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Cool Quotes - C


Cabbage twice cooked is death.
Greek Proverb.


California's like an artificial limb the rest of the country doesn't really need.
Saul Bellow


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.
Author unidentified

Keep calm and carry on.
Author unidentified. Text appears on a British World War II poster that was apparently never used.


Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny.
William Shakespeare


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.
George S. Patton, Jr.


I wish the British Government would give you Canada at once. It is fit for nothing but to breed quarrels.
Lord Ashburton

Canada could have enjoyed:
English government,
French culture,
and American know-how.
Instead it ended up with:
English know-how,
French government,
and American culture.
John Robert Colombo

England would be better off without Canada; it keeps her in a prepared state for war at a great expense and constant irritation.
Napoleon I


Americans are benevolently ignorant about Canada, while Canadians are malevolently well informed about the United States.
J. Bartlet Brebner


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.
Paul Johnson

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.
Walter E. Williams

Industrial capitalism simply evolved, from the free and uncoordinated transactions and unimpeded movements of countless unknown individuals. It was not a political creation at all.
Paul Johnson

Industrial capitalism has done more to promote content among mankind than any other man-made phenomenon in history.
Paul Johnson


The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.
Willi Schlamm


If you can't be good be careful.
American Proverb


The wife of a careless man is almost a widow.
Hungarian Proverb

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.
Anonymous: Verse circulated in London on the trial of Queen Caroline for adultery, 1820.


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.
Adam Smith

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.
Adam Smith


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.
Edward Gibbon


In God we trust; all others must pay cash.
American Saying


There is a demand today for men who can make wrong appear right.
Terrence, c. 160 B.C.


When I play with my cat, who knows whether I do not make her more sport than she makes me?
Michel Eyquem, seigneur de Montaigne

Stately, kindly, lordly friend
Here to sit by me.
Algernon Charles Swinburne, To a Cat.

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.
Rule 46, Oxford Union Society (circa 1997)

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.
Jay Leno

If man could be crossed with a cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.
Mark Twain

Cats are cleverer than we think, but less clever than they think.
Author unidentified


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.
T. S. Eliot

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.
George Herbert

The thorns which I have reap'd are of the tree I planted.

After this, therefore because of this. (Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.)
Latin Phrase (A familiar logical fallacy)


The cautious seldom make mistakes.

Think much and often, speak little, and write less.
Italian Proverb

If not chastely, then at least cautiously. (Nisi caste, saltem caute.)
Latin Proverb

Drive carefully. We have two cemeteries [but] no hospital.
Billboard outside of Branxton, New South Wales


Marriage may often be a stormy lake, but celibacy is almost always a muddy horsepond.
Thomas Love Peacock


The fence around a cemetery is foolish, for those inside can't get out and those outside don't want to get in.
Arthur Brisbane

He who seeks equality should go to a cemetery.
German Proverb


If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruption.
Thomas Jefferson


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.
H. L. Mencken

If you forsake a certainty and depend on an uncertainty, you will lose both the certainty and the uncertainty.
Sanskrit Proverb

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.
Bertrand Russell

Not to be absolutely certain is, I think, one of the essential things in rationality.
Bertrand Russell

Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.
Laurens Van der Post

If you are sure you understand everything that is going on, you are hopelessly confused.
Walter Mondale

A mind [David Howell's] not so much open as permanently vulnerable to a succession of opposing certainties.
W. Somerset Maugham

Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


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.
Ecclesiastes 9:11


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 …
Niccolò Machiavelli

Everything changes but the avant-garde.
Paul Valéry

The more that things change, the more we need to depend upon those things that never change.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin

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.
Courtney C. Stevens


There are things about me you wouldn't understand, things you couldn't understand, things you shouldn't understand.
Pee Wee Herman

The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.
George Eliot

A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another's.
Jean Paul Richter

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.
Author unidentified

There is something even more valuable to civilization than wisdom, and that is character.
H. L. Mencken

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.
H. L. Mencken

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.
Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost;
When health is lost, something is lost;
When character is lost, all is lost!
Author unidentified

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.
Edward Gibbon

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.
James Gould Cozzen

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.
John Wooden

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.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


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.
Abraham Lincoln

Charity and pride have different aims, yet both feed the poor.
Thomas Fuller

He gives twice that gives soon; i.e., he will soon be called to give again.
Benjamin Franklin

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.
R. W. Emerson

With one hand I take thousands of rubles from the poor, and with the other I hand back a few kopecks.
Leo Tolstoy

The charity that hastens to proclaim its good deeds, ceases to be charity, and is only pride and ostentation.
William Hutton

Charles I

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.
C. H. Firth


Charming people live up to the very edge of their charm, and behave as outrageously as the world will let them.
Logan Pearsall Smith

All charming people, I fancy, are spoiled. It is the secret of their attraction.
Oscar Wilde


Give me chastity and continence, but not just now.
Saint Augustine

Chaste makes waste.
Author unidentified

An untempted woman cannot boast of her chastity.
Michel Eyquem, seigneur de Montaigne

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.
Edward Gibbon

A reputation for chastity is necessary to a woman. Chastity itself is also sometimes useful.
Author unidentified

Che Guevara

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.
Paul Berman


What we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.
Thomas Paine


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.)
Scottish Proverb


Be cheerful while you are alive.


Chicago has a strange metaphysical elegance of death about it.
Claes Oldenburg


The child is not the mere creature of the state.
U.S. Supreme Court, 1925

A child is a lifetime of worry.
Author unidentified

Small child, small problems. Big child, big problems.
Author unidentified

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.
P. J. O'Rourke

Teach your child to hold his tongue, he'll learn fast enough to speak.
Author unidentified


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.
F. Scott Fitzgerald


The childless escape much misery.


I am married to Beatrice Salkeld, a painter. We have no children, except me.
Brendan Behan

Children enjoy the present because they have neither a past nor a future.
Jean de La Bruyère

Insanity is hereditary. You get it from your children.
Author unidentified

Anybody who hates children and dogs can't be all bad.
W. C. Fields

Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.
Oscar Wilde

Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.
Author unidentified

I take my children everywhere, but they always find their way back home.
Robert Orben

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.
Rita Rudner

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Mark 10:14

He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune, for they are impediments to great enterprises.
Francis Bacon

When children stand quiet they have done some ill.
George Herbert

We are given children to test us and make us more spiritual.
George F. Will

Learning to dislike children at an early age saves a lot of expense and aggravation later in life.
Robert Byrne

Every generation faces a barbarian invasion in the form of its own children, who need to be civilized.
Attributed to Irving Kristol

It was no wonder that people were so horrible when they started life as children.
Kingsley Amis

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.
Samuel Halpern

Children's tongues are filled with questions,
Children cannot speak in wisdom, …
Elias Lonnrot, The Kalevala


May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
Nelson Mandela

It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.
J. K. Rowling


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!
Blaise Pascal

It is no fault of Christianity that a hypocrite falls into sin.
Saint Jerome

I discovered that the calamities of mankind during the Christian centuries occurred not because men and women practiced Christianity but because they failed to do so. Bad as it was with religion, mankind would be infinitely worse without it.
Paul Johnson


I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.
Steve McQueen


Civilizations die from suicide, not murder.
Arnold Toynbee

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.
Edward Gibbon

Civilization is an enormous improvement on the lack thereof.
P. J. O'Rourke

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.
Will Durant

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.
Andrew McCarthy

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 …
Dennis Prager (Attributed)

Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.
Jean-François Revel

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.
Lord Byron


A charlatan makes obscure what is clear; a thinker makes clear what is obscure.
Hugh Kingsmill

I prefer clarity to agreement.
Dennis Prager


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.
William Graham Sumner


There was no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse.
Quentin Crisp

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.
Benjamin Disraeli


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.
George Orwell


Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Mark Twain


Oh, no doubt the cod is a splendid swimmer—admirable for swimming purposes but not for eating.
Oscar Wilde


Coffee, because adulting is hard.
Author unidentified

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.
Mark Twain


The colonial powers did not conspire against the natives. They conspired against each other. Each colonial power hated all the rest, despised their methods, rejoiced in their misfortunes and happily aggravated them when convenient. They would not cooperate even when imperative self-interest demanded it.
Paul Johnson


I cannot pretend to feel impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.
Winston Churchill

Any color—so long as it's black.
Henry Ford, on the choice of color for the Model T Ford


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.
W. C. Fields

They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian … They're not laughing now.
Bob Monkhouse


He that cannot obey, cannot command.
Author unidentified

[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.
George S. Patton, Jr.


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.
George S. Patton, Jr.


Committee: A group of the unfit appointed by the unwilling to do the unnecessary.
Carl C. Byers

I've searched all the parks in all the cities — and found no statues of Committees.
G. K. Chesterton

Common Sense

Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

[As] a rule, only very learned and clever men deny what is obviously true; common men have less brains, but more sense.
Walter T. Stace


The great enemy of communication, we find, is the illusion of it.
William H. Whyte


The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
The Communist Manifesto

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.
Fran Lebowitz

Communism is the opiate of the intellectuals.
Clare Booth Luce

I sometimes think that the entire [Communist movement] was just a front for the cement industry.
Author unidentified

Losing you is not a loss, and keeping you is no specific gain.
Khmer Rouge slogan

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 …
General Vernon Walters (paraphrased)

Community Organizer

Like most people, I have no wish to live in a community organized by community organizers.
Mark Steyn

The thirteenth rule of radical tactics: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Saul Alinsky

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.
Saul Alinsky

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.
Saul Alinsky

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.
Saul Alinsky

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.
Saul Alinsky


We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink …
Attributed to Epicurus


If we wish to feel good, compassion is excellent. But if we want to do good, our compassion must be guided by moral standards.
Dennis Prager


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.
H. L. Mencken


The best competition I have is against myself to become better.
John Wooden


Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others …
C. S. Lewis

Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining.
Author unidentified


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.
Niklaus Wirth


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.
Mark Twain


The good composer is slowly discovered, the bad composer is slowly found out.
Ernest Newman

The public doesn't want new music; the main thing that it demands of a composer is that he be dead.
Arthur Honegger


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.
William Graham Sumner


But they [computers] are useless. They can only give you answers.
Pablo Picasso

To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.
Author unidentified

Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random numbers is, of course, in a state of sin.
John von Neumann

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.
Rick Cook

Whenever I'm on my computer, I don't type 'lol'. I type 'lqtm': 'laugh quietly to myself'. It's more honest.
Demetri Martin

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila.
Mitch Ratcliffe

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.
Camille Paglia

Computer Programming

Real programmers don't comment their code. It was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.
Author unidentified.

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.
Kernighan and Pike

[The C programming language] is a razor-sharp tool, with which one can create an elegant and efficient program or a bloody mess.
Kernighan and Pike

Sometimes a programmer confronted with a problem thinks, "I know, I'll use regular expressions." Now he has two problems.
Jamie Zawinski, paraphrased

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.
Donald Knuth

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.
Bill Gates

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.
Maurice Wilkes, who discovered debugging c. 1949

[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.
Bjarne Stroustrup

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.
Author unidentified

When someone says, "I want a programming language in which I need only say what I want done," give him a lollipop.
Alan Perlis

That's the thing about people who think they hate computers. What they really hate is lousy programmers.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Einstein argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature, because God is not capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software engineer.
Fred Brooks, Jr.

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.
Jon Ribbens

We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil.
Donald Knuth

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.
Bertrand Meyer

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.
Henry Petroski

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.
Author unidentified

If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
Gerald Weinberg (Attributed)

Con Man

[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.
Thomas Sowell


Positive, adj. Mistaken at the top of one's voice.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Rational confidence [is] the just result of knowledge and experience.
Edward Gibbon

Confidence comes from being prepared.
John Wooden

You need confidence to play a sport well. How do you get confidence? You get confidence from playing well.
Author unidentified

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.
Walt Disney


Since it is now fashionable to laugh at the conservative French Academy, I have remained a rebel by joining it.
Jean Cocteau


Confusion is always the most honest response.
Marty Indik


It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.
Mark Twain

Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
Mark Twain

Oh, I don't blame Congress. If I had $600 billion at my disposal, I'd be irresponsible, too.
Lichty and Wagner


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.
Edward Gibbon

Resistance was fatal; flight was impracticable; and the patient submission of helpless innocence seldom found mercy from the Barbarian conqueror.
Edward Gibbon


The Anglo-Saxon conscience does not prevent the Anglo-Saxon from sinning, it merely prevents him from enjoying his sin.
Salvador De Madariaga

Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels so good.
Author unidentified

Bachelors have consciences. Married men have wives.
H. L. Mencken

Cowardice asks: Is it safe? Expediency asks: Is it politic? But Conscience asks: Is it right?
William Punshon

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
Steven Wright

First [a man facing temptation] sees difficulty, then he sees the danger, then he sees wrong.
H. L. Mencken


Consensus is the absence of leadership.
Margaret Thatcher

Nothing is more obstinate than a fashionable consensus.
Margaret Thatcher

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.
Margaret Thatcher

The herd is usually wrong.
Author unidentified


If you do what you should not, you must hear what you would not.
Author unidentified

Grief often treads upon the Heels of Pleasure, Marry'd in Haste, we oft repent at Leisure …
Author unidentified


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.
Julian Simon


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.
Benjamin Disraeli

[Conservatives are inclined] to believe that old wisdom is plentiful while new wisdom is scarce and suspect.
William Voegeli

The facts of life are conservative.
Author unidentified


Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Oscar Wilde

Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.
Bernard Berenson

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?
John Maynard Keynes

Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind.
W. Somerset Maugham


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.
Winston Churchill


Content and riches
Seldom meet together.
Riches take thou,
Contentment I had rather.
Benjamin Franklin


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.
Charles Dickens


The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way.
Bertrand Russell


A gossip talks about others, a bore talks about himself—and a brilliant conversationalist talks about you.
Author unidentified

Learned conversation is either the affectation of the ignorant or the profession of the mentally unemployed.
Oscar Wilde

Talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you …
Oscar Wilde

I like to do all the talking myself. It saves time, and prevents arguments.
Oscar Wilde

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.
Author unidentified, but sometimes attributed to Queen Victoria

Although there exist many thousand subjects for elegant conversation, there are persons who cannot meet a cripple without talking about feet.
Ernest Bramah

'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!"'
Lewis Carroll

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.
George Eliot


In fact, it is my opinion that co-ordination is a very much-misused word and its accomplishment is difficult.
George S. Patton, Jr.


I want either less corruption, or more chance to participate in it.
Ashleigh Brilliant

… the only way to reduce corruption in government is to reduce the size of government.
Paul Johnson


My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
Senator Carl Schurz

Long before they slump into poverty, great powers succumb to a poverty of ambition.
Mark Steyn

[A London clubman's view of the country:] A damp sort of place where all sorts of birds fly about uncooked.
Joseph Wood Krutch


[Courage] arises in a great measure from the consciousness of strength …
Edward Gibbon

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
C. S. Lewis

Do not take counsel of your fears.
George S. Patton, Jr.

No sane man is unafraid in battle, but discipline produces in him a form of vicarious courage which, with his manhood, makes for victory.
George S. Patton, Jr.

Courage And Cowardice

The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner.
Mark Twain

There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.
Mark Twain

We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.
Benjamin Franklin

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
William Shakespeare

To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man. The coward despairs.

The better part of valor is discretion.
William Shakespeare

[William Strunk Jr.] scorned the vague, the tame, the colorless, the irresolute. He felt it was worse to be irresolute than to be wrong.
E. B. White

There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.
Winston Churchill

Valor, n. A soldierly compound of vanity, duty, and the gambler's hope.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.
Mark Twain

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

There grows
No herb of help to heal a coward heart.
Algernon Charles Swinburne

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.
Mark Twain

Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.
G. K. Chesterton

I scorned the sword of Catiline, I will not quail before yours.


I was a coward on instinct.
William Shakespeare


Had I been present at the Creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.
Alfonso the Wise, on studying the Ptolemaic system (Attributed)


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.
Eric Hoffer

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.
H. L. Mencken

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.
H. L. Mencken

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.
H. L. Mencken

[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.
Edward Gibbon

It is worse than a crime, it is a blunder.
Antoine [Jacques Claude Joseph] Boulay de la Meurthe, On the execution of the Duc d’Enghien [1804]


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.
Brendan Behan

The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.
Oscar Wilde


Taking to pieces is the trade of those who cannot construct.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
Elbert Hubbard

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.
Edward Gibbon

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.
John Wooden

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.
Winston Churchill


All cruelty springs from weakness.

I must be cruel, only to be kind:
Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.
William Shakespeare

Culture War

As a historian I have become increasingly fascinated by the perennial culture conflict … between radicals and conservatives: between, that is, those who believe the world can be reshaped by their own unaided intelligence and those who distrust reason in isolation and think it should be anchored in prescriptive wisdom, natural law and other restraints. … If you believe in the Hegelian dialectic, this is an example of its powerful spirit in action.
Paul Johnson


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.
Samuel Halpern


Curiosity is a lust of the mind.
Thomas Hobbes

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
Dorothy Parker

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.
Arnold Edinborough

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.
Samuel Johnson


May you live in interesting times.
Author unidentified, often described as a Chinese curse

Despair, and die!
William Shakespeare


Custom does often reason overrule
And only serves for reason to the fool.
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

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.
Sir Charles Napier

Just because you don’t know why we do something doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason for it.
Jonah Goldberg


Cynicism—the intellectual cripple's substitute for intelligence.
Russell Lynes

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
H. L. Mencken

Cynic—a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Oscar Wilde

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.
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

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Last updated: December 2, 2022