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Quotes of the day: Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Published Sunday, March 15, 2015 @ 7:06 PM EDT
Mar 15 2015

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (March 16, 1927 – March 26, 2003) was an American politician and sociologist. A member of the Democratic Party, he was first elected to the United States Senate for New York in 1976, and was re-elected three times (in 1982, 1988, and 1994). He declined to run for re-election in 2000. Prior to his years in the Senate, Moynihan was the United States' Ambassador to the United Nations and to India, and was a member of four successive presidential administrations, beginning with the administration of John F. Kennedy, and continuing through that of Gerald Ford. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A commonplace of political rhetoric has it that the quality of a civilization may be measured by how it cares for its elderly. Just as surely, the future of a society may be forecast by how it cares for its young.

A party of the working class cannot be dominated by former editors of the Harvard Crimson.

Am I embarrassed to speak for a less than perfect democracy? Not one bit. Find me a better one.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

Government cannot provide values to persons who have none, or who have lost those they had. It cannot provide inner peace. It can provide outlets for moral energies, but it cannot create those energies.

If the newspapers of a country are filled with good news, the jails of that country will be filled with good people.

If you don't have 30 years to devote to social policy, don't get involved.

It is time to dismantle government secrecy, this most pervasive of Cold War-era regulations. It is time to begin building the supports for the era of openness that is already upon us.

No one is innocent after the experience of governing. But not everyone is guilty.

Secrecy is for losers. For people who do not know how important the information really is.

Somehow liberals have been unable to acquire from life what conservatives seem to be endowed with at birth: namely, a healthy skepticism of the powers of government agencies to do good.

The central conservative truth is that is it culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.

The great corporations of this country were not founded by ordinary people. They were founded by people with extraordinary intelligence, ambition, and aggressiveness.

The institution of the family is decisive in determining not only if a person has the capacity to love another individual but in the larger social sense whether he is capable of loving his fellow men collectively. The whole of society rests on this foundation for stability, understanding and social peace.

The liberal left can be as rigid and destructive as any force in American life.

The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare.

There are some mistakes only someone with a Ph.D. can make.

What is not discussed, will not be advanced.


(March 16 is also the birthday of James Madison.)

Categories: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Quotes of the day


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