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Quotes of the day: William Allen White

Published Monday, February 09, 2015 @ 11:00 PM EST
Feb 09 2015

William Allen White (February 10, 1868 - January 29, 1944) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American newspaper editor, politician, author, and leader of the Progressive movement. Between 1896 and his death, White became the iconic spokesman for middle America. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A little learning is not a dangerous thing to one who does not mistake it for a great deal.

Any appeasement of tyranny is treason.

Consistency is a paste jewel that only cheap men cherish.

Democracy is an experiment, and the right of the majority to rule is no more inherent than the right of the minority to rule; and unless the majority represents sane, righteous, unselfish public sentiment, it has no inherent right.

Every one expects to go further than his father went; every one expects to be better than he was born and every generation has one big impulse in its heart - to exceed all the other generations of the past in all the things that make life worth living.

Greatness, generally speaking, is an unusual quantity of a usual quality grafted upon a common man.

I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today!

I fear vastly more a futile, incompetent old age than I do any form of death.

I have never been bored an hour in my life. I get up every morning wondering what new strange glamorous thing is going to happen and it happens at fairly regular intervals.

I have tried to teach people there are three kicks in every dollar: one, when you make it; two, when you have it. The third kick it when you give it away- and it is the biggest kick of all.

If each man or woman could understand that every other human life is as full of sorrows, or joys, or base temptations, of heartaches and of remorse as his own... how much kinder, how much gentler he would be.

If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all the youthful vim and vigor, then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come on college campuses, the better world for tomorrow.

Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others.

Live for today. Multitudes of people have failed to live for today... What they have had within their grasp today they have missed entirely, because only the future has intrigued them.

My advice to the women of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.

Never use the word, 'very.' It is the weakest word in the English language; doesn't mean anything. If you feel the urge of 'very' coming on, just write the word, 'damn,' in the place of 'very.' The editor will strike out the word, 'damn,' and you will have a good sentence.

Peace without justice is tyranny.

Reason has never failed men. Only force and repression have made the wrecks in the world.

Since others have to tolerate my weaknesses, it is only fair that I should tolerate theirs.

The facts fairly and honestly presented; truth will take care of itself.

There is no insanity so devastating in man's life as utter sanity.

Whenever a free man is in chains we are threatened also. Whoever is fighting for liberty is defending America.

What's the matter with Kansas?

You can have no wise laws nor free enforcement of wise laws unless there is free expression of the wisdom of the people- and, alas, their folly with it. But if there is freedom, folly will die of its own poison, and the wisdom will survive.

Youth should be radical. Youth should demand change in the world. Youth should not accept the old order if the world is to move on. But the old orders should not be moved easily -- certainly not at the mere whim or behest of youth. There must be clash and if youth hasn't enough force or fervor to produce the clash the world grows stale and stagnant and sour in decay.


(February 10 is also the birthday of Boris Pasternak, Bertolt Brecht, and Doug Larson.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, William Allen White


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