Quotes; Authors: A to C
A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.
Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.
Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.
The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an “equalizer.” Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed — but do not forget what the common people of this nation knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny.
When the biggest, richest, glassiest buildings in town are the banks, you know that town’s in trouble.
If wilderness is outlawed, only outlaws can save wilderness.
Freedom begins between the ears.
It is bad to be oppressed by a minority, but it is worse to be oppressed by a majority. For there is a reserve of latent power in the masses which, if it is called into play, the minority can seldom resist.
Whenever a single definite object is made the supreme end of the State, be it the advantage of a class, the safety of the power of the country, the greatest happiness of the greatest number, or the support of any speculative idea, the State becomes for the time inevitably absolute. Liberty alone demands for its realisation the limitation of the public authority, for liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition.
The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern. The law of liberty tends to abolish the reign of race over race, of faith over faith, of class over class.
I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.
By liberty I mean the assurance that every man shall be protected in doing what he believes his duty against the influence of authority and majorities, custom and opinion.
Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and, therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being.
Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.
Without presuming to decide the purely legal question, on which it seems evident to me from Madison’s and Hamilton’s papers that the Fathers of the Constitution were not agreed, I saw in State Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy. The institutions of your Republic have not exercised on the old world the salutary and liberating influence which ought to have belonged to them, by reason of those defects and abuses of principle which the Confederate Constitution was expressly and wisely calculated to remedy. I believed that the example of that great Reform would have blessed all the races of mankind by establishing true freedom purged of the native dangers and disorders of Republics. Therefore I deemed that you were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.
Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.
He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections.
Courage, then, my countrymen, our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.
The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.
The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule. It is a very great mistake to imagine that the object of loyalty is the authority and interest of one individual man, however dignified by the applause or enriched by the success of popular actions.
Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man. We must not conclude merely upon a man’s haranguing upon liberty, and using the charming sound, that he is fit to be trusted with the liberties of his country. It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty, — to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves. It is not, I say, unfrequent to see such instances, though at the same time I esteem it a justice due to my country to say that it is not without shining examples of the contrary kind; — examples of men of a distinguished attachment to this same liberty I have been describing; whom no hopes could draw, no terrors could drive, from steadily pursuing, in their sphere, the true interests of their country; whose fidelity has been tried in the nicest and tenderest manner, and has been ever firm and unshaken.The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.
All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another
It is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.
How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say ‘what should be the reward of such sacrifices?’ Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom — go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!
Freedom of thought and the right of private judgment, in matters of conscience, driven from every other corner of the earth, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.
We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious eye beholds his subjects assuming that freedom of thought, and dignity of self-direction which He bestowed on them. From the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.
Jesus Christ was the supreme example of authentic anarchy — the creative non-violent anarchist par excellence — working not from the top down, but from the bottom up with the poor, and the poorest of the poor, to empower people and enable them to realize their potential, as men and women made in the images of God.
I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.
Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation.
The men and women of the North are slaveholders, those of the South slaveowners. The guilt rests on the North equally with the South.
We assert the province of government to be to secure the people in the enjoyment of their unalienable rights. We throw to the winds the old dogma that governments can give rights.
What lies in our power to do, lies in our power not to do.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
One owes respect to the living: To the Dead one owes only the truth.
Not only do we not understand the universe, if someone explained it to us, we wouldn’t know what he was talking about.
What I will be remembered for are the Foundation Trilogy and the Three Laws of Robotics. What I want to be remembered for is no one book, or no dozen books. Any single thing I have written can be paralleled or even surpassed by something someone else has done. However, my total corpus for quantity, quality and variety can be duplicated by no one else. That is what I want to be remembered for.
Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.
It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be … This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking.
I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing — to be clear. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might (if I were good enough) get me a Pulitzer prize. I would write merely clearly and in this way establish a warm relationship between myself and my readers, and the professional critics — Well, they can do whatever they wish.
The libertarian aspect of the Republican party, presently, is the only useful political voice in the US Congress. It will be the driver that shifts the US around. It’s not going to come from the Democrats. It’s not going to come from Ralph Nader. It’s not going to come from the co-opted parts of the Republican Party. The only hope, as far as electoral politics are concerned, in the US presently, is the libertarian section of the Republican Party.
Eric Auchard –
Technology can do little for people who have nothing to say.
Though defensive violence will always be ‘a sad necessity’ in the eyes of men of principle, it would be still more unfortunate if wrongdoers should dominate just men.
An unjust law is no law at all.
God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.
The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.
Patience is the companion of wisdom.
Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.
To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of things eternal; to knowledge, the rational apprehension of things temporal.
Inasmuch as love grows in you, in so much beauty grows; for love is itself the beauty of the soul.
If there is something more excellent than the truth, then that is God; if not, then truth itself is God.
Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also.
On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], “Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?”…I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
Unity is the great goal toward which humanity moves irresistibly. But it becomes fatal, destructive of the intelligence, the dignity, the well-being of individuals and peoples whenever it is formed without regard to liberty, either by violent means or under the authority of any theological, metaphysical, political, or even economic idea. That patriotism which tends toward unity without regard to liberty is an evil patriotism, always disastrous to the popular and real interests of the country it claims to exalt and serve. Often, without wishing to be so, it is a friend of reaction – an enemy of the revolution, i.e., the emancipation of nations and men.
If there is a State, there must be domination of one class by another and, as a result, slavery; the State without slavery is unthinkable – and this is why we are the enemies of the State.
The modern State is by its very nature a military State; and every military State must of necessity become a conquering, invasive State; to survive it must conquer or be conquered, for the simple reason that accumulated military power will suffocate if it does not find an outlet. Therefore the modern State must strive to be a huge and powerful State: this is the indispensable precondition for its survival.
By striving to do the impossible, man has always achieved what is possible. Those who have cautiously done no more than they believed possible have never taken a single step forward.
I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free. The freedom of other men, far from negating or limiting my freedom, is, on the contrary, its necessary premise and confirmation.
The liberty of man consists solely in this: that he obeys natural laws because he has himself recognized them as such, and not because they have been externally imposed upon him by any extrinsic will whatever, divine or human, collective or individual.
Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the authority of the bootmaker; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or engineer. For such or such special knowledge I apply to such or such a savant. But I allow neither the bootmaker nor the architect nor the savant to impose his authority upon me. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their knowledge, reserving always my incontestable right of criticism and censure. I do not content myself with consulting authority in any special branch; I consult several; I compare their opinions, and choose that which seems to me the soundest. But I recognize no infallible authority, even in special questions; consequently, whatever respect I may have for the honesty and the sincerity of such or such an individual, I have no absolute faith in any person. Such a faith would be fatal to my reason, to my liberty, and even to the success of my undertakings; it would immediately transform me into a stupid slave, an instrument of the will and interests of others.
Thought that is silenced is always rebellious. Majorities, of course, are often mistaken. This is why the silencing of minorities is necessarily dangerous. Criticism and dissent are the indispensable antidote to major delusions.
The notion that the church, the press, and the universities should serve the state is essentially a Communist notion. In a free society these institutions must be wholly free – which is to say that their function is to serve as checks upon the state.
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.
When under the pretext of fraternity, the legal code imposes mutual sacrifices on the citizens, human nature is not thereby abrogated. Everyone will then direct his efforts toward contributing little to, and taking much from, the common fund of sacrifices. Now, is it the most unfortunate who gains from this struggle? Certainly not, but rather the most influential and calculating.
If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.
If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?
The profit of the one is the profit of the other.
Competition is merely the absence of oppression.
By virtue of exchange, one man’s prosperity is beneficial to all others.
The most urgent necessity is, not that the State should teach, but that it should allow education. All monopolies are detestable, but the worst of all is the monopoly of education.
Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.
Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
There are people who think that plunder loses all its immorality as soon as it becomes legal. Personally, I cannot imagine a more alarming situation.
Everyone wants to live at the expense of the State. They forget that the State lives at the expense of everyone.
The politician attempts to remedy the evil by increasing the very thing that caused the evil in the first place: legal plunder.
See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals.
And now that the legislators and do gooders have futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems. And try liberty.
This question of legal plunder must be settled once and for all, and there are only three ways to settle it: (The few plunder the many. Everybody plunders everybody. Nobody plunders anybody.) We must make our choice among limited plunder, universal plunder, and no plunder. The law can follow only one of these three. Limited legal plunder: This system prevailed when the right to vote was restricted. One would turn back to this system to prevent the invasion of socialism. Universal legal plunder: We have been threatened with this system since the franchise was made universal. The newly enfranchised majority has decided to formulate law on the same principle of legal plunder that was used by their predecessors when the vote was limited. No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).
The essence of morality is a questioning about morality; and the decisive move of human life is to use ceaselessly all light to look for the origin of the opposition between good and evil.
False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature … laws not preventive but fearful of crimes.
A tool is but the extension of a man’s hand, and a machine is but a complex tool. And he that invents a machine augments the power of a man and the well-being of mankind.
Evil men of every degree will use you, flatter you, lead you on until you are useless; then, if the virtuous do not pity you, or God compassionate, you are without a friend in the universe.
Humor is, however, nearer right than any emotion we have. Humor is the atmosphere in which grace most flourishes.
Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.
Men do not sufficiently realise that their future is in their own hands. Theirs is the task of determining first of all whether they want to go on living or not. Theirs the responsibility, then, for deciding if they want merely to live, or intend to make just the extra effort required for fulfilling, even on their refractory planet, the essential function of the universe, which is a machine for the making of gods.
A conquering army on the border will not be stopped by eloquence.
Politics is not an exact science.
Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death.
They treat me like a fox, a cunning fellow (Schlaukopf) of the first rank. But the truth is that with a gentleman I am always a gentleman and a half, and when I have to do with a pirate, I try to be a pirate and a half.
Europe today is a powder keg and the leaders are like men smoking in an arsenal… A single spark will set off an explosion that will consume us all… I cannot tell you when that explosion will occur, but I can tell you where… Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans will set it off.
Bad men, like good men, are entitled to be tried and sentenced in accordance with law, and when it is shown to us that a person is serving an illegal sentence our obligation is to direct that proper steps be taken to correct the wrong done, without regard to the character of a particular defendant or to the possible effect on others who might also want to challenge the legality of their sentences as they have the right to do ‘at any time’ under Rule 35. If it has any relevance at all, the fact that there may be other prisoners in this country’s jails serving illegal sentences would seem to me to make it all the more imperative that we grant appropriate relief in this case rather than search for some obviously dubious excuse to deny this petitioner’s claim.
In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the public. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.
That Amendment requires the state to be a neutral in its relations with groups of religious believers and nonbelievers; it does not require the state to be their adversary. State power is no more to be used so as to handicap religions than it is to favor them.
The word ‘security’ is a broad, vague generality whose contours should not be invoked to abrogate the fundamental law embodied in the First Amendment. The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security.
History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.
Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.
Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.
There is too much government today.
People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it. Better yet, build it. Predicting the future is much too easy, anyway. You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better.
The problem in our country isn’t with books being banned, but with people no longer reading. Look at the magazines, the newspapers around us – it’s all junk, all trash, tidbits of news. The average TV ad has 120 images a minute. Everything just falls off your mind. You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
The gift of life is so precious that we should feel an obligation to pay back the universe for the gift of being alive.
I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true — hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.
If you’re reluctant to weep, you won’t live a full and complete life.
They began by controlling books of cartoons and then detective books and, of course, films, one way or another, one group or another, political bias, religious prejudice, union pressures; there was always a minority afraid of something, and a great majority afraid of the dark, afraid of the future, afraid of the past, afraid of the present, afraid of themselves and shadows of themselves
A book is a loaded gun in the house next door.
If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you, and you’ll never learn.
Only six months ago, I discovered that, over the years, some cubby-hole editors at Ballantine Books, fearful of contaminating the young, had, bit by bit, censored some 75 separate sections from the novel. Students, reading the novel which, after all, deals with the censorship and book-burning in the future, wrote to tell me of this exquisite irony. Judy-Lynn Del Rey, one of the new Ballantine editors, is having the entire book reset and republished this summer with all the damns and hells back in place.
There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib/Republican, Mattachine/FourSquareGospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.
For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangutan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conversationalist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights end and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule. If Mormons do not like my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent typewriters. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmilk teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture.
The stars are yours, if you have the head, the hands, and the heart for them.
‘You remember winning, don’t you? A battle won, somewhere?’ ‘No,’ said the old man, deep under. ‘I don’t remember anyone winning anywhere any time. War’s never a winning thing, Charlie. You just lose all the time, and the one who loses last asks for terms. All I remember is a lot of losing and sadness and nothing good but the end of it. The end of it, Charles, that was a winning all to itself, having nothing to do with guns.’
In science fiction, we dream. In order to colonize in space, to rebuild our cities, which are so far out of whack, to tackle any number of problems, we must imagine the future, including the new technologies that are required.
Science fiction is also a great way to pretend you are writing about the future when in reality you are attacking the recent past and the present.
We should back on the moon right now. And we should be going off to Mars immediately.
The problem is, of course, our politicians, men who have no romance in their hearts or dreams in their heads.
Space travel is life-enhancing, and anything that’s life-enhancing is worth doing. It makes you want to live forever
Whether you’re a majority or minority, bug off! To hell with anybody who wants to tell me what to write. Their society breaks down into subsections of minorities who then, in effect, burn books by banning them
All this political correctness that’s rampant on campuses is b.s. You can’t fool around with the dangerous notion of telling a university what to teach and what not to.
Science Fiction is any idea that occurs in the head and doesn’t exist yet, but soon will, and will change everything for everybody, and nothing will ever be the same again. As soon as you have an idea that changes some small part of the world you are writing science fiction. It is always the art of the possible, never the impossible.
Without free speech no search for Truth is possible; without free speech no discovery of Truth is useful; without free speech progress is checked, and the nations no longer march forward towards the nobler life which the future holds for man. Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day; the denial slays the life of the people and entombs the hope of the race.
That which is man-made can be unmade.
There are many men now living who were in the habit of using the age-old expression: ‘It is as impossible as flying.’ The discoveries in physical science, the triumphs in invention, attest the value of the process of trial and error. In large measure, these advances have been due to experimentation.
Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.
What I have desired to do is to make the people of Boston realize that the most important office, and the one which all of us can and should fill, is that of private citizen. The duties of the office of private citizen cannot under a republican form of government be neglected without serious injury to the public.
It is, as a rule, far more important how men pursue their occupation than what the occupation is which they select.
Real success in business is to be found in achievements comparable rather with those of the artist or the scientist, of the inventor or statesman. And the joys sought in the profession of business must be like their joys and not the mere vulgar satisfaction which is experienced in the acquisition of money, in the exercise of power or in the frivolous pleasure of mere winning.
A man is a better citizen of the United States for being also a loyal citizen of his state, and of his city; for being loyal to his family, and to his profession or trade; for being loyal to his college or his lodge. . . . For only through the ennobling effect of its strivings can we develop the best that is in us and give to this country the full benefit of our great inheritance.
What are the American ideals? They are the development of the individual for his own and the common good; the development of the individual through liberty, and the attainment of the common good through democracy and social justice.
No law, written or unwritten, can be understood without a full knowledge of the facts out of which it arises, and to which it is to be applied.
There is in most Americans some spark of idealism, which can be fanned into a flame. It takes sometimes a divining rod to find what it is; but when found, and that means often, when disclosed to the owners, the results are often extraordinary.
Full and free exercise of this right by the citizen is ordinarily also his duty; for its exercise is more important to the nation than it is to himself. Like the course of the heavenly bodies, harmony in national life is a resultant of the struggle between contending forces. In frank expression of conflicting opinion lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action; and in suppression lies ordinarily the greatest peril.
At the foundation of our civil liberty lies the principle which denies to government officials an exceptional position before the law and which subjects them to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen.
Those who won our independence believed that the final end of the state was to make men free to develop their faculties, and that in its government the deliberative forces should prevail over the arbitrary. They valued liberty both as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. They believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government.
Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.
The progress of science in furnishing the government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wire tapping. Ways may some day be developed by which the government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home. Advances in the psychic and related sciences may bring means of exploring unexpressed beliefs, thoughts and emotions. ‘That places the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer’ was said by James Otis of much lesser intrusions than these. 1 To Lord Camden a far slighter intrusion seemed ‘subversive of all the comforts of society.’ Can it be that the Constitution affords no protection against such invasions of individual security?
Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means — to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal — would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this court should resolutely set its face.
Questions don’t change the truth. But they give it motion.
It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.
The worst mistake of first contact, made throughout history by individuals on both sides of every new encounter, has been the unfortunate habit of making assumptions. It often proved fatal.
Learn to control ego. Humans hold their dogmas and biases too tightly, and we only think that our opponents are dogmatic! But we all need criticism. Criticism is the only known antidote to error.
You don’t have conversations with microprocessors. You tell them what to do, then helplessly watch the disaster when they take you literally!
The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation.
Has there ever been a society which has died of dissent? Several have died of conformity in our lifetime.
There is the seed of all sins — of the vilest and worst of sins — in the best of men.
The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.
I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.
There is nothing that God has judged good for us that He has not given us the means to accomplish, both in the natural and the moral world.
A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.
All persons possessing any portion of power ought to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust and that they are to account for their conduct in that trust to the one great Master, Author, and Founder of society.
But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.
Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.
To please universally was the object of his life; but to tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men.
I take toleration to be a part of religion. I do not know which I would sacrifice; I would keep them both: it is not necessary that I should sacrifice either.
People crushed by law, have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous.
The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.
We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature, and the means perhaps of its conservation.
Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference.
Our boys were sent off to die with beautiful ideals painted in front of them. No one told them that dollars and cents were the real reason they were marching off to kill and die.
Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death.
An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.
Cao Cao –
I’d rather betray others, than have others betray me.
I would employ the wise and strong of the empire, using righteousness to lead them. In this way, nothing is impossible.
A kind word only goes so far, a kind word and a gun goes a lot further.
Are people more violently opposed to fur rather than leather because its much easier to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs?
I could never understand ethnic or national pride. Because to me, pride should be reserved for something you achieve or attain on your own, not something that happens by accident of birth. Being Irish isn’t a skill, it’s a fucking genetic accident. You wouldn’t say ‘I’m proud to be 5’11”. I’m proud to have a predisposition for colon cancer.’ So why the fuck would you be proud to be Irish, or proud to be Italian, or American or anything?
There are four hundred thousand words in the English language, and there are seven you can’t say on television. What a ratio that is: 399,993 to 7. They must really be bad; they’d have to be outrageous to be separated from a group that large! “All of you over here, you seven? BAD WORDS.” That’s what they told us they were, remember? “That’s a bad word!” …No bad words; bad thoughts, bad intentions…and words. You know the seven, don’t you, thatyou can’t say on television? Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that will infect your soul, curve your spine, and keep the country from winning the war.
It’s the old American Double Standard, ya know: Say one thing, do somethin’ different. And of course this country is founded on the double standard, that’s our history! We were founded on a very basic double standard: This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.
Government want to tell you things you can’t say because they’re against the law, or you can’t say this because it’s against a regulation, or here’s something you can’t say because its a…secret; “You can’t tell him that because he’s not cleared to know that.” Government wants to control information and control language because that’s the way you control thought, and basically that’s the game they’re in.
I have certain rules I live by. My first rule: I don’t believe anything the government tells me. […] I look at war a little bit differently. To me, war is a lot of prick-waving! OK? Simple thing. That’s all it is. War is a whole lot of men standing out on a field waving their pricks at one another. Men are insecure about the size of their dicks, and so they have to kill one another over the idea. That’s what all that asshole jock bullshit is all about. That’s what all that adolescent, macho, male posturing and strutting in bars and locker rooms is all about. It’s called “dick fear!” Men are terrified that their pricks are inadequate and so they have to compete with one another, to feel better about themselves, and since war is the ultimate competition, basically, men are killing each other in order to improve their self-esteem! You don’t have to be a historian or a political scientist to see the bigger-dick foreign policy at work. It sounds like this: “What, they have bigger dicks? Bomb them!” And of course, the bombs and the rockets and the bullets are all shaped like dicks. It’s a subconscious need to project the penis into other people’s affairs. It’s called “fucking with people!”
Now, to balance the scale, I’d like to talk about some things that bring us together, things that point out our similarities instead of our differences. ‘Cause that’s all you ever hear about in this country. It’s our differences. That’s all the media and the politicians are ever talking about—the things that separate us, things that make us different from one another. That’s the way the ruling class operates in any society. They try to divide the rest of the people. They keep the lower and the middle classes fighting with each other so that they, the rich, can run off with all the fucking money! Fairly simple thing. Happens to work. You know? Anything different—that’s what they’re gonna talk about—race, religion, ethnic and national background, jobs, income, education, social status, sexuality, anything they can do to keep us fighting with each other, so that they can keep going to the bank! You know how I define the economic and social classes in this country? The upper class keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class pays all of the taxes, does all of the work. The poor are there just to scare the shit out of the middle class. Keep ’em showing up at those jobs.
That’s another complaint of mine – too much use of this prefix “pre”. It’s all over the language now — “pre”-this, “pre”-that, place the turkey in a “pre-heated” oven. It’s ridiculous! There are only two states an oven can possibly exist in: Heated or unheated! “Pre-heated” is a meaningless fucking term! It’s like “pre-recorded” — “This program was pre-recorded.” Well, of course it was pre-recorded! When else are you gonna record it, afterwards? That’s the whole purpose of recording; to do it beforehand! Otherwise it doesn’t really work, does it? “Pre-existing”, “pre-planning”, “pre-screening” — you know what I tell these people? Pre-suck my genital situation! And they seem to understand what I’m talking about.
Most people seem to have been indoctrinated to believe that bullshit only comes from certain places, certain sources: advertising, politics, salesmen – not true. Bullshit is everywhere. Bullshit is rampant. Parents are full of shit, teachers are full of shit, clergymen are full of shit, and law enforcement people are full…of…shit – this entire country. This entire country is completely full of shit, and always has been. From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution to the Star-Spangled Banner, it’s still nothing more than one big steaming pile of red, white and blue, all-American bullshit. Because, think of how we started. Think of that. This country was founded by a group of slave-owners who told us all men are created equal. Oh yeah, all men, except for Indians and niggers and women, right? I always like to use that authentic American language. This was a small group of unelected, white, male, land-holding, slave-owners who also suggested their class be the only one allowed to vote. Now, that is what’s known as being stunningly and embarrassingly full of shit. And I think Americans really show their ignorance when they say they want their politicians to be honest. What are these fuckin’ cretins talking about? If honesty were suddenly introduced into American life, the whole system would collapse!
Here’s some bumper stickers I’d like to see: we are the proud parents of a child whose self esteem is sufficient that he doesn’t need us promoting his minor scholastic achievements on the back of our car; we are the proud parents of a child who has resisted his teachers’ attempts to break his spirit and bend him to the will of his corporate masters; we have a daughter in public school who hasn’t been knocked up yet; we have a son in public school who hasn’t shot any of his classmates yet. But he does sell drugs to your honor student. Plus he knocked up your daughter; we are the embarrassed parents of a cross-eyed little nit-wit who at the age of ten not only continues to wet the bed but also shits on the school bus.
People are fucking nuts. This country is full of nitwits and assholes. You ever notice that? Nitwits, assholes, fuckups, scumbags, jerkoffs, and dipshits. And they all vote. In fact, sometimes you get the impression that they’re the only ones who vote.
I think people should be allowed to do anything they want. We haven’t tried that for a while. Maybe this time it’ll work.
I don’t understand why prostitution is illegal. Selling is legal. Fucking is legal. Why isn’t selling fucking legal? You know, why should it be illegal to sell something that’s perfectly legal to give away? I can’t follow the logic on that one at all! Of all the things you can do, giving someone an orgasm is hardly the worst thing in the world. In the army they give you a medal for spraying napalm on people! In civilian life you go to jail for giving someone an orgasm! Maybe I’m not supposed to understand it…
Catholic kids are stupid; they don’t know how to handle a pedophile priest. Here’s what you do: First of all, you don’t get all scared and do whatever he tells you. Who wants to get sucked off by a forty-three-year-old clergyman with beard stubble? Not me. Instead, what you do is kick him in the nuts. You kick him squarely in the nuts, and you get the fuck out of there as fast as you can, and you go tell somebody right away; you tell as many grown-up people as you can––one of them is bound to believe you. That’s what you do. You don’t wait thirty years. You kick the priest in the nuts and say, “Fuck you, Father, I don’t do that shit”… And you’re out the door.
War is a quarrel between two thieves too cowardly to fight their own battle; therefore they take boys from one village and another village, stick them into uniforms, equip them with guns, and let them loose like wild beasts against each other.
Want is the mistress of invention.
And ‘speak truth unto power’? What does this mean? It means giving your best advice to superiors based on the best information available and objective analysis even when you know it may not be music to their ears.
Children’s health depends on the mothers, so if we can scale up the achievement of the MDGs, it would benefit people in Africa. We should also look at how we can empower women to leverage their resources and their creativity and become change agents. We have seen example after example where women who are appropriately motivated and given the right environment can make changes, not only to themselves but also to their families and their communities.
Pointing to the massive amounts of propaganda spewed by government and institutions around the world, observers have called our era the age of Orwell. But the fact is that Orwell was a latecomer on the scene. As early as World War I, American historians offered themselves to President Woodrow Wilson to carry out a task they called “historical engineering,” by which they meant designing the facts of history so that they would serve state policy. In this instance, the U.S. government wanted to silence opposition to the war. This represents a version of Orwell’s 1984, even before Orwell was writing.
I should say that when people talk about capitalism it’s a bit of a joke. There’s no such thing. No country, no business class, has ever been willing to subject itself to the free market, free market discipline. Free markets are for others. Like, the Third World is the Third World because they had free markets rammed down their throat. Meanwhile, the enlightened states, England, the United States, others, resorted to massive state intervention to protect private power, and still do. That’s right up to the present. I mean, the Reagan administration for example was the most protectionist in post-war American history. Virtually the entire dynamic economy in the United States is based crucially on state initiative and intervention: computers, the internet, telecommunication, automation, pharmaceutical, you just name it. Run through it, and you find massive ripoffs of the public, meaning, a system in which under one guise or another the public pays the costs and takes the risks, and profit is privatized. That’s very remote from a free market. Free market is like what India had to suffer for a couple hundred years, and most of the rest of the Third World.
For those who stubbornly seek freedom around the world, there can be no more urgent task than to come to understand the mechanisms and practices of indoctrination. These are easy to perceive in the totalitarian societies, much less so in the propaganda system to which we are subjected and in which all too often we serve as unwilling or unwitting instruments.
I mean, what’s the elections? You know, two guys, same background, wealth, political influence, went to the same elite university, joined the same secret society where you’re trained to be a ruler – they both can run because they’re financed by the same corporate institutions. At the Democratic Convention, Barack Obama said, ‘only in this country, only in America, could someone like me appear here.’ Well, in some other countries, people much poorer than him would not only talk at the convention – they’d be elected president. Take Lula. The president of Brazil is a guy with a peasant background, a union organizer, never went to school, he’s the president of the second-biggest country in the hemisphere. Only in America? I mean, there they actually have elections where you can choose somebody from your own ranks. With different policies. That’s inconceivable in the United States.
If any of you have ever looked at your FBI file, you discover that intelligence agencies in general are extremely incompetent. That’s one of the reasons why there are so many intelligence failures. They just never get anything straight, for all kinds of reasons. Part of it is because of the information they get. The information they get comes from ideological fanatics, typically, who always misunderstand things in their own crazy way. If you look at an FBI file, say, about yourself, where you know what the facts are, you’ll see that the information has some kind of relation to the facts, you can figure out what they’re talking about, but by the time it works its way through the ideological fanaticism of the intelligence agencies, there’s always weird distortion.
The school system is designed to teach obedience and conformity and to prevent the child’s natural capacities from developing.
A lot of the people who call themselves Left I would regard as proto-fascists.
Of course, everybody says they’re for peace. Hitler was for peace. Everybody is for peace. The question is: ‘What kind of peace?’
If we don’t believe in free expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.
The duty of journalists is to tell the truth. Journalism means you go back to the actual facts, you look at the documents, you discover what the record is, and you report it that way.
One might ask why tobacco is legal and marijuana not. A possible answer is suggested by the nature of the crop. Marijuana can be grown almost anywhere, with little difficulty. It might not be easily marketable by major corporations. Tobacco is quite another story.
Of course it’s extremely easy to say, the heck with it. I’m just going to adapt myself to the structures of power and authority and do the best I can within them. Sure, you can do that. But that’s not acting like a decent person. You can walk down the street and be hungry. You see a kid eating an ice cream cone and you notice there’s no cop around and you can take the ice cream cone from him because you’re bigger and walk away. You can do that. Probably there are people who do. We call them “pathological.” On the other hand, if they do it within existing social structures we call them “normal.” But it’s just as pathological. It’s just the pathology of the general society.
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.
Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.
What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone? How else can we put ourselves in harmonious relation with the great verities and consolations of the infinite and the eternal? And I avow my faith that we are marching towards better days. Humanity will not be cast down.
I think a curse should rest on me — because I love this war. I know it’s smashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment — and yet — I can’t help it — I enjoy every second of it.
It is sheer affectation to lacerate a man with the poisonous fragment of a bursting shell and to boggle at making his eyes water by means of lachrymatory gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.
If I had been an Italian, I am sure I would have been entirely with you from the beginning to the end of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism.
I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.
You might however consider whether you should not unfold as a background the great privilege of habeas corpus and trial by jury, which are the supreme protection invented by the English people for ordinary individuals against the state. The power of the Executive to cast a man in prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government, whether Nazi or Communist.
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: Freedom; Justice; Honour; Duty; Mercy; Hope.
Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy.
Of course, when you are winning a war almost everything that happens can be claimed to be right and wise.
Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.
The beginning of all things are small.
Law applied to its extreme is the greatest injustice.
Though silence is not necessarily an admission, it is not a denial, either.
What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else.
The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense.
Life is about learning; when you stop learning, you die.
Look, this is simple. The good old days are now. OK? The human condition today is better than it’s ever been, and technology is one of the reasons for that.
What underclass? I mean you know, what underclass? Do you know any of them? Do they have automobiles? Most of them probably do. Do most of them have television sets? Do most of them have telephones? Well, if they can afford automobiles, they can afford computers. And since they have television sets, they already have access to communications technology. And since they have telephones, they can talk to one another. Wherein are they deprived?
People live longer today than they ever have. They live happier lives, they have more knowledge, they have more information. All this is the result of communications technology and the tools with which man has equipped himself. How is any of that bad?
America is the most inventive country in the world. Why? Because everybody has access to information. In the Soviet Union it was illegal to take a photograph of a train station. Look what happened to them. They tried to classify everything. The more information available to the average person, the greater the synergy that develops from it.
There are people in government who don’t want other people to know what they know. It’s just another example of elitism. And I spit on elitism. Show me an elitist, and I’ll show you a loser.
If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run — and often in the short one — the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative.
It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars.
We stand now at the turning point between two eras. Behind us is a past to which we can never return … The coming of the rocket brought to an end a million years of isolation … the childhood of our race was over and history as we know it began.
Human judges can show mercy. But against the laws of nature, there is no appeal.
As our own species is in the process of proving, one cannot have superior science and inferior morals. The combination is unstable and self-destroying.
One of the biggest roles of science fiction is to prepare people to accept the future without pain and to encourage a flexibility of mind. Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories. Two-thirds of 2001 is realistic — hardware and technology — to establish background for the metaphysical, philosophical, and religious meanings later.
Any teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be!
The dinosaurs disappeared because they could not adapt to their changing environment. We shall disappear if we cannot adapt to an environment that now contains spaceships, computers — and thermonuclear weapons.
Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.
I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about..
The Information Age offers much to mankind, and I would like to think that we will rise to the challenges it presents. But it is vital to remember that information — in the sense of raw data — is not knowledge, that knowledge is not wisdom, and that wisdom is not foresight. But information is the first essential step to all of these.
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Communication technologies are necessary, but not sufficient, for us humans to get along with each other. This is why we still have many disputes and conflicts in the world. Technology tools help us to gather and disseminate information, but we also need qualities like tolerance and compassion to achieve greater understanding between peoples and nations.
I have great faith in optimism as a guiding principle, if only because it offers us the opportunity of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I hope we’ve learnt something from the most barbaric century in history — the 20th. I would like to see us overcome our tribal divisions and begin to think and act as if we were one family. That would be real globalisation…
The search for the truth is the most important work in the whole world — and the most dangerous.
Phillip Van Cleave –
When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away.
When more of the people’s sustenance is exacted through the form of taxation than is necessary to meet the just obligations of government and expenses of its economical administration, such exaction becomes ruthless extortion and a violation of the fundamental principles of free government.
A man won’t steal, ordinarily, unless that which he steals is something he cannot as easily get without stealing; in liberty the cost of stealing would involve greater difficulties than producing, and consequently he would not be apt to steal. But suppose a man steals. Today you go to a representative of that power which has robbed you of the earth, of the right of free contract of the means of exchange, taxes you for everything you eat or wear (the meanest form of robbery), — you go to him for redress from a thief!
The paramount question of the day is not political, is not religious, but is economic. The crying-out demand of today is for a circle of principles that shall forever make it impossible for one man to control another by controlling the means of his existence.
This is not a question of expediency, but of right. In antebellum days the proposition was not, Are the blacks good enough to be free? but, Have they the right? So today the question is not, Will outrages result from freeing humanity? but, Has it the right to life, the means of life, the opportunities of happiness?
In the transition epoch, surely crimes will come. Did the seed of tyranny ever bear good fruit? And can you expect Liberty to undo in a moment what Oppression has been doing for ages? Criminals are the crop of despots, as much a necessary expression of the evil in society as an ulcer is of disease in the blood; and so long as the taint of the poison remains, so long there will be crimes.
The sin our fathers sinned was that they did not trust liberty wholly. They thought it possible to compromise between liberty and government, believing the latter to be “a necessary evil,” and the moment the compromise was made, the whole misbegotten monster of our present tyranny began to grow. Instruments which are set up to safeguard rights become the very whip with which the free are struck.
Anarchism says, Make no laws whatever concerning speech, and speech will be free; so soon as you make a declaration on paper that speech shall be free, you will have a hundred lawyers proving that “freedom does not mean abuse, nor liberty license”; and they will define and define freedom out of existence. Let the guarantee of free speech be in every man’s determination to use it, and we shall have no need of paper declarations. On the other hand, so long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.
Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles. Then no friends would not be like yourself (all friends would be as loyal as yourself). If you make a mistake, do not be afraid to correct it.
I am not bothered by the fact that I am not understood. I am bothered when I do not know others.
Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.
Be loyal and trustworthy. Do not befriend anyone who is lower than yourself in this regard. When making a mistake, do not be afraid to correct it.
If you would govern a state of a thousand chariots (a small-to-middle-size state), you must pay strict attention to business, be true to your word, be economical in expenditure and love the people. You should use them according to the seasons(i.e. You should not enlist farmers during seeding or harvest time).
When the Superior Man eats he does not try to stuff himself; at rest he does not seek perfect comfort; he is diligent in his work and careful in speech. He avails himself to people of the Tao and thereby corrects himself. This is the kind of person of whom you can say, ‘he loves learning.’
To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.
See a person’s means (of getting things). Observe his motives. Examine that in which he rests. How can a person conceal his character?
When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self.
The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.
The virtuous is frank and open; the non-virtuous is secretive and worrying.
Guide the people by law, subdue them by punishment; they may shun crime, but will be void of shame. Guide them by example, subdue them by courtesy; they will learn shame, and come to be good.
What Heaven has conferred is called The Nature; an accordance with this nature is called The Path of duty; the regulation of this path is called Instruction. The path may not be left for an instant. If it could be left, it would not be the path. On this account, the superior man does not wait till he sees things, to be cautious, nor till he hears things, to be apprehensive.
In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself.
In all things success depends on previous preparation, and without such previous preparation there is sure to be failure. If what is to be spoken be previously determined, there will be no stumbling. If affairs be previously determined, there will be no difficulty with them. If one’s actions have been previously determined, there will be no sorrow in connection with them. If principles of conduct have been previously determined, the practice of them will be inexhaustible.
Sincerity is the way of Heaven. The attainment of sincerity is the way of men. He who possesses sincerity is he who, without an effort, hits what is right, and apprehends, without the exercise of thought — he is the sage who naturally and easily embodies the right way. He who attains to sincerity is he who chooses what is good, and firmly holds it fast. To this attainment there are requisite the extensive study of what is good, accurate inquiry about it, careful reflection on it, the clear discrimination of it, and the earnest practice of it.
When we have intelligence resulting from sincerity, this condition is to be ascribed to nature; when we have sincerity resulting from intelligence, this condition is to be ascribed to instruction. But given the sincerity, and there shall be the intelligence; given the intelligence, and there shall be the sincerity.
The superior man examines his heart, that there may be nothing wrong there, and that he may have no cause for dissatisfaction with himself. That wherein the superior man cannot be equaled is simply this — his work which other men cannot see.
Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.
I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people. The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager. Every dollar that we prudently save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.
Governments do not make ideals, but ideals make governments. This is both historically and logically true. Of course the government can help to sustain ideals and can create institutions through which they can be the better observed, but their source by their very nature is in the people. The people have to bear their own responsibilities. There is no method by which that burden can be shifted to the government. It is not the enactment, but the observance of laws, that creates the character of a nation.
You seldom get a censorship attempt from a 14-year-old boy. It’s the adults who get upset.
Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s real rebellion.
Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.