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|Quotes are organized by Name and Category.|
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|Lord Acton||And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.|
|John Adams||The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations ... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.|
|John Adams||Objects of the most stupendous magnitude, and measure in which the lives and liberties of millions yet unborn are intimately interested, are now before us. We are in the very midst of a revolution the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations.|
|John Adams||The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.|
|Samuel Adams||The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution,|
are worth defending at all hazards;
and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.
We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors:
they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure
and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence.
It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation,
enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us
by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them
by the artifices of false and designing men.
|Arnold Ahlert||[A] deep-rooted culture of incompetence and corruption has made it virtually impossible for government to function fairly and efficiently. And because most government employees are shielded by layers of protection, they couldn't care less. Never before in the history of this nation has there been a greater divide between a self-serving federal leviathan and millions of Americans... 'Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,' Ronald Reagan reminded us during his inaugural address in 1981. Nothing's changed since then, with one exception: It's gotten far worse.|
|Mark Alexander||Chief among the spoils of victory is the privilege of writing the history.|
|Eric Alterman||History is replete with examples of empires mounting impressive military campaigns on the cusp of their impending economic collapse.|
|Harry J. Anslinger||Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.|
|Hannah Arendt||No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.|
|Hannah Arendt||The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie -- a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days -- but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.|
|Hannah Arendt||The main characteristic of any event is that it has not been foreseen. We don’t know the future but everybody acts into the future. Nobody knows what he is doing because the future is being done, action is being done by a “we” and not an “I.” Only if I were the only one acting could I foretell the consequences of what I’m doing. What actually happens is entirely contingent, and contingency is indeed one of the biggest factors in all history. Nobody knows what is going to happen because so much depends on an enormous number of variables, on simple hazard. On the other hand if you look at history retrospectively, then, even though it was contingent, you can tell a story that makes sense…. Jewish history, for example, in fact had its ups and downs, its, enmities and its friendships, as every history of all people has. The notion that there is one unilinear history is of course false. But if you look at it after the experience of Auschwitz it looks as though all of history -- or at least history since the Middle Ages -- had no other aim than Auschwitz…. This, is the real problem of every philosophy of history how is it possible that in retrospect it always looks as though it couldn’t have happened otherwise?|
|W. H. Auden||Political history is far too criminal and pathological to be a fit subject of study for the young. Children should acquire their heroes and villains from fiction.|
|St. Augustine||Though defensive violence will always be 'a sad necessity' in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men.|
|Caesar Augustus||I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.|
|Marcus Aurelius||He who has seen present things has seen all, both everything which has taken place from all eternity and everything which will be for time without end; for all things are of one kin and of one form.|
|Francis Bacon||So when any of the four pillars of government, are mainly shaken, or weakened (which are religion, justice, counsel, and treasure), men had need to pray for fair weather.|
|Francis Bacon||Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider.|
|Doug Bandow||The history of the welfare state is the history of public enterprise pushing out private organization. The impact was largely unintentional, but natural and inevitable. Higher taxes left individuals with less money to give; government’s assumption of responsibility for providing welfare shriveled the perceived duty of individuals to respond to their neighbors’ needs; and the availability of public programs gave recipients an alternative to private assistance, one which did not challenge recipients to reform their destructive behavior.|
|Frederic Bastiat||Actually, it is not strange that during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the human race was regarded as inert matter, ready to receive everything -- form, face, energy, movement, life -- from a great prince or a great legislator or a great genius. These centuries were nourished on the study of antiquity. And antiquity presents everywhere -- in Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome -- the spectacle of a few men molding mankind according to their whims, thanks to the prestige of force and of fraud. But this does not prove that this situation is desirable. It proves only that since men and society are capable of improvement, it is naturally to be expected that error, ignorance, despotism, slavery, and superstition should be greatest towards the origins of history. The writers quoted above were not in error when they found ancient institutions to be such, but they were in error when they offered them for the admiration and imitation of future generations. Uncritical and childish conformists, they took for granted the grandeur, dignity, morality, and happiness of the artificial societies of the ancient world. They did not understand that knowledge appears and grows with the passage of time; and that in proportion to this growth of knowledge, might takes the side of right, and society regains possession of itself.|
|Frederic Bastiat||Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.|
|Frederic Bastiat||Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws.|
On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand
that caused men to make laws in the first place.
|Bell v. Hood||History is clear that the first ten amendments to the Constitution were adopted to secure certain common law rights of the people, against invasion by the Federal Government.|
|Andrew Bernstein||For the first time in history, the rational and the good are fully armed in the battle against evil. Here we finally find the answer to our paradox; now we can understand the nature of the social power held by evil. Ultimately, the evil, the irrational, truly has no power. The evil men’s control of morality is transient; it lives on borrowed time made possible only by the errors of the good. In time, as more honest men grasp the truth, evil’s stranglehold will be easily broken.|
|Ambrose Bierce||History is an account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools.|
|Jim Bishop||A good writer of history is a guy who is suspicious. Suspicion marks the real difference between the man who wants to write honest history and the one who’d rather write a good story.|
|Napoleon Bonaparte||History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.|
|Justice William J. Brennan||The concept of military necessity is seductively broad, and has a dangerous plasticity. Because they invariably have the visage of overriding importance, there is always a temptation to invoke security "necessities" to justify an encroachment upon civil liberties. For that reason, the military-security argument must be approached with a healthy skepticism.|
|Reuven Brenner||Historians and economists are very good at creating and perpetuating myths that justify increasing the power placed in the hands of government.|
|Warren Buffett||Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money. After a heady experience of that kind, normally sensible people drift into behavior akin to that of Cinderella at the ball.|
|Warren Buffett||...it's a good idea to review past mistakes before committing new ones.|
|Edmund Burke||People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.|
|George W. Bush||Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty.|
|Vannevar Bush||Presumably man's spirit should be elevated if he can better review his shady past and analyze more completely and objectively his present problems.|
|Georg Cantor||A false conclusion once arrived at and widely accepted is not easily dislodged and the less it is understood the more tenaciously it is held.|
|Nicolas-Sebasstien Chamfort||Only the history of free peoples is worth our attention; the history of men under a despotism is merely a collection of anecdotes.|
|John Chancellor||Now the 21st century approaches and with it the inevitability of change. We must wonder if the American people will find renewal and rejuvenation within themselves, will discover again their capacity for innovation and adaptation. If not, alas, the nation's future will be shaped by sightless forces of history over which Americans will have no control.|
|Nien Cheng||[A]fter unleashing the Red Guards … to serve his political purposes, Mao Zedong was no longer able to control them.|
|Nien Cheng||Day and night the city resounded with the loud noise of drums and gongs … looting and the ransacking of private homes … The violence of the Red Guards seemed to have escalated. … Articles in the newspapers … encouraged the Red Guards and congratulated them on their vandalism. They were … exhorted to be fearless in their work of toppling the old world and building a new one based on Mao’s teachings. |
|Nien Cheng||The newspaper announced that the mission of the Red Guards was to rid the country of the ‘Four Olds’: old culture, old customs, old habits, and old ways of thinking. There was no clear definition of ‘old’; it was left to the Red Guards to decide. First of all, they changed street names.|
|Gilbert Keith Chesterton||The last few decades have been marked by a special cultivation of the romance of the future. We seem to have made up our minds to misunderstand what has happened; and we turn, with a sort of relief, to stating what will happen-which is apparently much easier...The modern mind is forced towards the future by a certain sense of fatigue, not unmixed with terror, with which it regards the past.|
|Gilbert Keith Chesterton||We all have a little weakness, which is very natural but rather misleading, for supposing that this epoch must be the end of the world because it will be the end of us. How future generations will get on without us is indeed, when we come to think of it, quite a puzzle. But I suppose they will get on somehow, and may possibly venture to revise our judgments as we have revised earlier judgments.|
|Gilbert Keith Chesterton||For good or evil, a line has been passed in our political history; and something that we have known all our lives is dead. I will take only one example of it: our politicians can no longer be caricatured.|
|Gilbert Keith Chesterton||Nothing is so remote from us as the thing which is not old enough to be history and not new enough to be news.|
|Gilbert Keith Chesterton||It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem.|
|Sir Winston Churchill||History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.|
|Sir Winston Churchill||A nation that forgets its past is doomed to repeat it.|
|Winston Churchill||The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.|
|Winston Churchill||This truth may be unfashionable, unpalatable, no doubt unpopular, but, if it is the truth, the story of mankind shows that war was universal and unceasing for millions of years before armaments were invented or armies organized. Indeed, the lucid intervals of peace and order only occurred in human history after armaments in the hands of strong governments have come into being, and civilization in every age has been nursed only in cradles guarded by superior weapons and superior discipline.|
|Marcus Tullius Cicero||A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?|
|Marcus Tullius Cicero||To be ignorant of what happened before you were born... is to live the life of a child for ever.|
|Harlan Cleveland||For the problem of decision-making in our complicated world is not how to get the problem simple enough so that we can all understand it; the problem is how to get our thinking about the problem as complex as humanly possible--and thus approach (we can never match) the complexity of the real world around us.|
|Bill Clinton||We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans...|
|Bill Clinton||Nothing in the First Amendment converts our public schools into religion-free zones or requires all religious expression to be left behind at the schoolhouse door. … Government’s schools also may not discriminate against private religious expression during the school day.|
|Bill Clinton||The First Amendment does not require students to leave their religion at the schoolhouse door. … If students can wear T-shirts advertising sports teams, rock groups or politicians, they can also wear T-shirts that promote religion. … Religion is too important to our history and our heritage for us to keep it out of our schools.|
|Samuel Taylor Coleridge||Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess, that itself will need reforming.|
|Alistair Cooke||As for the rage to believe that we have found the secret of liberty in general permissiveness from the cradle on, this seems to me a disastrous sentimentality, which, whatever liberties it sets loose, loosens also the cement that alone can bind society into a stable compound -- a code of obeyed taboos. I can only recall the saying of a wise Frenchman that `liberty is the luxury of self-discipline.' Historically, those peoples that did not discipline themselves had discipline thrust on them from the outside. That is why the normal cycle in the life and death of great nations has been first a powerful tyranny broken by revolt, the enjoyment of liberty, the abuse of liberty -- and back to tyranny again. As I see it, in this country -- a land of the most persistent idealism and the blandest cynicism -- the race is on between its decadence and its vitality.|
|Alistair Cooke||Liberty is the luxury of self-discipline, that those nations historically who have failed to discipline themselves have had discipline imposed by others.|
|Calvin Coolidge||A wholesome regard for the memory of the great men of long ago is the best assurance to a people of a continuation of great men to come, who shall be able to instruct, to lead, and to inspire. A people who worship at the shrine of true greatness will themselves be truly great.|
|Copernicus||Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the center of the Universe. All this is suggested by the systematic procession of events and the harmony of the whole Universe, if only we face the facts, as they say, `with both eyes open'.|
|Norman Cousins||History is a vast early warning system.|
|Norman Cousins||A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas – a place where history comes to life.|
|Michael Crichton||Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.|
|Charles Darwin||To suppose that the eye [...] could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.|
|Jefferson Davis||Neither current events nor history show that the majority rule, or ever did rule.|
|Honoré de Balzac||There are two histories : official history, lying, and then secret history, where you find the real causes of events.|
|Charles de Montesquieu||The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.|
|Eugene Debs||They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.|
|Daniel Dennett||There's nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view that I hold dear.|
|Rene Descartes||Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.|
|Benjamin Disraeli||Truth travels slowly, but it will reach even you in time.|
|Benjamin Disraeli||Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.|
|John Dobbins||The notion of editorial independence from ownership only dates back to the 1930s. Prior to that time the media was openly biased and that includes the Press that the founding fathers dealt with. Some of the founders like Hamilton and Franklin had actually ran media outlets that were very biased. You used to have things like Newspapers that openly proclaimed they were a Democratic or Republican or Whig or a Federalist newspaper right on the banner. The concept of an independent and allegedly neutral press was and still is mainly pushed by people from the left who do NOT want anything remotely neutral, but who instead want to make sure those "evil" business interests don't have a means of getting their side aired without it being filtered by their idea of what a neutral press consists of.|
|Dr. Bella Dodd||I was at last beginning to see how ignorant I had become, how long since I had read anything except Party literature. I thought of our bookshelves stripped of books questioned by the Party, how when a writer was expelled from the Party his books went, too. I thought of the systematic rewriting of Soviet history, the revaluation, and in some cases the blotting out of any mention of such persons as Trotsky. I thought of the successive purges. Suddenly I too wanted the answers to the questions Senator Hickenlooper was asking and I wanted the truth. I found myself hitting at the duplicity of the Communist Party.|