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Cool Quotes - P
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.
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.
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?)
[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.
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Last updated: September 10, 2021