An archive of the Quote for the Moment and other quotes featured on the front page of this site, and on previous versions of the blog.

Lord Acton

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Henry B. Adams

One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible.

John Adams

People and nations are forged in the fires of adversity.

Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence, than the body can live and move without a soul.


Wisdom comes alone, through suffering.

George Allen Sr.

In sports, the only measure of success is victory. We must sacrifice everything to this end. The man who can accept defeat and take his salary with a smile is nothing more than a thief.

Woody Allen

Hey, you gonna start knocking my hobbies?

Marcel Archard

Women like silent men. They think they’re listening.


Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.

James Baldwin

Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart; for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Thou O Lord hast made us unto Thyself, and our hearts are restless, until they find rest in Thee.

The argument is over.

Faith is believing what you do not see; the reward of faith is to see what you believe.

Faith therefore is to believe that which you do not see, truth is to see what you have believed.

Keep on adding, keep on walking, keep on progressing: do not delay on the road, do not go back, do not deviate.

If there is no right where there is no justice, then most certainly it follows that there is no republic where there is no justice. (City of God, Book 19, Chapter 21)

To seek the highest good is to live well.

If we did not have rational souls, we would not be able to believe.

This entire most beautiful order of good things is going to pass away after its measure has been exhausted; for both morning and evening were made in them.

We make a ladder for ourselves out of our vices when we trample them.

Pick up and read, pick up and read.

What am I then, my God? What is my nature? A life varied, multifaceted and truly immense.

Ignorance itself is without a doubt a sin for those who do not wish to understand; for those who, however, cannot understand, it is the punishment of sin.

What is time, then? If nobody asks me, I know; if I have to explain it to someone who has asked me, I do not know.

To touch God a little with our mind is a great blessing, to grasp him is impossible.

We are and we know we are and we love to be it and know it.

When I seek you, my God, I seek a blessed life. I shall seek you, so that my soul may live.

Men go out to admire the heights of mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the broadest spans of rivers, the circle of ocean, the revolutions of stars, and leave themselves behind.

The mind commands the body, and it obeys: the mind commands itself, and it withstands.

It is not the punishment but the cause that makes the martyr.

The intellectual knowledge of eternal things pertains to wisdom; the rational knowledge of temporal things, to science.

Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.

A thing is not necessarily true because badly uttered, nor false because spoken magnificently.

Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked.

By faithfulness we are collected and wound up into unity within ourselves, whereas we had been scattered abroad in multiplicity.

Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.

Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.

Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.

Don’t you believe that there is in man a deep so profound as to be hidden even to him in whom it is?

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.

Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.

For, were it not good that evil things should also exist, the omnipotent God would almost certainly not allow evil to be, since beyond doubt it is just as easy for Him not to allow what He does not will, as for Him to do what He will.

Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again.

God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.

God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

Grant what thou commandest and then command what thou wilt.

He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.

Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.

I asked the whole frame of the world about my God; and he answered, ”I am not He, but He made me.”

I found thee not, O Lord, without, because I erred in seeking thee without that wert within.

I have learnt to love you late, Beauty at once so ancient and so new!

I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.”

I want my friend to miss me as long as I miss him.

If two friends ask you to judge a dispute, don’t accept, because you will lose one friend; on the other hand, if two strangers come with the same request, accept because you will gain one friend.

If we live good lives, the times are also good. As we are, such are the times.

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.

Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.

It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.

Love is the beauty of the soul.

Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.

Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.

No eulogy is due to him who simply does his duty and nothing more.

O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.

Order your soul; reduce your wants; live in charity; associate in Christian community; obey the laws; trust in Providence.

Our bodies are shaped to bear children, and our lives are a working out of the processes of creation. All our ambitions and intelligence are beside that great elemental point.

Passion is the evil in adultery. If a man has no opportunity of living with another man’s wife, but if it is obvious for some reason that he would like to do so, and would do so if he could, he is no less guilty than if he was caught in the act.

Patience is the companion of wisdom.

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.

Punishment is justice for the unjust.

Renouncement: the heroism of mediocrity.

Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.

The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.

The desire is thy prayers; and if thy desire is without ceasing, thy prayer will also be without ceasing. The continuance of your longing is the continuance of your prayer.

The greatest evil is physical pain.

The people who remained victorious were less like conquerors than conquered.

The purpose of all wars is peace.

The words printed here are concepts. You must go through the experiences.

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

There is no possible source of evil except good.

This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.

Thou must be emptied of that wherewith thou art full, that thou mayest be filled with that whereof thou art empty.

To abstain from sin when one can no longer sin is to be forsaken by sin, not to forsake it.

To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.

We cannot pass our guardian angel’s bounds, resigned or sullen, he will hear our sighs.

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.

What I needed most was to love and to be loved, eager to be caught. Happily I wrapped those painful bonds around me; and sure enough, I would be lashed with the red-hot pokers or jealousy, by suspicions and fear, by burst of anger and quarrels.

What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.

Who can map out the various forces at play in one soul? Man is a great depth, O Lord. The hairs of his head are easier by far to count than his feeling, the movements of his heart.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.

We have been silent witnesses of evil deeds. We have been drenched by many storms. We have learnt the arts of equivocation and pretense… Are we still of any use?

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace.

The cross is laid on every Christian. It begins with the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with His death — we give over our lives to death. Since this happens at the beginning of the Christian life, the cross can never be merely a tragic ending to an otherwise happy religious life. When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.

You love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal — it is a status, an office. Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man. It is not your love that sustains your marriage, but from now on, your marriage that sustains your love.

A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes…and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.

How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?

[T]here are three possible ways in which the church can act toward the state: the first place, as has been said, it can ask the state whether its actions are legitimate and accordance with its character as state; i.e., it can throw the state back on its responsibility. Second, it can aid the victims of any ordering of society, even if they do not belong to Christian community – “Do good to all people.” In both these courses of action, the church serves the free state in its free way, and at times when laws are changed the church may in no way withdraw itself from these two tasks. The third possibility is not just to bandage the victims under the wheel, but to jam a spoke in the wheel itself.

William F. Buckley Jr.

Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.

I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would affront your intelligence.

We are so concerned to flatter the majority that we lose sight of how very often it is necessary, in order to preserve freedom for the minority, let alone for the individual, to face that majority down.

All that is good is not embodied in the law; and all that is evil is not proscribed by the law. A well-disciplined society needs few laws; but it needs strong mores.

I profoundly believe it takes a lot of practice to become a moral slob.

I propose, simply, to expose what I regard as an extraordinarily irresponsible educational attitude that, under the protective label ‘academic freedom,’ has produced one of the most extraordinary incongruities of our time: the institution that derives its moral and financial support from Christian individualists and then addresses itself to the task of persuading the sons of these supporters to be atheistic socialists.

I myself believe that the duel between Christianity and atheism is the most important in the world. I further believe that the struggle between individualism and collectivism is the same struggle reproduced on another level. I believe that if and when the menace of Communism is gone, other vital battles, at present subordinated, will emerge to the foreground. And the winner must have help from the classroom.

Edmund Burke

It is therefore our business carefully to cultivate in our minds, to rear to the most perfect vigour and maturity, every sort of generous and honest feeling that belongs in our nature. To bring the dispositions that are lovely in private life into the service and conduct of the commonwealth; so to be patriots, as not to forget we are gentlemen.

Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

Bob Casey, Sr.

If you can pass lightly over wrongs done to your neighbor, if you can shrug off the suffering of others – especially children – then you are miscast for any position of public responsibility. You should return to private pursuits where less is expected of you. You are in the wrong business.

Willa Cather

Miracles seem to me to rest not so much on faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but on our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what was there always.

G.K. Chesterton

You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.

America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence; perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature. It enunciates that all men are equal in their claim to justice, that governments exist to give them that justice, and that their authority is for that reason just. It certainly does condemn anarchism, and it does also by inference condemn atheism, since it clearly names the Creator as the ultimate authority from whom these equal rights are derived.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

Love means to love that which is unlovable, or it is no virtue at all; forgiving means to pardon that which is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all – and to hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all.

The error of Diogenes lay in the fact that he omitted to notice that every man is both an honest man and a dishonest man. Diogenes looked for his honest man inside every crypt and cavern, but he never thought of looking inside the thief.

The wise man will follow a star, low and large and fierce in the heavens, but the nearer he comes to it the smaller and smaller it will grow, till he finds it the humble lantern over some little inn or stable. Not till we know the high things shall we know how lovely they are.

If Americans can be divorced for ‘incompatibility of temper,’ I cannot conceive why they are not all divorced. I have known many happy marriages, but never a compatible one. The whole aim of marriage is to fight through and survive the instant when incompatibility becomes unquestionable. For a man and a woman, as such, are incompatible.

Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.

Of a sane man there is only one safe delinition: he is a man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head.

I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.

No one can understand Paris and its history who does not understand that its fierceness is the balance and justification of its frivolity. It is called a city of pleasure; but it may also very specially be called a city of pain. The crown of roses is also a crown of thorns. Its people are too prone to hurt others, but quite ready also to hurt themselves. They are martyrs for religion, they are martyrs for irreligion; they are even martyrs for immorality.

There is nothing the matter with Americans except their ideals. The real American is all right; it is the ideal American who is all wrong.

Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers another.

Youth is the period in which a man can be hopeless. The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged.

The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.

Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.

There are many definite methods, honest and dishonest, which make people rich; the only “instinct” I know of which does it is that instinct which theological Christianity crudely describes as “the sin of avarice.”

But there are some people, nevertheless—and I am one of them—who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy.

It is not funny that anything else should fall down; only that a man should fall down…. Why do we laugh? Because it is a gravely religious matter: it is the Fall of Man. Only man can be absurd: for only man can be dignified.

“My country, right or wrong,” is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”

Those thinkers who cannot believe in any gods often assert that the love of humanity would be in itself sufficient for them; and so, perhaps, it would, if they had it.

The mere brute pleasure of reading—the sort of pleasure a cow must have in grazing.

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes—our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking around.

The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it—because it is a fact.

With any recovery from morbidity there must go a certain healthy humiliation.

The cosmos is about the smallest hole that a man can hide his head in. One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.

A stiff apology is a second insult…. The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.

What affects men sharply about a foreign nation is not so much finding or not finding familiar things; it is rather not finding them in the familiar place.

The aim of life is appreciation; there is no sense in not appreciating things; and there is no sense in having more of them if you have less appreciation of them.

The chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a colour. Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell.

Variability is one of the virtues of a woman. It avoids the crude requirement of polygamy. So long as you have one good wife you are sure to have a spiritual harem.

Soldiers have many faults, but they have one redeeming merit; they are never worshippers of force. Soldiers more than any other men are taught severely and systematically that might is not right. The fact is obvious. The might is in the hundred men who obey. The right (or what is held to be right) is in the one man who commands them.

Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc.

When you have really exhausted an experience you always reverence and love it. The two things that nearly all of us have thoroughly and really been through are childhood and youth. And though we would not have them back again on any account, we feel that they are both beautiful, because we have drunk them dry.

Ritual will always mean throwing away something: destroying our corn or wine upon the altar of our gods.

The average man votes below himself; he votes with half a mind or a hundredth part of one. A man ought to vote with the whole of himself, as he worships or gets married. A man ought to vote with his head and heart, his soul and stomach, his eye for faces and his ear for music; also (when sufficiently provoked) with his hands and feet. If he has ever seen a fine sunset, the crimson colour of it should creep into his vote…. The question is not so much whether only a minority of the electorate votes. The point is that only a minority of the voter votes.

The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us.

Most Americans are born drunk, and really require a little wine or beer to sober them. They have a sort of permanent intoxication from within, a sort of invisible champagne…. Americans do not need to drink to inspire them to do anything, though they do sometimes, I think, need a little for the deeper and more delicate purpose of teaching them how to do nothing.

If you do not understand a man you cannot crush him. And if you do understand him, very probably you will not.

The artistic temperament is a disease that affects amateurs…. Artists of a large and wholesome vitality get rid of their art easily, as they breathe easily or perspire easily. But in artists of less force, the thing becomes a pressure, and produces a definite pain, which is called the artistic temperament.

All good men are international. Nearly all bad men are cosmopolitan. If we are to be international we must be national.

Among the Very Rich you will never find a really generous man, even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egoistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.

Cruelty is, perhaps, the worst kind of sin. Intellectual cruelty is certainly the worst kind of cruelty.

Man is an exception, whatever else he is. If he is not the image of God, then he is a disease of the dust. If it is not true that a divine being fell, then we can only say that one of the animals went entirely off its head.

Man seems to be capable of great virtues but not of small virtues; capable of defying his torturer but not of keeping his temper.

We are to regard existence as a raid or great adventure; it is to be judged, therefore, not by what calamities it encounters, but by what flag it follows and what high town it assaults. The most dangerous thing in the world is to be alive; one is always in danger of one’s life. But anyone who shrinks from that is a traitor to the great scheme and experiment of being.

He said ‘If these were silent the very stones would cry out.’ With these words He called up all the wealth of artistic creation that has been founded on this creed. With those words He founded Gothic architecture. For in a town like this, which seems to have grown Gothic as a wood grows leaves — anywhere and anyhow — any odd brick or moulding may be carved off into a shouting face. The front of vast buildings is thronged with open mouths, angels praising God, or devils defying Him. Rock itself is racked and twisted, until it seems to scream. The miracle is accomplished; the very stones cry out.

Winston Churchill

We are joined together, shedding our blood side by side, struggling for the same ideals, until the triumph of the great causes which we serve shall be made manifest… Then, indeed, there will be a Day of Thanksgiving, one in which all the world will share.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

I like a man who grins when he fights.

Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most times he will pick himself up and carry on.

We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

The nose of the bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go.

We shall have no truce or parley with you, or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst–and we will do our best. Perhaps it will be our turn soon. Perhaps it will be our turn now.

Political ability is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterward to explain why it didn’t happen.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Let all of us who are here remember that we are on the stage of history, and that whatever our station may be, and whatever part we have to play, great or small, our conduct is liable to be scrutinized not only by history but by our own descendants.

We are often tempted to ask ourselves what we gained by the enormous sacrifices made by those to whom this memorial is dedicated. But that was never the issue with those who marched away. They only saw the light shining on the clear path to duty. They only saw their duty to resist oppression, to protect the weak, to vindicate the profound but unwritten Law of Nations, to testify to truth and justice and mercy among men. They never asked the question, “What shall we gain?” They asked only the question, “Where lies the right?”

Francis Cianfrocca

The whole history of 20th Century American letters can be understood as the titanic, existential struggle of small, bald Jewish men to get laid. (No wonder Hemingway killed himself.) But in the 21st Century, literature is all about the problems of Jewish men who can get laid at will and are left asking “Is that all there is?”


Our country claims a share of our lives.

While the sick man has life there is hope.

Bill Clinton

You’d have had to throw me out. (on the 22nd Amendment)

Calvin Coolidge

Our is an age of science and abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration of Independence. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp.

Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

There is only one form of political strategy in which I have any confidence, and that is to try to do the right thing and sometimes succeed.

The chief business of the American people is business.

Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business.

The more I study it [the Constitution], the more I have come to admire it, realizing that no other document devised by the hand of man ever brought so much progress and happiness to humanity.

It is difficult for men in high office to avoid the malady of self-delusion.

No person has ever been honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.

We must realize that human nature is about the most constant thing in the universe and that the essentials of human relationship do not change. We must frequently take our bearings from these fixed stars of our political firmament if we expect to hold a true course.

A wholesome regard for the memory of the great men of long ago is the best assurance to a people of a continuation of great men to come, who shall be able to instruct, to lead, and to inspire.

Honorable Senators: My sincerest thanks I offer you. Conserve the firm foundations of our institutions. Do your work with the spirit of a soldier in the public service. Be loyal to the Commonwealth and to yourselves and be brief; above all be brief.

I think the American public wants a solemn ass as a President and I think I’ll go along with them.

I’ve noticed that nothing I’ve never said has hurt me.

If you don’t say anything, you won’t be called on to repeat it.

Do the day’s work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. If it be to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do that. Expect to be called a stand-patter, but don’t be a stand-patter. Expect to be called a demagogue, but don’t be a demagogue. Don’t hesitate to be as revolutionary as science. Don’t hesitate to be as reactionary as the multiplication table. Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. Don’t hurry to legislate. Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation.

The President gets the best advice he can find, uses the best judgment at his command, and leaves the event in the hands of Providence.

There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.

Of course, almost every Democrat thinks the sovereign remedy for any of our ills is the appropriation of public money.

It is a great advantage to a president, and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know that he is not a great man.

He was against it. (responding to Mrs. Coolidge asking what the minister thought of sin)

I see his monument is still there. (in response to disparagement of George Washington)

I feel I no longer fit in with these times.

Not unmindful of my son John, I give all my estate, both real and personal, to my wife, Grace Coolidge, in fee simple. (The entire text of his last will and testament)

Ultimately, property rights and personal rights are the same thing. The one cannot be preserved if the other be violated.

America seeks no earthly empire built on blood and force. No ambition, no temptation, lures her to thought of foreign dominions. The legions which she sends forth are armed, not with the sword, but with the cross. The higher state to which she seeks the allegiance of all mankind is not of human, but of divine origin. She cherishes no purpose save to merit the favor of Almighty God. (Inaugural Address)

I thought I could swing it. (on inheriting the Presidency)

Alexis de Tocqueville

The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.

Countless little people, humble people, throughout American society, expend their efforts in caring and in the betterment of the community, blowing on their hands, pitting their small strength against the inhuman elements of life. Unheralded and always inconspicuous they sense that they are cooperating with a purpose and a spirit that is at the center of creation. The Constitution of their nation undergirds and strengthens this activity.

There are at the present time two great nations in the world—the Russians and the Americans. The American relies upon his personal interest to accomplish his ends and gives free scope to the unguided exertions and common sense of the people. The Russian centers all his authority of society in a single arm. The principal instrument of the former is freedom; of the latter, servitude. Their starting point is different and their courses are not the same; yet each of them seems marked by the will of Heaven to sway the destinies of half the globe.

In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.

It is easy to see that, even in the freedom of early youth, an American girl never quite loses control of herself; she enjoys all permitted pleasures without losing her head about any of them, and her reason never lets the reins go, though it may often seem to let them flap.

Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic.

There are two things which will always be very difficult for a democratic nation: to start a war and to end it.

Benjamin Disraeli

The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.

I never deny, I never contradict. I sometimes forget.

Youth is a blunder, manhood a struggle, old age a regret.

Albert Einstein

I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.

The important thing is not to stop questioning.

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.

Before God we are equally wise – and equally foolish.

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.

Dwight Eisenhower

It is not enough merely to realize how freedom has been won. Essential also is it that we be ever alert to all threats to that freedom…. One danger arises from too great a concentration of power in the hands of any individual or group: The power of concentrated finance, the power of selfish pressure groups, the power of any class organized in opposition to the whole — any one of these, when allowed to dominate, is fully capable of destroying individual freedom as is power concentrated in the political head of state.

As quickly as you start spending federal money in large amounts, it looks like free money.

Morale is the greatest single factor in successful wars.

Freedom from fear and injustice and oppression will be ours only in the measure that men who value such freedom are ready to sustain its possession — to defend it against every thrust from within and without.

We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it.

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Always do what you are afraid to do.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Benjamin Franklin

Experience is a dear teacher, but fools will learn at no other.

In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.

Virtue alone is sufficient to make a man great, glorious and happy.

Robert Frost

A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.

A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.

The world is full of willing people; some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.

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

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know.

Jonah Goldberg

(I)’ve gotten a lot of traction out of my seemingly banal observation that it is highly improbable that the United States will ever become a Nazi-like or otherwise totalitarian nation. For some reason, this is the sort of obvious statement which strikes lots of folks as shocking or controversial, even though it’s only slightly less of a “Well, duh” assertion than saying, “The oceans will not turn into diet Mr. Pibb in our lifetimes.”

Anyway, the gist of the disagreement between Europe and America is the ‘peens think they achieved lasting peace through endless conversations in Swiss hotels with bottles of bubbly water and plates of runny cheese scattered about the table. Americans think the reason Europeans have achieved lasting peace has something to do with the fact that every time these conversations broke out into full-blown brawls, the United States marched into the room and imposed order like a parent getting the kids to stop wrestling over the remote control. This is a profound difference in perspectives and a profound example of how history informs ideology. The Europeans think their “miracle” was achieved through talk. Americans think this miracle was achieved through tanks. And that is all the difference in the world.

Some pro-war arguments are very strong, some less so. But you have to add them all up together and look at the final tally. So: Is Iraq a brutal totalitarian regime? Check! Is it a proven threat to its neighbors? Check! Is it a proven threat to its own people? Check! Is it a proven threat to our allies? Check! Is it willing to export terrorism abroad? Check! Is it likely that if it got weapons of mass destruction, it would use them recklessly? Check! Is it working very hard to get weapons of mass destruction? Check! Would Saddam’s people be better off without him? Check! Would we and our allies be better off without him? Check! Do we have the power and capabilities to get rid of him without paying too high a cost? Check! And, would getting rid of him make it less likely that another September 11 would “happen again”? Check.

Longer lines at airports do not a police state make.

What’s exceptional about Europe and America is not that they had slaves, it’s that they ended slavery.

Hypocrisy is bad, but it’s not the worst vice in the world. If I declared “murder is wrong” and then killed somebody, I would hope that the top count against me would be homicide, not hypocrisy. Liberal elites — particularly in Hollywood — believe that hypocrisy is the gravest sin in the world, which is why they advocate their own lifestyles for the entire world: Sleep with whomever you want, listen to your own instincts, be true to yourself, blah, blah, blah. Our fear of hypocrisy is forcing us to live in a world where gluttons are fine, so long as they champion gluttony.

(W)henever I read liberals reporting about the goings-on of conservatives I always get the nature-documentary vibe. A liberal reporter puts on his or her Dian Fossey hat in order to attempt to write another installment of Conservatives in the Mist. I’ve followed this particular brand of reporting for years, it’s almost a fetish of mine. Most attempts fail. Of these lesser varieties, there’s fear (”Troglodytes!”), mockery (”Irrelevant troglodytes!”), condescension (”I had to explain to them they’re troglodytes.”), bewilderment (”Why don’t they understand they’re troglodytes?”), astonishment (Dear God, they’re not all troglodytes!”), and a few combinations of all the above.

Os Guinness

He who sups with the devil had better have a long spoon.

The problem is not that Christians have disappeared, but that Christian faith has become so deformed. Under the influence of modernity, we modern Christians are literally capable of winning the world while losing our own souls.

Early hunters on safari in Africa used to build their fires high at night to keep away wild animals. But when the fires burned low in the early hours of the morning, the hunters would see all around them the approaching outlined shapes of animals and a ring of encircling eyes in the darkness. As we have witnessed the erosion and breakdown of the Christian culture of the west, so we have seen the vacuum filled by an upsurge of ideas that would have been unthinkable when the fires of Christian culture were high.

Truth matters supremely because in the end, without truth there is no freedom. Truth, in fact, is essential to freedom; it is freedom, and the only way to a free life lies in becoming a person of truth and learning to live with truth.

It’s often said that there are three requirements for a fulfilling life. The first two – a clear sense of personal identity and a strong sense of personal mission – are rooted in the third: a deep sense of life’s meaning. In our time especially, many people are spurred to search for that meaning because they’re haunted by having too much to live with and too little to live for.

Who hasn’t wished, perhaps even prayed, to be excused the consequence of some deed just this once? What have we not promised, if only the teacher never sees or our spouse never knows? There’s nothing, it seems, we will not vow for tomorrow, if only today we gain a little more time, a little more success, a little more pleasure.

Far from ushering in a brave, new world of enlightenment and freedom, the radical skepticism of today’s new sophists actually sounds the death knell of Western civilization… Postmodernism’s current assault on truth is the cultural vanguard of developments that amount to a profound crisis of cultural authority in the West – a crisis in beliefs, traditions and ideals that have been decisive for Western civilization.

Alexander Hamilton

The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.

Jesse Helms

Every day these buildings are closed, the Republic grows stronger. (on the government shutdown)

Henry VIII

I would split the earth in two like an apple, and fling the halves into the void! (apocryphal)

Patrick Henry

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone: it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.”

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.

Hank Hill

Butane is a bastard gas.

Hey, now, if Ron Reagan dyed his hair – and I’m not saying he did – it was only to show his strength to the Communists.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The war on poverty has been replaced by the war on the poor and the most defenseless.

A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Henry Kissinger

The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.

The choice of speechwriters always determined the tone and not infrequently the substance of a Presidential speech. The common conception is that speechwriters are passive instruments who docilely craft into elegant prose the policy thought of their principals. On the contrary, the vast majority of them are frustrated principals themselves who seek to use their privileged position to put over their own ideas.

Charles Krauthammer

This is not the Apocalypse. But it is excellent preparation for it.

Robert E. Lee

You must be careful how you walk, and where you go, for there are those following you who will set their feet where yours are set.

The education of a man is never completed until he dies.

There is a terrible war coming, and these young men who have never seen war cannot wait for it to happen, but I tell you, I wish that I owned every slave in the South, for I would free them all to avoid this war.

C.S. Lewis

How far have I got? Just as far, I think, as a widower of another sort who would stop, leaning on his spade, and say in answer to our inquiry, ‘Thank’ee. Mustn’t grumble. I do miss her something dreadful. But they say these things are sent to try us.’ We have come to the same point; he with his spade, and I, who am not now much good at digging, with my own instrument. But of course one must take ’sent to try us’ the right way. God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial he makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down. (On grieving the death of his wife)

Or say there are two kinds of love: we love wise and kind and beautiful people because we need them, but we love (or try to love) stupid and disagreeable people because they need us. This second kind is the more divine, because that is how God loves us: not because we are lovable but because He is love, not because He needs to receive but because He delights to give.

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies, The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

[S]uch is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive,’ or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity.’ In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

…But there is something about this endless examining, quite apart from the labour, which bothers me. It sets me wondering about the whole system under which you, as well as we, now live. Behind all these closely written sheets which I have to read every year, even behind the worst of them, lie hours of hard, long work. Even the bad candidates are doing their best and have been trained up to this ever since they went to school. And naturally enough: for in the Democracies now, as formerly in China under the mandarin system, success in competitive examinations is the only moyen de parvenir*, the road from elementary school to the better schools, and thence to college, and thence to the professions. (You still have a flourishing alternative route to desirable jobs through business which is largely disappearing with us: but it is at least equally competitive).

This of course is what Democratic education means – give them all an equal start and let the winners show their form. Hence Equality of Opportunity in practice means ruthless competition during those very years which, I can’t help feeling, nature meant to be free and frolicsome. Can it be good, from the age of 10 to the age of 23, to be always preparing for an exam, and always knowing that your whole worldly future depends on it: and not only knowing it, but perpetually reminded of it by your parents and masters? Is this the way to breed a nation of people in psychological, moral, and spiritual health? (N.B. boys are now taught to regard Ambition as a virtue. I think we shall find that up to the XVIIIth Century, and back into Pagan times, all moralists regarded it as a vice and dealt with it accordingly).

God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe already foreseeing – or should we say “seeing”? there are no tenses in God – the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of the back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a “host” who deliberately creates His own parasites; cause us to be that we may exploit and “take advantage” of Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.

James Lileks

The end result of a fascist regime is always this: a man who seeks advancement by proposing a children’s jail; a smarter man who sees the political advantage of building one; the men who lock the doors and make the gruel with dead empty hearts, and the man who worries what will happen to him if the jail is found wanting.

Sleep the sleep of the just.

And the dialogue! If it weren’t for Woody Allen movies, the tin industry would collapse.

In 1941, people came home from work on an autumn evening, noted the quick fall of the sun, the chill in the air; they saw the gray scarves unraveling from the smokestacks, heard the shrieks of the children as they came up the walk, and they tucked the bad news under their arm, straightened their hat brim, and thought: Life is good. Not always; not everywhere. But it’s good here and now, and that has to count for something. Or nothing counts for anything.

Abraham Lincoln

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.

We live in the midst of alarms; anxiety beclouds the future; we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read.

The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.

John Locke

Though the works of nature, in every part of them, sufficiently evidence a Deity; yet the world made so little use of their reason, that they saw him not, where, even by the impressions of himself, he was easy to be found. Sense and lust blinded their minds in some, and a careless inadvertency in others, and fearful apprehensions in most (who either believed there were, or could not but suspect there might be, superior unknown beings) gave them up into the hands of their priests to fill their heads with false notions of the deity, and their worship with foolish rites, as they pleased; and what dread or craft once began, devotion soon made sacred, and religion immutable. In this state of darkness and ignorance of the true God, vice and superstition held the world; nor could any help be had or hoped for from reason, which could not be heard, and was judged to have nothing to do in the case: the priests every where, to secure their empire, having excluded reason from having anything to do in religion. And in the crowd of wrong notions, and invented rites, the world had almost lost the sight of the one only true God. The rational and thinking part of mankind, ’tis true, when they sought after him, found the one, supreme, invisible God: but if they acknowledged and worshipped him, it was only in their own minds. They kept this truth locked up in their own breasts as a secret, nor ever durst venture it amongst the people, much less the priests, those wary guardians of their own creeds and profitable inventions.

Vince Lombardi

I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.

George MacDonald

The one principle of hell is—’I am my own.’

Do the things you know, and you shall learn the truth you need to know.

Nothing makes one feel so strong as a call for help.

How strange this fear of death is! We are never frightened at a sunset.

But for money and the need of it, there would not be half the friendship in the world. It is powerful for good if divinely used. Give it plenty of air and it is sweet as the hawthorn; shut it up and it cankers and breeds worms.

To be trusted is a greater complement than to be loved.

James Madison

Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.

The essence of government is power, and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse.

We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

Somerset Maugham

When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me.

Cormac McCarthy

Here a year or two back me and Loretta went to a conference in Corpus Christi and I got set next to this woman, she was the wife of somebody or other. And she kept talking about the right wing this and the right wing that. I ain’t even sure what she meant by it. The people I know are mostly just common people. Common as dirt, as the sayin goes. I told her that and she looked at me funny. She thought I was sayin somethin bad about em, but of course that’s a high compliment in my part of the world. She kept on, kept on. Finally told me, said: I don’t like the way this country is headed. I want my granddaughter to be able to have an abortion. And I said well mam I don’t think you got any worries about the way the country is headed. The way I see it goin I don’t have much doubt but what she’ll be able to have an abortion. I’m going to say that not only will she be able to have an abortion, she’ll be able to have you put to sleep. Which pretty much ended the conversation.

Dan McLaughlin

Yes, Barack Obama does speak the language of Christianity – but unlike most religious politicians, he always seems to use language that places himself in the role of the Lord.

In politics, you can tell a man’s vices by his friends, and his virtues by his enemies.

H.L. Mencken

A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.

Explanations exist; they have existed for all times, for there is always an easy solution to every human problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense.

No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

Time is the great legalizer, even in the field of morals.

Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.

The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.

Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone might be looking.

The value the world sets upon motives is often grossly unjust and inaccurate.

A professor must have a theory as a dog must have fleas.

The legislature, like the executive, has ceased to be even the creature of the people: it is the creature of pressure groups, and most of them, it must be manifest, are of dubious wisdom and even more dubious honesty. Laws are no longer made by a rational process of public discussion; they are made by a process of blackmail and intimidation, and they are executed in the same manner. The typical lawmaker of today is a man wholly devoid of principle—a mere counter in a grotesque and knavish game…. If the right pressure could be applied to him he would be cheerfully in favor of chiropractic, astrology or cannibalism.

Markos Moulitsas

I always felt inadequate for not having boobs.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Unable to distinguish between our friends and our enemies, he has adopted our enemies’ view of the world. (On Jimmy Carter)

The United States rises to declare before the General Assembly of the United Nations, and before the world, that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, and it will never acquiesce in this infamous act. (In response to Zionism is Racism motion, 1975)

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.

There is one unmistakable lesson in American history: A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations about the future — that community asks for and gets chaos… And it is richly deserved.

This is a back-room deal, born out of a squalid politics. Everything we had thought we would not see happening to education is happening here. We risk the politicization of education itself, and that it will come about in ways that the system of education itself will not be able to resist. (on the creation of the Dept of Ed)

We are each entitled to our own opinion, but no one is entitled to his own facts.

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

Am I embarrassed to speak for a less than perfect democracy? Not one bit. Find me its equal. Do I suppose there are societies which are free of sin? No, I don’t. Do I think ours is, on balance, incomparably the most hopeful set of human relations the world has? Yes, I do. Have we done obscene things? Yes, we have. How did our people learn about them? They learned about them on television. In the newspapers.

On that note, class is concluded. (ending his final news conference as a Senator)


History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.

Walker Percy

Some are rewarded much for doing what they hate. But I am a man rewarded little for doing what I love — so I envy no man.

Now, I am perfectly willing to believe Flannery O’Connor when she said, and she wasn’t kidding, that the modern world is a territory largely occupied by the devil. No one doubts the malevolence abroad in the world. But the world is also deranged. What interests me is not the malevolence of man — so what else is new? — but his looniness. The looniness, that is to say, of the “normal” denizen of the Western world who, I think it fair to say, doesn’t know who he is, what he believes, or what he is doing.

The Judeo-Christian notion that man is more than an organism in an environment, more than an integrated personality, more even than a mature and creative individual, as the phrase goes… He is a wayfarer and a pilgrim.

I am primarily interested in decline, fall, and what are the options.

It is the century of the love of death. I am not talking just about Verdun or the Holocaust or Dresden or Hiroshima. I am talking about a subtler form of death, a death in life, of people who seem to be living lives which are good by all sociological standards and yet seem to be more dead than alive. Whenever you have a hundred thousand psychotherapists talking about being life-affirming, and a million books about life enrichment, you can be sure there is a lot of death around.

Christ, if heaven is full of Southern Baptists, I’d rather rot in hell with Saladin and Achilles.

Ronald Reagan

I had a nightmare last night. I dreamed I owned a laundromat in Berkeley.

No weapon in any arsenal in the world is as formidable as the will and the moral courage of free men and women.

I never thought of myself as a great man, just a man committed to great ideas. I’ve always believed that individuals should take priority over the state. History has taught me that this is what sets America apart — not to remake the world in our image, but to inspire people everywhere with a sense of their own boundless possibilities. There’s no question I am an idealist, which is another way of saying I am an American.

There is no security, no safety, in the appeasement of evil. It must be the core of Western policy that there be no sanctuary for terror. And to sustain such a policy, free men and free nations must unite and work together.

Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.

They call their policy “accommodation.” And they say if we only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he will forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer – not an easy answer – but simple… [The spectre] our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face is that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and appeasement does not give you a choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. We are told that the problem is too complex for a simple answer. They are wrong. There is no easy answer, but there is a simple answer: We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right. And this policy of accommodation asks us to accept the greatest possible immorality.

For us to ignore by inaction the slaughter of American civilians and American soldiers, whether in nightclubs or airline terminals, is simply not in the American tradition. …Self-defense is not only our right, it is our duty.

Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that’s now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills

and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated.

We are not a warlike people. Nor is our history filled with tales of aggressive adventures and imperialism, which might come as a shock to some of the placard painters in our modern demonstrations. The lesson of Vietnam, I think, should be that never again will young Americans be asked to fight and possibly die for a cause unless that cause is so meaningful that we, as a nation, pledge our full resources to achieve victory as quickly as possible.

My fondest hope is that Americans will travel the road extending forward from the arch of experience, never forgetting our heroic origins, never failing to seek divine guidance as we march boldly and bravely into a future limited only by our capacity to dream.

The First Continental Congress made its first act a prayer — the beginning of a great tradition. We have then, a lesson from the founders of our land, those giants of soul and intellect whose courageous pledge of life and fortune and sacred honor, and whose ‘firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence,’ have ever guided and inspired Americans and all who would fan freedom’s mighty flames and live in ‘freedom’s holy light.’ That lesson is clear: That in the winning of freedom and in the living of life, the first step is prayer.

Democracy already flourishes in countries with very different cultures and historical experiences. It would be cultural condescension, or worse, to say that any people prefer dictatorship to democracy. Who would voluntarily choose not to have the right to vote, decide to purchase government propaganda handouts instead of independent newspapers, prefer government to worker-controlled unions, opt for land to be owned by the state instead of those who till it, want government repression of religious liberty, a single political party instead of a free choice, a rigid cultural orthodoxy instead of democratic tolerance and diversity?

So, I urge you to speak our against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority. You know, I’ve always believed that old Screwtape reserved his best efforts for those of you in the church. So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride – the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.

Too often entrepreneurs are forgotten heroes. We rarely hear about them. But look into the heart of America, and you will see them. They are the owners of that store down the street, the faithful who support our churches, schools, and communities, the brave people everywhere who produce our goods, feed a hungry world, and keep our homes and families warm while they invest in the future to build a better America.

An America that is militarily and economically strong is not enough. The world must see an America that is morally strong with a creed and a vision. This is what has led us to dare and achieve. For us, values count.

We’re blessed with the opportunity to stand for something — for liberty and freedom and fairness — and these are things worth fighting for, worth devoting our lives to. And we have good reason to be hopeful and optimistic. We’ve made much progress already. So, let us go forth with good cheer and stout hearts, happy warriors out to seize back a country and a world to freedom.

It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars afar away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray-haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives, the one they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chance to be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country, for us. And all we can do is remember.

Excellence does not begin in Washington.

America is too great for small dreams.

Putting people first has always been America’s secret weapon. It’s the way we’ve kept the spirit of our revolutions alive—a spirit that drives us to dream and dare, and take great risks for a greater good.

To sit back hoping that some day, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping that he will eat you last — but eat you he will.

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, ‘There is a price we will not pay.’ There is a point beyond which they must not advance. This is the meaning of the phrase ‘Peace through strength’.

We cannot play innocents abroad in a world that is not innocent.

We’ve gone astray from first principles. We’ve lost sight of the rule that individual freedom and ingenuity are at the very core of everything that we’ve accomplished. Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.

We had strayed a great distance from our Founding Fathers’ vision of America. They regarded the central government’s responsibility as that of providing national security, protecting our democratic freedoms, and limiting the government’s intrusion in our lives — in sum, the protection of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They never envisioned vast agencies in Washington telling our farmers what to plant, our teachers what to teach, our industries what to build. The Constitution they wrote established sovereign states, not mere administrative districts for the federal government. They believed in keeping government as close as possible to the people.

To those who are fainthearted and unsure, I have this message: If you’re afraid of the future, then get out of the way, stand aside. The people of this country are ready to move again.

All of these men were different, but they shared this in common: They loved America very much. There was nothing they wouldn’t do for her. And they loved with the sureness of the young.

Our great civilized ideas (are) individual liberty, representative government, the rule of law under God.

Our principles were revolutionary. We began as a small, weak republic. But we survived. Our example inspired others, imperfectly at times, but it inspired them nevertheless. This constitutional republic, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, prospered and grew strong. To this day, America is still the abiding alternative to tyranny. That is our purpose in the world — nothing more and nothing less.

I don’t think you can overstate the importance that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism will have to the rest of the world in the century ahead — especially if, as seems possible, its most fanatical elements get their hands on nuclear and chemical weapons and the means to deliver them against their enemies.

Great nations which fail to meet their responsibilities are consigned to the dust bin of history.

We grew from that small, weak republic which had as its assets spirit, optimism, faith in God and an unshakeable belief that free men and women could govern themselves wisely. We became the leader of the free world, an example for all those who cherish freedom. If we are to continue to be that example — if we are to preserve our own freedom — we must understand those who would dominate us and deal with them with determination.

Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.

Sometimes when I’m faced with an unbeliever, an atheist, I am tempted to invite him to the greatest gourmet dinner that one could ever serve, and when we finished eating that magnificent dinner, to ask him if he believes there’s a cook.

We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we are in a time when there are no heroes just don’t know where to look … The crisis we are facing today require(s) … our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And, after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans.

Self-defense is not only our right, it is our duty…. We Americans are slow to anger. We always seek peaceful avenues before resorting to the use of force…. I warned that there should be no place on earth where terrorists can rest and train and practice their deadly skills. I meant it. I said that we would act with others, if possible, and alone if necessary to ensure that terrorists have no sanctuary anywhere. Tonight we have.

Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.

We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. And let there be no misunderstanding — we are going to begin to act, beginning today.

Back in the ’20’s, Will Rogers had an answer for those who believed that strength invited war. He said, ‘I’ve never seen anyone insult Jack Dempsey’.

We commit our resources and risk the lives of those in our armed forces…to prevent humankind from drowning in a sea of tyranny.

If history teaches us anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.

We must shoulder our burden with our eyes fixed on the future, but recognizing the realities of today, not counting on mere hope or wishes. We must be willing to carry out our responsibility as the custodian of individual freedom. Then we will achieve our destiny to be as a shining city on a hill for all mankind to see.

While America’s military strength is important, let me add here that I’ve always maintained that the struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.

Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.

During the peak of unrest on our college campuses, student leaders from the nine campuses of the University of California asked to see me in Sacramento. I was delighted to see them. During those days, if I’d visited one of their campuses, I’d have started a riot. When I’d been campaigning, I was cheered by students because I was running against an incumbent who was part of the establishment. Now, I was the establishment. When the delegation arrived in the capitol, some were barefoot and several were wearing torn T-shirts; when I entered the room, they sat silently where they were, some sprawled out on the floor. No one stood up. Then their spokesman began: “Governor, we want to talk to you, but I think you should realize that it’s impossible for you to understand us – It’s sad, but it’s impossible for the members of your generation to understand your own children. “You weren’t raised in a time of instant communications or satellites and computers solving problems in seconds that previously took hours or days or even weeks to solve. You didn’t live in an age of space travel and journeys to the moon, of jet travel or high speed electronics.” While he paused to take a breath, I said: “You’re absolutely right. We didn’t have those things when we were your age. We invented them”

Will Rogers

I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him ‘father’.

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Ammunition beats persuasion when you are looking for freedom.

Diplomats are just as essential to starting a war as soldiers are for finishing it…. You take diplomacy out of war, and the thing would fall flat in a week.

We can’t all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.

Everything is funny as long as it is happening to someone else.

The short memories of the American voters is what keeps our politicians in office.

Theodore Roosevelt

Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords.

When liberty becomes license, some form of one-man power is not far distant.

We are fighting in the quarrel of civilization against barbarism, of liberty against tyranny.

A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled to, and less than that no man shall have.

The belief that public opinion or international public opinion, unbacked by force, had the slightest effect in restraining a powerful military nation in any course of action … has been shown to be a pathetic fallacy.

Every man among us is more fit to meet the duties and responsibilities of citizenship because of the perils over which, in the past, the nation has triumphed; because of the blood and sweat and tears, and labor and the anguish, through which, in the days that have gone, our forefathers moved on to triumph.

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.

Pray not for lighter burdens but for stronger backs.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

We are inspired by a faith that goes back through all the years to the first chapter of the Book of Genesis: “God created man in His own image.” We on our side are striving to be true to that divine heritage. We are fighting, as our fathers have fought, to uphold the doctrine that all men are equal in the sight of God… There never has been – there never can be – successful compromise between good and evil. Only total victory can reward the champions of tolerance, and decency, and freedom, and faith.

Kevin Smith

[T]he path to the Dark Side isn’t very quick. It starts with ‘I hate my hair’ and ends with wanting to destroy Alderaan.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

I have spent all my life under a Communist regime, and I will tell you that a society without any objective legal scale is a terrible one indeed. But a society with no other scale but the legal one is not quite worthy of man either.


The more corrupt the republic, the more numerous the laws.

Zachary Taylor

Tell him to go to hell.

Mother Teresa

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.

Margaret Thatcher

Democratic nations must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend.

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.


The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom is courage

Harry Truman

If you can’t convince them, confuse them.

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.

Mark Twain

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

To string incongruities and absurdities together in a wandering and sometimes purposeless way, and seem innocently unaware that they are absurdities, is the basis of the American art, if my position is correct.

For in a republic, who is ‘the country?’ Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant – merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. Who, then, is ‘the country?’ Is it the newspaper? Is it the pulpit? Is it the school-superintendent? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it; they have not command, they have only their little share in the command. They are but one in the thousand; it is in the thousand that command is lodged; they must determine what is right and what is wrong; they must decide who is a patriot and who isn’t.

In a monarchy, the king and his family are the country; in a republic it is the common voice of the people. Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak. And it is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catch-phrases of politicians. Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country–hold up your head. You have nothing to be ashamed of.

The official list of questions which the priest is required to ask will overmasteringly excite any woman who is not a paralytic.

A Southerner talks music.

“My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.”

I don’t give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.

Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing.

The test of any good fiction is that you should care something for the characters; the good to succeed, the bad to fail. The trouble with most fiction is that you want them all to land in hell, together, as quickly as possible.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.

Whiskey is for drinking. Water is for fighting over.

October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.

First God created idiots, this was for practice. Then he made Congress.

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.

In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination.

Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man; brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.

There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.

Honesty is the best policy – when there is money in it.

Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

In all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

I have found solace in profanity unexcelled even by prayer.

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.

I was sorry to have my name mentioned as one of the great authors, because they have a sad habit of dying off. Chaucer is dead, Spencer is dead, so is Milton, so is Shakespeare, and I’m not feeling so well myself.

Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to.


In general the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give it to the other.

Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: “Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous” And God granted it.

Self Love never dies.

George Washington

I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love.

[R]eason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of a brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or to die.

It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn.

It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.

Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.

Oscar Wilde

No man is rich enough to buy back his past.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

I don’t care what people do as long as they keep it out of the streets so as not to scare the horses. (Mrs. Patrick Campbell, on Oscar Wilde)

Will Wilkinson

David Brooks is one of America’s most successful thinkers in much the same way that Thomas Kinkade, painter of light, is one of America’s most successful artists.

William Butler Yeats

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.