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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.
Booker T. Washington

Why do black people need white people to tell them that their lives matter?
Author unidentified

The black community [in the U.K.] wants race/colour suppressed in court cases and reports of riots and violent assaults, but stressed where its mention is favourable to its members, for instance in sports stories.
Paul Johnson

The more noisy Negro leaders, by depicting all whites as natural and implacable enemies to their race, have done it a great disservice. Large numbers of whites who were formerly very friendly to it, and willing to go to great lengths to help it, are now resentful and suspicious.
H. L. Mencken

I would like to see a time when man loves his fellow man and forgets his colour or his creed. We will never be civilized until that time comes. I know the Negro race has a long road to go. I believe that the life of the Negro race has been a life of tragedy, of injustice, of oppression. The law has made him equal, but man has not.
Clarence Darrow

Purity of race does not exist. Europe is a continent of energetic mongrels.
H. A. L. Fisher

I dislike this idea that if you're a black person in America then you must be called an African- American. I'm not an African. I'm an American. Just call me black, if you want to call me anything.
Whoopi Goldberg


The soft bigotry of low expectations …
Michael Gerson

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?
Larry Elder

I think it is fair to conclude that the American job market is indeed racially biased. A detached observer might even call it systemic racism. The American job market systemically discriminates in favor of racial minorities other than Asians.
Charles Murray


Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.
E.Y. (Yip') Harburg


Conquest's Law: Everyone is a reactionary about subjects he understands. (Alternatively, "Everyone is a conservative in his own field of expertise").
Robert Conquest


’Tis the good reader that makes the good book; … in every book he finds passages which seem confidences or asides hidden from all else and unmistakably meant for his ear.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imaginative readers rewrite books to suit their own taste, omitting and mentally altering what they read.
Robert Graves


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.
Albert Einstein

A man ought to read just as his inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.
Samuel Johnson

The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
Mark Twain

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.
Author unidentified

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.
Logan Pearsall Smith

Luther advised all who proposed to study, in what art soever, to read some sure and certain books over and over again; for to read many sorts of books produces rather confusion than any distinct result; just as those who dwell everywhere, and remain in no place, dwell nowhere, and have no home.
Author unidentified

It is strange that there should be so little reading in the world, and so much writing. People in general do not willingly read, if they can have any thing else to amuse them.
Samuel Johnson

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
Joseph Addison

Much reading is harmful to thinking. The greatest thinkers I have known have been precisely those who of all the scholars I have known had read least.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Read. Do not brood. Immerse yourself in long study: only the habit of persistent work can make one continually content; it produces an opium that numbs the soul.
Gustave Flaubert

The more that learn to read the less learn how to make a living. That's one thing about a little education. It spoils you for actual work. The more you know the more you think somebody owes you a living.
Will Rogers

Books must be read as deliberately and reservedly as they were written.
Henry David Thoreau

Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books.
John Ruskin


IQ is off-limits today because people who are verbally facile, such as journalists and academics, tend to assume that reality is largely constructed from words. Thus, if we would all just stop writing about unpleasant facts, they would disappear.
Steve Sailer


I have heard it said that the Government had no mandate for rearmament until the General Election. Such a doctrine is wholly inadmissible. The responsibility of Ministers for the public safety is absolute and requires no mandate.
Winston Churchill


Reason—the Devil's harlot.
Martin Luther

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.
David Hume

Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired. [Modern variation: A man cannot be reasoned out of a position he did not reason himself into.]
Jonathan Swift

I'll not listen to reason … Reason always means what someone else has got to say.
Elizabeth Gaskell


Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
H. L. Mencken


I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.
Thomas Jefferson


You cannot now, if you ever could, spend your way out of a recession.
James Callaghan


What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9


Things past redress are now with me past care.


Experience teaches that the most dangerous moment for a bad government is usually when it begins to reform itself.
Alexis de Tocqueville


"If you meddle with popedom you will have the whole world against you;" and he added:—"yet the church is built on blood, and with blood must be sprinkled."
Martin Luther

Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess, that itself will need reforming.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge


It is the first care of a reformer to prevent any future reformation.
Edward Gibbon

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.
Edward Gibbon

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.
William Graham Sumner


I repent of my diets, the delicious dishes rejected out of vanity, as much as I lament the opportunities for making love that I let go by because of pressing tasks or puritanical virtue.
Isabel Allende

The business of life is to go forwards: he who sees evil in prospect meets it in his way; but he who catches it by retrospection turns back to find it. That which is feared may sometimes be avoided, but that which is regretted to-day may be regretted again to-morrow.
Samuel Johnson

I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations—one can do either this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it—you will regret both.
Søren Kierkegaard


[Experience] seems to shew that law can never regulate them [wages] properly, though it has often pretended to do so.
Adam Smith


When someone leaves you … the worst is the thought that they tried you out and, in the end, the whole sum of parts which adds up to you got stamped REJECT by the one you love. How can you not be left with the personal confidence of a passed-over British Rail sandwich?
Helen Fielding


The easiest kind of relationship for me is with 10,000 people. The hardest is with one.
Joan Baez

Contrary to what many women believe, it's fairly easy to develop a long-term, stable, intimate, and mutually fulfilling relationship with a guy. Of course this guy has to be a Labrador retriever. With human guys, it's extremely difficult. This is because guys don't really grasp what women mean by the term relationship.
Dave Barry

Maybe the most that you can expect from a relationship that goes bad is to come out of it with a few good songs.
Marianne Faithfull


At the beginning of the 1920s the belief began to circulate, for the first time at a popular level, that there were no longer any absolutes: of time and space, of good and evil, of knowledge, above all of value. Mistakenly but perhaps inevitably, relativity became confused with relativism.
Paul Johnson


Hear the verbal protestations of all men: nothing so certain as their religious tenets. Examine their lives: you will scarcely think that they repose the smallest confidence in them.
David Hume

It is certainly no part of religion to compel religion.

The writers against religion, whilst they oppose every system, are wisely careful never to set up any of their own.
Edmund Burke

Show me any mischief produced by the madness or wickedness of theologians, and I will show you an hundred resulting from the ambition and villany of conquerors and statesmen. Show me an absurdity in religion, and I will undertake to show you an hundred for one in political laws and institutions.
Edmund Burke

Religious persecution may shield itself under the guise of a mistaken and over-zealous piety.
Edmund Burke

Persecution is a bad and indirect way to plant religion.
Sir Thomas Browne

To be of no church is dangerous. Religion, of which the rewards are distant, and which is animated only by faith and hope, will glide by degrees out of the mind unless it be invigorated and reimpressed by external ordinances, by stated calls to worship, and the salutary influence of example.
Samuel Johnson

Many religious people are deeply suspicious. They seem—for purely religious purposes, of course—to know more about iniquity than the unregenerate.
Rudyard Kipling

I don't have much truck with the "religion is the cause of most of our wars" school of thought because that is manifestly done by mad, manipulative and power-hungry men who cloak their ambition in God.
Terry Pratchett

In their religion they are so uneven,
That each man goes his own byway to heaven.
Daniel Defoe

Various forms of religious madness are quite common in the United States.
Alexis de Tocqueville

I hope I will be religious again but as for regaining my character I despair for it.
Marjory Fleming

As I take my shoes from the shoemaker, and my coat from the tailor, so I take my religion from the priest.
Oliver Goldsmith

Religious Freedom

All religions must be tolerated, and the sole concern of the authorities should be to see that one does not molest another, for here every man must be saved in his own way.
Frederick the Great

Every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.
George Washington

The meaning of religious freedom, I fear, is sometimes greatly misapprehended. It is taken to be a sort of immunity, not merely from governmental control but also from public opinion.
H. L. Mencken


Things without all remedy
Should be without regard: what’s done is done.


When time has supplied us with events sufficient to employ our thoughts, it has mingled them with so many disasters, that we shrink from their remembrance, dread their intrusion upon our minds, and fly from them as from enemies that pursue us with torture.
Samuel Johnson


Nothing then remains but murmurs and remorse; for if the spendthrift's poverty be embittered by the reflection that he once was rich, how must the idler’s obscurity be clouded by remembering that he once had lustre!
Samuel Johnson

Remorse, the fatal egg by pleasure laid.
William Cowper

Of all means to regeneration Remorse is surely the most wasteful. It cuts away healthy tissue with the poisoned. It is a knife that probes far deeper than the evil.
E. M. Forster


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.
Charlton Ogburn


Repentance is the virtue of weak minds.
John Dryden

Repentance is but want of power to sin.
John Dryden


As any action or posture, long continued, will distort and disfigure the limbs; so the mind likewise is crippled and contracted by perpetual application to the same set of ideas.
Samuel Johnson


Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
Edmund Burke


The Sting of a Reproach, is the Truth of it.
Author unidentified

His enemies did not forget to reproach him, when he became conspicuous enough to excite malevolence.
Samuel Johnson


The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then gets elected and proves it.
P. J. O'Rourke

"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.
Mark Steyn


Reputation, reputation, reputation! O! I have lost my reputation. I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.

Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.

But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.

There is a general succession of events in which contraries are produced by periodical vicissitudes; labour and care are rewarded with success, success produces confidence, confidence relaxes industry, and negligence ruins that reputation which accuracy had raised.
Samuel Johnson

Without a genius learning soars in vain;
And without learning genius sinks again;
Their force united crowns the sprightly reign.

(Ego nec studium sine divite venû,
Nec rude quid prosit video ingenium; alterius sic
Altera poscit opem res, et conjurat amice.

Elphinston, based on Horace

[The] reputation raised by a long train of success may be finally ruined by a single failure; for weakness or errour will be always remembered by that malice and envy which it gratifies.
Samuel Johnson

The reputation which the world bestows is like the wind, that shifts now here now there, its name changed with the quarter whence it blows. (Non è il mondan romore altro che un fiato di vento, ch'or vien quinci ed or qien quindi, e muta nome perchè muta lato.)
Dante Alighieri


Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.
Marston Bates


Resentment is an union of sorrow with malignity, a combination of a passion which all endeavour to avoid, with a passion which all concur to detest.
Samuel Johnson


We have surmounted all the perils and endured all the agonies of the past. We shall provide against and thus prevail over the dangers and problems of the future, withhold no sacrifice, grudge no toil, seek no sordid gain, fear no foe. All will be well. We have, I believe, within us the life-strength and guiding light by which the tormented world around us may find the harbour of safety, after a storm-beaten voyage.
Winston Churchill


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.
Samuel Johnson

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.
Bishop John H. Vincent

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.
Samuel Johnson

Thus procrastination is accumulated on procrastination, and one impediment succeeds another, till age shatters our resolution, or death intercepts the project of amendment. Such is often the end of salutary purposes, after they have long delighted the imagination, and appeased that disquiet which every mind feels from known misconduct, when the attention is not diverted by business or by pleasure.
Samuel Johnson


Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.
Ernest Hemingway


It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously.
Peter Ustinov

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.
C. S. Lewis

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.
Samuel Halpern

Would you live with ease, Do what you ought, not what you please.
Author unidentified


The worst death for anyone is to lose the center of his being, the thing he really is. Retirement is the filthiest word in the language. Whether by choice or by fate, to retire from what you do—and makes you what you are—is to back up into the grave.
Ernest Hemingway


Of all the horrid, hideous notes of woe,
Sadder than owl-songs or the midnight blast,
Is that portentous phrase, 'I told you so.'
Lord Byron


Oh, come on. Revelation was a mushroom dream that belonged in the Apocrypha.
Terry Pratchett


The revenge of a guilty woman is implacable.
Edward Gibbon

Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge—and has to content oneself with dreaming.
Paul Gauguin

Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war.
William Shakespeare

For revenge is always the delight of a mean spirit, of a weak and petty mind! You may immediately draw proof of this that no one rejoices more in revenge than a woman.

Living well is the best revenge.
George Herbert

Sweet is revenge—especially to women.
Lord Byron


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.
Mark Twain

In Latin America, every would-be plunderer or ambitious bandit now called himself a "liberator"; murderers killed for freedom, thieves stole for the people.
Paul Johnson

You may have made a Revolution, but not a Reformation. You may have subverted Monarchy, but not recover'd freedom.
Edmund Burke

But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations.
John Adams

The generation which commences a revolution can rarely complete it.
Thomas Jefferson

The revolution is like Saturn—it eats its children.
Georg Büchner


The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative on the day after the revolution.
Hannah Arendt

Every revolutionary ends as an oppressor or a heretic. (Tout révolutionnaire finit en oppresseur ou en hérétique.)
Albert Camus


I will not forget it, nor fail to reward that which is given: fealty with love, valour with honour, oath-breaking with vengeance.
J. R. R. Tolkien


If it be justly observed by Milton, that rhyme obliges poets to express their thoughts in improper terms, these improprieties must always be multiplied, as the difficulty of rhyme is increased by long concatenations.
Samuel Johnson


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.
William Graham Sumner

Right … is the child of law: from real laws come real rights; but from imaginary laws, from laws of nature, fancied and invented by poets, rhetoricians, and dealers in moral and intellectual poisons, come imaginary rights, a bastard brood of monsters.
Jeremy Bentham

We owe it to our ancestors to preserve entire those rights, which they have delivered to our care: we owe it to our posterity, not to suffer their dearest inheritance to be destroyed.
The Letters of Junius

A man does not attain the status of Galileo merely because he is persecuted; he must also be right.
Stephen Jay Gould

Right and Wrong

If there is one mental vice, indeed, which sets off the American people from all other folks who walk the earth … it is that of assuming that every human act must be either right or wrong, and that ninety-nine percent of them are wrong.
H. L. Mencken


The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
Proverbs 4:18


A superior man in dealing with the world is not for anything or against anything. He follows righteousness as the standard.
Confucius (K'ung Fu-tzu)

The superior man understands righteousness; the inferior man understands profit.
Confucius (K'ung Fu-tzu)


Pearls before swine.
Dorothy Parker to Clare Boothe Luce, who had stood aside for her saying, "Age before Beauty"


Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.
George S. Patton, Jr.

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.
John Young, astronaut, when asked about the risks of space flight


Live dangerously; take things as they come; dread naught, all will be well.
Winston Churchill


The finest woman in nature should not detain me an hour from you; but you must sometimes suffer the rivalship of the wisest men.
Sir Richard Steele

Robert Browning

When it was written, God and Robert Browning knew what it meant; now only God knows.
Anonymous, on Sordello

Rock and Roll

Most people get into bands for three very simple rock and roll reasons: to get laid, to get fame, and to get rich.
John Gay

Roman Catholic Church

Look through the whole history of countries professing the Romish religion, and you will uniformly find the leaven of this besetting and accursed principle of action—that the end will sanction any means.
S. T. Coleridge

She [the Roman Catholic Church] was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished in Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigor when some traveler from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's.
T. B. Macaulay

When Socialism comes to power, the [Roman Catholic] church will advocate Socialism with the same vigor it is now favoring feudalism and slavery. And it will find plenty of proof in the New Testament that the church has always been communistic.
August Bebel


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.
Edward Gibbon

[Instead] of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long.
Edward Gibbon

Ignorant of the arts of luxury, the primitive Romans had improved the science of government and war.
Edward Gibbon

The commonwealth of Rome grew great only by the misery of the rest of mankind.
Samuel Johnson

The Romans triumphed over all their enemies, by keeping constantly on foot forty-two legions of six thousand men each, disciplined troops, practiced in war.
Martin Luther

While stands the Coliseum,
Rome shall stand;
When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall;
And when Rome falls—the world.
Lord Byron


Routine is supposed to be the great deadener of souls; how much worse is the half-completed task, the broken round, the unfulfilled routine?
Richard Brookhiser


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.
Arthur Bryant

Above all things our royalty is to be reverenced, and if you begin to poke about it you cannot reverence it … Its mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic.
Walter Bagehot


Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
Eric Hoffer


There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.
Adam Smith


No rule is so general, which admits not some exception.
Robert Burton

Reason to rule, but mercy to forgive:
The first is law, the last prerogative.
John Dryden


Sit quietly and concentrate on terrible things. You’ll feel much better.
Ann Coulter


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.
Winston Churchill

I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
Winston Churchill

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.
Edward Gibbon

This empire [Russia], vast as it is, is only a prison to which the emperor holds the key.
Astolphe Louis Léonard, Marquis de Custine


It is the Russians’ joy to drink; we cannot do without it.
The Primary Chronicle


The trenchant blade, Toledo trusty,
For want of fighting was grown rusty,
And eat into it self, for lack
Of some body to hew and hack.
Samuel Butler

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Last updated: June 20, 2024