don't think there's really any oxygen. They're just to muffler the screams.
The air [flying] is an extremely dangerous mistress. Once under the spell most lovers are faithful to the end, which is not always old age.
The follies which a man regrets most, in his life, are those which he didn't commit when had the opportunity.
… nobody really likes capers no matter what you do with them. Some people pretend to like capers, but the truth is that any dish that tastes good with capers in it, tastes even better with capers not in it.
I am an epicure; you are a gourmand; he has both feet in the trough.
The best number for a dinner party is two—myself and a damn good head waiter.
I don't even butter my bread. I consider that cooking.
[Cheese is] milk's leap toward immortality.
I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead—not sick, not wounded—dead.
Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.
It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.
Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain't that a big enough majority for any town?
'Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.
Who loves not wine, women, and song
Remains a fool his whole life long.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Never call a man a fool. Borrow from him.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
Wise men store up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
A fool's lips bring him strife,
and his mouth invites a beating.
A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one.
Experience keeps a dear School, but Fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that.
It is Ill-Manners to silence a Fool, and Cruelty to let him go on.
The learned Fool writes his Nonsense in better Language than the unlearned; but still 'tis Nonsense.
Wise Men learn by other's harms; Fools by their own.
Most Fools think they are only ignorant.
Half Wits talk much but say little.
The World is full of fools and faint hearts; and yet every one has courage enough to bear the misfortunes, and wisdom enough to manage the Affairs of his neighbor.
Tricks and treachery are the Practice of Fools, that have not Wit enough to be honest.
Fools multiply folly.
The herd instinct among forecasters makes sheep look like independent thinkers.
Foreign aid is the transfer of wealth from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
Tis easy to see, hard to foresee.
Dangers which are warded off by effective precaution and foresight are never even remembered.
Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten.
Fortune is fickle and soon asks back what he has given.
I never admired another's fortune so much that I became dissatisfied with my own.
The fortune of nations has often depended on accidents …
France though armed to the teeth is pacifist to the core.
If you destroy a free market, you create a black market.
Economists may not know much. But we know one thing very well: how to produce surpluses and shortages. Do you want a surplus? Have the government legislate a minimum price that is above the price that would otherwise prevail.… Do you want a shortage? Have the government legislate a maximum price that is below the price that would otherwise prevail.
We forbid any course that says we restrict free speech.
The American people, I am convinced, really detest free speech. At the slightest alarm they are ready and eager to put it down.
Some people's idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.
If people have to choose between freedom and sandwiches they will take sandwiches.
When the freedom they wished for most was the freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and never was free again.
The middle class prefers comfort to pleasure, convenience to liberty, and a pleasant temperature to the deathly inner consuming fire.
There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.
A nation may lose its liberties in a day, and not miss them for a century.
The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.
I believe that the heaviest blow ever dealt at liberty's head will be dealt by [the United States] in the ultimate failure of its example to the earth.
Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
The average man doesn't want to be free. He wants to be safe.
It seems to me that society usually wins. There are, to be sure, free spirits in the world, but their freedom, in the last analysis, is not much greater than that of a canary in a cage. They may leap from perch to perch; they may bathe and guzzle at their will; they may flap their wings and sing. But they are still in the cage, and soon or late it conquers them.
We hear about constitutional rights, free speech and the free press. Every time I hear those words I say to myself, "That man is a Red, that man is a Communist." You never heard a real American talk in that manner.
If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.
It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.
The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.
To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.
When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.
[The] vain, inconstant, rebellious disposition of the people [of Armorica], was incompatible either with freedom or servitude.
[The] love of freedom, so often invigorated and disgraced by private ambition, was reduced, among the licentious Franks, to the contempt of order, and the desire of impunity.
Live free or die; death is not the worst of evils.
If you are not free to choose wrongly and irresponsibly, you are not free at all.
If [the fact that people make poor decisions] is reason enough for the government to second-guess their decisions about dangerous activities such as smoking cigarettes and riding motorcycles, why on earth should the government let people make their own choices when it comes to such consequential matters as where to live, how much education to get, whom to marry, whether to have children, which job to take, or what religion to practice?
Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.
The thing to remember about freedom is that it's not given, it's taken.
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
I am not a warrior, but who is? I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.
Freedom is the silence of the law.
I defy anybody to say what are the rights of a citizen, if they do not include the control of his own diet in relation to his own health.
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.
Here we are, then, once more back at the old doctrine—Laissez faire. Let us translate it into blunt English, and it will read, Mind your own business. It is nothing but the doctrine of liberty. Let every man be happy in his own way.
Freedom is messy. In free societies, people will fall through the cracks—drink too much, eat too much, buy unaffordable homes, fail to make prudent provision for health care, and much else. But the price of being relieved of all those tiresome choices by a benign paternal government is far too high. Big Government is the small option: it's the guarantee of smaller freedom, smaller homes, smaller cars, smaller opportunities, smaller lives.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
England's [Liberty] bell has fallen silent. Americans would do well to ensure that the crack in theirs grows no larger.
To live in freedom one must grow used to a life full of agitation, change, and danger.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
The French have a passion for revolution but an abhorrence of change.
The French drink to get loosened up for an event, to celebrate an event, and even to recover from an event.
In Paris, they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.
I prefer to travel on French ships because there is none of that 'women and children first' nonsense.
After eighty years' experience, his [Freud's] methods of therapy have proved, on the whole, costly failures, more suited to cosset the unhappy than cure the sick.
[A] friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.
An open Foe may prove a curse; But a pretended friend is worse.
Be slow in choosing a Friend, slower in changing.
I have plague enough with my adversaries, therefore my brethren should not vex me.
Of my friends I am the only one I have left.
It's important to our friends to believe that we are unreservedly frank with them, and important to friendship that we are not.
In life it is difficult to say who do you the most mischief, enemies with the worst intentions, or friends with the best.
Don't tell your friends their social faults; they will cure the fault and never forgive you.
Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend's forehead.
Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.
A man of active and resilient mind outwears his friendships just as certainly as he outwears his love affairs, his politics, and his epistemology.
A friend in need is a friend to be avoided.
Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.
George Bernard Shaw: Am reserving two tickets for you for my premiere. Come and bring a friend—if you have one.
Winston Churchill: Impossible to be present for the first performance. Will attend the second—if there is one.
Misfortune tests the sincerity of friendship.
Friendship cheers the faint and weary,
Makes the timid spirit brave,
Warns the erring, lights the dreary,
Smooths the passage to the grave.
Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.
If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.
For 'mid old friends, tried and true,
Once more we our youth renew.
But old friends, alas! may die;
New friends must their place supply.
Cherish friendship in your breast—
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
He will always be a slave who does not know how to live upon a little.
Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
[The] future belongs to those who show up for it.
A week ago, I had no idea what the future would bring, which, I guess, is always true of everyone all the time.
There's many a slip twixt cup and lip.
I have no fear of the future. Let us go forward into its mysteries, let us tear aside the veils which hide it from our eyes and let us move onward with confidence and courage
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.
These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or in the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed…. Great necessities call out great virtues.
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")
More die in the United States of too much food than of too little.
My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.
Gluttony hinders chastity.
Gluttony slays more than the sword.
Great eaters and great sleepers are incapable of anything else that is great.
One must eat to live, and not live to eat.
How hard is it to persuade the belly, that hath no ears?
Gluttony is not a secret vice.
The meal isn't over when I'm full. The meal is over when I hate myself.
A lot of slimmer people can't even fathom why fat people can't eat a normal portion-size, or why people eat when they're lonely, depressed, happy, anxious, bored, or celebrating Lincoln's mother's birthday.
For many years, I would eat and feel bad and guilty about it. And then drown my sorrows by eating again. Food was a comfort to me when I was depressed. I would eat to celebrate some good news. I would eat to drown my sorrow about bad news. … and more often than not, the bad food made me feel worse, which made me depressed, which made me want to eat [more].
I had a doctor tell me once that I was committing slow suicide [from overeating and diabetes].
… and, with the usual weakness of men so diseased, eagerly snatched that temporary relief with which the table and the bottle flatter and seduce.
… their god is their stomach …
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.
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
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!
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
If any man hopes to do a deed without God's knowledge, he errs.
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war…
From the year of our Lord 1518, to the present time, every Maundy Thursday, at Rome, I have been by the pope excommunicated and cast into hell; yet I still live.
It seems curious that personages intimately connected with the Holy Family always lived in grottoes—in Nazareth, in Bethlehem, in imperial Ephesus—and yet nobody else in their day and generation thought of doing any thing of the kind.
When the Virgin fled from Herod's wrath, she hid in a grotto in Bethlehem, and the same is there to this day. The slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem was done in a grotto; the Saviour was born in a grotto—both are shown to pilgrims yet. It is exceedingly strange that these tremendous events all happened in grottoes—and exceedingly fortunate, likewise, because the strongest houses must crumble to ruin in time, but a grotto in the living rock will last forever.
The world owes the Catholics its good will even for the happy rascality of hewing out these bogus grottoes in the rock; for it is infinitely more satisfactory to look at a grotto, where people have faithfully believed for centuries that the Virgin once lived, than to have to imagine a dwelling-place for her somewhere, any where, nowhere, loose and at large all over this town of Nazareth.
History is full of this old Church of the Holy Sepulchre—full of blood that was shed because of the respect and the veneration in which men held the last resting-place of the meek and lowly, the mild and gentle, Prince of Peace!
America was founded by people who believed that God was their rock of safety. I recognize we must be cautious in claiming that God is on our side, but I think it's all right to keep asking if we're on His side.
I thank you, living and enduring King, for you have graciously returned my soul within me. Great is your faithfulness.
How few of the evils of life can justly be ascribed to God.
The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.
The response to religion-induced evil must therefore be religion-induced goodness, not no religion. There is no exclusively secular route to a good world.
In religion, as in politics, when there is no competition, there is corruption and intolerance.
The sins to which the Devil of Christian tradition has tempted human beings are varied indeed: apostasy, idolatry, heresy, fornication, gluttony, vanity, using cosmetics, dressing luxuriously, going to the theater, gambling, avarice, quarreling, spiritual sloth have all, at times, figured in the list. … I have looked in vain for a single instance … of the Devil tempting a human being to cruelty.
What is hateful to you, do not do to others. This is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary; now go and study.
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.
I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room.
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
Men may keep a sort of level of good, but no man has ever been able to keep on one level of evil.
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.
Well, everyone can master a grief but he that has it.
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.
Coming down with something? Please. You reek of booze and bullshit. Don't lie to a Kentuckian about drinking or horses, son.
Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.
We are never so happy nor so unhappy as we imagine.
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.
My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?
Happiness? That's nothing more than health and a poor memory.
It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.
Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
The conviction of the rich that the poor are happy is no more foolish than the conviction of the poor that the rich are.
The only really happy folk are married women and single men.
A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it; it would be hell on earth.
When I was young, I used to think that wealth and power would bring me happiness … I was right.
Hollywood is where, if you don't have happiness, you send out for it.
Boethius might have been styled happy, if that precarious epithet could be safely applied before the last term of the life of man.
There is no device whatever to be invented for securing happiness without industry, economy, and virtue.
If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.
The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy - I mean that if you are happy you will be good.
The only happy people I know are people I don't know well.
Happiness is a serious problem.
But man is not born for happiness.
I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.
Haste is of the devil. Slowness is of God.
If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
Make haste slowly
Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.
We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right.
Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians.
If a man thinks about his physical or moral state, he nearly always discovers that he is ill.
A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.
What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease.
I'm not sick, but I'm not well.
Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for. Spend all you have before you die; and do not outlive yourself.
Nearly all men die of their medicines, and not of their illnesses.
Sugar and alcohol are sweet poisons.
"Good health" is merely the slowest rate at which one can die.
Leave the table hungry.
Leave the bed sleepy.
Leave the table thirsty.
Be not slow to visit the sick.
Preserving health by too severe a rule is a worrisome malady.
Health is not simply the absence of sickness.
It's no longer a question of staying healthy. It's a question of finding a sickness you like.
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
Quit worrying about your health. It'll go away.
People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.
In the face of such overwhelming statistical possibilities, hypochondria has always seemed to me to be the only rational position to take on life.
If you don't make time for your wellness, you'll be forced to make time for your illness.
There is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of head.
The head never rules the heart, but just becomes its partner in crime.
As the arteries grow hard, the heart grows soft.
Each heart knows its own bitterness,
and no one else can share its joy.
Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and joy may end in grief.
Let not your heart be troubled …
Heaven And Hell
Heaven for climate, hell for company.
Everyone who has ever built anywhere a "new heaven" first found the power thereto in his own hell.
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
To reign is worth ambition though in hell:
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.
What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Heaven goes by favour. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.
May you get to Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you're dead.
It is Hell, of course, that makes priests powerful, not Heaven, for after thousands of years of so-called civilization fear remains the one common denominator of mankind.
Cerberus, n. The watch-dog of Hades, whose duty it was to guard the entrance—against whom or what does not clearly appear; everybody, sooner or later, had to go there, and nobody wanted to carry off the entrance.
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
Who finds heaven on earth will end in hell.
According to the faith and mercy of his Christian enemies, [Chosroes] sunk without hope into a still deeper abyss [Hell]; and it will not be denied, that tyrants of every age and sect are the best entitled to such infernal abodes.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
I always say, as you know, that if my fellow citizens want to go to Hell I will help them. It's my job.
I have friends in both places [Heaven and Hell].
How do you know that the earth isn’t some other planet’s hell?
Like Jesus Christ himself, Henry [III] was as wise on the day of his birth as he would ever be.
We can't all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.
But heroes are not reckless or foolhardy. … A sensible hero fights bravely when he needs to do so; but first he fights prudently in order to avoid fighting bravely.
No man's a hero to himself.
Even a fool may be wise after the event.
The revolution of ages may bring round the same calamities; but ages may revolve without producing a Tacitus to describe them.
History does not have sides, although historians do.
Don't brood on what's past, but never forget it either.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
History, n. An account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.
History … is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.
[The] Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire …
History's lessons are no more enlightening than the wisdom of those who interpret them.
History repeats itself; historians repeat one other.
The study of history is a powerful antidote to contemporary arrogance. It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times and in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false. It is sobering, too, to find huge and frightening errors constantly repeated; lessons painfully learnt forgotten in the space of a generation; and the accumulated wisdom of the past heedlessly ignored in every society, and at all times.
Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.
One of the lessons of history is that Nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. [emphasis added]
The voice of history [is] often little more than the organ of hatred or flattery.
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
The interpretation of history is forever in flux, as much reflection of the present as window on the past.
From the paths of blood (and such is the history of nations) I cannot refuse to turn aside to gather some flowers of science or virtue.
So obscure are the greatest events, as some take for granted any hearsay, whatever its source, others turn truth into falsehood, and both errors find encouragement with posterity.
[We should] suspend our belief of every tale that deviates from the laws of nature and the character of man.
History is a pack of tricks the living play upon the dead.
There are no inevitabilities in history.
… there is no logic or justice in history. It is all a matter of chronology.
There is no such person as History. It is human beings who decree.
… reality cannot for long be banished from history. Facts have a way of making their presence felt.
What is important in history is not only the events that occur but the events that obstinately do not occur.
… the historian of the modern world is sometimes tempted to reach the depressing conclusion that progress is destructive of certitude. In the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries the Western elites were confident that men and progress were governed by reason. A prime discovery of modern times is that reason plays little part in our affairs.
History isn't like that. History unravels gently, like an old sweater. It has been patched and darned many times, reknitted to suit different people, shoved in a box under the sink of censorship to be cut up for the dusters of propaganda, yet it always—eventually—manages to spring back into its old familiar shape. History has a habit of changing the people who think they are changing it. History always has a few tricks up its frayed sleeve. It's been around a long time.
If one but tell a thing well, it moves on with undying voice, and over the fruitful earth and across the sea goes the bright gleam of noble deeds ever unquenchable.
Unsung, the noblest deed will die.
Better than the rest of us, they [the Jews] sensed what was ahead for their people.
'Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;
After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.
It is better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you are not.
It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.
It was no longer esteemed infamous for a Roman to survive his honor and independence.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Honor is like an island, rugged and without a beach; once we have left it, we can never return.
Let us honour if we can
The vertical man
Though we value none
But the horizontal one.
He had that rare weird electricity about him—that extremely wild and heavy presence that you only see in a person who has abandoned all hope of ever behaving "normally."
Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.
So farewell hope, and with hope, farewell fear,
Farewell remorse; all good to me is lost;
Evil, be thou my good …
Abandon all hope, you who enter here (Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate).
He that lives upon Hope will die fasting.
When any man is more stupidly vain and outrageously egotistic than his fellows, he will hide his hideousness in humanitarianism.
The type and formula of most schemes of philanthropy or humanitarianism is this: A and B put their heads together to decide what C shall be made to do for D. … I call C the Forgotten Man.
Shamus, n. [Yiddish]: A shamus is a guy who takes care of handyman tasks around the temple, and makes sure everything is in working order. A shamus is at the bottom of the pecking order of synagogue functionaries, and there's a joke about that: A rabbi, to show his humility before God, cries out in the middle of a service, "Oh, Lord, I am nobody!" The cantor, not to be bested, also cries out, "Oh, Lord, I am nobody!" The shamus, deeply moved, follows suit and cries, "Oh, Lord, I am nobody!" The rabbi turns to the cantor and says, "Look who thinks he's nobody!"
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.
Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.
Look at Jewish history. Unrelieved lamenting would be intolerable. So, for every ten Jews beating their breasts, God designated one to be crazy and amuse the breast-beaters. By the time I was five I knew I was that one.
Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.
Humour is an affirmation of dignity, a declaration of man's superiority to all that befalls him.
The secret source of Humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.
Comedy, like sodomy, is an unnatural act.
There is no reason why a joke should not be appreciated more than once. Imagine how little good music there would be if, for example, a conductor refused to play Beethoven's Fifth Symphony on the ground that his audience might have heard it before.
- You can't win.
- You can't break even.
- You can't even quit the game.
You know when you're sitting on a chair and you lean back so you're just on two legs then you lean too far and you almost fall over but at the last second you catch yourself? I feel like that all the time.
I filled out an application that said, "In Case Of Emergency Notify". I wrote "Doctor" … What's my mother going to do?
Reverend Lovejoy: Oh, come on, Lisa, now you're here for a reason. Is your father stealing bread?
Lisa: Maybe. I don't watch him every minute.
Boy, life takes a long time to live.
For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier. I put them in the same room and let them fight it out.
I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me.
The other day I … uh, no, that wasn't me.
What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.
When I was crossing the border into Canada, they asked if I had any firearms with me. I said, "Well, what do you need?"
When I woke up this morning, my girlfriend asked if I had slept well. I said, "No, I made a few mistakes."
You can't have everything. Where would you put it?
Most of the time I don't have much fun. The rest of the time I don't have any fun at all.
If you don't go to people's funerals, they won't come to yours.
It is illegal to make liquor privately or water publicly.
Good night to spend with family, but avoid arguments with your mate's new lover.
My boyfriend and I broke up. He wanted to get married, and I didn't want him to.
I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous—everyone hasn't met me yet.
Prostitution gives her an opportunity to meet people. It provides fresh air and wholesome exercise, and it keeps her out of trouble.
It may be that your whole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
Paul's Law: You can't fall off the floor.
Lowery's Law: If it jams, force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.
Chaos, panic, and disorder. My work here is done.
Homer: You know, Marge, that Bart is a little miracle—his winning smile, his button nose, his fat little stomach, his face alight with wholesome mischief. He reminds me of me before the weight of the world crushed my spirit.
Don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love.
More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.
There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots.
Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.
My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.
Homer: Marge, I'm going to miss you so much. And it's not just the sex. It's also the food preparation.
Homer: Trying is the first step toward failure.
Grandpa: I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me.
Someday I want to be rich. Some people get so rich they lose all respect for humanity. That's how rich I want to be.
My husband gave me a necklace. It's fake. I requested fake. Maybe I'm paranoid, but in this day and age, I don't want something around my neck that's worth more than my head.
Is sloppiness in speech caused by ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care.
Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
When I have a kid, I wanna put him in one of those strollers for twins, then run around the mall looking frantic.
Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."
I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.
After handing him a report card filled with F's, the boy asked his father, "Do you think the problem is my heredity or my upbringing?"
Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
If I could drop dead right now, I'd be the happiest man alive.
Success didn't spoil me, I've always been insufferable.
When I was a little kid, we had a quicksand box. I was an only child … eventually.
A friend is someone who will help you move. A real friend is someone who will help you move a body.
My theory is that all of Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.
They say such nice things about people at their funerals that it makes me sad to realize that I'm going to miss mine by just a few days.
I ask for so little. And boy do I get it.
I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, and then I thought: What the hell good would that do?
Marge: Growing up means giving up everything that makes you happy.
Lisa: I still stand by my beliefs. But I can't defend what I did …
Homer: I understand honey. I used to believe in things when I was a kid.
As a matter of principle, I never attend the first annual anything.
The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to [himself], "You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done."
Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but anyone going faster is a maniac?
Lenny: Date night, it's the embalming fluid that keeps the mummy of a marriage fresh after the heart and brain have been pulled out through the nose.
Carl: I never should have given you that Egyptology book.
Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
Homer: Sometimes, Marge, you just have to go with your gut.
Marge: You always go with your gut. How about for once you listen to your brain?
Homer: Son, when a woman says nothing's wrong, it means everything's wrong. When a woman says everything's wrong, it means everything's wrong. And when a woman says that something isn't funny, you'd better not laugh your ass off!
Homer: Kids, just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.
Homer: I don't know how you put up with all these kids, Toohey [the daycare director]. If I were you, there'd be a lot of strangled babies.
Mindy: Homer, you don't have to do anything you don't want to.
Homer: Well, maybe I want to [have sex]. Then I think about Marge and the kids … well, not the boy. He drives me nuts. Sometimes I'd just like to [makes strangling motion] …
Homer: That's a problem for future Homer. Man, I don't envy that guy.
You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
Stress is caused by suppressing the urge to beat the crap out of someone who desperately needs it.
Homer: Girls are easy. Girls love daddy. Girls make birthday cards with glitter on them. Girls can marry a hockey player and get me seats to hockey games. Girls don't steal my knives. And I don't have to tell girls how their bodies work 'cause I don't know.
Bart: You never told me how my body works.
Homer: Point and shoot.
Bart: You don't look like a mom. You look happy.
Bode: What's up. I'm Bode. Do you surf?
Milhouse: No. My parents took me to Hawaii once, but I was intimidated by the physiques of the local kids. So I just stayed in the hotel room.
Bode: That's cool.
Milhouse: No … it's not cool.
He's a 17-year-old boy … He doesn't have any innermost thoughts, and if he did, you wouldn't want to know what they [are] and neither would I.
Everything's perfect about the past except how it led to the present.
Lisa: Dad, no! We're trying to conserve energy.
Homer: Lisa, if we start conserving, the environmentalists win.
I drove [to the airport] like an old man drives through a farmer's market, ignoring all laws of man, nature, and God.
[Somehow] free food at the workplace turns everyone into a bear at Yellowstone Park.
Life is just the time between crapping yourself.
Possum played chicken
with a car
Not playing dead now.
For dads, a family vacation is a 24-hour a day baby sitting job.
Breaking news from the Middle East: Bearded men throwing rocks, yelling.
You've learned a very valuable life lesson, boy, which is that love doesn't exist except briefly between a man and a woman before marriage. After that it's hanging out with someone who kinda hates you, but you can't get it together to leave.
Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life. Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying.
Penny: Okay, that's fine, but let's try and get you out of your comfort zone.
Sheldon: Why would we want to do that? It's called the comfort zone for a reason.
[The] majority of the girls working there had major emotional problems. And not cries-too-much emotional problems; more like stabs-her-boyfriend-with-a-steak-knife-then-falls-into-a-corner-and-starts-whispering-to-herself emotional problems.
In my father's time they hanged you for it [homosexuality]. When I was a lad they put you in prison for it. Now it's legal. I hope I die before they make it compulsory.
Sheldon: I had to leave. They were having fun wrong.
Nut tightening stages: Loose, tight, tighter, very tight, over tight, loose.
I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.
Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you're stupid and make bad choices.
Lisa: (explaining to Homer) Oedipus killed his father and married his mother!
Homer: God! Who pays for that wedding?!
Ralphie: Daddy, how come you're not at work?
Wiggum: I don't know. How come you're not at school?
Ralphie: My teacher says she's tired of trying.
Wiggum: Yeah, well, so am I, Ralphie, so am I.
I bought a seven-dollar pen because I always lose pens and I got sick of not caring.
You know when they have a fishing show on TV? They catch the fish and then let it go. They don't want to eat the fish, they just want to make it late for something.
When someone hands you a flyer, it's like they're saying here you throw this away.
An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You should never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.
If I had nine of my fingers missing I wouldn't type any slower.
Fettuccine Alfredo is macaroni and cheese for adults.
The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how good I get, I'll never be as good as a wall.
Rice is great if you're really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something.
I don't have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman who'd be mad at me for saying that.
I wish I could play little league now. I'd be way better than before.
I had a stick of CareFree gum, but it didn't work. I felt pretty good while I was blowing that bubble, but as soon as the gum lost its flavor, I was back to pondering my mortality.
I'm gonna fix that last joke by taking out all the words and adding new ones.
I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, 'You're gonna have to move, you're blocking a fire exit.' As though if there was a fire, I wasn't gonna run. If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.
I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long.
I intend to live forever. So far, so good.
I installed a skylight in my apartment … the people who live above me are furious!
Right now I'm having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before.
Anything worth doing has a slight risk of decapitation.
Always be yourself …
Unless you can be Batman—then always be Batman.
I just spent my day playing a toy, in a movie about toys who do horrible things to each other.
Homer: I'm feeling kind of low, Apu. Got any of that beer with candy floating in it? You know, Skittlebrau.
Apu: Such a product does not exist, sir. I think you must have dreamed it.
Homer: Oh … well, then just give me a six-pack and a couple of bags of Skittles.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise—surprise and fear … fear and surprise … our two weapons are fear and surprise—and ruthless efficiency … our three weapons are fear and surprise and ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope … our four … no … Amongst our weapons—amongst our weaponry—are such elements as fear, surprise … I'll come in again.
No sex, please—we're British.
Homer: My name is Homer and I'm just here [the AA meeting] because the court made me come.
Reverend Lovejoy: Homer, with our help, you'll never touch a beer again.
Homer: [screams and jumps through the window]
In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol. It was the worst 20 minutes of my life.
This is why we can't have nice things …
Carl: Homer, you should see a doctor. I don't think a healthy man can make that kind of smell.
Student 1: Do you think most students on campus are heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual?
Student 2: I think most students are autosexual.
I used to do drugs. I still do drugs. But I used to, too.
I love my fed-ex guy cause he's a drug dealer and he don't even know it…and he's always on time.
It takes forever to cook a baked potato in a conventional oven. Sometimes I'll just throw one in there even if I don't want one. By the time it's done, Who knows?
[Homer is eating from a bag of flour]
Marge: Oh honey, don’t eat that. Wouldn’t you rather have your sugar bag?
Homer: No. I don’t deserve sugar.
Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!
Asok: Alice, do you have any valuable career advice?
Alice: Work so hard that it destroys your health and crowds out any chance of having a personal life.
Asok: Wouldn't that make me … unhappy?
Alice: You didn't ask for happiness advice.
lockdown, n. Middle-class people hiding while working-class people bring them things.
Ralph: The doctor said I wouldn't have so many nosebleeds if I kept my finger out of there.
Why are you the way that you are?
As I was going up the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish, I wish, he'd stay away.
Plant Counselor: What you need is a good, long rest. I suggest Florida.
Homer: Florida? But that's America's wang!
Plant Counselor: They prefer the Sunshine State.
Don't wait till your deathbed to tell people how you feel. Tell them to fuck off now.
After twelve years of therapy my psychiatrist said something that brought tears to my eyes. He said, 'No hablo inglés.'
Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.
To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you're wrong, admit it,
Whenever you're right, shut up.
He would grab me in his arms, hold me close—and tell me how wonderful he was.
Husbands are not adults. They are people who pay for things but are still somehow burdens.
Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person hypocrisy begins. We parry and fend the approach of our fellow man by compliments, by gossip, by amusements, by affairs. We cover up our thought from him under a hundred folds.
I don't like hypocrisy, but I fear a world without it. As long as it continues to exist, it means that standards continue to exist. You can only have hypocrisy when you have standards.
If you happen to be one of the fretful minority who can do creative work, never force an idea; you'll abort it if you do. Be patient and you'll give birth to it when the time is ripe. Learn to wait.
The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.
I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.
Society's course will be changed only by a change in ideas. First you must reach the intellectuals, the teachers and writers, with reasoned argument. It will be their influence on society which will prevail, and the politicians will follow.
The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.
It is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.
Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle.
The communication of ideas requires a similitude of thought and language …
Great ideas often look identical to stupid ones right up until the moment they work.
Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood.
Above all, we must at all times remember what intellectuals habitually forget: that people matter more than concepts and must come first. The worst of all despotisms is the heartless tyranny of ideas.
The great crimes of the twentieth century were committed not by money-grubbing capitalists but by dedicated idealists. Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler were contemptuous of money. The passage from the nineteenth to the twentieth century has been a passage from considerations of money to considerations of power. How naive the cliche that money is the root of evil!
I always wanted to be somebody. I should have been more specific.
Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises we have failed in.
There's nothing more dangerous than a resourceful idiot.
An idle mind is the devil's workshop.
Be not solitary, be not idle.
[There] is no class so dangerous as the idle educated.
But Idleness taxes many of us much more, if we reckon all that is spent in absolute Sloth, or doing of nothing, with that which is spent in idle Employments or Amusements, that amount to nothing.
Be always asham'd to catch thy self idle.
Idleness is a dangerous breeding ground.
It is worse still to be ignorant of your ignorance.
Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Imagination labors best in distant fields.
Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there.
It is by imitation, far more than by precept, that we learn everything; and what we learn thus, we acquire not only more efficiently, but more pleasantly. This forms our manners, our opinions, our lives.
I don't want to achieve immortality through my work … I want to achieve it through not dying.
[It] is impossible to reduce, or, at least, to hold a distant country against the wishes and efforts of its inhabitants.
Take up the White Man's burden—
The savage wars of peace—
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch Sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hope to nought.
Take up the White Man's burden—
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard—
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:—
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"
There is nothing perhaps more adverse to nature and reason than to hold in obedience remote countries and foreign nations, in opposition to their inclination and interest.
I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.
Anxiety, n. The first time you can't do it a second time.
Panic, n. The second time you can't do it the first time.
"Hasn't it ever occurred to you that in your promiscuous pursuit of women you are merely trying to assuage your subconscious fears of sexual impotence?"
"Yes, sir, it has."
"Then why do you do it?"
"To assuage my fears of sexual impotence."
Decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.
[The Goths'] poverty was incurable; since the most liberal donatives were soon dissipated in wasteful luxury, and the most fertile estates became barren in their hands …
There are few sorrows, however poignant, in which a good income is of no avail.
[Laurence J. Peter] has devoted his life to discovering remedies for incompetence …
I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up.
If you don't find it in the Index, look very carefully through the entire catalogue.
India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the Equator.
I regard you with an indifference closely bordering on aversion.
Indolence is sweet, and its consequences bitter.
The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.
Inflation is one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.
Most People return small Favors, acknowledge middling ones, and repay great ones with Ingratitude.
Why does my Muse only speak when she is unhappy?
She does not, I only listen when I am unhappy
When I am happy I live and despise writing
For my Muse this cannot but be dispiriting.
A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation.
Now it is a characteristic of such intellectuals that they see no incongruity in moving from their own discipline, where they are acknowledged masters, to public affairs, where they might be supposed to have no more right to a hearing than anyone else.
Nothing appeals to intellectuals more than the feeling that they represent "the people." Nothing, as a rule, is further from the truth.
We mustn't forget how quickly the visions of genius become the canned goods of intellectuals.
Intelligence has much less practical application than you'd think.
The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.
Men of intemperate mind never can be free; their passions forge their fetters.
The only intuitive interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
If the Library of Alexandria was the emblem of our ambition of omniscience, the Web is the emblem of our ambition of omnipresence; the library that contained everything has become the library that contains anything.
[On the Internet,] if you're not paying for the product, you're the product.
Don't interrupt me when I'm interrupting!
Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.
… in Ireland no man visits where he cannot drink.
The Irish people do not gladly suffer common sense.
We Irish are too poetical to be poets; we are a nation of brilliant failures, but we are the greatest talkers since the Greeks.
It's not that the Irish are cynical. It's rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.
MOSQUES are plenty [in Istanbul], churches are plenty, graveyards are plenty, but morals and whiskey are scarce. The Koran does not permit Mohammedans to drink. Their natural instincts do not permit them to be moral.
Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.
[Jealousy] arouses a husband's fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
In America, they [American Jews] may feel they are Jews. But in Israel, they feel they are Americans.
To the Greeks, the beautiful was holy, and to the Jews the holy was beautiful.
A joke never gains over an enemy, but often loses a friend.
Rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read.
Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord Jones is Dead' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.
Exaggeration of every kind is as essential to journalism as it is to the dramatic art, for the object of journalism is to make events go as far as possible.
The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable, and literature is not read.
Journalism possesses in itself the potentiality of becoming one of the most frightful monstrosities and delusions that have ever cursed mankind. This horrible transformation will occur at the exact instant at which journalists realise that they can become an aristocracy.
There is no such thing as an independent press. You know it, and I know it. I [as a journalist] am paid $150 a week for keeping honest opinions out of the paper. We are intellectual prostitutes, and our time and our talents are the property of other men.
Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.
The man from whom the joys of life have departed is living no more, but should be counted with the dead.
Great joys, like griefs, are silent.
There must always be a goodly number of judges, for few will always do the will of the few.
Judges ought to remember that their office is jus dicere, and not jus dare—to interpret law, and not to make law, or give law.
We are all inclined to judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their acts.
State a moral case to a plowman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.
Many complain of their Memory, few of their Judgment.
Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.
Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.
I like my wine French, my beer German, my vodka Russian, and my judicial system American.
Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.
Pardoning the Bad, is injuring the Good.
Keynes, John Maynard
It is important to get clear that Keynes was never a socialist … At heart he believed in liberal capitalism not only because he thought it more likely to produce the goods than any other imaginable system, but for moral reasons: he thought the destruction of economic freedom must, in practice, lead to a progressive diminution of political freedom.
Keynes was an empiricist and an original who had no attachment to theory—hated theory in fact. His method was to look at new facts squarely, and then seek to explain them, and devise methods to cope with them. The only trouble with Keynesianism in the later 1970s was that Keynes was dead, and so unable to bring his uniquely creative mind to bear on its problems.
I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to my fellow-creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
One kind word can warm three winter months.
Wise sayings often fall on barren ground; but a kind word is never thrown away.
It is not a sign of arrogance for the king to rule. That is what he is there for.
This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.
When Knaves betray each other, one can scarce be blamed, or the other pitied.
The honest Man takes Pains, and then enjoys Pleasures; the Knave takes Pleasure, and then suffers Pains.
Knowledge And Ignorance
If you don't know how to pronounce a word, say it loud! Why compound ignorance with inaudibility?
All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.
The first step to knowledge is to know that we are ignorant.
Try to know everything of something, and something of everything.
Tain't what a man don't know that hurts him; it's what he knows that just ain't so!
As soon as any man says of the affairs of state, What does it matter to me? the state may be given up as lost.
The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.
You know everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I don't know.
Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.
You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird … So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing—that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
Not being a liberal, I have very little grasp of things that I know nothing about.
Learned foolishness, is more egregiously foolish than the folly of ignorance. It is wayward, positive, and imperious; too conceited and indocile to be informed, and too obstinate to forsake error.
I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
Nothing is worse than active ignorance.
I do not know myself, and God forbid that I should.
I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.
And it's a necessity [for journalists] to pretend to be competent on every subject, some of which they really do not understand. They are under that necessity, I regret; I'm sorry for them. But to pretend to understand all the things you write about, and habitually to write about things you do not understand, is a very corrupting thing.
Those who know don't talk.
Those who talk don't know.
He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.
Apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?
Do not be arrogant because of your knowledge, but confer with the ignorant man as with the learned …
… your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
What you have learned is a mere handful; What you haven't learned is the size of the world.
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigree of nations.
Language [is] the leading principle which unites or separates the tribes of mankind …
[Greek is] doubtless the most perfect [language] that has been contrived by the art of man.
Ignorant people think it is the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain't so; it is the sickening grammar that they use.
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
[Greek is] a musical and prolific language, that gives a soul to the objects of sense, and a body to the abstractions of philosophy.
He [Churchill] mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.
Don't swear, boy. It shows a lack of vocabulary.
If Miss means respectably unmarried, and Mrs respectably married, then Ms means nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
They spell it Vinci and pronounce it Vinchy; foreigners always spell better than they pronounce.
Waiting for the German verb is surely the ultimate thrill.
When I survey the Plan [of a Dictionary of the English Language] which I have laid before you, I cannot, my Lord, but confess, that I am frightened at its extent, and, like the soldiers of Cæsar, look on Britain as a new world, which it is almost madness to invade. But I hope, that though I should not complete the conquest, I shall at least discover the coast, civilize part of the inhabitants, and make it easy for some other adventurer to proceed farther, to reduce them wholly to subjection, and settle them under laws.
But let me laugh awhile, I've mickle time to grieve.
Life does not cease to be funny when people die, any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.
I was irrevocably betrothed to laughter, the sound of which has always seemed to me to be the most civilised music in the world.
When I came back to Dublin I was court-martialed in my absence and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in by absence.
Justice delayed is justice denied.
This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice.
Courtroom, n. A place where Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot would be equals, with betting odds in favor of Judas.
The people can change Congress but only God can change the Supreme Court.
The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.
… mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent …
I am further of opinion that it would be better for us to have [no laws] at all than to have them in so prodigious numbers as we have.
It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judiciary to say what the law is, not what the law should be.
[Whenever] the offense inspires less horror than the punishment, the rigor of penal law is obliged to give way to the common feelings of mankind.
[The] operation of the wisest laws is imperfect and precarious. They seldom inspire virtue, they cannot always restrain vice.
There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one.
But the wisdom and authority of the legislator are seldom victorious in a contest with the vigilant dexterity of private interest.
Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made.
[It] is the interest as well as duty of a sovereign to maintain the authority of the laws.
One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation.
A Locrian, who proposed any new law, stood forth in the assembly of the people with a cord round his neck, and if the law was rejected, the innovator was instantly strangled.
A jurisdiction thus vague and arbitrary was exposed to the most dangerous abuse: the substance, as well as the form, of justice were often sacrificed to the prejudices of virtue, the bias of laudable affection, and the grosser seductions of interest or resentment.
With the utmost deference for these excellent civilians, I cannot but consider this confusion of the judicial and legislative authority as a very perilous constitutional precedent.
The science of the laws is the slow growth of time and experience …
The books of jurisprudence were interesting to few, and entertaining to none: their value was connected with present use, and they sunk forever as soon as that use was superseded by the innovations of fashion, superior merit, or public authority.
Whatever is secret must be doubtful, and our natural horror of vice may be abused as an engine of tyranny.
A sentence of death and infamy was often founded on the slight and suspicious evidence of a child or a servant: the guilt [of the defendant] was presumed by the judges [due to the nature of the charge], and paederasty became the crime of those to whom no crime could be imputed.
[The] discretion of the judge is the first engine of tyranny …
But a law, however venerable be the sanction, cannot suddenly transform the temper of the times …
[A] thousand quarrels must arise under a law, and among men, whose sole umpire [is] the sword.
Government can easily exist without laws, but law cannot exist without government.
The law functions as formal embodiment of a moral code, not as free-standing substitute for it.
To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.
Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.
Law And Order
Rape and violence occur not because of patriarchal conditioning but because of the opposite, a breakdown of social controls.
No poet ever interpreted nature as freely as a lawyer interprets truth.
I don't want a lawyer to tell me what I cannot do; I hire him to tell me how to do what I want to do.
Every Federal Judge is a lawyer. So are most Congressmen. Every invasion of the plain rights of the citizen has a lawyer behind it. If all lawyers were hanged tomorrow, and their bones sold to a mahjong factory, we'd all be freer and safer, and our taxes would be reduced by half.
A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.
Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.
Lazy hands make a man poor,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
That indolent but agreeable condition of doing nothing.
I understand there's a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed, smoke weed all day, and watch cartoons and old movies. My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid, and outwit, that guy.
All leaders strive to turn their followers into children.
It is hard to look up to a leader who keeps his ear to the ground.
It is frequently a misfortune to have very brilliant men in charge of affairs; they expect too much of ordinary men.
There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.
He who thinks he leads, and has no one following him is only taking a walk.
"Cheshire-Puss," she began, "would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't care much where—" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
When I want to know what France thinks, I ask myself.
I must follow them. I am their leader.
You have lost a useful commander, and you have made a very wretched emperor.
Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water.
It has been sagaciously conjectured, that the artful legislator indulged the stubborn prejudices of his countrymen.
There is nothing but that frail breastwork of earth between the people and destruction.
It is the fate of those who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good; to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward.
Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries; whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science, the pioneer of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the paths of Learning and Genius, who press forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates their progress. Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few.
Lexicographer, n. A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words.
The liar at any rate recognizes that recreation, not instruction, is the aim of conversation, and is a far more civilised being than the blockhead who loudly expresses his disbelief in a story which is told simply for the amusement of the company.
Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.
So much of contemporary liberalism seems to be never having grown up.
[Liberalism] is hostile to law [and has a preference for] policy without law.
The search for a moral equivalent of war continues to define American liberalism to this day.
You can't go from a $2,000-a-night suite at La Mirage to a penitentiary and really understand it and come out a liberal.
Liberality is not giving much but giving wisely.
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
The effect of liberty to individuals is, that they may do what they please; we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations.
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty.
There's only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.
You need only reflect that 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 struggle for independence.
It is in the township that the strength of free peoples resides. Municipal institutions are for liberty what primary schools are for science; they place it within reach of the people … Without municipal institutions, a nation is able to give itself a free government, but it lacks the spirit of liberty.
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Liberty is, to the lowest rank of every nation, little more than the choice of working or starving; and this choice is, I suppose, equally allowed in every country.
History has scarcely deigned to notice [Libius Severus's] birth, his elevation, his character, or his death.
Human beings can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.
A man said to the Universe, "Sir, I exist!"
"However," replied the Universe, "the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation."
The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore.
Men fear silence as they fear solitude, because both give them a glimpse of the terror of life's nothingness.
[The Forgotten Man] is the clean, quiet, virtuous domestic citizen who pays his debts and his taxes and is never heard of out of his little circle. … [He] works and votes—generally he prays—but his chief business in life is to pay.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking.
Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker is sorry.
Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.
I advise you to go on living solely to enrage those who are paying your annuities. It is the only pleasure I have left.
The first half of our life is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children.
The game of life is not so much in holding a good hand as playing a poor hand well.
What the meaning of human life may be I don't know; I incline to suspect that it has none.
Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.
Do not despair of life. You have no doubt force enough to overcome your obstacles. Think of the fox prowling through wood and field in a winter night for something to satisfy his hunger. Notwithstanding cold and hounds and traps, his race survives. I do not believe any of them ever committed suicide.
If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.
And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.
What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.
In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants and the other is getting it.
Never abandon life. There is a way out of everything except death.
Fancy living in one of these streets, never seeing anything beautiful, never eating anything savoury, never saying anything clever!
We are born crying, live complaining, and die disappointed.
The act of self-denial seems to confer on us the right to be harsh and merciless toward others.
Men of thought seldom work well together, whereas between men of action there is usually an easy camaraderie.
How little can we foresee the consequences either of wise or unwise action, of virtue or of malice! Without this measureless and perpetual uncertainty the drama of human life would be destroyed.
… men work simply in order to escape the depressing agony of contemplating life—that their work, like their play, is a mumbo-jumbo that serves them by permitting them to escape from reality.
Life may not be exactly pleasant, but it is at least not dull. Heave yourself into Hell today, and you may miss, tomorrow or next day, another Scopes trial, or another War to End War, or perchance a rich and buxom widow with all her first husband's clothes. There are always more Hardings hatching. I advocate hanging on as long as possible.
Life is short, but death lasts forever.
How little it takes to make life unbearable … A pebble in the shoe, a cockroach in the spaghetti, a woman's laugh.
The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.
Life is a hideous thing.
At the door of life, by the gate of breath,
There are worse things waiting for men than death.
Don't believe the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
When you have got an elephant by the hind leg, and he is trying to run away, it's best to let him run.
Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?
I value kindness to human beings first of all, and kindness to animals. I don't respect the law; I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper, and old men and women warmer in the winter, and happier in the summer.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
Life is a long lesson in humility.
Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out—it's the grain of sand in your shoe.
A bad habit never disappears miraculously; it's an undo-it-yourself project.
Why shouldn't things be largely absurd, futile, and transitory? They are so, and we are so, and they and we go very well together.
Music is essentially useless, as life is.
If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner.
In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
I think you should live your life so that the maximum number of people will attend your funeral.
The Europeans … are less unhappy than we, but they are not happy. Human life is everywhere a state in which much is to be endured, and little to be enjoyed.
[All] of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon—instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
If thou wouldst live long, live well;
For folly and wickedness shorten life.
The unexamined life is not worth living.
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!
You can never begin to live
Until you dare to die.
A stout heart, a clear conscience, and never despair.
Life is subject to change without notice.
Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.
You thought it was hard? If kindergarten is busting your ass, I got some bad news for you about the rest of life.
No, you can't go getting mad at people because they're shitty. Life will get mad at them, don't worry.
Just worry about living, dying is the easy part.
Life is pain … Anyone who says differently is selling something.
Life isn't fair, it's just fairer than death, that's all.
Wish not so much to live long as to live well.
The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.
You live and learn. At any rate, you live.
Don't be so hard on yourself; don't put pressure on yourself; life is just a chain of experiments and results … you'll be perfect when you're dead.
Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.
Life is short. Why make it any shorter by not taking care of yourself?
So large a part of human life passes in a state contrary to our natural desires that one of the principal topics of moral instruction is the art of bearing calamities. And such is the certainty of evil that it is the duty of every man to furnish his mind with those principles that may enable him to act under it with decency and propriety.
I long ago come [sic] to the conclusion that all life is six to five against.
No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why.
A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something.
When I read Shakespeare I am struck with wonder
That such trivial people should muse and thunder
In such a lovely language.
The cruelest thing that has happened to Lincoln since he was shot by Booth was to fall into the hands of Carl Sandburg.
H. L. Mencken suffers from the hallucination that he is H. L. Mencken—there is no cure for a disease of that magnitude.
Nobody can read Freud without realizing that he was the scientific equivalent of another nuisance, George Bernard Shaw.
The trouble with the publishing business is that too many people who have half a mind to write a book do so.
No author is a man of genius to his publisher.
I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.
When a thing has been said and well said, have no scruple; take it and copy it.
I suppose every old scholar has had the experience of reading something in a book which was significant to him, but which he could never find again. Sure he is that he read it there, but no one else ever read it, nor can he find it again, though he buy the book and ransack every page.
The tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey.
I never desire to converse with a man who has written more than he has read.
When told not to end a sentence with a preposition, Churchill replied, "This is nonsense up with which I will not put."
A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
I hate vulgar realism in literature. The man who would call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for.
Cut out all those exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke.
I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
He that I am reading seems always to have the most force.
Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus? The Proust of the Papuans? I'd be happy to read them.
Liverpool, though not very delightful as a place of residence, is a most convenient and admirable point to get away from.
[Lloyd George] did not seem to care which way he travelled providing he was in the driver's seat.
I can't say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.
The Greeks invented logic but were not fooled by it.
When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
You should have seen her face then. Gratitude? Lord, what do you want with words to express that? Words are only painted fire, a look is the fire itself. She gave that look, and carried it away to the treasury of heaven, where all things that are divine belong.
Los Angeles is like San Diego's older, uglier sister that has herpes.
People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy.
The greater love is a mother's; then comes a dog's; then a sweetheart's.
It has been wisely said that we cannot really love anybody at whom we never laugh.
If I'm such a legend, then why am I so lonely? Let me tell you, legends are all very well if you've got somebody around who loves you.
The wise want love; and those who love want wisdom.
Many a man has fallen in love with a girl in a light so dim he would not have chosen a suit by it.
Let there be spaces in your Togetherness.
I never loved another person the way I loved myself.
As soon as you cannot keep anything from a woman, you love her.
Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.
Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.
The quarrels of lovers are the renewal of love.
The great secret of happiness in love is to be glad that the other fellow married her.
Love and eggs are best when they are fresh.
The most disgusting cad in the world is the man who, on grounds of decorum and morality, avoids the game of love. He is one who puts his own ease and security above the most laudable of philanthropies.
A man always remembers his first love with special tenderness. But after that he begins to bunch them.
To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.
There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.
Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise.
It is easier to love humanity as a whole that to love one's neighbor.
Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.
Then fly betimes, for only they
Conquer love that run away.
Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.
If you would be loved, love and be lovable.
[What] some guys mean when they say "I love you" is what I mean when I say, "I love turkey."
"You are the greatest lover I have ever had."
"Well, I practice a lot when I'm alone."
I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son.
One minute is a lover high atop a tree, the next minute down among the briars is he, now up, now down, as a bucket in a well.
There is a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and much less prevalent.
Of course not, but I am told it works even if you don't believe in it.
Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes.
It is idle to play the lyre for an ass.
There's a pinch of the madman in every great man.
I suppose it is much more comfortable to be mad and not know it, than to be sane and have one's doubts.
[Imagination] does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess players do. Mathematicians go mad … but creative artists very seldom.
Great wits are sure to madness near allied.
Oh, that way madness lies. Let me shun that.
[Majorian] presents the welcome discovery of a great and heroic character, such as sometimes arise, in a degenerate age, to vindicate the honor of the human species.
Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.
Limited in his nature, infinite in his desires, man is a fallen god who remembers heaven.
That man is an aggressive creature will hardly be disputed. With the exception of certain rodents, no other vertebrate habitually destroys members of its own species.
God must love the common man, he made so many of them.
Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.
Man is a beautiful machine that works very badly.
Man can believe the impossible, but man can never believe the improbable.
Such is the human race. Often it does seem such a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.
Every man is as God made him, ay, and often worse.
Man differs from the animal only by a little; most men throw that little away.
Mortals, born of woman,
are of few days and full of trouble.
They springs up like flowers and wither away;
like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
I know in my heart that man is good.
That what is right will always eventually triumph.
And there's purpose and worth to each and every life.
Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves.
Man has much more to fear from the passions of his fellow-creatures, than from the convulsions of the elements.
Neither conservatives nor humorists believe man is good. But left-wingers do.
In this primitive and abject state [of hunters and gatherers], which ill deserves the name of society, the human brute, without arts or laws, almost without sense or language, is poorly distinguished from the rest of the animal creation.
For this is the tragedy of man—circumstances change, but he does not.
If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.
[But] the man who dares not expose his life in the defence of his children and his property, has lost in society the first and most active energies of nature.
It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.
I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
Every man naturally persuades himself that he can keep his resolutions, nor is he convinced of his imbecility but by length of time and frequency of experiment.
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
With man, most of his misfortunes are occasioned by man.
Man is neither angel nor beast; and the misfortune is that he who would act the angel acts the beast.
Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this—that you are dreadfully like other people.
History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.
Most human beings have an absolute and infinite capacity for taking things for granted.
We should expect the best and the worst from mankind, as from the weather.
One of the laws of paleontology is that an animal which must protect itself with thick armour is degenerate. It is usually a sign that the species is on the road to extinction.
Barring that natural expression of villainy which we all have, the man looked honest enough.
To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.
The fall of man stands a lie before Beethoven, a truth before Hitler.
At very best, a person wrapped up in himself makes a small package.
Cursed is every one who places his hope in man.
[The] vain and transitory scenes of human greatness are unworthy of a serious thought.
Human kind cannot bear very much reality.
Dear Miss Manners: Please list some tactful ways of removing a man's saliva from your face.
Gentle Reader: Please list some decent ways of acquiring a man's saliva on your face …
Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide the lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naive, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as "empty," "meaningless," or "dishonest," and scorn to use them. No matter how "pure" their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best.
The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.
The markets are moved by animal spirits, and not by reason.
Markets are too complex to manipulate beneficially.
No matter how happily a woman may be married, it always pleases her to discover that there is a nice man who wishes she were not.
Marriage is our last, best chance to grow up.
Nothing flatters a man as much as the happiness of his wife; he is always proud of himself as the source of it.
Marriage is neither heaven nor hell; it is simply purgatory.
When there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.
The Japanese have a word for it. It's judo—the art of conquering by yielding. The Western equivalent of judo is, "Yes, dear."
When a girl marries, she exchanges the attentions of many men for the inattention of one.
Marriage is a mistake every man should make.
As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent.
A good marriage would be between a blind wife and deaf husband.
A man in love is incomplete until he is married. Then he is finished.
By all means marry: If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
Choose in marriage only a woman whom you would choose as a friend if she were a man.
When should a man marry? A young man, not yet; an elder man, not at all.
I like being single. I'm always there when I need me.
Is not marriage an open question, when it is alleged, from the beginning of the world, that such as are in the institution wish to get out, and such as are out wish to get in?
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.
One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.
The average woman must inevitably view her actual husband with a certain disdain; he is anything but her ideal. In consequence, she cannot help feeling that her children are cruelly handicapped by the fact that he is their father.
'Tis more blessed to give than receive; for example, wedding presents.
We were happily married for eight months. Unfortunately, we were married for four and a half years.
What nonsense people talk about happy marriages! A man can be happy with any woman so long as he doesn't love her.
When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.
When I was a young man, I vowed never to marry until I found the ideal woman. Well, I found her—but alas, she was waiting for the ideal man.
When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.
I belong to Bridegrooms Anonymous. Whenever I feel like getting married, they send over a lady in a housecoat and hair curlers to burn my toast for me.
The hardest task in a girl's life is to prove to a man that his intentions are serious.
It is assumed that the woman must wait, motionless, until she is wooed. That is how the spider waits for the fly.
A husband is what is left of the lover after the nerve has been extracted.
Men are horribly tedious when they are good husbands, and abominably conceited when they are not.
Marriage is the price men pay for sex, sex is the price women pay for marriage.
I think of my wife, and I think of Lot,
And I think of the lucky break he got.
We sleep in separate rooms, we have dinner apart, we take separate vacations—we're doing everything we can to keep our marriage together.
Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
I never knew what real happiness was until I got married. And by then it was too late.
When a man brings his wife flowers for no reason—there's a reason.
Take my wife … please!
Bride, n. A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her.
If I ever marry, it will be on a sudden impulse, as a man shoots himself.
I respect the institution of marriage. I have always thought that every woman should marry—and no man.
A man's friendships are, like his will, invalidated by marriage.
I don't see why I have to make one man miserable when I can make so many men happy.
Marriage is the death of hope.
Sex alleviates tension. Marriage causes it.
It should be a very happy marriage; they are both so much in love with him.
There's nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It's a thing no married man knows anything about.
Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious; both are disappointed.
I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry.
I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.
When a woman marries again, it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again, it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.
Metellus Numidicus, the censor, acknowledged to the Roman people, in a public oration, that had kind nature allowed us to exist without the help of women, we should be delivered from a very troublesome companion; and he could recommend matrimony only as the sacrifice of private pleasure to public duty.
But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided.
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
In the most rigorous [Roman] laws, a wife was condemned to support a gamester, a drunkard, or a libertine, unless he were guilty of homicide, poison, or sacrilege, in which cases the marriage, as it should seem, might have been dissolved by the hand of the executioner.
A society in which marriage is encouraged and industry prevails soon repairs the accidental losses of pestilence and war …
My wife doesn't care what I do when I'm away, as long as I don't have a good time.
I've traveled the world and been about everywhere you can imagine. There's not anything I'm scared of except my wife.
A man may be a fool and not know it—but not if he is married.
What's the secret to a happy marriage? Lots of square feet [i.e. a big house] and 2 Tivos.
You cannot pluck roses without fear of thorns,
Nor enjoy fair wife without danger of horns.
My wife and I tried two or three times in the last few years to have breakfast together but it was so disagreeable we had to stop.
I am about to be married–and am of course in all the misery of a man in pursuit of happiness.
The desire to get married is a basic and primal instinct in women. It's followed by another basic and primal instinct: the desire to be single again.
The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his cheque book open.
… gosh, maybe that's what true marriage is: two people who want each other to die.
[All] whom I have mentioned failed to obtain happiness, for want of considering that marriage is the strictest tie of perpetual friendship; that there can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity; and that he must expect to be wretched who pays to beauty, riches, or politeness that regard which only virtue and piety can claim.
That old saying which the peasants call the bachelors' prayer: "I pray thee, good Lord, that I may not be married. But if I am to be married, that I may not be a cuckold. But if I am to be a cuckold, that I may not know. But if I am to know, that I may not mind."
Marriage is a duel to the death, which no man of honour should decline.
Marriage is fine as an institution, but bad as a habit.
The tyrant dies and his rule is over; the martyr dies and his rule begins.
To die for an idea is to set a rather high price upon conjecture.
Although always prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it should be postponed.
Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those whom they have slain.
All I know is I'm not a Marxist.
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty - a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture.
Remember, son, many a good story has been ruined by over-verification.
The sports page records people's accomplishments, the front page usually records nothing but man's failures.
For most folks, no news is good news; for the press, good news is not news.
To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worthwhile. The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.
An editor is one who separates the wheat from the chaff and prints the chaff.
The true aim of medicine is not to make men virtuous; it is to safeguard and rescue them from the consequences of their vices. The physician does not preach repentance; he offers absolution.
Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them.
Only a mediocre person is always at his best.
Perseverance, n. A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success.
God gave us memory that we might have roses in December.
I never forgive, but I always forget.
It isn't so astonishing, the number of things that I can remember, as the number of things I can remember that aren't so.
Our memories are independent of our wills. It is not so easy to forget.
Men become old, but they never become good.
A man may be so much of everything that he is nothing of anything.
Some men are alive only because it is illegal to kill them.
Boys will be boys, and so will a lot of middle-aged men.
Young men want to be faithful, and are not; old men want to be faithless, and cannot.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY
Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.
… any that pisseth against the wall.
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.
Men And Women
Like the ski resort of girls looking for husbands and husbands looking for girls, the situation is not as symmetrical as it might seem.
I dress for women—and I undress for men.
The average girl would rather have beauty than brains because she knows the average man can see much better than he can think.
She was not a woman likely to settle for equality when sex gave her an advantage.
Men have a much better time of it than women; for one thing, they marry later; for another thing, they die earlier.
A man is a person who will pay two dollars for a one-dollar item he wants. A woman will pay one dollar for a two-dollar item she doesn't want.
I never hated a man enough to give him his diamonds back.
A woman wants a man who will satisfy her every want and need. A man wants every woman to satisfy his one want and need.
I married beneath me–all women do.
A wise woman will always let her husband have her way.
When a man opens the car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife.
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
Disguise our bondage as we will,
'Tis woman, woman, rules us still.
'Tis strange what a man may do, and a woman yet think him an angel.
A woman is a woman until the day she dies, but a man's a man only as long as he can.
Brigands will demand your money or your life, but a woman will demand both.
Lady Nancy Astor: "Winston, if you were my husband, I'd put poison in your coffee."
Winston Churchill: "Nancy, if you were my wife, I'd drink it."
Let thy maidservant be faithful, strong, and homely.
Men's magazines often feature pictures of naked ladies. Women's magazines also often feature pictures of naked ladies. This is because the female body is a beautiful work of art, while the male body is hairy and lumpy and should not be seen by the light of day.
Take my word for it, the silliest woman can manage a clever man, but it needs a very clever woman to manage a fool.
To find out a girl's faults, praise her to her girl friends.
Women sometimes forgive a man who forces the opportunity, but never a man who misses one.
I asked a Burmese why women, after centuries of following their men, now walk ahead. He said there were many unexploded land mines since the war.
I don't mind living in a man's world as long as I can be a woman in it.
Whether women are better than men I cannot say—but I can say they are certainly no worse.
A man's womenfolk, whatever their outward show of respect for his merit and authority, always regard him secretly as an ass, and with something akin to pity.
Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.
George Moore unexpectedly pinched my behind. I felt rather honored that my behind should have drawn the attention of the great master of English prose.
She plucked from my lapel the invisible strand of lint—the universal act of women to proclaim ownership.
I've been in love with the same woman for forty-one years. If my wife finds out, she'll kill me.
Most women set out to try to change a man, and when they have changed him they do not like him.
On one issue at least, men and women agree: they both distrust women.
Women do not like timid men. Cats do not like prudent rats.
Misogynist, n. A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.
The gods have sent medicines for the venom of serpents, but there is no medicine for a bad woman. She is more noxious than the viper, or than fire itself.
Woman, like good wine, is a sweet poison.
Women are like death: they pursue those who flee from them, and flee from those who pursue them.
A thousand men can easily live together in peace, but two women, even if they be sisters, can never do so.
A man always blames the woman who fools him. In the same way he blames the door he walks into in the dark.
To attract men, I wear a perfume called "New Car Interior."
Women have a hard time of it in this world. They are oppressed by man-made laws, man-made social customs, masculine egoism, the delusion of masculine superiority. Their one comfort is the assurance that, even though it may be impossible to prevail against man, it is always possible to enslave and torture a man.
Women have simple tastes. They can get pleasure out of the conversation of children in arms and men in love.
The allurement that women hold out to men is precisely the allurement that Cape Hatteras holds out to sailors: they are enormously dangerous and hence enormously fascinating. To the average man, doomed to some banal drudgery all his life long, they offer the only grand hazard that he ever encounters. Take them away, and his existence would be as flat and secure as that of a moo-cow.
All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That is his.
Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.
King Solomon loved many strange women.
On Valentine's Day, millions of men give millions of women flowers, cards and candy as a heartfelt expression of the emotion that also motivates men to observe anniversaries and birthdays: fear.
Women in general seem to me to be appreciably more intelligent than men. A great many of them suffer in silence from the imbecilities of their husbands.
In every age and country, the wiser, or at least the stronger, of the two sexes, has usurped the powers of the state, and confined the other to the cares and pleasures of domestic life.
All other men govern their wives; but we command all other men, and our wives us.
Women [in ancient Rome] were condemned to the perpetual tutelage of parents, husbands, or guardians; a sex created to please and obey was never supposed to have attained the age of reason and experience. Such, at least, was the stern and haughty spirit of the ancient law …
[Thales] thanked fortune for three things: first of all, that he had been born a man and not a beast; secondly, that he was a man and not a woman; and thirdly, that he was a Greek and not a barbarian.
Women don't want to hear what you think. Women want to hear what they think—in a deeper voice.
No one attached to the traditional image of authoritarian patriarchy could imagine the consternation men endure. They have suffered an unexpected blow to the emotional quality of their lives. Its gravity has not been calculated. They have far fewer reliable links than women to the classic currents of family life. They are alienated not only, as Marx said, from the means of production but also from the means of reproduction.
I noticed that the greatest changes observable were with the women, not the men. I saw men whom thirty years had changed but slightly; but their wives had grown old. These were good women; it is very wearing to be good.
God created men and critics.
Only the stupefying ignorance of young women prevents them from comprehending the stupefying emptiness of the men who cluster round them.
The young women who attract so much attention never change: They are all stupid. They have at best only the crudest notions of their own power, and never calculate motives or consequences. Giving a young woman a young woman's body makes as much sense as giving ten teenagers Lamborghinis and telling them to drive in figure 8s around a parking lot.
That is the really great thing about being an adult male, once you get married and have children the whole decision-making process is taken out of your hands, and I for one am extremely grateful.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
My husband said he needed more space, so I locked him outside.
Never marry a man who hates his mother, because he'll end up hating you.
I've never yet met a man who could look after me. I don't need a husband. What I need is a wife.
Follow a shadow, it still flies you,
Seem to fly it, it will pursue:
So court a mistress, she denies you;
Let her alone, she will court you.
Say are not women truly, then,
Styl'd but the shadows of us men?
I finally figured out what men want. Men want a woman they can be incredibly intimate with … who will leave them alone.
Man is the one who desires, woman the one who is desired. This is woman's entire but decisive advantage. Through his passion nature has given man into woman's hands, and the woman who does not know how to make him her subject, her slave, her toy, and how to betray him with a smile in the end is not wise.
A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and is confirmed only by other men. Feminist fantasies about the ideal “sensitive” male have failed. Manhood coerced into sensitivity is no manhood at all.
Men are looking for maternal solace in women, and that's the nature of heterosexuality. Now you tell me, who really has all the power?
It is in the best interests of the human race, and of women themselves, for men to be strong.
Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.
Mencken, H. L.
He [Mencken] was an autodidact, with all the misplaced confidence and all the astonishing gaps that characterize that breed. Not many of us would venture to write a book about democracy without ever having read de Tocqueville, nor embark on a translation of Nietzsche with only a sketchy knowledge of German.
Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
Veni, vidi, vici.
I came, I saw, I conquered.
I dropped an aerial torpedo right in the center, and the group opened up like a flowering rose. It was most entertaining.
War hath no fury like a non-combatant.
They told me it would disrupt my life less if I got killed sooner.
In defeat, unbeatable; in victory, unbearable.
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
As long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than on their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters.
The progress of manufactures and commerce insensibly collects a large multitude within the walls of a city: but these citizens are no longer soldiers; and the arts which adorn and improve the state of civil society, corrupt the habits of the military life.
[A] military force was collected in Europe, formidable by their arms and numbers, if the generals had understood the science of command, and the soldiers the duty of obedience.
[Serving in the military] is a million-dollar experience that you wouldn’t do again for a million dollars.
I am not absent-minded. It is the presence of mind that makes me unaware of everything else.
Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.
The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven.
[Riemann] had the type of mind that could hold only those things it found interesting, mathematics mostly.
Everything is miraculous. It is miraculous that one does not melt in one's bath.
"Are you lost daddy," I asked tenderly.
"Shut up," he explained.
He looked at me as if I were a side dish he hadn't ordered.
Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays it insists on it.
We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others.
Depend upon it that if a man talks of his misfortunes there is something in them that is not disagreeable to him; for where there is nothing but pure misery there never is any recourse to the mention of it.
What man ever blamed himself for his misfortune?
Kings have long arms, but Misfortune longer:
Let none think themselves out of her reach.
Most people are stupid. Nothing seems like a mistake until it's a mistake.
In the field of controversy I always pity the moderate party, who stand on the open middle ground exposed to the fire of both sides.
I have not been afraid of excess: excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.
Moderation is a fatal thing … Nothing succeeds like excess.
Total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.
Constantly practise abstinence and temperance, so that you may be as wakeful after eating as before.
Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.
… and the practice of exercise and temperance had entitled him to a healthy old age.
Don't be so humble. You're not that great.
I was born modest; not all over, but in spots.
I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have.
Modesty is the only sure bait when you angle for praise.
When you're as great as I am, it's hard to be humble.
If only I had a little humility, I would be perfect.
He neither drank, smoked, nor rode a bicycle. Living frugally, saving his money, he died early, surrounded by greedy relatives. It was a great lesson to me.
You can't force anyone to love you or to lend you money.
Money is the most egalitarian force in society. It confers power on whoever holds it.
Make money and the whole world will conspire to call you a gentleman.
Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repairing.
To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it.
Money swore an oath that nobody who did not love it should ever have it.
I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest to make money they don't want to buy things they don't need to impress people they dislike.
The holy passion of friendship is so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring in nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.
When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money.
When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.
Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.
The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.
It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, as long as you've got money.
Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.
The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any.
There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.
He [Thomas Edison] considered [money] as a raw material, like metal, to be used rather than amassed, and so he kept plowing his funds into new projects. Several times he was all but bankrupt. But he refused to let dollar signs govern his actions.
Gentlemen, if the man who invented compound interest had secured a patent on his idea he would have had without any doubt the greatest invention the world has ever produced.
The peace of the Eastern church was invaded by a swarm of fanatics [monks], incapable of fear, or reason, or humanity; and the Imperial troops acknowledged, without shame, that they were much less apprehensive of an encounter with the fiercest Barbarians.
Pleasure and guilt are synonymous terms in the language of the monks, and they discovered, by experience, that rigid fasts, and abstemious diet, are the most effectual preservatives against the impure desires of the flesh.
The monastic studies have tended, for the most part, to darken, rather than to dispel, the cloud of superstition.
I have somewhere heard or read the frank confession of a Benedictine abbot: "My vow of poverty has given me a hundred thousand crowns a year; my vow of obedience has raised me to the rank of a sovereign prince."—I forget the consequences of his vow of chastity.
[The monks'] credulity debased and vitiated the faculties of the mind: they corrupted the evidence of history; and superstition gradually extinguished the hostile light of philosophy and science.
[All] the manly virtues were oppressed by the servile and pusillanimous reign of the monks.
[The monks'] minds were inaccessible to reason or mercy …
If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.
When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.
It doesn't matter what you do in the bedroom as long as you don't do it in the street and frighten the horses.
[It] seems as if anything I like is either illegal or immoral or fattening.
I profoundly believe it takes a lot of practice to become a moral slob.
Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.
Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral, forty-eight percent indignation, and fifty percent envy.
Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law.
There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as moral indignation, which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue.
In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.
Any of us can achieve virtue, if by virtue we merely mean the avoidance of the vices that do not attract us.
[Sir Stafford Cripps] has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
I say that a man must be certain of his morality for the simple reason that he has to suffer for it.
To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.
He who postpones the hour of living rightly is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses.
We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions which are unbridled by morality and true religion.
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
Not everything that is legal is reputable.
I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.
A society can survive the collapse of its economy, but not of its citizens' morality.
Our society is obsessed with personal rights, but it will survive only if we each adopt personal obligations.
People do bad things to other people because they do not have good values [not because of poverty or other societal problems].
The difference between moral people and immoral people is not that moral people don't have rage; it is that moral people control their rage, and immoral people don't.
Those who are merciful when they must be cruel, will, in the end, be cruel to those who deserve mercy.
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I?
[The] dreaming mind is regrettably immoral.
Nature abhors a moron.
No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement.
My mother had a good deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
Few misfortunes can befall a boy which bring worse consequences than to have a really affectionate mother.
Become the person you know you should be.
You can't do anything about what you've done, but you can do something about what you're going to do.
I would have been more successful if I had left movies immediately. Stayed in the theater, gone into politics, written; anything. I've wasted a greater part of my life looking for money and trying to get along. Trying to make my work from this terribly expensive paint box, which is a movie. And I've spent too much energy on things that have nothing to do with making a movie. It's about 2 percent movie making and 98 percent hustling. That's no way to spend a life.
If the desire to kill and the opportunity to kill came always together, who would escape hanging?
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks;
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one!
English law does not permit good persons, as such, to strangle bad persons, as such.
The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes—ah, that is where the art resides!
Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end.
She said, "I know you … you cannot sing". I said, "That's nothing, you should hear me play piano."
When one woman was asked how long she had been going to symphony concerts, she paused to calculate and replied, "Forty-seven years—and I find I mind it less and less."
I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to.
There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.
A vacuum is a hell of a lot better than some of the stuff that nature replaces it with.
Is dishwater dull? Naturalists with microscopes have told me that it teems with quiet fun.
The universe is not hostile, nor yet is it friendly. It is simply indifferent.
In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments—there are consequences.
In such condition [Nature with every man against every man], there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently … no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
But the works of man are impotent against the assaults of nature …
The law of nature instructs most animals to cherish and educate their infant progeny. The law of reason inculcates to the human species the returns of filial piety.
I am at two with nature.
Charlie Allnut: A man takes a drop too much once in a while, it's only human nature.
Rose Sayer: Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.
Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.
The graveyards are full of indispensable men.
There is no such thing as a necessary man.
Very few of us are irreplaceable in our professional lives, but all of us are irreplaceable to those who love us.
[Yet] the true creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention. [Often quoted as "necessity is the mother of invention"].
A little neglect may breed great mischief … for the want of a nail the shoe was lost; for the want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for the want of a horse the rider was lost.
Have you told them it bothers you? … Are they bigger than you? … Are you afraid of getting your ass kicked? … Ah, okay, I probably should have asked that question first, woulda saved time. Yeah, you're just gonna have to deal with the noise [from the neighbor], son.
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.
Many of the cemeteries are beautiful, and are kept in perfect order. When one goes from the levee or the business streets [of New Orleans] to it, to a cemetery, he observes to himself that if those people down there would live as neatly while they are alive as they do after they are dead, they would find many advantages in it; and besides, their quarter would be the wonder and admiration of the business world.
A car is useless in New York, essential everywhere else. The same with good manners.
I tell people that if it's in the news, don't worry about it. The very definition of "news" is "something that hardly ever happens." It's when something isn't in the news, when it's so common that it's no longer news—car crashes, domestic violence—that you should start worrying.
I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.
If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.
Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.
If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist it's another nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity.
Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?
A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
Wouldn't this nucleus of [nuclear holocaust] survivors be so grief-stricken and anguished that they'd, well, envy the dead and not want to go on living?
When you get there [Oakland], there isn't any there there.
The trouble with Oakland is that when you get there it's there!
The best way to keep one's word is not to give it.
Obesity is a mental state, a disease brought on by boredom and disappointment.
A General Officer who will invariably assume the responsibility for failure, whether he deserves it or not, and invariably give the credit for success to others, whether they deserve it or not, will achieve outstanding success.
I want a house that has got over all its troubles; I don't want to spend the rest of my life bringing up a young and inexperienced house.
Grandchildren don't make a man feel old; it's the knowledge that he's married to a grandmother.
Who knows whether in retirement I shall be tempted to the last infirmity of mundane minds, which is to write a book.
The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.
If I'd known I was going to live so long, I'd have taken better care of myself.
A man is only as old as the woman he feels.
"Next year? Peter, at my age I don't even buy green bananas."
When death comes near the old find that age is no longer burdensome.
When our vices quit us we flatter ourselves with the belief that it is we who quit them.
My only fear is that I may live too long. This would be a subject of dread to me.
It is not the end of joy that makes old age so sad, but the end of hope.
It is the common calamity of old age, to lose whatever might have rendered it desirable.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
[But] age, the common enemy of mankind, has laid his hand upon you; would that it had fallen upon some other, and that you were still young.
I am able to say that while I am not ruggedly well, I am not ill enough to excite an undertaker.
It takes some little time to accept and realize the fact that while you have been growing old, your friends have not been standing still, in that matter.
… at the wrong end of life …
All would live long, but none would be old.
Everybody my age should be issued with a 2 lb fresh salmon. If you see someone young, beautiful and happy, you should slap them as hard as you can with it.
Old age, by blanching the seat of reason, may cut off the fear of death even in a once imaginative mind, or it may, on the other hand, undermine fortitude, softening the will.
A person is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
Because he spills his seed on the ground.
How wonderful opera would be if there were no singers.
No good opera plot can be sensible … People do not sing when they are feeling sensible.
He who says what he likes shall hear what he does not like.
Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs.
Too often we … enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
You've no idea what a poor opinion I have of myself—and how little I deserve it.
Absurdity, n. A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.
Opinion is ultimately determined by the feelings, and not by the intellect.
Opinions are the cheapest commodities in the world.
We think very few people sensible, except those who are of our opinion.
The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
What the historian Elie Kedourie called "the Chatham House Version"—that toxic amalgam of smugness, moral relativism, and cherished feelings of guilt about the achievements of Western civilization—everywhere nurtured the catechism of established opinion.
You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine.
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Delay not; swift the flight of fortune's greatest favours.
It is doubtful if the oppressed ever fight for freedom. They fight for pride and power—power to oppress others. The oppressed want above all to imitate their oppressors; they want to retaliate.
In [Nazi] Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews,
And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew;
And then … they came for me …
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
Optimism And Pessimism
The optimist proclaims we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears this is true.
If one truly has lost hope, one would not be on hand to say so.
He who despairs over an event is a coward, but he who holds hopes for the human condition is a fool.
There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the present times.
What fresh hell is this?
The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.
He can best be described as one of those orators who, before they get up, do not know what they are going to say; when they are speaking, do not know what they are saying; and when they have sat down, do not know what they have said.
The object of oratory is not truth but persuasion.
They talk most who have the least to say.
The thoughtless are rarely wordless.
What a good thing Adam had—when he said a good thing, he knew nobody had said it before.
There is nothing new under the sun.
Your manuscript is both good and original; but the parts that are good are not original, and the parts that are original are not good.
My guess is that well over 80 percent of the human race goes through life without having a single original thought.
Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight
But Roaring Bill (who killed him) thought it right.
These [Judeo-Christian] codes and ideals, as well as common sense, hold that at times life must be sacrificed for the sake of morality. Pacifism, however, holds the direct opposite: Morality must be sacrificed for the sake of life.
Pacifists would do well to study the Siegfried and Maginot Lines, remembering that these defenses were forced; that Troy fell; that the walls of Hadrian succumbed; that the Great Wall of China was futile; and that, by the same token, the mighty seas which are alleged to defend us can also be circumvented by a resolute and ingenious opponent.
Everyone wants to understand painting. Why don't they try to understand the singing of birds? People love the night, a flower, everything that surrounds them without trying to understand them. But painting—that they must understand.
I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.
It has been for a long time a very just complaint, among the learned, that a multitude of valuable productions, published in small pamphlets, or in single sheets, are in a short time, too often by accidents, or negligence, destroyed, and entirely lost; and that those authors, whose reverence for the public has hindered them from swelling their works with repetition, or encumbering them with superfluities, and who, therefore, deserve the praise and gratitude of posterity, are forgotten, for the very reason for which they might expect to be remembered.
We should keep the Panama Canal. After all we stole it fair and square.
My father was frightened by his mother. I was frightened by my father, and I'm damned well going to make sure that my children are frightened of me.
A Jewish man with parents alive is a 15-year-old boy, and will remain a 15-year-old boy until they die.
Parents are sometimes a bit of a disappointment to their children. They don't fulfill the promise of their early years.
Always obey your parents, when they are present.
Maternity is a matter of fact. Paternity is a matter of opinion.
I'm still working. I need the money. Money, I've discovered, is the one thing keeping me in touch with my children.
Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going.
The regal and parental tyrant differ only in the extent of their dominions, and the number of their slaves.
The object of Parliament is to substitute argument for fisticuffs.
After all, what is your hosts' purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have simply sent champagne and women over to your place by taxi.
It is with our passions as it is with fire and water—they are good servants, but bad masters.
How well I remember the aged poet Sophocles, when in answer to the question, "How does love suit with age, Sophocles—are you still the man you were?" he replied, "Peace, most gladly have I escaped the thing of which you speak; I feel as if I had escaped from a mad and furious master."
This only is denied to God: the power to undo the past.
What's done cannot be undone.
While you have a future do not live too much in contemplation of your past: unless you are content to walk backward the mirror is a poor guide.
Patience, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.
So long as Heaven has condemned us to suffer, patience is a virtue; but if we reject the proffered deliverance, it degenerates into blind and stupid despair.
Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice.
If what we suffer has been brought upon us by ourselves, it is observed by an ancient poet that patience is eminently our duty, since no one should be angry at feeling that which he has deserved.
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
[A] country without a word to describe its love for what is best within it is a country ill-equipped to defend what is best within it.
I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country!
[There] is something fundamentally unpatriotic in the yearning to fundamentally transform your country.
Is not a Patron, my Lord [Chesterfield], one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? The notice which you which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want it.
That they may have a little peace, even the best dogs are compelled to snarl occasionally.
Peace, n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
If you want peace, prepare for war. (Si vis pacem, para bellum. Alternatively, Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.)
The terror of the Roman arms added weight and dignity to the moderation of the emperors. They preserved the peace by a constant preparation for war.
The name of peace is sweet, the thing itself is most salutary.
[Peace] cannot be honorable or secure, if the sovereign betrays a pusillanimous aversion to war.
If we desire to secure peace, … it must be known that we are, at all times, ready for war.
To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.
I am a man of peace—God knows how I love peace. But I hope I shall never be such a coward as to mistake oppression for peace.
They made a wasteland and called it peace.
This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years!
In England pensions used to be given to aristocrats, because aristocrats had political influence, in order to corrupt them. Here pensions are given to the great democratic mass, because they have political power, to corrupt them.
If you want people to think well of you, do not speak well of yourself.
Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.
Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.
It is in vain to hope to please all alike. Let a man stand with his face in what direction he will, he must necessarily turn his back on one half of the world.
For every credibility gap there is a gullibility fill.
The biggest gap in the world is the gap between the justice of a cause and the motives of the people pushing it.
When the people applauded him wildly, [Phocion] turned to one of his friends and said, "Have I said something foolish?"
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.
I wouldn't want to join any club that would accept me as a member.
I am not a bit afraid of Siegfried Sassoon. That man can think. I am afraid only of people who cannot think.
We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glowworm.
Es mejor estar solo que mal acompañado. (It is better to be alone than in bad company).
Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
We're all just superstitious natives.
The pursuit of perfection prevents achievement of the satisfactory.
The desire of perfection became the ruling passion of their soul; and it is well known, that while reason embraces a cold mediocrity, our passions hurry us, with rapid violence, over the space which lies between the most opposite extremes.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
One need not hope in order to undertake; nor succeed in order to persevere.
Fall down seven times, get up eight.
[Let] us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
"Fight on, my men," says Sir Andrew Barton,
"I am hurt, but I am not slain;
I'll lay me down and bleed awhile,
And then I'll rise and fight again."
Victory belongs to the most persevering.
Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance; yonder palace was raised by single stones, yet you see its height and spaciousness. He that shall walk with vigor three hours a day, will pass in seven years a space equal to the circumference of the globe.
It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
… and this her parents suffered in the bewilderment of finding that they had forgotten how to oppose her gently resolute will through the lifelong habit of yielding to it.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Than quit. No use being a damn fool about it.
Persuasion is the resource of the feeble; and the feeble can seldom persuade …
We are generally the better persuaded by the reasons we discover ourselves than by those given to us by others.
Would you persuade, speak of Interest, not of Reason.
My pessimism goes to the point of suspecting the sincerity of pessimists.
Cheer up! the worst is yet to come.
A pessimist is a man who looks both ways before crossing a one-way street.
There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.
The philosopher is Nature's pilot—and there you have our difference: to be in hell is to drift; to be in heaven is to steer.
I have a simple philosophy. Fill what's empty. Empty what's full. And scratch where it itches.
The philosophers have only interpreted the world; the thing, however, is to change it.
It is good that a philosopher should remind himself, now and then, that he is a particle pontificating on infinity.
If I wished to punish a province, I would have it governed by philosophers.
Cartesian, adj. Relating to Descartes, a famous philosopher, author of the celebrated dictum, Cogito ergo sum—whereby he was pleased to suppose he demonstrated the reality of human existence. The dictum might be improved, however, thus: Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum—"I think that I think, therefore I think that I am;" as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made.
Kant was probably the worst writer ever heard of on earth before Karl Marx. Some of his ideas were really quite simple, but he always managed to make them seem unintelligible. I hope he is in Hell.
Feel deeply to think clearly.
It is best, it seems to me, to separate one's inner striving from one's trade as far as possible. It is not good when one's daily bread is tied to God's special blessing.
Pity costs nothin' and ain't worth nothin'.
Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.
The plans differ; the planners are all alike …
It is a bad plan that admits of no modification.
I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago. The second best time is now.
The point I am trying to bring out is that one does not plan and then try to make circumstances fit those plans. One tries to make plans fit the circumstances.
Pleasure for an hour, a bottle of wine; pleasure for a year, marriage; pleasure for a lifetime, a garden.
Pleasure is by no means an infallible guide, but it is the least fallible.
Pleasure is Nature's test, her sign of approval. When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment.
No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: he may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing.
All poets are mad.
Inside every man there is a poet who died young.
We poets in our youth begin in gladness;
But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.
Many brave men lived before Agamemnon; but all are overwhelmed in eternal night, unwept, unknown, because they lack a sacred poet.
I've written some poetry I don't understand myself.
"Free verse'? You may as well call sleeping in a ditch 'free architecture'."
Point Of No Return
The die has been cast. (Alea iacta est.)
I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn't make it worse.
Political scientists almost everywhere have promoted the expansion of government power. They have functioned as the clergy of oppression.
An honest politician is one who when he is bought will stay bought.
You do not know, you cannot know, the difficulty of the life of a politician. It means every minute of the day or night, every ounce of your energy. There is no rest, no relaxation. Enjoyment? A politician does not know the meaning of the word.
90% of the politicians give the other 10% a bad reputation.
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges, even where there are no rivers.
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
Politicians will always disappoint you.
I still believe in liberalism today as much as I ever did, but, oh, there was a happy time when I believed in liberals …
If I knew them [MPs], it might spoil the purity of my hatred.
If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.
[I feel] somewhat like the boy in Kentucky who stubbed his toe while running to see his sweetheart. The boy said he was too big to cry, and far too badly hurt to laugh.
An eminent American is reported to have said to friends who wished to put him forward, "Gentlemen, let there be no mistake. I should make a good president, but a very bad candidate."
Seriously, I do not think I am fit for the presidency.
The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer.
Politics is more dangerous than war, for in war you are only killed once.
In politics a community of hatred is almost always the foundation of friendships.
Politics is war without bloodshed, and war is politics with blood.
In politics, a straight line is the shortest distance to disaster.
The Labour Party is going about the country stirring up apathy.
There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
Politics, and the fate of mankind, are shaped by men without ideals and without greatness.
I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy. "Dear Jack: Don't buy a single vote more than necessary. I'll be damned if I am going to pay for a landslide."
Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
I gave 'em a sword. And they stuck it in, and they twisted it with relish. And I guess if I had been in their position, I'd have done the same.
Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on office, a rottenness begins in his conduct.
In statesmanship get formalities right, never mind about the moralities.
I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.
David Watkins: "I'm accountable for the firings. The first lady did not direct me to fire them … Did I feel pressure by the desires and wishes of others? Yes, I did."
Questioner: "Could Hillary Rodham Clinton have suggested the firings?"
David Watkins: "Yes."
Would that … a sense of the true aim of life might elevate the tone of politics and trade till public and private honour became identical.
In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman.
Revolutions have never lightened the burden of tyranny. They have only shifted it to another shoulder.
All socialism involves slavery.
Outlawing all atomic weapons could be a magnificent gesture. However, it should be remembered that Gettysburg had a local ordinance forbidding the discharge of firearms.
Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men's skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. [popular interpretation: Capitalism is the unequal sharing of wealth; socialism is the equal sharing of poverty.]
A man who is not a Liberal at sixteen has no heart; a man who is not a Conservative at sixty has no head.
If a politician murders his mother, the first response of the press or of his opponents will likely be not that it was a terrible thing to do, but rather that in a statement made six years before he had gone on record as being opposed to matricide.
The average citizen expresses pride in the American Bill of Rights and then seeks to protect his real estate by restrictive covenants.
Appeasers believe that if you keep on throwing steaks to a tiger, the tiger will become a vegetarian.
There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world; and that is an idea whose time has come.
The only liberty an inferior man really cherishes is the liberty to quit work, stretch out in the sun, and scratch himself.
I can remember way back when a liberal was one who was generous with his own money.
Join the army, see the world, meet interesting, exciting people, and kill them.
Diplomacy is the art of telling plain truths without giving offense. When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.
Revolutionary movements attract the best and worst elements in a given society.
If any demonstrator ever lays down in front of my car, it'll be the last car he'll ever lay down in front of.
The Italians … you can't find one who is honest.
I never dared be radical when young
For fear it would make me conservative when old.
I do wish [Calvin Coolidge] did not look as if he had been weaned on a pickle.
[Calvin Coolidge] is the first president to discover that what the American people want is to be left alone.
Diplomacy, n. The patriotic art of lying for one's country.
A diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.
There are no liberals behind steering wheels.
He was a long-limbed farmer, a God-fearing, freedom-loving, law-abiding rugged individualist who held that federal aid to anyone but farmers was creeping socialism.
A year ago Gerald Ford was unknown throughout America. Now he's unknown throughout the world.
When a dinner guest told him she liked neither his politics nor his mustache, Winston Churchill replied, "Madame, I see no earthly reason why you should come in contact with either."
In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity; in peace, good-will.
[The politician] is asked to stand, he wants to sit, and he is expected to lie.
A ruling intelligentsia, whether in Europe, Asia or Africa, treats the masses as raw material to be experimented on, processed, and wasted at will.
There is hardly an enormity committed in the twentieth century that was not foreshadowed and even advocated by some noble "man of words" in the nineteenth.
Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America.
… a constitution whose meaning changes as our notions of what it ought to mean changes is not worth a whole lot. To keep government up-to-date with modern notions of what good government ought to be, we do not need a constitution but only a ballot-box and a legislature.
Alas, how many have been persecuted for the wrong of having been right?
Nominee, n. A modest gentleman shrinking from the distinction of private life and diligently seeking the honorable obscurity of public office.
Ultimatum, n. In diplomacy, a last demand before resorting to concessions.
Politics, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
Sir Alec Douglas-Home, when he was British Foreign Secretary, said he received the following telegram from an irate citizen: "To hell with you. Offensive letter follows."
He knows nothing and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.
Prison is a Socialist's Paradise, where equality prevails, everything is supplied, and competition is eliminated.
The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.
Insurrection, n. an unsuccessful revolution.
It is [a politician's] business to get and hold his job at all costs. If he can hold it by lying, he will hold it by lying; if lying peters out, he will try to hold it by embracing new truths. His ear is ever close to the ground.
A professional politician is a professionally dishonorable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker.
I hear you have Abolitionists here. We have a few in Illinois, but we shot one the other day.
I will not give to a woman an instrument to procure abortion.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
It is dangerous to be right when your country is wrong.
I gave the State of the Union and they didn't have a teleprompter. I had to stand up there and fake it for 15 minutes before a hundred million people. Some people think I faked it for eight years before a hundred million people.
Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces.
My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office [the vice-presidency] that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatreds.
You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
An uninformed and often irrational public cannot make sound political decisions.
My experience has proved that a man who is running for office, and is not willing to make his honest opinions known to the public, either has no honest opinions or is not honest about them.
I do not think that any man should be attacked because of his race or religion, or that he should be immune from attack because of race or religion.
Any excuse will serve a tyrant.
I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.
You can achieve anything in politics provided that you let someone else take the credit.
The principle feature of American liberalism is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things—war and hunger and date rape—liberals testify to their own terrific goodness. More important, they promote themselves to membership in a self-selecting elite of those who care deeply about such things … It's a kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don't have to be brave, smart, strong or even lucky to join it, you just have to be liberal.
When a thing defies physical law, there's usually politics involved.
People who are wise, good, smart, skillful, or hardworking don't need politics, they have jobs.
Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.
Conservatives value economic liberty and moral security, while the liberal values economic security and moral liberty.
Almost all Reformers, however strict their social conscience, live in houses just as big as they can pay for.
Decent people should ignore politics, if only they could be confident that politics would ignore them.
Facts rarely change ideological attitudes.
The reason so many people misunderstand so many issues is not that these issues are so complex, but that people do not want a factual or analytical explanation that leaves them emotionally unsatisfied. They want villains to hate and heroes to cheer—and they don't want explanations that do not give them that.
All conservatives are bilingual—we have to be. We speak both liberal and conservative. But liberals are monolingual—they don't have to be anything else. They speak liberal, and are completely ignorant of the conservative tongue.
There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular—but one must take it simply because it is right.
A good catchword can obscure analysis for 50 years.
All movements go too far.
There is always a certain meanness in the argument of conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact.
Nobody believes the official spokesman … but everybody trusts an unidentified source.
The more dangerous temptation is not to pretend an opposing view does not exist, but to treat it as beneath notice in respectable deliberation by assuming it is ignorant or prejudiced or self-interested or based on insufficient contemplation of moral reality. Such an attitude embodies the idea that since truth in matters of justice, right, or policy is singular and consensus is its natural embodiment, some special explanation—some factor of deliberative pathology, such as the lingering taint of self-interest—is required to explain disagreement, which explanation can then be cited as a reason for putting the deviant view to one side.
In politics, absurdity is not a handicap.
Politics is the conspiracy of the unproductive but organized against the productive but unorganized.
I'd rather have him inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.
I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.
[I'll] have them n*ggers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years.
These Negroes, they're getting pretty uppity these days, and that's a problem for us, since they've got something now they never had before: the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we've got to do something about this—we've got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.
All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.
Pragmatism is the disguise progressive and other ideologues do when they want to demonize competing ideologies.
The American values system—what I call the American Trinity— … are declared on every American coin: Liberty, "E Pluribus Unum" and "In God We Trust."
[The current governing judicial philosophy is:] If you want something passionately enough, it is guaranteed by the Constitution. No need to fiddle around gathering votes from recalcitrant citizens.
[In politics,] when there is no reason to speak, there is a reason not to speak.
[Libertarianism] is about curbing state power to let people be and do what they want. Liberalism is about using state power to make people do and be what liberals want. And that makes all the difference in the world.
Why don't you [on the Left] preach what you practice?
The education of this president [Obama] is a protracted and often amusing process … as he continues to alight upon the obvious with a sense of profound and original discovery.
I'm extremely moved by the loving, caring relationship the President always seems to have with his imaginary son.
Politics ought to be adjusted not to human reasonings but to human nature, of which reason is but a part and by no means the greatest part.
[A rephrasing of the precautionary principle.] If reducing fossil fuel use has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public, in the absence of economic consensus that the reduction is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those advocating such a reduction
President Obama is a wartime president who doesn't seem to realize it.
If gun free zones save lives, why doesn't Obama just declare Iraq, Syria & Afghanistan one big gun free zone?
We are not a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of citizens.
Practical politics consists in ignoring facts.
I once said cynically of a politician, 'He'll double-cross that bridge when he comes to it.'
He may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch.
Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it's important.
[The Clintons] are really sort of like tornadoes moving through people's lives. I'm just one of the people left in the wake of their passing by.
The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.
The voters have spoken—the bastards!
All the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing, and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.
[The Vice Presidency is] a job no one campaigns for openly, no one turns down if offered, and no one emerges from unscathed.
Father [Theodore Roosevelt] always had to be the center of attention. When he went to a wedding, he wanted to be the bridegroom. And when he went to a funeral, he wanted to be the corpse.
Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.
I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.
[Clement Attlee is] a modest man who has a good deal to be modest about.
An independent is someone who wants to take the politics out of politics.
I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding, because I think, well, if they attack me personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.
I have never been hurt by anything I didn't say.
If you don't say anything, you won't be called upon to repeat it.
The Democrats are in a real bind. They won't get elected unless things get worse—and things won't get worse unless they're elected.
A liberal is a conservative who hasn't been mugged yet.
If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it.
Who, whom? (кто кого?)
For the first time in history, the human species as a whole has gone into politics. Everyone is in the act, and there is no telling what may come of it.
[We're] told cars cause pollution. A 100 years ago city streets were ankle deep in horse excrement. What kind of pollution do you want? Would you rather die of cancer at eighty or typhoid fever at nine?
If the pope be not Antichrist, he is in bad luck to be so like him.
Since the primitive times, the wealth of the popes was exposed to envy, their powers to opposition, and their persons to violence.
The best of us would rather be popular than right.
American children grow up to be valuable citizens. Bangladeshi children grow up to be part of the world population problem. … Fretting about overpopulation, is a perfect guilt-free—indeed, sanctimonious—way for "progressives" to be racists.
Crowded as [Bangladesh] is, is overcrowding even its main problem? Hong Kong and Singapore both have greater population densities [than] Bangladesh, and they're called success stories. The same goes for Monaco. In fact, the whole Riviera is packed in August, and neither Malthus nor Ehrlich have complained about the topless beaches of St. Tropez.
And women aren't going to screw you in all those crazy ways, either. You got it? They don't look like that and they don't screw crazy. That's what you're taking away from this, okay?
The community is eminently Portuguese—that is to say, it is slow, poor, shiftless, sleepy, and lazy.
We must like what we have when we don't have what we like.
Whatever is not nailed down is mine. Whatever I can pry loose is not nailed down.
Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy those are who already possess it.
What has posterity ever done for me?
If you would not be forgotten
As soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worth reading,
Or do things worth the writing.
Those whom the Gods would destroy, they first call promising.
Poverty is no disgrace to a man, but it is profoundly inconvenient.
The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.
[T]he best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.
He who has nothing and wants something is less frustrated than he who has something and wants more.
In comparative terms, there's no poverty in America by a long shot. Heritage Foundation political scientist Robert Rector has worked up figures showing that when the official U.S. measure of poverty was developed in 1963, a poor American family had an income twenty-nine times greater than the average per capita income in the rest of the world.
No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.
Many of my contemporaries in the developed world see subsistence farming as soulful and organic, but it is a poverty trap and an environmental disaster.
[As] for poverty, the admission of it is no disgrace to a man; not to forge one's way out of it is the real disgrace.
I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep.
You shall have joy or you shall have power, said God; you shall not have both.
Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.
All history is only one long story to this effect: men have struggled for power over their fellow-men in order that they might win the joys of earth at the expense of others and might shift the burdens of life from their own shoulders upon those of others.
[Of his son:] The boy is the most powerful of all the Hellenes; for the Hellenes are commanded by the Athenians, the Athenians by myself, myself by the boy’s mother, and the mother by her boy.
God, these old men! How they pray for death! How heavy they find this life in the slow drag of days! And yet, when Death comes near them, you will not find one who will rise and walk with him, not one whose years are still a burden to him
He pays the piper calls the tune.
The more I practice, the luckier I get.
Practice makes permanent.
It is a sign of a creeping inner death when we no longer can praise the living.
If you would reap Praise you must sow the Seeds, Gentle Words and useful Deeds.
Pray, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.
A precedent embalms a principle.
I am free of all prejudices. I hate every one equally.
A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
One may no more live in the world without picking up the moral prejudices of the world than one will be able to go to hell without perspiring.
Beware the Ides of March.
Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
[His pride] had not yet sunk to the level of his fortune.
We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.
What men value in this world is not rights but privileges.
An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions.
When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
When there is food on the table there are many problems. When there is no food, there is only one problem.
We are all faced with a series of great opportunities—brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.
The procreation of mankind is a great marvel and mystery. Had God consulted me in the matter, I should have advised him to continue the generation of the species by fashioning them of clay, in the way Adam was fashioned.
The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit.
All progress is based upon the universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
There's always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible and wrong.
[All] that is human must retrograde if it do not advance.
We may therefore acquiesce in the pleasing conclusion, that every age of the world has increased, and still increases, the real wealth, the happiness, the knowledge, and perhaps the virtue, of the human race.
Things will get better despite our efforts to improve them.
The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps.
Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.
In general, life is better than it has ever been, and if you think that, in the past, there was some golden age of pleasure and plenty to which you would, if you were able, transport yourself, let me say one single word : "Dentistry".
If you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
[We] assume that social progress is like technological progress: one cannot uninvent the internal combustion engine, so how could one uninvent liberty?
Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.
By the end of the 20th century, "liberals" had again discredited themselves, to the point where they went back to calling themselves "progressives" to escape their past, much as people do when they declare bankruptcy.
[To] the progressive mind, the very concept of "the enemy" is obsolescent: there are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven't yet accommodated.
[Progressives] think the Constitution is like Felix the Cat's magic bag: Look in there long enough and hard enough, and you can find anything.
So-called "progressives" actively wage war on progress. … Ultimately, progressives are at war with mass prosperity.
And in the minds of progressives you are free to live anyway you want so long as it's progressive.
But alas! I never could keep a promise. I do not blame myself for this weakness, because the fault must lie in my physical organization. It is likely that such a very liberal amount of space was given to the organ which enables me to make promises, that the organ which should enable me to keep them was crowded out.
Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.
Of all forms of human error, prophesy is the most avoidable.
Everything in the world may be endured except continued prosperity.
Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers.
The nail that sticks out is hammered down.
Who is wise? He that learns from everyone.
Who is powerful? He that governs his passions.
Who is rich? He that is content.
Who is that? Nobody.
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat in a place called Mom's. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own.
The wise make proverbs and fools repeat them.
[Proverbs are] short sentences drawn from long experiences.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
He that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night.
Well done is better than well said.
Little strokes fell great oaks.
If a man could have half his wishes, he would double his troubles.
Act uprightly, and despise Calumny; Dirt may stick to a Mud Wall, but not to polish'd Marble.
Speak little, do much.
Haste makes waste.
A slip of the foot you may soon recover; But a slip of the Tongue you may never get over.
When the Well's dry, we know the Worth of Water.
Do not do what you would not have known.
Follow your heart. Follow your principles. And leave the rest to Providence.
In these honorable contests his spirit soared above the consideration of danger, and perhaps of prudence …
A neurotic is a man who builds a castle in the air. A psychotic is the man who lives in it. A psychiatrist is the man who collects the rent.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
The world needs your book, just not many copies of it.
Puns are little "plays on words" that a certain breed of person loves to spring on you and then look at you in a certain self-satisfied way to indicate that he thinks that you must think that he is by far the cleverest person on Earth now that Benjamin Franklin is dead, when in fact what you are thinking is that if this person ever ends up in a lifeboat, the other passengers will hurl him overboard by the end of the first day even if they have plenty of food and water.
But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
The Puritan hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.
You will never possess what you are unwilling to pursue.
Scott Buchanan … taught me that the questions that can be answered are not worth asking.
The great questions are those an intelligent child asks and, getting no answers, stops asking.
It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is an admirable work, and I studied it intently. The quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.
A short saying oft contains much wisdom.
The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation.
I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.
I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good.
A quotation, like a pun, should come unsought, and then be welcomed only for some propriety of felicity justifying the intrusion.
A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool.
There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs—partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.
Why do black people need white people to tell them that their lives matter?
The soft bigotry of low expectations …
Assume there's a vaccine against white racism. Would 70% of black kids STILL be raised in fatherless homes? Would 50% of blacks STILL dropout of many urban high schools? Would 25% of young black urban men STILL have criminal records? Would blacks STILL kill 7,000 blacks every year?
Conquest's Law: Everyone is a reactionary about subjects he understands. (Alternatively, "Everyone is a conservative in his own field of expertise").
Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
A man ought to read just as his inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.
The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
In reading, observe the course of your thoughts rather than of your books. Sometimes your reading will give occasion to a thought, not connected with the subject which your book treats of; and in such a case, drop the course of your reading, and follow the course of the thought that has been started.
People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.
Reason—the Devil's harlot.
Reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.
A man cannot be reasoned out of a position he did not reason himself into.
It is the first care of a reformer to prevent any future reformation.
A reformer should be exempt from the suspicion of interest, and he must possess the confidence and esteem of those whom he proposes to reclaim.
It generally troubles them [the reformers] not a whit that their remedy implies a complete reconstruction of society, or even a reconstitution of human nature.
[Experience] seems to shew that law can never regulate them [wages] properly, though it has often pretended to do so.
The easiest kind of relationship for me is with 10,000 people. The hardest is with one.
We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed. I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organizing, we tend as a nation to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.
The Sting of a Reproach, is the Truth of it.
The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then gets elected and proves it.
"Moderate" Republicans such as Arnold Schwarzenegger like to boast that they're fiscal conservatives and social liberals. But the social liberalism always ends up burying the fiscal conservatism.
Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.
Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.
I will this day try to live a simple, sincere, and serene life; repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking; cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence; exercising economy in expenditure, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a child-like trust in God.
When I look back upon resolutions of improvement and amendments, which have year after year been made and broken, either by negligence, forgetfulness, vicious idleness, casual interruption or morbid infirmity, when I find that so much of my life has stolen unprofitably away, and that I can descry by retrospection scarcely a few single days properly and vigorously employed, why do I yet try to resolve again? I try because Reformation is necessary and despair is criminal. I try in humble hope of the help of God.
It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously.
We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
Son, you came in the house yesterday with shit on your hands. Human shit. I don't know how that happened, but if someone has shit on their hands, it's an indicator that maybe the whole responsibility thing isn't for them.
Would you live with ease, Do what you ought, not what you please.
The revenge of a guilty woman is implacable …
Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge—and has to content oneself with dreaming.
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war …
All gentle cant and philosophizing to the contrary notwithstanding, no people in this world ever did achieve their freedom by goody-goody talk and moral suasion: it being immutable law that all revolutions that will succeed, must begin in blood.
The fact is, that there is no right whatever inherited by man which has not an equivalent and corresponding duty by the side of it, as the price of it … Something for nothing is not to be found on earth.
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
Pearls before swine
Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.
Anyone who sits on top of the largest hydrogen-oxygen fueled system in the world, knowing they're going to light the bottom, and doesn't get a little worried, does not fully understand the situation.
The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight.
[Instead] of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long.
Ignorant of the arts of luxury, the primitive Romans had improved the science of government and war …
Routine is supposed to be the great deadener of souls; how much worse is the half-completed task, the broken round, the unfulfilled routine?
When the Quaker Penn kept his hat on in the royal presence, Charles (King Charles II) politely removed his, explaining that it was the custom in that place for only one person at a time to remain covered.
Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.
Nobody wants to intervene in Russian affairs. Russia is a very large country, a very old country, a very disagreeable country inhabited by immense numbers of ignorant people largely possessed of lethal weapons and in a state of extreme disorder. Also Russia is a long way off.
I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
Both Moscow and [Kiev], the modern and the ancient capitals, were reduced to ashes [by the Tartars]; a temporary ruin, less fatal than the deep, and perhaps indelible, mark, which a servitude of two hundred years has imprinted on the character of the Russians.
Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you. (Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant).
… I observed he [Samuel Johnson] poured a large quantity of it [wine] into a glass, and swallowed it greedily. Everything about his character and manners was forcible and violent; there never was any moderation; many a day did he fast, many a year did he refrain from wine; but when he did eat, it was voraciously; when he did drink wine, it was copiously. He could practise abstinence, but not temperance.
San Diego didn't look like the kind of town where people get born.
The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.
Satire should, like a polished razor keen,
Wound with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen.
I die without remorse, as I have lived without guilt.
An old Jewish man reads about Einstein's theory of relativity in the newspaper and asks his scientist grandson to explain it to him.
"Well, Zayda, it's sort of like this. Einstein says that if you're having your teeth drilled without Novocain, a minute seems like an hour. But if you're sitting with a beautiful woman on your lap, an hour seems like a minute."
The old man considers this profound bit of thinking for a moment and says, "And from this he makes a living?"
Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won't work.
I can't believe that God plays dice with the universe.
If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German, and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German, and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.
When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, you think it's only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think it's two hours. That's relativity.
Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.
Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.
Science is built of facts the way a house is built of bricks; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a pile of bricks is a house.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
There's a mighty big difference between good, sound reasons and reasons that sound good.
No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.
If I have been able to see farther than others, it was because I stood on the shoulders of giants.
Perfection [in design] is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away.
Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it.
There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
The great tragedy of Science—the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
The answer to unethical science is not to give up on ethics, but rather to pursue ethical science.
Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths.
Post-Normal Science is where facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent.
The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos.
This isn't right. This isn't even wrong.
[In] the post-Enlightenment world, science [has] taken the place of magic, miracles, and superstition.
There is nothing so desperately monotonous as the sea, and I no longer wonder at the cruelty of pirates.
To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.
It is wise not to seek a Secret, and Honest not to reveal it.
Three may keep a Secret, if two of them are dead.
Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature.
But seduction … isn't making someone do what they don't want to do. Seduction is enticing someone into doing what they secretly want to do already.
There is nothing noble about being superior to some other men. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.
There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.
To know oneself, one should assert oneself.
There is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.
Only the shallow know themselves.
There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.
We run fastest and farthest when we run from ourselves.
The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbors as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant of others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.
My life is one long escape from myself.
Every observer, however superficial, has remarked that in many men the love of pleasures is the Ruling Passion of their youth, and the love of money that of their advanced years. However this be, it is not proper to dwell too long on the resistless power and despotic authority of this tyrant of the soul, lest the reader should, as it is very natural, take the present inclination, however destructive to society or himself, for the Ruling Passion, and forbear to struggle when he despairs to conquer.
I think high self-esteem is overrated. A little low self-esteem is actually quite good … Maybe you're not the best, so you should work a little harder.
Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it—what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellowmen. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.
Be at war with your vices,
At peace with your neighbors,
And let every New Year,
find you a better man.
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. But I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my country. When I found I couldn't change my country, I began to focus on my town. However, I discovered that I couldn't change the town, and so as I grew older, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only one I can change is myself, but I've come to recognize that if long ago I had started with myself, then I could have made an impact on my family. And my family and I could have made an impact on our town. And that, in turn, could have changed the country and we could all, indeed, have changed the world.
No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect.
They [selfies] are this horrible thing where you are distorted. The chin is too big, the head is too small. No, this is electronic masturbation.
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
Take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves.
Where sense is wanting,
Everything is wanting.
A sentimentalist is simply one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.
They that [are] serious in ridiculous matters [will] be ridiculous in serious affairs.
The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less.
There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection is the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.
The daughter-in-law of Pythagoras said that a woman who goes to bed with a man ought to lay aside her modesty with her skirt, and put it on again with her petticoat.
Of all sexual aberrations, chastity is the strangest.
Marriage has many pains but celibacy has no pleasures.
They made love as though they were an endangered species.
The physical union of the sexes … only intensifies man's sense of solitude.
As a child of eight Mr. Trout had once kissed a girl of six under the mistletoe at a Christmas party, but there his sex life had come to abrupt halt.
Ducking for apples—change one letter and it's the story of my life.
Women complain about sex more often than men. Their gripes fall into two major categories: (1) Not enough. (2) Too much.
Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children. Life is the other way around.
Women can sleep with whoever they want;
Men have to sleep with whoever will let them.
A man on a date wonders if he'll get lucky. The woman already knows.
You don't get married to get sex. Getting married to get sex is like buying a 747 to get free peanuts.
I know nothing about sex because I was always married.
Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy without being good at.
Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.
Men want sex. If men ruled the world, they could get sex anywhere, anytime. Restaurants would give you sex instead of breath mints on the way out. Gas stations would give sex with every fill-up. Banks would give sex to anyone who opened a checking account.
Lie back and think of England.
After all, [female genital mutilation is] a key pillar of institutional misogyny in Islam: its entire purpose is to deny women sexual pleasure. True, a lot of us hapless western men find we deny women sexual pleasure without even trying, but we don't demand genital mutilation to guarantee it. On such slender distinctions does civilization rest.
I'll come and make love to you at five o'clock. If I'm late start without me.
You'll have to ask somebody older than me.
What men call gallantry, and gods adultery,
Is much more common where the climate's sultry.
She broke her marriage vows; she tried to sleep with me
He may be the best lover in the world, but what do you do the other twenty-two hours of the day?
Women need a reason to have sex, men just need a place.
Men don't realize that if we're sleeping with them on the first date, we're probably not interested in seeing them again either.
I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce.
What's the worst thing about oral sex? The view.
What's a promiscuous person? It's usually someone who is getting more sex than you are.
Many years ago I chased a woman for almost two years, only to discover that her tastes were exactly like mine: we both were crazy about girls.
It's so long since I've had sex I've forgotten who ties up whom.
Why don't you come up sometime, and see me?
Is sex dirty? Only if it's done right.
A fast word about oral contraception. I asked a girl to go to bed with me and she said 'no'.
On bisexuality: It immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.
Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.
Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Silence is the virtue of fools.
I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue; he approaches nearest to gods who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily.
Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source of serious evils.
When… you have succeeded in dehumanizing the Negro; when you have put him down and made it forever impossible for him to be but as the beasts of the field; when you have extinguished his soul and placed him where the ray of hope is blown out in darkness like that which broods over the spirits of the damned, are you quite sure that the demon you have roused will not turn and rend you?
Diligence overcomes Difficulties, Sloth makes them.
I have made it a rule never to smoke more than one cigar at a time.
[Social Darwinism] is the most influential misconception in history, since it produced the Marxism of Capital, the imperialism of Joe Chamberlain, and the racialism of Adolf Hitler.
Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. In area after area—crime, education, housing, race relations—the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them.
My point is that you cannot force social change at a speed that it cannot go. Social change is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Deep social change takes time.
I am certain, however, that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.
If any student of social science comes to appreciate the case of the Forgotten Man, he will become an unflinching advocate of strict scientific thinking in sociology, and a hard-hearted skeptic as regards any scheme of social amelioration. He will always want to know, Who and where is the Forgotten Man in this case, who will have to pay for it all?
To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukemia with leeches.
Marxian Socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of Opinion—how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men, and, through them, the events of history.
[In the Soviet Union,] they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.
Give people plenty and security, and they will fall into spiritual torpor.
The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples' money.
[Socialists claim] that we reject fraternity, solidarity, organization, and association; and they brand us with the name of individualists. We can assure them that what we repudiate is not natural organization, but forced organization. It is not free association, but the forms of association that they would impose upon us. It is not spontaneous fraternity, but legal fraternity. It is not providential solidarity, but artificial solidarity, which is only an unjust displacement of responsibility. Socialism … confounds Government and society.
Society in its full sense … is never an entity separable from the individuals who compose it.
There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families.
But a society that has nothing to die for has nothing to live for …
To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father's has acquires too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily7 the first principle of association—'the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.'
The form was still the same, but the animating health and vigor were fled.
Stop chasing [Facebook] likes and start doing more likable things.
The patient and active virtues of a soldier are insensibly nursed in the habits and discipline of a pastoral life.
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone…
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all—
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.
How did you enjoy yourself with these people? Answer: very much, almost as much as I do when alone.
Man may indeed preserve his existence in solitude, but can enjoy it only in society…
He who causes his father's heart to bleed
Will one day have a son to avenge the deed.
Beat your son every day; you may not know why, but he will.
But for sorrow there is no remedy provided by nature; it is often occasioned by accidents irreparable, and dwells upon objects that have lost or changed their existence; it requires what it cannot hope, that the laws of the universe should be repealed; that the dead should return, or the past should be recalled.
Sorrow is a kind of rust of the soul, which every new idea contributes in its passage to scour away. It is the putrefaction of stagnant life, and is remedied by exercise and motion.
Coddle the body and you harm the soul.
If there is but little water in the stream, it is the fault, not of the channel, but of the source.
Noli equi dentes inspicere donati. [Never look a gift horse in the mouth.]
Such was the unhappy condition of the Roman emperors, that, whatever might be their conduct, their fate was commonly the same. A life of pleasure or virtue, of severity or mildness, of indolence or glory, alike led to an untimely grave; and almost every reign is closed by the same disgusting repetition of treason and murder.
Alas! the republic has lost a useful servant, and the rashness of an hour has destroyed the services of many years. You know not, the misery of sovereign power; a sword is perpetually suspended over our head. We dread our very guards, we distrust our companions. The choice of action or of repose is no longer in our disposition, nor is there any age, or character, or conduct, that can protect us from the censure of envy. In thus exalting me to the throne, you have doomed me to a life of cares, and to an untimely fate.
[If] the exercise of justice is the most important duty, the indulgence of mercy is the most exquisite pleasure, of a sovereign.
The usual disease of princes, grasping covetousness, had made them suspicious and quarrelsome neighbors.
Pyrrhus revived this image [of Alexander the Great] by the fire and vigor of his movements in the field of battle; the rest only mimicked the hero, whose title they assumed, in their demeanor, and in the trappings and state of royalty.
[The] day of his inauguration was the last day of his happiness.
The Romans derided [Marius's] indolence; they soon bewailed his activity.
For my own part, I adhere to the maxim of antiquity, that the throne is a glorious sepulchre.
To maintain the harmony of authority and obedience, to chastise the proud, to protect the weak, to reward the deserving, to banish vice and idleness from his dominions, to secure the traveller and merchant, to restrain the depredations of the soldier, to cherish the labors of the husbandman, to encourage industry and learning, and, by an equal and moderate assessment, to increase the revenue, without increasing the taxes, are indeed the duties of a prince …
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards.
Space … is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.
Once upon a time, there was a non-conforming sparrow who decided not to fly south for the winter. However, soon after the weather turned cold, the sparrow changed his mind and reluctantly started to fly south. After a short time, ice began to form his on his wings and he fell to earth in a barnyard almost frozen. A cow passed by and crapped on this little bird and the sparrow thought it was the end, but the manure warmed him and defrosted his wings. Warm and happy the little sparrow began to sing. Just then, a large Tom cat came by and, hearing the chirping, investigated the sounds. As Old Tom cleared away the manure, he found the chirping bird and promptly ate him.
There are three morals to this story:
- Everyone who shits on you is not necessarily your enemy.
- Everyone who gets you out of shit is not necessarily your friend.
- If you are warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut.
It is a great misfortune neither to have enough wit to talk well nor enough judgment to be silent.
10 persons who speak make more noise than 10,000 who are silent.
Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing.
The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.
I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.
It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.
[He] possessed that vehemence of speech, which seldom fails to impart the persuasion of the soul.
Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled.
Most men with any convictions in a confused and complicated age have had the almost uncanny sensation of shouting at people that a mad dog is loose or the house is on fire, to be met merely with puzzled and painfully respectful expressions, as if the remark were a learned citation in Greek or Hebrew.
I am ignorant, sir, of your motives or provocations; I only know, that you have acted like a man who cuts off his right hand with his left.
Some [soccer] players suffer four or five fatal injuries per game. That's how tough they are.
Rockne wanted nothing but "bad losers." Good losers get into the habit of losing.
It's never just a game when you're winning.
What I admire most in any man is a serene spirit, a steady freedom from moral indignation, and all-embracing tolerance—in brief, what is commonly called sportsmanship.
Spouse, n. Someone who'll stand by you through all the trouble you wouldn't have had if you'd stayed single.
I don't like those men who claim that their wife is their best friend. … I think spouses should tolerate each other and occasionally have sex.
I don't like those men who claim that their wife is their best friend. My wife doesn't even crack the top 25.
The stories of Paul, Hilarion, and Malchus, by [St. Jerom], are admirably told: and the only defect of these pleasing compositions is the want of truth and common sense.
There is this special biologist word we use for 'stable'. It is 'dead'.
Arrest, try, shoot!
It was the voice of the new England: uncomfortable with greatness, wary of excellence, indifferent to challenges abroad … an appropriate debut for this evangelist of political mediocrity.
I don't want to be a star—most of the ones I know are too unhappy.
The end-game for statists is very obvious. If you expand the bureaucratic class and you expand the dependent class, you can put together a permanent electoral majority.
Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.
Noblesse oblige [Rank has its obligations].
Never tell a story because it is true: tell it because it is a good story.
The separation of the Arabs from the rest of mankind has accustomed them to confound the ideas of stranger and enemy …
Listen up, if someone is being nice to you, and you don't know them, run away. No one is nice to you just to be nice to you, and if they are, well, they can go take their pleasant ass somewhere else.
Short-term thinking drives out long-term strategy.
Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.
Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain.
Remember, when you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It is painful only for others. The same applies when you are stupid.
Orders can be benign or malign, but the habit of obeying them can become ingrained.
It is not enough to succeed, a friend must fail.
What is success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;
That is to have succeeded.
Lose as if you like it; win as if you were used to it.
Success is a journey, not a destination.
Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success.
Eighty percent of success is showing up.
Eighty percent of success is showing up.
Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.
It is sobering to consider that when Mozart was my age he had already been dead for a year.
The theory seems to be that as long as a man is a failure he is one of God's children, but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the Devil.
Be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet 'em on your way down.
The world is divided into people who do things and people who get the credit. Try, if you can, to belong to the first class. There's far less competition.
It is difficult to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys.
It matters not whether you win or lose: what matters is whether I win or lose.
There are two kinds of success: initial and ultimate. To act by half-measures, with a lack of conviction miscalled "caution," is to run the greatest risks and lose the prize.
In the real world, very smart people fail and mediocre people rise. Part of what makes people fail or succeed are skills that have nothing to do with IQ.
The sufferings that fate inflicts on us should be borne with patience, what enemies inflict with manly courage.
To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.
If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death.
When we have lost everything, including hope, life becomes a disgrace and death a duty.
Unhappy men! If you are thus weary of your lives, is it so difficult for you to find ropes and precipices?
The criminal penalties [for suicide] are the production of a later and darker age.
Yet the civilians have always respected the natural right of a citizen to dispose of his life …
The superfluous is very necessary.
A superstition is a premature explanation that overstays its time.
Fear has been the original parent of superstition, and every new calamity urges trembling mortals to deprecate the wrath of their invisible enemies.
Everybody knows there is no fineness or accuracy of suppression; if you hold down one thing, you hold down the adjoining.
Zounds! I was never so bethump'd with words
Since I first call'd my brother's father dad.
The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.
The Swiss are not a people so much as a neat, clean, quiet solvent business.
Our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery.
Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.
They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigor.
Hide not your Talents, they for Use were made. What's a Sun-Dial in the Shade!
I am always grieved when a man of real talent dies. The world needs such men more than Heaven does.
It is a common delusion that you make things better by talking about them.
Great talkers, little doers.
He that speaks much, is much mistaken.
Talking too much, too soon, and with too much self-satisfaction has always seemed to me a sure way to court disaster.
Talk uses up ideas … Once I have spoken them aloud, they are lost to me, dissipated into the noisy air like smoke. Only if I bury them, like bulbs, in the rich soil of silence do they grow.
I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
The power to tax involves the power to destroy.
Prosperity of the middling and lower orders depends upon the fortunes and light taxes of the rich.
The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has. Even when you make a tax form out on the level, you don't know when it's through if you are a crook or a martyr.
If Patrick Henry thought that taxation without representation was bad, he should see how bad it is with representation.
Count the day won when, turning on its axis,
The earth imposes no additional taxes.
Taxes are going up so fast that the government is likely to price itself right out of the market.
I love to go to Washington—if only to be near my money.
It seems a little silly now, but [the United States of America] was founded as a protest against taxation.
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
The taxing power is especially something after which the reformer's finger always itches.
The tax code is 10 times longer than the Bible, without the good news.
When you're taxing bovine flatulence emissions, there's nothing left to tax.
Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut save you thirty cents?
Logic and taxation are not always the best of friends.
Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum of moo.
For a successful technology, honesty must take precedence over public relations for nature cannot be fooled.
Putt's Law: Technology is dominated by two types of people: Those who understand what they do not manage. Those who manage what they do not understand.
I hate television. I hate it as much as I hate peanuts. But I can't stop eating peanuts.
Television is bear-led by its visuals, not to speak of the neuroses of the people who work for this irrational and self-corrupting medium. … in wartime, truth is hard to come by but you are more likely to find it in newspapers than in the flickering images and babble of the box.
I can resist everything except temptation.
Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. … You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. … We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it …
Democratic nations must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.
Ought we not to ask the media to agree among themselves a voluntary code of conduct, under which they would not say or show anything which could assist the terrorists' morale or their cause while the hijack lasted.
My favorite holiday of the year is Thanksgiving … the holiday that is solely based on stuffing your face until you have to be rolled away from the table so you start the exhausting task of sitting in front of the TV watching football all day.
I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
Readers are plentiful; thinkers are rare.
Sloppy writing reflects sloppy thinking.
Thompson, Hunter S.
Thompson, if he is to be believed, has sampled the entire rainbow of legal and illegal drugs in heroic efforts to feel better than he does.
As for the truth about his health: I have asked around about it. I am told that he appears to be strong and rosy, and steadily sane. But we will be doing what he wants us to do, I think, if we consider his exterior a sort of Dorian Gray facade. Inwardly, he is being eaten alive by tinhorn politicians.
The disease is fatal. There is no known cure. The most we can do for the poor devil, it seems to me, is to name his disease in his honor. From this moment on, let all those who feel that Americans can be as easily led to beauty as to ugliness, to truth as to public relations, to joy as to bitterness, be said to be suffering from Hunter Thompson's disease. I don't have it this morning. It comes and goes. This morning I don't have Hunter Thompson's disease.
November, n. The eleventh twelfth of a weariness.
Ah! the clock is always slow;
It is later than you think.
I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.
Methinks I see the wanton hours flee,
And as they pass, turn back and laugh at me.
Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is the allotted span for all we must cram into it!
Dawn, n. The time when men of reason go to bed. Certain old men prefer to rise at about that time, taking a cold bath and a long walk with an empty stomach, and otherwise mortifying the flesh. They then point with pride to these practices as the cause of their sturdy health and ripe years; the truth being that they are hearty and old, not because of their habits, but in spite of them. The reason we find only robust persons doing this thing is that it has killed all the others who have tried it.
Once, adv. Enough.
Twice, adv. Once too often.
Year, n. A period of three hundred and sixty-five disappointments.
Present, n. That part of eternity dividing the domain of disappointment from the realm of hope.
Tempus edax rerum.
Time, the devourer of all things.
Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its shortness.
The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past.
Ah simple man!
When a boy two precious jewels were given thee,
Time and good advice;
One thou hast lost, and the other thrown away.
Dost thou love life?
then do not squander time;
For that's the stuff
life is made of.
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me …
I do love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go past.
The trouble with being punctual is that there is no-one there to appreciate it.
Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.
Tobacco, divine, rare, superexcellent tobacco, which goes far beyond all the panaceas, potable gold and philosopher's stones, a sovereign remedy to all diseases.
I have seen gross intolerance shown in support of tolerance.
Toronto is a kind of New York operated by the Swiss.
Those who go overseas find a change of climate, not a change of soul.
I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
Doc Daneeka hated to fly. He felt imprisoned in an airplane. In an airplane there was absolutely no place in the world to go except to another part of the airplane.
A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.
Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.
The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become, until he goes abroad.
[Treason], Sire, is a question of date.
I against my brother; I and my brother against our cousin; my brother and our cousin against the neighbors; all of us against the strangers.
It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem.
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it is just possible you haven't grasped the situation.
Extreme distress, which unites the virtue of a free people, imbitters the factions of a declining monarchy.
This too shall pass.
When a public quarrel is envenomed by private injuries, a blow that is not mortal or decisive can be productive only of a short truce, which allows the unsuccessful combatant to sharpen his arms for a new encounter.
The truth is rarely pure, and never simple
Truth And Deception
We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.
Deceive not thy physician, confessor, nor lawyer.
It is Homer who has chiefly taught other poets the art of telling lies skillfully.
The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest the most violently are those who try to tell the truth.
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
Hope deceives more men than cunning can.
If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things.
We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.
Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain't so.
Why abandon a belief merely because it ceases to be true? Cling to it long enough and … it will turn true again, for so it goes. Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.
Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.
And after all what is a lie? 'Tis but the truth in masquerade.
A lie is halfway around the world before truth has got its boots on. (Fama, malum qua non aliud velocius alium)
The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.
The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.
The great masses of the people … will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one.
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.
It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
The truth is what is; what should be is a dirty lie.
These Macedonians are a rude and clownish people; they call a spade a spade.
[Stanley Baldwin] occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened.
I was brought up in a clergyman's household so I am a first-class liar.
No totalitarian censor can approach the implacability of the censor who controls the line of communication between the outer world and our consciousness. Nothing is allowed to reach us which might weaken our confidence and lower our morale. To most of us nothing is so invisible as an unpleasant truth.
Truthful, adj. Dumb and illiterate.
A woman may tell ninety-nine lies, but the hundredth will betray her.
One lie draws ten after it.
Tell a lie and you will hear the truth.
O, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.
The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.
Truth, n. Something somehow discreditable to someone.
Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.
We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
The history of our race, and each individual's experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal.
Truth does not blush. (Veritas non erubescit).
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
What I tell you three times is true.
Is honesty always the best policy? Not when it does unnecessary harm or gets in the way of doing good.
A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation.
By the time you say you're his,
Shivering and sighing
And he vows his passion is
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.
They [Americans] augur misgovernment at a distance and snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze.
U. S. Constitution
[Let any modification of the constitutional powers be done] by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.
It is surely only a matter of time before some federal judge finds the Constitution unconstitutional.
Nothing is more senseless than to base so many expectations on the state, that is, to assume the existence of collective wisdom and foresight after taking for granted the existence of individual imbecility and improvidence.
But we have inherited a vast number of social ills which never came from Nature. They are the complicated products of all the tinkering, muddling, and blundering of social doctors in the past.
Unionism seldom, if ever, uses such power as it has to insure better work; almost always it devotes a large part of that power to safeguarding bad work.
Unions may have existed to serve workers' interests at one time. These days, they exist to serve liberalism.
When school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of school children.
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
I'm astounded by people who want to "know" the universe when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown.
A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students.
San Diego State University [is] Harvard, without all the smart people.
Utopian movements produce dystopias.
What begins as a Utopian vision, always—always—ends in bloodshed. Because you have to force a utopia on a free people. Free people want to pursue their own happiness, but a one-size-fits-all approach requires herding the free, against their will, into the state's idea of what's right. Then it's not utopia.
It doesn't matter where I go, just as long as no one goes with me. I could vacation in my own home if everyone would leave me the fuck alone.
No, I'm gonna stay home. You can take a family vacation, and I'll take a vacation from the family. Trust me, it'll make both of our time more enjoyable.
[The] emperor of the West, the feeble and dissolute Valentinian, [had] reached his thirty-fifth year without attaining the age of reason or courage.
The invariable laws of nature [have] connected peace with innocence, plenty with industry, and safety with valor.
Vanity makes us do more things against inclination than reason.
The joy of life is variety; the tenderest love requires to be rekindled by intervals of absence.
The truth is that cupidity, selfishness, envy, malice, lust, vindictiveness, are constant vices of human nature.
Nine-tenths of our measures for preventing vice are really protective towards it, because they ward off the penalty.
Moral vices prosper by dressing themselves as virtues.
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to plague us.
If this be a world of vice and woe, I'll take the vice and you take the woe.
[We] live in an age where victimhood is the new currency, victims a new kind of aristocracy, and pity a cardinal virtue.
The problems of victory are more agreeable than the problems of defeat, but they are no less difficult.
His self-love is well requited.
In Japan people drive on the left. In China people drive on the right. In Vietnam it doesn't matter.
Virtue And Vice
I find that the best virtue I have has in it some tincture of vice.
I prefer an accommodating vice to an obstinate virtue.
Perhaps it would not be easy, within the same historical space, to find more vice and less virtue. We are continually shocked by the union of savage [Barbarian] and corrupt [Roman] manners.
It was [Totila's] constant theme, that national vice and ruin are inseparably connected; that victory is the fruit of moral as well as military virtue; and that the prince, and even the people, are responsible for the crimes which they neglect to punish.
The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues.
[Only] a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.
Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices.
Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
Visits always give pleasure—if not the arrival, the departure.
Seldom set foot in your neighbor's house—
too much of you, and he will hate you.
Wagner's music is better than it sounds.
Wagner had some wonderful moments but awful half hours.
One cannot judge Wagner's opera Lohengrin from a first hearing, and I certainly do not intend to hear it a second time.
Hang yourself, brave Crillon; we fought at Arques and you were not there.
A general and a bit of shooting makes you forget your troubles … it takes your mind off the cost of living.
War is evil, but it is often the lesser evil.
Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master.
It takes in reality only one to make a quarrel. It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favour of vegetarianism while the wolf remains of a different opinion.
There must be some good in the life of battle, for so many good men have enjoyed being soldiers.
In war, truth is the first casualty.
I reverence the field of battle, stained with their blood, and the blood of the Barbarians. Those honorable marks have been already washed away by the rains; but the lofty monuments of their bones, the bones of generals, of centurions, and of valiant warriors, claim a longer period of duration.
If you are a god, we shall not be harmed by you, for we have done no wrong; but if you are a man, you may meet with a stronger man than yourself.
If we win one more such victory over the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.
Carthage must be destroyed! (Carthago delenda est!)
You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.
I have given two cousins to war and I stand ready to sacrifice my wife's brother.
Not those alone who make the war must feel the war!
For what fortress, what city, in the wide extent of the Roman empire, can hope to exist, secure and impregnable, if it is our pleasure that it should be erased from the earth?
The conflict was obstinate; the slaughter was mutual.
We make war that we may live in peace.
[Whole] generations may be swept away by the madness of kings in the space of a single hour.
A bloody and complete victory has sometimes yielded no more than the possession of the field and the loss of ten thousand men has sometimes been sufficient to destroy, in a single day, the work of ages.
[Every age], however destitute of science or virtue, sufficiently abounds with acts of blood and military renown.
[To] the vanquished, death [is] a relief, life a burden, and infamy the only object of terror.
[It is a melancholy truth] that the first and most cruel sufferings [in war] must be the lot of the innocent and helpless …
[The] events by which the fate of nations is not materially changed, leave a faint impression on the page of history, and the patience of the reader would be exhausted by the repetition of the same hostilities [between Rome and Persia], undertaken without cause, prosecuted without glory, and terminated without effect.
Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.
Don't Delay: The best is the enemy of the good [emphasis added]. By this I mean that a good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week. War is a very simple thing, and the determining characteristics are self-confidence, speed, and audacity. None of these things can ever be perfect, but they can be good.
[In] the national and religious conflict of the [Byzantine and Saracen] empires, peace was without confidence, and war without mercy.
The great questions of our time will be decided not by resolutions and majority votes, but by blood and iron.
So familiar, and as it were so natural to man, is the practice of violence, that our indulgence allows the slightest provocation, the most disputable right, as a sufficient ground of national hostility.
[Every] hour of delay abates the fame and force of the invader, and multiplies the resources of defensive war.
War kills men, and men deplore the loss; but war also crushes bad principles and tyrants, and so saves societies.
The single combats of the heroes of history or fable amuse our fancy and engage our affections: the skillful evolutions of war may inform the mind, and improve a necessary, though pernicious, science. But in the uniform and odious pictures of a general assault, all is blood, and horror, and confusion …
Weakness is a provocation.
[Much] as war attracts me and fascinates my mind with its tremendous situations, I feel more deeply every year … what vile and wicked folly and barbarism it all is.
The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on.
It is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.
War is Hell!
War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it …
For Christ's sake men—come on! Do you want to live forever?
"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
If we clear the air of the fog of catchwords which surround the conduct of war, and grasp that in the human will lies the source and mainspring of all conflict, as of all other activities of man's life, it becomes clear that our object in war can only be attained by the subjugation of the opposing will. All acts, such as defeat in the field, propaganda, blockade, diplomacy, or attack on the centres of government and population, are seen to be but means to that end.
War, which used to be cruel and magnificent, has become cruel and squalid.
Don't give up the ship!
I believe in fighting until lack of supplies forces you to stop—then digging in.
I maintained my contention that it is better to attack with a small force at once, and attain surprise, than it is to wait and lose it.
One continues to learn about war by practicing war.
It always made me mad to have to beg for opportunities to win battles.
The acid test of battle brings out the pure metal.
In war, the only sure defense is offense, and the efficiency of offense depends on the warlike souls of those conducting it.
When we got to the far side [of the Rhine], I also deliberately stubbed my toe and fell, picking up a handful of German soil, in emulation of Scipio Africanus and William the Conqueror, who both stumbled and both made a joke of it, saying, "I see in my hands the soil of Africa" or "… the soil of England." I saw in my hands the soil of Germany.
Here again we took advantage of a theory of our own, that the impossible place is usually the least well defended.
It is an unfortunate fact that few commanders, and no politicians, realize the individuality of units and the necessity of playing on human emotion.
It is an unfortunate and, to me, tragic fact that, in our attempts to prevent war, we have taught our people to belittle the heroic qualities of the soldier.
If you want to know when a war might be coming, you just watch the United States and see when it starts cutting down on its defenses. It's the surest barometer in the world.
The best armor (and the best defense) is a rapid and well-directed fire.
When soldiers are caught in a barrage, either from mortars, rockets, or artillery, the surest way to get out of it is to go forward fast, because it is almost the invariable practice of the enemy to increase rather than decrease his range.
In small operations, as in large, speed is the essential element of success.
It is much better to go over difficult ground where you are not expected than it is over good ground where you are expected.
The Americans, as a race, are the foremost mechanics in the world. America, as a nation, has the greatest ability for mass production of machines. It therefore behooves us to devise methods of war which exploit our inherent superiority.
As war is one of the heaviest of national evils, a calamity in which every species of misery is involved; as it sets the general safety to hazard, suspends commerce, and desolates the country; as it exposes great numbers to hardships, dangers, captivity, and death; no man, who desires public prosperity, will inflame general resentment …
Washington is a city of southern efficiency and northern charm.
Feeble and timid minds … consider the use of dilatory and ambiguous measures as the most admirable efforts of consummate prudence.
I've been rich and I've been poor; rich is better.
I have no complex about wealth. I have worked hard for my money, producing things people need. I believe that the able industrial leader who creates wealth and employment is more worthy of historical notice than politicians or soldiers.
It is the wretchedness of being rich that you have to live with rich people.
[We've] been guided by [an] administration who believes in the simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it and they have an antipathy towards the means of redistributing wealth.
He does not possess wealth, it possesses him.
A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.
Wealth And Money
A rich man's joke is always funny.
The rich rob the poor and the poor rob one another.
One of the weaknesses of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish our needs from our greeds.
Not he who has little, but he who wishes more, is poor.
Citizens of rich countries often fret about the occasional harm that corporations do, yet take for granted the prosperity they create. People in developing countries do not have that luxury.
Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money?
A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.
Ages in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, the common people have a chance. Thus, for example, tanks, battleships and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon—so long as there is no answer to it—gives claws to the weak.
Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.
The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it.
The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of a sound policy. It is in violation of the traditions of America.
[Giving welfare to poor people] is the equivalent of the government sending [fat people] a jumbo bag of Bugles in the mail twice a month.
Everything great in western culture has come from the quarrel with nature.
Houses and wealth are inherited from parents,
but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Better to live in a desert
than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.
A quarrelsome wife is like
a constant dripping on a rainy day;
restraining her is like restraining the wind
or grasping oil with the hand.
Many a man owes his success to his first wife and his second wife to his success.
Here lies my wife; here let her lie!
Now she's at peace and so am I.
The comfortable estate of widowhood, is the only hope that keeps up a wife's spirits.
When you marry your mistress you create a job vacancy.
Only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. One is to let her think she is having her own way, and the other, to let her have it.
Who was that lady I saw you with last night?
She ain't no lady; she's my wife.
Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses.
Happy wife, happy life.
Take counsel in wine, but resolve afterwards in water.
In vino veritas. (In wine [there is the] truth.)
I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to food.
Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!
The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine, which sets even a wise man to singing and to laughing gently and rouses him up to dance and brings forth words which were better unspoken.
Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is.
We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it—and stop there, lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again—and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.
For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.
I prefer the errors of enthusiasm to the indifference of wisdom.
Give your decisions, never your reasons; your decisions may be right, your reasons are sure to be wrong.
He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom.
He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.
Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.
Great men are not always wise.
[It is] better [to] be wise by the misfortunes of others than by your own.
Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.
He is no wise man who will quit a certainty for an uncertainty.
Tis sometimes the height of wisdom to feign stupidity.
Wise men profit more from fools than fools from wise men; for the wise men shun the mistakes of fools, but fools do not imitate the successes of the wise.
Even brute beasts and wandering birds do not fall into the same traps or nets twice.
The doors of wisdom are never shut.
Wisdom comes from context.
The easily embarrassed are unable to learn.
A proud person talks about all he has done, a foolish person talks about all he will do, and a wise man does it, and says nothing.
Wisdom is the accumulation of insights into how the world actually works—as opposed to how we would like it to work.
Horse sense is the good judgement which keeps people from betting on horses.
We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified.
Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: It Might Have Been.
Conquered people tend to be witty.
The nations, and the sects, of the Roman world, admitted with equal credulity, and similar abhorrence, the reality of that infernal art [witchcraft], which was able to control the eternal order of the planets, and the voluntary operations of the human mind. … They believed, with the wildest inconsistency, that this preternatural dominion of the air, of earth, and of hell, was exercised, from the vilest motives of malice or gain, by some wrinkled hags and itinerant sorcerers, who passed their obscure lives in penury and contempt.
Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
The great question which I have not been able to answer, despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, is "What does woman want?"
If a woman likes another woman, she's cordial. If she doesn't like her, she's very cordial.
Women are like elephants. They are interesting to look at, but I wouldn't want to own one.
If I were asked … to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of [Americans] ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply: to the superiority of their women.
When women kiss it always reminds me of prize-fighters shaking hands.
She strode like a grenadier, was strong and upright like an obelisk, had a beautiful face, a candid brow, and not a thought of her own in her head.
A beautiful woman is a blessing from Heaven, but a good cigar is a smoke.
When there is an old maid in the house, a watch dog is unnecessary.
She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes. That is always a sign of despair in a woman.
Most women are not as young as they are painted.
No trust is to be placed in women.
There is no fouler fiend than a woman when her mind is bent to evil.
I trust only one thing in a woman: that she will not come to life again after she is dead. In all other things I distrust her.
In point of morals, the average woman is, even for business, too crooked.
Never trust a woman, even though she has given you ten sons.
Women always excel men in that sort of wisdom which comes from experience. To be a woman is in itself a terrible experience.
If a woman has "It," she doesn't need anything else; but if she doesn't have "It," it doesn't matter what else she has.
But I'm not here to give you some bullshit talk about women. There are three billion of them, and to generalize that many people with some blanket statement is the definition of being an asshole. Women are all different, so I don't have any advice on them.
Um, when a woman talks, she just wants to be heard.
Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month I can be myself.
You know that look women get when they want to have sex? Me neither.
Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honour … which is probably more than she ever did.
The fickleness of the women I love is only equalled by the infernal constancy of the women who love me.
Her mother grieved in secret with the grim, philosophic, almost cheerful hopelessness of women whose lives have taught them always to expect the worst
"I don't know what you mean by 'glory,'" Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't—till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"
"But glory doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument,'" Alice objected.
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."
Colors fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words endure.
He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met.
The more the words,
the less the meaning,
and how does that profit anyone?
Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.
The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another.
When ideas fail, words come in very handy.
There are some that only employ words for the purpose of disguising their thoughts.
Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
It ain't how many words you know, it's how you use them.
By hard, honest labour I've dug all the large words out of my vocabulary … I never write metropolis for seven cents because I can get the same money for city. I never write policeman, because I can get the same money for Cop.
Words have a longer life than deeds.
One of our defects as a nation is a tendency to use what have been called "weasel words." When a weasel sucks eggs it sucks the meat out of the egg and leaves it an empty shell. If you use a "weasel word" after another there is nothing left of the other.
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.
In populous cities, which are the seat of commerce and manufactures, the middle ranks of inhabitants, who derive their subsistence from the dexterity or labor of their hands, are commonly the most prolific, the most useful, and, in that sense, the most respectable part of the community.
Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.
[Personal] industry must be faint and languid, which is not excited by the sense of personal interest.
If a man will not work, he shall not eat.
Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.
The things are mighty few on earth
That wishes can attain.
Whate'er we want of any worth
We've got to work to gain.
For great and low there's but one test:
'Tis that each man shall do his best.
Who works with all the strength he can
Shall never die in debt to man.
Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, [and] Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.
I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life of toil and effort …
If a task is once begun
Never leave it till it's done.
Be the labor great or small
Do it well or not at all.
Train people well enough so they can leave, pay them well enough so they don't want to.
I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near.
A professional is a man who can do his job when he doesn't feel like it. An amateur is a man who can't do his job when he does feel like it.
Oh you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYBODY and they meet at the bar.
It is allowed that vocations and employments of least dignity are of the most apparent use; that the meanest artisan or manufacturer contributes more to the accommodation of life than the profound scholar and argumentative theorist; and that the public would suffer less present inconvenience from the banishment of philosophers than from the extinction of any common trade.
It is not hard to work; it is hard to begin to work.
The world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel.
If evils come not, then our fears are vain: And if they do, Fear but augments the pain.
Worry is a misuse of imagination.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof—KJV)
When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.
Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.
What's not worth doing is not worth doing well.
The wretch, concentrated all in self
Living, shall forfeit fair renown
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.
In Ireland, a writer is looked upon as a failed conversationalist.
I suppose most editors are failed writers—but so are most writers.
The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any.
Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
Vigorous writing is concise. Omit needless words.
Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.
It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
[Writing a book] is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.
And, like every other ink-stained wretch, he could never be certain of future income.
Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vain.
Just as the sentence contains one idea in all its fullness, so the paragraph should embrace a distinct episode; and as sentences should follow one another in harmonious sequence, so paragraphs must fit into another like the automatic couplings of railway carriages.
If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.
"Journalist" is a term of contempt employed by writers who are not read to refer to writers who are read.
When I want to read a novel, I write one.
Of writing well the source and fountainhead is wise thinking.
In matters editorial, I am a believer in totalitarian despotism. Most writers are lazy, difficult, selfish, thoughtless, and unreliable.
If you write for the critics, only the critics will read you.
Start. Don't look back. If at the end it doesn't meet your hopes, start again. Now you know more about your hopes.
After being turned down by numerous publishers, he had decided to write for posterity.
Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
Anyone could write a novel given six weeks, pen, paper, and no telephone or wife.
If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that's read by persons who move their lips when reading.
In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.
Whom the gods love dies young.
Whom the gods love, die young, no matter how long they live.
When the Greeks said, "Whom the gods love die young," they probably meant, as Lord Sankey suggested, that those favored by the gods stay young till the day they die; young and playful.
It takes a long time to become young.
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.
Oh, to be only half as wonderful as my child thought I was when he was small, and only half as stupid as my teenager now thinks I am.
It is only an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it.
The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children.
Every child should have an occasional pat on the back as long as it is applied low enough and hard enough
Like its politicians and its wars, society has the teenagers it deserves.
The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened.
I am not young enough to know everything.
Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own.
There's not a man in America who at one time or another hasn't had a secret desire to boot a child in the ass.
Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.
Never have the young taken themselves so seriously, and the calamity is that they are listened to and deferred to by so many adults.
Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.
The contempt of risk, and the presumptuous hope of success, are in no period of life more active than at the age at which young people choose their professions.
Youth doesn't take advice.
You must concentrate upon and consecrate yourself wholly to each day, as though a fire were raging in your hair.
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Last updated: May 3, 2022