Quotes of the day: Thomas Babington Macaulay

Published Friday, October 24, 2014 @ 11:58 PM EDT
Oct 24 2014

Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, PC (October 25, 1800 - December 28, 1859) was a British historian and Whig politician. He wrote extensively as an essayist and reviewer; his books on British history were hailed as literary masterpieces. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants.

A single breaker may recede; but the tide is evidently coming in.

American democracy must be a failure because it places the supreme authority in the hands of the poorest and most ignorant part of the society.

As civilization advances, poetry almost necessarily declines.

As freedom is the only safeguard of governments, so are order and moderation generally necessary to preserve freedom.

Every man who has seen the world knows that nothing is so useless as a general maxim.

Everybody's business is nobody's business.

Free trade, one of the greatest blessings which a government can confer on a people, is in almost every country unpopular.

I would rather be a poor man in a garret with plenty of books than a king who did not love reading.

Institutions purely democratic must, sooner, or later, destroy liberty or civilization or both.

It is possible to be below flattery as well as above it.

It may be laid as a universal rule that a government which attempts more than it ought will perform less.

More sinners are cursed at not because we despise their sins but because we envy their success at sinning.

No man in the world acts up to his own standard of right.

Nothing except the mint can make money without advertising.

People crushed by law have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws.

Perhaps no person can be a poet, or even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind.

Reform, that we may preserve.

The gallery in which the reporters sit has become a fourth estate of the realm.

The great cause of revolutions is this, that while nations move onward, constitutions stand still.

The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it.

The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

The object of oratory alone is not truth, but persuasion.

The perfect lawgiver is a just temper between the mere man of theory, who can see nothing but general principles, and the mere man of business, who can see nothing but particular circumstances.

The Puritans hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.

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

There is only one cure for the evils which newly acquired freedom produces, and that cure is freedom.

We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.

We must judge of a form of government by it's general tendency, not by happy accidents.


(October 15 is also the birthday of Pablo Picasso.)

Categories: Quotes of the day; Thomas Babington Macaulay

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Published Thursday, October 23, 2014 @ 8:18 PM EDT
Oct 23 2014

A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.
-Arthur C. Clarke

A great source of calamity lies in regret and anticipation; therefore a person is wise who thinks of the present alone, regardless of the past or future.
-Oliver Goldsmith

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
-John Barrymore

Beware of starting what you may later regret.
-Publilius Syrus

Fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence.
-Will Henry

Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.
-C.S. Lewis

I always look for a woman who has a tattoo. I see a woman with a tattoo, and I'm thinking, okay, here's a gal who's capable of making a decision she'll regret in the future.
-Richard Jeni

I bequeath all my property to my wife on the condition that she remarry immediately. Then there will be at least one man to regret my death.
-Heinrich Heine

I only regret getting caught. I don't regret anything else.
-Heidi Fleiss

I regret that, in our attempt to establish some standards, we didn't make them stick. We couldn't find a way to pass them on to another generation, really.
-Walter Cronkite

I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce.
-J. Edgar Hoover

I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regrets.
-D.H. Lawrence

I'm really glad that our young people missed the Depression, and missed the great big war. But I do regret that they missed the leaders that I knew. Leaders who told us when things were tough, and that we would have to sacrifice, and these difficulties might last awhile. They didn't tell us things were hard for us because we were different, or isolated, or special interests. They brought us together and they gave us a sense of national purpose.
-Ann Richards

If the chance ever comes to you to fall in love, grab it, every time. You might always live to regret it, but you won't find anything to beat it, and you won't know if it will come to you once more.
-Joseph Heller

In middle age we are apt to reach the horrifying conclusion that all sorrow, all pain, all passionate regret and loss and bitter disillusionment are self-made.
-Kathleen Norris

In the life of each of us, I said to myself, there is a place remote and islanded, and given to endless regret or secret happiness.
-Sarah Orne Jewett

It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.
-Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
-Arthur Miller

Never regret something that once made you smile.
-Amber Deckers

Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today, and you make your tomorrow.
-L. Ron Hubbard

Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience.
-Eleanor Hibbert

Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it's too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
-Oscar Wilde

Oh, Lord, it is not the sins I have committed that I regret, but those which I have had no opportunity to commit.
-Sheykh Ghalib

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for things we did not do that is inconsolable.
-Sydney J. Harris

Regret for wasted time is more wasted time.
-Mason Cooley

Regrets are illuminations come too late.
-Joseph Campbell

Some die because they feel everything, others because they feel nothing. Some are fools because they suffer no regrets, and others because they do.
-Baltasar Gracián

The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act; even when it has worked and he has not been caught.
-H.L. Mencken

The follies a man regrets most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity.
-Helen Rowland

The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you must accept regret.
-Henri Frédéric Amiel

The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it. If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner.
-Tallulah Bankhead

To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development.
-Oscar Wilde

We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.
-Lucy Maud Montgomery

You may regret your silence once, but you will regret your words often.
-Ian Gabirol

Your children make it impossible to regret your past. They're its finest fruits. Sometimes the only ones.
-Anna Quindlen

Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old Age a regret.
-Benjamin Disraeli


(October 24 is also the birthday of Moss Hart and Stephen Covey.)

Categories: Quotes of the day; Quotes on a topic; Regrets

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Quotes of the day: Michael Crichton

Published Wednesday, October 22, 2014 @ 7:12 PM EDT
Oct 22 2014

John Michael Crichton, MD (October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008) was an American best-selling author, physician, producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. His books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, and many have been adapted into films. In 1994 Crichton became the only creative artist ever to have works simultaneously charting at No. 1 in US television, film, and book sales (with ER, Jurassic Park, and Disclosure, respectively). (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A day is like a whole life. You start out doing one thing, but end up doing something else, plan to run an errand, but never get there... And at the end of your life, your whole existence has the same haphazard quality, too. Your whole life has the same shape as a single day.

A man can see by starlight, if he takes the time.

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.

All major changes are like death. You can't see to the other side until you are there.

All your life people will tell you things. And most of the time, probably ninety-five percent of the time, what they'll tell you will be wrong.

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.

Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice.

Endless presentation of conflict may interfere with genuine issue resolution.

Friendships are nice. So is competence.

Geniuses never pay attention.

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

I am certain there is too much certainty in the world.

I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree.

In our modern complex world, fundamentalism is dangerous because of its rigidity and its imperviousness to other ideas.

In the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don't know any better.

In the information society, nobody thinks. We expected to banish paper, but we actually banished thought.

It is especially difficult for modern people to conceive that our modern, scientific age might not be an improvement over the prescientific period.

It's better to die laughing than to live each moment in fear.

Let's be clear. The planet is not in jeopardy. We are in jeopardy. We haven't got the power to destroy the planet- or to save it. But we might have the power to save ourselves.

Like a bearded nut in robes on the sidewalk proclaiming the end of the world is near, the media is just doing what makes it feel good, not reporting hard facts. We need to start seeing the media as a bearded nut on the sidewalk, shouting out false fears. Its not sensible to listen to it.

Nobody smart knows what they want to do until they get into their twenties or thirties.

Science is as corruptible a human activity as any other.

The planet has survived everything, in its time. It will certainly survive us,

The purpose of life is to stay alive. Watch any animal in nature- all it tries to do is stay alive. It doesn't care about beliefs or philosophy. Whenever any animal's behavior puts it out of touch with the realities of its existence, it becomes exinct.

The romantic view of the natural world as a blissful Eden is only held by people who have no actual experience of nature.

There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago? When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden?

They didn't understand what they were doing. I'm afraid that will be on the tombstone of the human race. I hope it's not. We might get lucky.

To mix environmental concerns with the frantic fantasies that people have about one political party or another is to miss the cold truth- that there is very little difference between the parties, except a difference in pandering rhetoric.

We need to get environmentalism out of the sphere of religion. We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead.

What makes you think human beings are sentient and aware? There's no evidence for it. Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told- and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their 'beliefs.' The reason is that beliefs guide behavior which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion. Next question.

You know what's wrong with scientific power? It's a form of inherited wealth. And you know what assholes congenitally rich people are.

Categories: Michael Crichton; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Doris Lessing

Published Tuesday, October 21, 2014 @ 9:35 PM EDT
Oct 21 2014

Doris May Lessing (October 22, 1919 – November 17, 2013) was a Nobel prize-winning British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. Her novels include The Grass is Singing (1950), the sequence of five novels collectively called Children of Violence (1952–69), The Golden Notebook (1962), The Good Terrorist (1985), and five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979–1983). (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


I'm 88 years old and they can't give the Nobel to someone who's dead, so I think they were probably thinking they'd probably better give it to me now before I've popped off.

In university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools.

It can be considered a rule that the probable duration of an Empire may be prognosticated by the degree to which its rulers believe in their own propaganda.

It is terrible to destroy a person's picture of himself in the interests of truth or some other abstraction.

Parents should leave books lying around marked 'forbidden' if they want their children to read.

Small things amuse small minds.

Space or science fiction has become a dialect for our time.

That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.

The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.

There's only one real sin, and that is to persuade oneself that the second-best is anything but the second-best.

Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.

We spend our lives fighting to get people very slightly more stupid than ourselves to accept truths that the great men have always known.

What matters most is that we learn from living.

What society doesn't realize is that in the past, ordinary people respected learning. They respected books, and they don't now, or not very much. That whole respect for serious literature and learning has disappeared.

What's terrible is to pretend that the second-rate is the first- rate.

Why should we suppose that what we remember is more important than what we forget?


(October 22 is also the birthday of Timothy Leary.)

Categories: Doris Lessing; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Ursula K. Le Guin

Published Monday, October 20, 2014 @ 9:45 PM EDT
Oct 20 2014

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (b. October 21, 1929) is an American author of novels, children's books, and short stories, mainly in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. She has also written poetry and essays. First published in the 1960s, her work has often depicted futuristic or imaginary alternative worlds in politics, natural environment, gender, religion, sexuality and ethnography. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A wrong that cannot be repaired must be transcended.

All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them. We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don't, our lives get made up for us by other people.

Almost everything carried to its logical extreme becomes depressing, if not carcinogenic.

Animals do neither good nor evil. They do as they must do. We may call what they do harmful or useful, but good and evil belong to us, who chose to choose what we do.

Belief in heaven and hell is a big deal in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and some forms of doctrinaire Buddhism. For the rest of us it’s simply meaningless. We don’t live in order to die, we live in order to live.

Belief is the wound that knowledge heals.

Coercion is the least efficient means of obtaining order.

Excess is excrement.

Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one.

Go to bed; tired is stupid.

Great artists make the roads; good teachers and good companions can point them out. But there ain't no free rides, baby.

Great self-destruction follows upon unfounded fear.

Have you never thought how danger must surround power as shadow does light?

I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.

Injustice makes the rules, and courage breaks them.

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

It is of the nature of idea to be communicated: written, spoken, done. The idea is like grass. It craves light, likes crowds, thrives on crossbreeding, grows better for being stepped on.

It is only when science asks why, instead of simply describing how, that it becomes more than technology. When it asks why, it discovers Relativity. When it only shows how, it invents the atomic bomb, and then puts its hands over its eyes and says, 'My God, what have I done?'

Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread, re-made all the time, made new.

Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.

Most civilisations, perhaps, look shinier in general terms and from several light-years away.

My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.

One alien is a curiosity, two are an invasion.

Same old hypocrisy. Life is a fight, and the strongest wins. All civilization does is hide the blood and cover up the hate with pretty words!

Science fiction is not prescriptive; it is descriptive.

Suffering is dysfunctional, except as a bodily warning against danger. Psychologically and socially it’s merely destructive.

The counsel of the dead is not profitable to the living.

The danger in trying to do good is that the mind comes to confuse the intent of goodness with the act of doing things well.

The law of evolution is that the strongest survives... and the strongest, in the existence of any social species, are those who are most social. In human terms, most ethical.

The more defensive a society, the more conformist.

To claim power over what you do not understand is not wise, nor is the end of it likely to be good.

To hear, one must be silent.

To learn a belief without belief is to sing a song without the tune.

To oppose something is to maintain it.

Categories: Quotes of the day; Ursula K. Le Guin

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Quotes of the day: Lewis Grizzard

Published Sunday, October 19, 2014 @ 9:06 PM EDT
Oct 19 2014

Lewis McDonald Grizzard, Jr. (October 20, 1946 – March 20, 1994) was an American writer and humorist, known for his Southern demeanor and commentary on the American South. Although he spent his early career as a newspaper sports writer and editor, becoming the sports editor of the Atlanta Journal at age 23, he is much better known for his humorous newspaper columns in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a popular stand-up comedian and lecturer. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


By the time a man can afford to lose a golf ball, he can't hit it that far.

Chili Dawgs Always Bark at Night. (book title)

I come from a big family. As a matter of fact, I never got to sleep alone until I was married.

I don't think I'll get married again; every five years or so, I'll just find a woman I don't like and give her a house.

I grew up in a very large family in a very small house. I never slept alone until after I was married.

I had indeed seen a bright, beautiful light and had followed it, but it turned out to be a Kmart tire sale.

I have three ex-wives. I can't remember any of their names, so I just call 'em Plaintiff.

I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence.

If Love Were Oil, I'd Be About a Quart Low. (book title)

If soccer was an American soft drink, it would be Diet Pepsi.

It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.

Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

Naked for a Southern means you ain't got no clothes on. Nekkid means you ain't got no clothes on and you up to somethin'.

Never order barbeque in a place that also serves quiche.

Real estate agents are God's plague on mankind when locusts are out of season.

Sex hasn't been the same since women started enjoying it.

Shoot low, boys. They're ridin' Shetland ponies.

The public, more often than not, will forgive mistakes, but it will not forgive trying to wriggle and weasel out of one.

There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.

There is something wrong when you wait in line thirty minutes to get a hamburger that was cooked for ninety seconds an hour ago.

Women who drink white wine either want to get married, sell you a piece of real estate, or redecorate your house; either way, it's expensive.

Writing a daily column is like being married to a nymphomaniac. The first two weeks is fun.


(October 20 is also the birthday of Art Buchwald and Joyce Brothers.)

Categories: Lewis Grizzard; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: John le Carré

Published Saturday, October 18, 2014 @ 8:55 PM EDT
Oct 18 2014

David John Moore Cornwell (b. October 19, 1931), pen name John le Carré, is a British author of espionage novels. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Cornwell worked for the British intelligence services MI5 and MI6, and began writing novels under a pen name. His third novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) became an international best-seller, and it remains one of his best-known works. Following the success of this novel, he left MI6 to become a full-time author. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A committee is an animal with four back legs.

A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.

A good man knows when to sacrifice himself, a bad man survives but loses his soul.

A spy, like a writer, lives outside the mainstream population. He steals his experience through bribes and reconstructs it.

America has entered one of its periods of historic madness, but this is the worst I can remember.

Americans believe that if you know something, you should do something about it.

At 65, when you've seen the world shape up as I have, there are only two things you can do: laugh or kill yourself.

Blackmail is more effective than bribery.

Elections are a Western jerk-off.

Fools, most linguists. Damn all to say in one language, so they learn another and say damn all in that.

Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.

History keeps her secrets longer than most of us. But she has one secret that I will reveal to you tonight in the greatest confidence. Sometimes there are no winners at all. And sometimes nobody needs to lose.

I suffer from the same frustration that every decent American suffers from. That is, that you begin to wonder whether decent liberal instincts, decent humanitarian instincts, can actually penetrate the right-wing voice, get through the steering of American opinion by the mass media.

I think bankers will always get away with whatever they can get away with.

I think, increasingly, despite what we are being told is an ever more open world of communication, there is a terrible alienation in the ordinary man between what he is being told and what he secretly believes.

If there is one eternal truth of politics, it is that there are always a dozen good reasons for doing nothing.

If you're growing up in a chaotic world without reason, your instinct is to become a performer and control the circumstances around you. You lead from weakness into strength; you have an undefended back.

If you're reporting on human misery, you do well to share it.

Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.

Luck's just another word for destiny... either you make your own or you're screwed.

My definition of a decent society is one that first of all takes care of its losers, and protects its weak.

Never trade a secret, you'll always get the short end of the bargain.

No problem exists in isolation, one must first reduce it to its basic components, then tackle each component in turn.

Nothing in life... even a few broken bones, is without its reward.

Savages... are by nature rash. They have no middle gear. The middle gear of any man is self-discipline.

So odd to think of the Devil as a fumbler!

The friends of my friends are my friends.

The monsters of our childhood do not fade away, neither are they ever wholly monstrous. But neither, in my experience, do we ever reach a plane of detachment regarding our parents, however wise and old we may become. To pretend otherwise is to cheat.

The neglected are too easily killed.

The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press.

The things that are done in the name of the shareholder are, to me, as terrifying as the things that are done- dare I say it- in the name of God,

There is a big difference between fighting the cold war and fighting radical Islam. The rules have changed and we haven't.

There's one thing worse than change and that's the status quo.

We are in the process of doing things in defense of our society which may very well produce a society which is not worth defending.

We lie to one another every day, in the sweetest way, often unconsciously. We dress ourselves and compose ourselves in order to present ourselves to one another.

When you assimilate, you choose.

Why is it that so many men of small stature have more courage than men of size?

You can't make war against terror. Terror is a technique of battle.

(John le Carré interview with Amy Goodman in The Greanville Post, 12/02/2010)

Categories: John le Carre; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: A.J. Liebling

Published Friday, October 17, 2014 @ 9:09 PM EDT
Oct 17 2014

Abbott Joseph "A. J." Liebling (October 18, 1904 - December 28, 1963) was an American journalist who was closely associated with The New Yorker from 1935 until his death. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A city with one newspaper, or with a morning and an evening paper under one ownership, is like a man with one eye, and often the eye is glass.

A Louisiana politician can't afford to let his animosities carry him away, and still less his principles, although there is seldom difficulty in that department.

An Englishman teaching an American about food is like the blind leading the one-eyed.

Chicago seems a big city instead of merely a large place.

Cynicism is often the shamefaced product of inexperience.

Freedom of the press belongs to them who own one..

I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better.

I take a grave view of the press. It is the weak slat under the bed of democracy.

If the first requisite for writing well about food is a good appetite, the second is to put in your apprenticeship as a feeder when you have enough money to pay the check but not enough to produce indifference of the total.

If you just try long enough and hard enough, you can always manage to boot yourself in the posterior.

It is impossible for me to estimate how many of my early impressions of the world, correct and the opposite, came to me through newspapers. Homicide, adultery, no-hit pitching, and Balkanism were concepts that, left to my own devices, I would have encountered much later in life.

No sane man can afford to dispense with debilitating pleasures. No ascetic can be considered reliably sane.

People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.

Show me a poet, and I'll show you a shit.

Southern political personalities, like sweet corn, travel badly. They lose flavor with every hundred yards away from the patch. By the time they reach New York, they are like Golden Bantam that has been trucked up from Texas- stale and unprofitable. The consumer forgets that the corn tastes different where it grows.

The function of the press in society is to inform, but its role in society is to make money.

The pattern of a newspaperman's life is like the plot of 'Black Beauty.' Sometimes he finds a kind master who gives him a dry stall and an occasional bran mash in the form of a Christmas bonus, sometimes he falls into the hands of a mean owner who drives him in spite of spavins and expects him to live on potato peelings.

The science of booby-trapping has taken a good deal of the fun out of following hot on the enemy's heels.

The way to write is well, and how is your own business.

The world isn't going backward, if you can just stay young enough to remember what it was really like when you were really young.

There is no concept more generally cherished by publishers than that of the Undeserving Poor.

Two kinds of person are consoling in a dangerous time: those who are completely courageous, and those who are more frightened than you are.


(October 18 is the birthday of Logan Pearsall Smith. Lewis Mumford, and Matthew Henry.)

Categories: A.J. Liebling; Quotes of the day

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67 Observations on fear

Published Thursday, October 16, 2014 @ 7:11 PM EDT
Oct 16 2014

I don't want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny- Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.
-Margaret Chase Smith

A fool without fear is sometimes wiser than an angel with fear.
-Nancy Astor

A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it.
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear.
-Norman Vincent Peale

Almost all propaganda is designed to create fear. Heads of governments and their officials know that a frightened people is easier to govern, will forfeit rights it would otherwise defend, is less likely to demand a better life, and will agree to millions and millions being spend on 'Defense.'
-John Boynton Priestley

Americans are apocalyptic by nature. The reason why is that we've always had so much, so we live in deadly fear that people are going to take it away from us.
-Stephen King

An utterly fearless man is a far more dangerous comrade than a coward.
-Herman Melville

Authority has every reason to fear the skeptic, for authority can rarely survive in the face of doubt.
-Robert Lindner

Behind every bad law, a deep fear.
-Sarah Vowell

Being terrified but going ahead and doing what must be done- that's courage. The one who feels no fear is a fool, and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward.
-Piers Anthony

Between the black of yesterday and the white of tomorrow is the great gray of today, filled with nostalgia and fear of the future.
-Roger Zelazny

Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.
-Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

But I have noticed this about ambitious men, or men in power, that they fear even the slightest and least likely threat to it.
-Mary Stewart

But this principle of race is unfortunately one of the reasons why I fear war may always exist; because race implies difference, difference implies superiority, and superiority leads to predominance.
-Benjamin Disraeli

But what is all this fear of and opposition to oblivion? What is the matter with the soft darkness, the dreamless sleep?
-James Thurber

By writing my fears down on paper I will see that not only am I afraid of everything but that I also have really bad penmanship.
-Dan Goodman

Congress acknowledged that society's accumulated myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as are the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment.
-William J. Brennan, Jr.

Death will come in any case, and there is a long afterwards if the priests are right and nothing to fear if they are wrong.
-Graham Greene

Disturbances in society are never more fearful than when those who are stirring up the trouble can use the pretext of religion to mask their true designs.
-Denis Diderot

Do not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness.
-James Thurber

Don't fear your mortality, because it is this very mortality that gives meaning and depth and poignancy to all the days that will be granted to you.
-Paul Tsongas

Every fear hides a wish.
-David Mamet

Every man, through fear, mugs his aspirations a dozen times a day.
-Brendan Behan

Every thinking person fears nuclear war and every technological nation plans for it. Everyone knows it's madness, and every country has an excuse.
-Carl Sagan

Everyone believes very easily whatever they fear or desire.
-Jean de la Fontaine

Everything we do in life is based on fear, especially love.
-Mel Brooks

Everything worth doing starts with fear.
-Art Garfunkel

Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.
-Hunter S. Thompson

Fear best lends itself to the creation of Nature-defying illusions.
-H.P. Lovecraft

Fear cannot be without hope nor hope without fear.
-Benedict Spinoza

Fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind.
-Dale Carnegie

Fear feeds the imagination.
-Joseph Joubert

Fear is always with us, but we just don't have time for it.
-Hillary Rodham Clinton

Fear is like the microwavable version of respect. It doesn't taste as good, but it's much easier to make.
-Jack Collins

Fear is sharp-sighted, and can see things underground, and much more in the skies.
-Miguel de Cervantes

Fear is something to be moved through, not something to be turned from.
-Peter McWilliams

Fear is strange soil. Mainly it grows obedience like corn, which grows in rows and makes weeding easy. But sometimes it grows the potatoes of defiance, which flourish underground.
-Terry Pratchett

Fear is the antidote to boredom: the remedy must be stronger than the disease.
-Emile Cioran

Fear is the brother of hate.
-Larry Niven

Fear is the enemy of logic. There is no more debilitating, crushing, self-defeating, sickening thing in the world- to an individual or to a nation.
-Frank Sinatra

Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.
-John Adams

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
-Bertrand Russell

Fear is when you're stuck in traffic and you realize you've had two cups of coffee and a bran muffin.
-John Mendoza

Fear makes us feel our humanity.
-Benjamin Disraeli

Fear not for the future, weep not for the past.
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Fear of death increases in exact proportion to increase in wealth.
-Ernest Hemingway

Fears are educated into us and can, if we wish, be educated out.
-Karl Menninger

Feel the fear and do it anyway.
-Susan Jeffers

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity.
-Thomas J. Watson

From New England's Puritans we inherited the idea that America is blessed and ordained by God above all nations, but lost the fear of wrath and retribution.
-Sarah Vowell

God uses lust to impel men to marriage, ambition to office, avarice to earning, and fear to faith.
-Martin Luther

Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
-George Washington

Government, which does not and did not grant us our rights, must not now seek to deny them by using fear as its justification.
-Malcolm Wallop

Hate is the consequence of fear; we fear something before we hate; a child who fears noises becomes the man who hates them.
-Cyril Connolly

He who strikes terror into others is himself in continual fear.

History is full of people who out of fear or ignorance or the lust for power have destroyed treasures of immeasurable value which truly belong to all of us. We must not let it happen again.
-Carl Sagan

I am a member of a party of one, and I live in an age of fear.
-E.B. White

I can dodge folly without backing into fear.
-Rex Stout

I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.
-Alexis de Tocqueville

I do not fear an army of lions, if they are led by a lamb. I do fear an army of sheep, if they are led by a lion.
-Alexander the Great

I fear that the consumer who buys a Confederate flag coffee cup, which she will then put on her American flag place mat, is the sort of sophisticated thinker who is open-minded enough that she is capable of hating blacks and Arabs at the same time.
-Sarah Vowell

I have this fear that one day there's going to be a fire in the Senate and there are only going to be 57 Senators there and they'll all die because they won't have the 60 votes to allow themselves to leave the building.
-Barney Frank

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
-Nelson Mandela

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
-Frank Herbert

I understand that fear is my friend, but not always. Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.
-Hunter S. Thompson

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you should just stay home.
-James A. Michener

If your heart is full of fear, you won't seek truth; you'll seek security.
-William Sloane Coffin, Jr.


(October 17 is the birthday of Arthur Miller and Jimmy Breslin.)

Categories: Fear; Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: William O. Douglas

Published Wednesday, October 15, 2014 @ 11:53 PM EDT
Oct 15 2014

William Orville Douglas (October 16, 1898 – January 19, 1980) served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Douglas was confirmed at the age of 40, one of the youngest justices appointed to the court. His term, lasting 36 years and 209 days (1939–75), is the longest term in the history of the Supreme Court. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purposes when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.

Absolute discretion is a ruthless master. It is more destructive of freedom than any of man's other inventions.

All executive power- from the reign of ancient kings to the rule of modern dictators- has the outward appearance of efficiency.

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.

Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and the like.

Christianity has sufficient inner strength to survive and flourish on its own. It does not need state subsidies, nor state privileges, nor state prestige. The more it obtains state support the greater it curtails human freedom.

Free speech is not to be regulated like diseased cattle and impure butter. The audience... that hissed yesterday may applaud today, even for the same performance.

If discrimination based on race is constitutionally permissible when those who hold the reins can come up with "compelling" reasons to justify it, then constitutional guarantees acquire an accordion-like quality.

It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies. We need all the ingenuity we possess to avert the holocaust.

Literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.

Man is about to be an automaton; he is identifiable only in the computer. As a person of worth and creativity, as a being with an infinite potential, he retreats and battles the forces that make him inhuman.

No matter what the legislature may say, a man has the right to make his speech, print his handbill, compose his newspaper, and deliver his sermon without asking anyone's permission. The contrary suggestion is abhorrent to our traditions.

Religious experiences which are as real as life to some may be incomprehensible to others.

Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.

The conception of political equality from the Declaration of Independence, to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, to the Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Nineteenth Amendments could mean only one thing- one person, one vote.

The Constitution favors no racial group, no political or social group.

The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.

The critical point is that the Constitution places the right of silence beyond the reach of government.

The dissent we witness is a reaffirmation of faith in man; it is protest against living under rules and prejudices and attitudes that produce the extremes of wealth and poverty and that make us dedicated to the destruction of people through arms, bombs, and gases, and that prepare us to think alike and be submissive objects for the regime of the computer.

The Fifth Amendment is an old friend and a good friend, one of the great landmarks in men's struggle to be free of tyranny, to be decent and civilized.

The law is not a series of calculating machines where answers come tumbling out when the right levers are pushed.

The liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected.

The purpose of the University of Washington cannot be to produce black lawyers for blacks, Polish lawyers for Poles, Jewish lawyers for Jews, Irish lawyers for Irish. It should be to produce good lawyers for Americans and not to place First Amendment barriers against anyone.

The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.

The right to dissent is the only thing that makes life tolerable for a judge of an appellate court... the affairs of government could not be conducted by democratic standards without it.

The rules when the giants play are the same as when the pygmies enter the market.

The struggle is always between the individual and his sacred right to express himself and the power structure that seeks conformity, suppression, and obedience.

The way to combat noxious ideas is with other ideas. The way to combat falsehoods is with truth.

The whole, though larger than any of its parts, does not necessarily obscure their separate identities.

Violence has no constitutional sanction; and every government from the beginning has moved against it. But where grievances pile high and most of the elected spokesmen represent the Establishment, violence may be the only effective response.

We must realize that today's Establishment is the New George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.

We need to be bold and adventurous in our thinking in order to survive.

When a legislature undertakes to proscribe the exercise of a citizen's constitutional right to free speech, it acts lawlessly; and the citizen can take matters in his own hands and proceed on the basis that such a law is no law at all.


(October 16 is also the birthday of Oscar Wilde and Eugene O'Neill)

Categories: Quotes of the day; William O. Douglas

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