E-MAIL US    


T H E  P R O G R E S S I V E  R E V I E W  

Free Thoughts
Sam Smith's Favorite Quotes


A-D   I-L  M-P  Q-Z



We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. - Anonymous


If you are what you eat and you don't know what you're eating, do you know who you are? - Claude Fischler


In history, stagnant waters, whether they be the stagnant waters of custom or those of despotism, harbor no life; life is dependent on the ripples created by a few eccentric individuals. In homage to that life and vitality, the community has to brave certain perils and must countenance a measure of heresy. One must live dangerously if one wants to live at all. - Herbert Read


Laws of Ecology: (1) Everything is connected to everything else. (2) Everything must go somewhere. (3) Nature knows best. (4) There is no such thing as a free lunch. -- Barry Commoner

Bergeron's epitaph for the planet, I remember, which he said should be carved in big letters in a wall of the Grand Canyon for the flying-saucer people to find, was this: WE COULD HAVE SAVED IT BUT WE WERE TOO DOGGONE CHEAP. . . Only he didn't say 'doggone.'" - Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." -- John Muir, "My First Summer in the Sierra"

"Heaven is under our feet, as well as over our heads." -- Henry David Thoreau

I heard the song of the world's last whale
As I rocked in the moonlight
And reefed the sail.
It'll happen to you
Also without fail
If it happens to me
Sang the world's last whale.

- Pete Seeger


Conventional economics is Scientology for intellectuals - Josiah Swampoodle

A study of economics usually reveals that the best time to buy anything was last year. - Marty Allen


Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counselling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, 'How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?' and avoid "How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece.' -- James Thurber


A person employed on a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see to it that the chaff is printed -- Elbert Hubbard

Eating through a text, leaf and branch, like tent caterpillars, leaving everywhere their mark -- Renata Adler's description of editors

I note what you say about your aspiration to edit a magazine. I am sending you by this mail a six-chambered revolver. Load it and fire every one into your head. You will thank me after you get to hell and learn from other editors there how dreadful their job was on earth. - HL Mencken letter to a young William Saroyan who had written for advice on becoming an editor


It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. -- Albert Einstein

Never try to teach a pig how to sing. It's a waste of time and it annoys the pig -- Paul Dickson

A distinguishing characteristic of our nation - and a great strength - is the development of our institutions within the concept of individual worth and dignity. Our schools are among the guardians of that principle. Consequently . . . and deliberately their control and support throughout our history have been - and are - a state and local responsibility. . . . Thus was established a fundamental element of the American public school system - local direction by boards of education responsible immediately to the parents of children. Diffusion of authority among tens of thousands of school districts is a safeguard against centralized control and abuse of the educational system that must be maintained. We believe that to take away the responsibility of communities and states in educating our children is to undermine not only a basic element of our freedoms but a basic right of our citizens. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate, no despotism can enclave. At home a friend, abroad in introduction, in solitude a solace, and in society an ornament. -- Joseph Addison

The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives. -- Robert Maynard Hutchins

Education: a debt due from present to future generations -- George Peabody

Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten - B.F. Skinner

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance -- Will Durant

Provocative thinking and the American university seem never to have got on well together -- V. L. Parrington

The ink of a scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr. -- Mohammed

The secret of education is respecting the pupil -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The things taught in schools are not an education but the means of an education -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is of interest to note what while some dolphins are reported to have learned English -- up to fifty words used in correct context -- no human being has been reported to have learned dolphinese -- Carl Sagan

A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students. - John Ciardi

Educational TV

Educational television should be absolutely forbidden. It can only lead to unreasonable expectations and eventual disappointment when your child discovers that the letters of the alphabet do not leap up out of books and dance around the room with royal blue chickens. - Fran Lebowitz


Our quarrel with efficiency is not that it gets things done, but that it is a thief of time when it leaves us no leisure to enjoy ourselves and that it frays our nerves in trying to get things done perfectly. An American editor worries his hair gray to see that no typographical mistakes appear on the pages of his magazine. The Chinese editor is wiser than that. He wants to leave his readers the supreme satisfaction of discovering a few typographical mistakes for themselves. More than that, a Chinese magazine can begin printing serial fiction and forget about it halfway. In America it might bring the roof down on the editors, but in China it doesn't matter simply because it doesn't matter. -- Lin Yutang, a Chinese writer of the thirties


If we always do what we've always done, we'll always get what we've always got -- Toni Worst

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no sense being a damn fool about it. - W.C. Fields

Einstein Albert

How do I work? I grope. - Albert Einstein


Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do. -- Will Rogers

A man that would expect to train lobsters to fly in a year is called a lunatic; but a man that thinks men can be turned into angels by an election is a reformer and remains at large. - Finley Peter Dunne


The prime purpose of eloquence is to keep other people from talking -- Louis Vermeil


It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated into their money
or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
- F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


He half created the climate of opinion by which he was nurtured -- Carlos Baker

I could readily see in Emerson . . . the insinuation that had he lived in those days when the world was made he might have offered some valuable suggestions. - Herman Melville, speaking of Ralph


We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields; burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors; furnished heartbreak by exile to some dozens of disagreeable patriots; subjugated the remaining ten millions by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket; we have acquired property in the three hundred concubines and other slaves of our business partner Sultan of Sulu, and hoisted our protecting flag over that swag. And so, by the Providences of God — and the phrase is the government's, not mine — we are a World Power. - Mark Twain on our nation-building in the Philippines

Our real task. . . is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity [U.S. military- economic supremacy]... To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming... We should cease to talk about vague and...unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization... we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better. - George Kennan, Director of Policy Planning. U.S. State Department. 1948

The reluctant obedience of distant provinces generally costs more than it is worth. -- Macaulay

All empires fall sooner or later - Boston Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino


Why all of a sudden this unrest and confusion. (How solemn the faces have become).
Why are the streets and squares clearing quickly,
and all return to their homes, so deep in thought?
Because night is here but the barbarians have not come.
And some people arrived from the borders, and said that there are no longer any barbarians.
And now what shall become of us without any barbarians?
Those people were some kind of solution.
-- Constantine P. Cavafy (1904)


To me, the charm of an encyclopedia is that it knows - and I needn't - Francis Yeats-Brown


A range of exhausted volcanos -- Disraeli's description of the opposition bench.


One error almost compels another -- S.T. Coleridge

An American editor worries his hair gray to see that no typographical mistakes appear on the pages of his magazine. The Chinese editor is wiser than that. He wants to leave his readers the supreme satisfaction of discovering a few typographical mistakes for themselves -- Lin Yutang


How pierceful grows the hazy yon!/How myrtle petaled thou!/For spring hat sprung the cyclotron/How high browse thou, brown cow? -- Churchy LaFemme, Pogo, 1950

Pretty damn seldom where my bag go. She no fly. You no more fitten master baggage than Jesus Christ's sake, that's all I hope -- Japanese tourist complaining about lost baggage, quoted by the New Yorker in the 1950s


It is generally established that the causes of race prejudice may primarily be found in the economic structure that compels one worker to compete against another and that furthermore renders it advantageous for the exploiting classes to inculcate, foster, and aggravate that competition. - Jean Toomer, 1919

Only in America -- Yogi Berra upon hearing that the mayor of Dublin was Jewish

Lenin asked Trotsky whether he was a Jew; Trotsky replied no, he was a social democrat.

You're ofay, I'm spade. Let's blow -- Louis Armstrong on meeting Jack Teagarden

You can not spill a drop of American blood without spilling the blood of the whole world. -- Herman Melville


When choosing between two evils, I always like to take the one I haven't tried before - Mae West

Exclamation points

People think that throwing multiple exclamation points into a business letter will make their point forcefully. I tell them they're allowed two exclamation points in their whole life. - Linda Landis Andrews, University of Illinois at Chicago

Get rid of all those exclamation points. It's like laughing at your own joke. - F. Scott Fitzgerald.


I've opened my heart to the benign indifference of the universe -- Albert Camus

Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth. - Jean Paul Sartre

Existentialism means that no one else can take a bath for you - Delmore Schwartz

Existentialism isn't so atheistic that it wears itself out showing that God does not exist. Rather it declares that even if God did exist, that would change nothing. . . Not that we believe that God exists, but we think that the problem of his existence is not the issue. - Jean Paul Sartre


Though burned, you are hopeful, experience cannot tell you;
Experience is what you do not want to experience -- Robert Lowell

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake when you make it again. - F. P. Jones


We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started. And know the place for the first time. --TS Eliot, Four Quartets


The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be...The nation & the world are in dire need of creative extremists. - Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr



I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my life -- Michael Jordan


Keep the faith, baby -- Adam Clayton Powell

I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education - Wilson Mizner

The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason -- Benjamin Franklin

A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows. -- Mark Twain


I am nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody too?
Then there's a pair of us -- don't tell
They'd banish us you know. . .

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog! -- Emily Dickinson

I'm as big a hoodlum as there is in Chicago -- Jackie "The Lackey" Cernone in a complaining phone call to the Chicago AP bureau after the news service referred to him as a "minor Mafia figure."

What is the end of fame?
'Tis but to fill
A certain portion of uncertain paper:
Some liken it to climbing up a hill,
Whose summit, like all hills, is lost in vapor;
For this men write, speak, preach, and heroes kill,
And bards burn what they call their "midnight taper,"
To have, when the original is dust,
A name, a wretched picture, and worse a bust.

- Lord Byron


A family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain -- Martin Mull


Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim -- George Santayana


[Farmers should] raise less corn and more Hell! -- Mary Ellen Lease

There are three great crops raised in Nebraska. One is a crop of corn, one a crop of freight rates and one a crop of interest. One is produced by farmers who by sweat and toil farm the land. The other two produced by men who sit in their offices and behind their bank counters -- Editor of a farm journal, early 20th century

It will take a third of a lifetime for a man to learn the many and diverse skills necessary to enable him to survive while producing beef, potatoes, milk or what have you. . . .

He will have a working knowledge of plant and animal nutrition.
He will be an efficient rough carpenter,
He will be a competent lumberman and woodsman.
He will be a veterinarian of sorts. ,
He will have the skills of a mediocre housepainter and electrician.
He will .have a working knowledge of many kinds of machinery and be a more or less skillful mechanic.
He will know how to dig a well, wall up a spring, lay a .waterpipe and do some rough plumbing,
He will ,learn how to predict the weather with greater accuracy than the U.S. Weather Bureau or he will be in deep trouble.
He must have some knowledge of accounting or the government will nail him to the cross the first time he makes any money

He must know how to build a barbed wire fence, corduroy a road through the swamp, butcher a hog, salt his sowbelly and raise his beans; how to deliver a cow of her calf, how deep to plant his beet and spinach seed, build a scarecrow to keep the crows out of the com, and shoot the foxes, racoons and squirrels that eat his poultry and raid his garden; he will learn to hang an axe, file a saw, shingle the barn, install lightning rods, repair the mowing machine, cure cannibalism among the chickens, and make a brine to cure his ham and bacon. He must learn to handle a dangerous bull or get gored in the process.

He must be capable of conning his banker out of a loan when things are taught, which they certainly will be; and he will learn [guile] when dealing with those who buy his produce or they will skin him alive and nail his hide on his own barn door.

This is perhaps ten percent of the skills he must learn to survive, None of them require any enormous intellectual capacity, but he will be years learning them the hard way - KW CARTER, MAINE TIMES 1974


Fascism doesn't start with concentration camps...That's where it ends. -- Jon Bishop

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism -- ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

[The fascist economy] is organized by the producers themselves, under the supreme direction and control of the state -- Alfredo Rocco, Italian fascist economic theorist.

If fascism came to America it would be on a program of Americanism -- Huey Long

The product of the transition from the market capitalism of the independent producer to the organized capitalism of the oligopoly. -- Adrian Lyttelton, biographer of Mussollini

Fascism after all is only a development of capitalism.-- George Orwell

This is what separated us from you; we made demands. You were satisfied to serve the power of your nation and we dreamed of giving ours her truth. -- Albert Camus to a German friend on World War II

What happened was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to be governed by surprise, to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believe that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. ~ The crises and reforms (real reforms too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. ~ To live in the process is absolutely not to notice it -- please try to believe me -- unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted.' ~ Believe me this is true. Each act, each occasion is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow. ~ Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven't done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we did nothing) . . . You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair. -- German professor in They Thought They Were Free by Milton Mayer

If it is admitted that the 19th-century has been the century of socialism, liberalism and democracy, it does not follow that the 20th must also be the century of liberalism, socialism and democracy. Political doctrines pass; peoples remain. It is to be expected that this century may be that of authority, a century of the "right," a fascist century. If the 19th was the century of the individual it may be expected that this one may be the century of "collectivism" and therefore the century of the state. - Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism, 1932


Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

I have always had a sacred veneration for anyone I observed to be a little out of repair in his person, as supposing him either a poet or a philosopher - Jonathan Swift

Fast Lane

The trouble with life in the fast lane is that you get to the other end in an awful hurry. - John Jensen


I was so fat that when I wanted to haul ass, I had to make two trips -- Dolly Parton


We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were for the moment unpopular. - Edward R. Murrow, 1954

Ferlinghetti, Lawrence

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America


When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers. -- African proverb


If there's ever a problem, I film it and it's no longer a problem. It's a film - Andy Warhol

Final Judgement

Do not wait for the last judgment. It takes place every day - Al Camus

First Amendment

A few years back, a man high up in the CIA named Ray Cline was asked if the CIA, by its surveillance of protest organizations in the United States, was violating the free speech provision of the First Amendment. He smiled and said: 'It's only an amendment.' - Howard Zinn

What we have there is what should have been at least three separate amendments, and maybe as many as five, hooked together willy-nilly in one big Dr. Seuss animal of a nonstop sentence. It is as though a starving person, rescued at last, blurted out all the things he or she had dreamed of eating while staying barely alive on bread and water -- Kurt Vonnegut


There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot. - Steven Wright


But your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.
They're already overcrowded
From your dirty little war.
Now Jesus don't like killin'
No matter what the reason's for,
And your flag decal won't get you
Into Heaven any more.

- John Prine


"If I added spaghetti, the detained Italians sent me an engrossed testimonial and everybody else objected. If I put pierogi and mazovian noodles on the table, the Poles were happy and the rest disconsolate. Irish stew was no good for the English and English marmalade was gunpowder to the Irish. The Scotch mistrusted both. The Welsh took what they could get." -- Henry Curran, Ellis Island commissioner.


You can fool too many of the people too much of the time - James Thurber


The worm thinks it strange and foolish that man does not eat his books. - Rabindranath Tagore

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing - Anatole France

Every man is a fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists of not exceeding the limit. - Elbert Hubbard


[I have] found similar but greater interest in watching an aging Harvard professor negotiate the Widener Library steps with a large armful of books after a bad ice storm -- John Kenneth Galbraith

College football is a game which would be much more interesting if the faculty played instead of the students, and even more interesting if the trustees played. There would be a great increase in broken arms, legs, and necks, and simultaneously an appreciable diminution in the loss to humanity. - H. L. Mencken

Foreign Affairs

Come to our bracing desert
Where eternity is eventful
For the weather-glass
is set at Alas,
The thermometer at Resentful
Come to our well-run desert
Where anguish arrives by cable
And the deadly sins
May be bought in tins
With instructions on the label --
For the Time Being, WH Auden

In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark
And the living nations wait
Each sequestered in its hate -- In Memory of W B Yeats, WH Auden

History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives -- Abba Eban

A governmnent official explained to us that under Clinton our foreign policy was led by Jews who believed in the New Testament. Now our foreign policy under Bush is being led by Christians who believe in the Old Testament - TPR


Foreigner: A villain regarded with various and varying degrees of toleration, according to his conformity to the eternal standard of our conceit and the shifting one of our interests. - Ambrose Bierce


Fortune smiles on the well prepared -- Anonymous (Latin)

Fourth of July

That which distinguishes this day from all others is that both orators and artillerymen shoot blank cartridges. - John Burroughs, July 4, 1859


It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. - Ralph Waldo Emerson


A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves. - Edward R. Murrow

When the Iron Curtain fell, all of the West rejoiced that the East would become just as free as the West. It was never supposed to be the other way around. - Rick Falkvinge, founder and the leader of Swedish Pirate Party

Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
'Tis the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur; - you're straightway dangerous
And handled with a chain.

- Emily Dickenson

The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing - John Adams

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are people who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. That struggle might be a moral one; it might be a physical one; it might be both moral and physical, but it must be struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. - Frederick Douglass

We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. - Edward R. Murrow

Oppression and harassment are a small price to live in the land of the free - C. Montgomery Burns, The Simpsons

I never could believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden -- English republican Richard Rumbold on the scaffold, 1685

Those who want the government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide. -- Harry Truman

Unscrew the locks from the door! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs! -- Walt Whitman

Freedom is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear -- George Orwell

The greatest right in the world is the right to be wrong. - Harry Weinberger

Every new generation must wage a new war for freedom against new forces which seek through new devices to enslave mankind -- Progressive Party platform, 1924

I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations -- James Madison

It is my impression that the Capitol is now rather more like the Kremlin during Stalin's feisty reign than a place where the citizens used to wander about and feel at home . . . We have made so many enemies all around the world that, in the name of terrorism, a quite effective police state has ever so gradually replaced the old republics. . . When the people dislike the state as much as the state dislikes them, what happens next? -- Gore Vidal's memoirs

Slaves become so debased by their chains as to lose even the desire of breaking from them -- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The instinct of nearly all societies is to lock up anybody who is truly free. First, society begins by trying to beat you up. If this fails, they try to poison you. If this fails too, they finish by loading honors on your head. - Jean Cocteau

I prefer to die as a free man struggling to create a human community than as a pawn of empire. -- William Appleton Williams

Sir, there have existed in every age and every country, two distinct orders of men -- the lovers of freedom and devoted advocates of power. -- Robert Haynes, 1830

Freedom and whiskey go together - Robert Burns

Freedom of information

Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings, ‘The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.’ [laughter] But since the Freedom of Information Act, I’m afraid to say things like that.” - Henry Kissinger in Wikileaks transcript

Freedom of speech

Free thought, necessarily involving freedom of speech & press, I may tersely define thus: no opinion a law - no opinion a crime." - Alexander Berkman

In America you can say anything you want -- as long as it doesn't have any effect -- Paul Goodman

The censorial power is in the people over the government and not in the government over the people -- James Madison

If you can't say 'fuck,' you can't say 'fuck the government.' -- Lennie Bruce

An unconditional right to say what one pleases about public affairs is what I consider to be the minimum guarantee of the First Amendment -- Justice Hugo Black in NY Times Company v. Sullivan

Free press

Make no laws whatever concerning speech and speech will be free; so soon as you make a declaration on paper that speech shall be free, you will have a hundred lawyers proving that `freedom does not mean abuse, nor liberty license;' and they will define freedom out of existence. Let the guarantee of free speech be in every man's determination to use it, and we shall have no need of paper declarations. - Voltairine de Cleyre


My glory was I had such friends - Yeats


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man -- Mark Twain

It takes your enemy and your friend, working together to hurt you: the one to slander you, and the other to bring the news to you - Mark Twain


Always go to other people's funerals. Otherwise they won't come to yours. -- Yogi Berra

John Henry Faulk tells the story of Totsie who was run down by the Katy Flyer. His remains were so scattered that the family leased four acres, just to be safe. The minister said it was "the biggest funeral he had ever preached. Acreage-wise."


It would great to have a big ocean liner - and that is an important and exciting goal. But we don't have it - yet. We have a small oar-propelled boat. Let's work hard to turn that into a larger fishing boat, and we can do this. From there we can build a yet bigger boat; and by that time we will be able to reach out for and get a still bigger boat and then be in position to get our ocean liner. - Julius Nyerere

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present -- Albert Camus

The earth belongs in usufruct to the living -- Thomas Jefferson

Cause no harm to the seventh generation yet unborn -- Original Instructions to the Alkonkian people

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past -- Thomas Jefferson


Galbraith, John Kenneth

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.

Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain. Anything that is disagreeable must surely have beneficial economic effects.

Wealth, in even the most improbable cases, manages to convey the aspect of intelligence.

It has been the acknowledged right of every Marxist scholar to read into Marx the particular meaning that he himself prefers and to treat all others with indignation.

Much literary criticism comes from people for whom extreme specialization is a cover for either grave cerebral inadequacy or terminal laziness, the latter being a much cherished aspect of academic freedom.


I have learned through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power that can move the world. - Mahatma Gandhi

It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as fakir of a type well known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the vice regal palace . . . to parley on equal terms with the representatives of the king-emperor - Winston Churchill


"I fired MacArthur because he wouldn't respect the authority of the President. I didn't fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail." - Harry S. Truman


Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself, in all cases, as the ages and generations which preceded it. Man has no property in man, neither has any generation a property in the generations which are to follow -- Thomas Paine


Compose yourself, Archie. Why taunt me? Why upbraid me? I am merely a genius, not a god - Nero Wolfe, hero of the novels of Rex Stout

Genius is childhood recaptured. - Charles Baudelaire


If I wasn't hard, I wouldn't be alive. If I couldn't ever be gentle, I wouldn't deserve to be alive - Philip Marlowe in response to the question, "How can a hard man be so gentle?"


Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God? - Epicurus

War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption and the Ice Capades. If this is the best God can do, I'm not impressed. Results like this do not belong in the resume of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude - George Carlin

You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. - Anne Lamott

If God created us in his own image we have more than reciprocated - Voltaire

Some people are happy inside the church, some are happier outside. Those who prefer to stay outside should write Nature with a capital N. They should bless and venerate the Nature that composed mankind. That would leave a thin wall between them and those who are inside and write God with a capital G. If you knock, it can be heard on both sides. The disagreement is about the spelling of a word - Thor Heyerdahl

God don't make no mistakes. That's how he got to be God -- Archie Bunker

I sometimes think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability - Oscar Wilde

If only God would give me some clear sign. Like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank. - Woody Allen

It is impossible to imagine the universe run by a wise, just, omnipotent God, but it is quite easy to imagine it run by a board of gods. If such a board actually exists it operates precisely like the board of a corporation that is losing money. - HL Mencken

Call on God, but row away from the rocks. - Indian proverb

If God wants us to do a thing, He should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till He has done this before paying much attention to Him. — Samuel Butler


Golf is a good walk spoiled - Mark Twain


Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words -- Saint Francis of Assisi

In western formal choral tradition, there's an aim for a blend so you cannot distinguish where the parts are coming from. With congregational singing, I could drive up to the church and they could be singing and I could tell you who was there, because the individual timbres of a voice never disappear. That congregational style is one of the things I think is important for democracy -- the individual does not have to disappear, and it does not operate as an anti-collective expression - Bernice Johnson Reagon


The whole purpose of government is to see that the little fellow who has no special interest gets a fair deal - Harry S Truman

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. - George Bernard Shaw

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day. - Theodore Roosevelt

Corrupted by wealth and power, your government is like a restaurant with only one dish. They've got a set of Republican waiters on one side and a set of Democratic waiters on the other side. But no matter which set of waiters brings you the dish, the legislative grub is all prepared in the same Wall Street kitchen - Huey Long

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question. - Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

Every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed - IF Stone

As I get older . . . I become more convinced that good government is not a substitute for self-government - Dwight Morrow

The police state that politicians are building isn't some cartoony reproduction of Nazi Germany; it's an America of the future that looks much like the United States of today, but works as if the whole country has been turned into an airport security checkpoint. It'll be like Mexico, with everybody averting their eyes as the cops stroll by, but with better plumbing. It's a country that has a familiar flag, regular elections and outraged civil liberties columnists, but where it's easier than ever to get yourself arrested for things that our parents wouldn't have considered crimes - or just for annoying the wrong people. Yes, America is becoming a police state. But unless you pay attention, you might not notice until it's too late. - J.D. TUCCILLE

"The natural tendency of every government is to grow steadily worse -- that is, to grow more satisfactory to those who constitute it and less satisfactory to those who support it." - HL Mencken

When it shall be said in any country in the world, 'My poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive -- when these thing can be said, then may that country boast of its constitution and government." -- Thomas Paine

The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106 B.C

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government -- Thomas Jefferson

You take a billion here, and a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about some real money. -- Everett Dirksen

The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacence to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependency back again into bondage. - Attributed to Alexander Tytler

If people behaved like governments, you'd call the cops. - Kelvin Throop

The art of a government is the organization of idolatry - George Bernard Shaw

The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people what they need to have done, but cannot do at all or cannot do so well for themselves, in their separate or individual capacities. - Abraham Lincoln.


[Before meal] Benedictus Benedicat per Jesum Christum Dominum Nostrum. Amen

[After meal] Benedicto Benedicatur per Jesum Christum Dominum Nostrum. Amen


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. -Mark Twain


'A mysterious carriage of the body to cover the defects of the mind;' -- which definition of gravity, Yorick, with great imprudence, would say, deserved to be wrote in letters of gold. - Laurence Sterne, Tristam Shandy


It's a good thing we have gravity, or else when birds died they'd just stay right up there. Hunters would be all confused. - Steven Wright


Percival is a great man, but he is not a good man. -- Amy Lowell of her astronomer brother


You can't have everything. . . Where would you put it? - Steven Wright


Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell -- Edward Abbey


Certainly one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government,no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.... The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible." - Senator Hubert H. Humphrey


Habeas Corpus

Why suspend the habeas corpus in insurrections and rebellions? Examine the history of England. See how few of the cases of the suspension of the habeas corpus law have been worthy of that suspension. They have been either real treasons, wherein the parties might as well have been charged at once, or sham plots, where it was shameful they should ever have been suspected. Yet for the few cases wherein the suspension of the habeas corpus has done real good, that operation is now become habitual and the minds of the nation almost prepared to live under its constant suspension. -Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1788


Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down the stairs one step at a time -- Mark Twain.


Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go - Oscar Wilde

Let us all be happy and live within our means, even if we have to borrow the money to do it with. - Artemus Ward

What is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads? Albert Camus


[Harvard students] learn little more than how to carry themselves handsomely, and enter a room gently (which might as well be acquired at a dancing school) [and graduate] as great blockheads as ever, only more proud and self-conceited -- Benjamin Franklin


I hate the judge who loves money, the scribe who loves war, chiefs who do not guard their subjects, and nations without vigor.
I hate houses without dwellers, lands untilled, fields that bear no harvest.
Landless clans, the agents of error, the oppressors of truth.
I hate him who respects not father or mother, those who make strife among friends.
A country in anarchy, lost learning, and uncertain boundaries.
I hate journeys without safety, families without strength, lawsuits without reason.
Ambushes and treasons, faults in counsel, and justice unhonored.
I hate a man without a trade, a laborer without freedom, a society without teachers, false witness before a judge, the undeserving exalted to high position. -- Cadoc, poet of ancient Ireland.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel

But Hester Prynne, with a mind of native courage and activity, and for so long a period not merely estranged, but outlawed from society, had habituated herself to such latitude of speculation as was altogether foreign to the clergyman. She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness, as vast, as intricate, and shadowy as the untamed forest, amid the gloom of which they were now holding a colloquy that was to decide their fate. Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods. For years past she had looked from this estranged point of view at human institutions, and whatever priests or legislators had established; criticising all with hardly more reverence than the Indian would feel for the clerical band, the judicial robe, the pillory, the gallows, the fireside, or the church. The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers--stern and wild ones--and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss


If I'd known I was gonna live this long I'd have taken better care of myself. - Eubie Blake, at age 100

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain


The greatest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of the heart - a revolution which has to start with each one of us. - Dorothy Day


Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company - Mark Twain


Hell is truth seen too late - Anonymous

Maybe this world is another planet's hell - Aldous Huxley

Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company - Mark Twain


If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual -- Frank Herbert, "The Dosadi Experiment"


A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer - Ralph Waldo Emerson

This thing of being a hero, about the main thing to it is to know when to die - Will Rogers


There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know - Harry S. Truman

History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot. -- Mark Twain

A society without a history is like a man without a memory - Unknown

Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter. - African proverb

It has been said that though God cannot alter the past, historians can; it is perhaps because they can be useful to him in this respect that he tolerates their existence. - Samuel Butler

History is the sum total of the things they're not telling us. - Don DeLillo

To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be forever a child -- Cicero

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. -- Anonymous

I never realized that there was history, close at hand, beside my very own home. I did not realize that the old grave that stood among the brambles at the foot of our farm was history. -- Stephen Leacock

An account mostly false, of event unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools. - Ambrose Bierce

History repeats itself. That's one of the things that's wrong with history -- Clarence Darrow

History is nothing but a pack of tricks that we play upon the dead. -- Voltaire

We learn from history that we do not learn from history. -- George Frierich Wilhelm Hegel

History is a nightmare from which we are trying to awaken. -- James Joyce

To understand the choices open to people of another time, one must limit oneself to what they knew; see the past in its own clothes, as it were, not in ours. -- Barbara Tuchman

History would be an excellent thing if it only were true. --Tolstoy


Hollywood is a place where people from Iowa mistake each other for movie stars - Fred Allen


If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work. "Hello, can't work today. Still queer." -- Robin Tyler

The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That does not mean God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision - Lynn Lavner


Honesty is no substitute for experience -- Texas politician


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


Hope don't pay the cable - Anonymous

Horse sense

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. - W. C. Fields


A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty - Albert Einstein


A joke is a very serious thing. -- Winston Churchill

When I ad-lib something, I laugh. I laugh for the same reasons the audience does; I've never heard that joke before -- and I'm just as surprised as they are. -- Steve Allen


Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. - Reinhold Niebuhr

Hope has two beautiful daughters: anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to change them. - Saint Augustine

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. - Albert Camus


When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. - Mark Twain 


To those who have hunger, give bread. To those who have bread, give a hunger for Justice. - Latin American grace


The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable. -- Oscar Wilde


It takes your enemy and your friend, working together to hurt you: the one to slander you, and the other to bring the news to you - Mark Twain

Huxley Aldous

Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture. . . As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. - Neil Postman comparing Brave New World and 1984