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Politices and Power

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
-- Douglas Adams

If all the world's a stage, I want to operate the trap door.
-- Paul Beatty

We have only one person to blame, and that's each other.
-- Barry Beck

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.
Louis D. Brandeis

It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.
-- Giordano Bruno

Thanks, for a country where nobody is allowed to mind his own business. Thanks, for a nation of finks.
-- William S. Burroughs

I want to make sure everybody who has a job wants a job.
-- George Bush

All extremes are error. The reverse of error is not truth, but error still. Truth lies between extremes.
-- Cecil

I could never make out what those damned dots meant.
-- Lord Randolph Churchill, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, regarding decimal points

Democracy is a government where you can say what you think even if you don't think.
--Winston Churchill

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those others that have been tried from time to time.
-- Sir Winston Churchill

Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.
--Winston Churchill

The price of greatness is responsibility.
--Winston Churchill

There is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies.
--Winston Churchill

I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is a much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place.
--Winston Churchill

If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.
--Winston Churchill

I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
--Winston Churchill

The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.
--Winston Churchill

"The empires of the future are the empires of the mind."
--Winston Churchill

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'
--Winston Churchill

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the 'worst' form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time.
--Winston Churchill

I gather, young man, that you wish to be a Member of Parliament. The first lesson that you must learn is, when I call for statistics about the rate of infant mortality, what I want is proof that fewer babies died when I was Prime Minister than when anyone else was Prime Minister. That is a political statistic.
--Winston Churchill

An iron curtain has descended across the Continent.
--Winston Churchill

A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.
--Winston Churchill

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else.
--Winston Churchill

It is a socialist idea that making profits is a vice; I consider the real vice is making losses.
--Winston Churchill

A communist is like a crocodile: when it opens its mouth you cannot tell whether it is trying to smile or preparing to eat you up.
--Winston Churchill

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
--Winston Churchill

For my part, I consider that it will be found much better by all parties to leave the past to history, especially as I propose to write that history myself.
--Winston Churchill

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
--Winston Churchill

Of course, we are all worms--but I like to think, at least, that I am a glowworm.
--Winston Churchill

The police are not here to create disorder. They're here to preserve disorder.
-- Richard M. Daley at the Democratic National Convention (1968)

You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free.
--Clarence Darrow

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become president; I'm beginning to believe it.
--Clarence Darrow

Liberty is the most jealous and exacting mistress that can beguile the soul and brain of man.
--Clarence Darrow

True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.
--Clarence Darrow

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.
-- Senator Everett Dirksen

The President doesn't want any yes-men and yes-women around him. When he says no, we all say no.
-- Elizabeth Dole, assistant to Ronald Reagan

Through the release of atomic energy, our generation has brought into the world the most revolutionary force since prehistoric man's discovery of fire. This basic force of the universe cannot be fitted into the outmoded concept of narrow nationalisms.
For there is no secret and there is no defense; there is no possibility of control except through the aroused understanding and insistence of the peoples of the world. We scientists recognize our inescapable responsibility to carry to our fellow citizens an understanding of atomic energy and its implication for society. In this lies our only security and our only hope -- we believe that an informed citizenry will act for life and not for death.
-- Albert Einstein

If my theory of relativity is proven correct, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.
-- Albert Einstein

The minority, the ruling class at present, has the schools and press, usually the Church as well, under its thumb. This enables it to organize and sway the emotions of the masses, and make its tool of them.
-- Albert Einstein

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.
-- Albert Einstein

Since I do not foresee that atomic energy is to be a great boon for a long time, I have to say that for the present it is a menace. Perhaps it is well that it should be. It may intimidate the human race into bringing order into it's international affairs, which without the pressure of fear, it would not do.
-- Albert Einstein

Nor do I take into account a danger of starting a chain reaction of a scope great enough to destroy part or all of the planet...But it is not necessary to imagine the earth being destroyed like a nova by a stellar explosion to understand vividly the growing scope of atomic war and to recognize that unless another war is prevented it is likely to bring destruction on a scale never before held possible, and even now hardly conceived, and that little civilization would survive it. (1947)
-- Albert Einstein

Unless Americans come to realize that they are not stronger in the world because they have the bomb but weaker because of their vulnerability to atomic attack, they are not likely to conduct their policy at Lake Success [the United Nations] or in their relations with Russia in a spirit that furthers the arrival at an understanding. (1947)
-- Albert Einstein

The discovery of nuclear chain reactions need not bring about the destruction of mankind any more than did the discovery of matches. We only must do everything in our power to safeguard against its abuse. Only a supranational organization, equipped with a sufficiently strong executive power, can protect us. (1953)
-- Albert Einstein

Nationalism is an infantile sickness. It is the measles of the human race.
-- Albert Einstein

Politics is a pendulum whose swings between anarchy and tyranny are fueled by perpetually rejuvenated illusions.
-- Albert Einstein

Things are more like they are now than they ever were before.
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

If a million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
-- Anatole France

If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect.
--Benjamin Franklin

Think of these things, whence you came, where you are going, and to whom you must account.
-- Benjamin Franklin

There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government.
--Benjamin Franklin

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-- Benjamin Franklin

If Lincoln were alive today, he'd roll over in his grave.
-- Gerald Ford

If I seem to take part in politics, it is only because politics encircles us today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter how much one tries. I wish therefore to wrestle with the snake.
-- Mahatma Gandhi

Anarchy may not be the best form of government, but it's better than no government at all.
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's exactly the opposite.
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

Anarchism...stands for direct action, the open defiance of, and resistance to, all laws and restrictions, economic, social, and moral.
-- Emma Goldman

The political arena leaves one no alternatives, one must be either a dunce or a rogue. -- Emma Goldman

Anarchism aims to strip labor of its deadening, dulling aspect, of its gloom and compulsion. It aims to make work an instrument of joy, of strength, of color, of real harmony, so that the poorest sort of a man should find in work both recreation and hope.
-- Emma Goldman

When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

The word politics is derived from the word poly meaning many and the word ticks meaning blood sucking parasites.
-- Larry Hardiman

The German people is not warlike nation. It is a soldierly one, which means it does not want a war but does not fear it. It loves peace but it also loves its humor and freedom.
--Adolph Hitler

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
-- Thomas Jefferson to A. Stuart, 1791.

In matters of style, swim with the current;
In matters of principle, stand like a rock.
--Thomas Jefferson

It rests not with ourselves alone to enjoy in peace and concord the blessings of self-government, so long denied to mankind: to show by example the sufficiency of human reason for the care of human affairs and that the will of the majority, the Natural law of every society, is the only sure guardian of the rights of man.
--Thomas Jefferson

Were it left for me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
--Thomas Jefferson

Enlighten people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.
-- Thomas Jefferson

The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
-- Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334 (C.J.Boyd, Ed., 1950)

The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.
-- Thomas Jefferson

No man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny in government.
-- Thomas Jefferson

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?
-- Thomas Jefferson

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
-- Thomas Jefferson

The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.
-- Thomas Jefferson

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.
-- Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria

If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
--Thomas Jefferson

A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.
--Thomas Jefferson

I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
-- Thomas Jefferson

[Montesquieu wrote in Spirit of the Laws,] 'In the state of nature, indeed, all men are born equal; but they cannot continue in this equality. Society makes them lose it, and they recover it only by the protection of the laws.'
-- Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
-- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence as written

The people cannot be all, and always, well-informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.
--Thomas Jefferson to W. Smith, 1787.

It had become an universal and almost uncontroverted position in the several States, that the purposes of society do not require a surrender of all our rights to our ordinary governors; that there are certain portions of right not necessary to enable them to carry on an effective government, and which experience has nevertheless proved they will be constantly encroaching on, if submitted to them; that there are also certain fences which experience has proved peculiarly efficacious against wrong, and rarely obstructive of right, which yet the governing powers have ever shown a disposition to weaken and remove. Of the first kind, for instance, is freedom of religion; of the second, trial by jury, habeas corpus laws, free presses.
--Thomas Jefferson to N. Webster, 1790.

It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.
--Thomas Jefferson to M. D'Ivernois, 1795.

That liberty [is pure] which is to go to all, and not to the few or the rich alone.
--Thomas Jefferson to H. Gates, 1798.

...wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, [and] shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits.
--Thomas Jefferson, 1801 Inaugural Address

Laws abridging the natural right of the citizen should be restrained by rigorous constructions within their narrowest limits.
--Thomas Jefferson to I. McPherson, 1813.

Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.
--Thomas Jefferson to I. Tiffany, 1819.

I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise that control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.
-- Thomas Jefferson, 1820.

On every question of construction [of the Constitution], let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.
--Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823,

Information is the currency of democracy.
-- Thomas Jefferson

If a Nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be...if we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.
-- Thomas Jefferson

Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.
-- Thomas Jefferson

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: President Can't Swim.
-- Lyndon B. Johnson

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
-- Henry Kissinger

If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?
-- Abraham Lincoln

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
-- Abraham Lincoln

Any clod can have the facts. Having opinions is an art.
-- Charles McCabe

Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.
-- Groucho Marx

I am not a Marxist.
-- Karl Marx

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
-- Karl Marx

The capitalist system carried within itself the seeds of its own destruction.
-- Karl Marx

In the domain of political economy, free scientific inquiry does not merely meet the same enemies as in all other domains. The peculiar nature of the material it deals with summons to the fray on the opposing side the most violent, sordid and malignant passions of the human breast, the Furies of private interest. The Established church, for instance, will more readily pardon an attack on thirty-eight of its thirty-nine articles than on one thirty-ninth of its income
-- Karl Marx

In the United States...politics is purged of all menace, all sinister quality, all genuine significance, and stuffed with such gorgeous humors, such inordinate farce that one comes to the end of a campaign with one's ribs loose, and ready for ``King Lear,'' or a hanging, or a course of medical journals.
- H. L. Mencken

Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.
-- H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.
-- H. L. Mencken.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
-- H. L. Mencken

Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.
-- John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history, mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.
-- P. J. O'Rourke

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.
- P. J. O'Rourke

I deserve respect for the things I didn't do.
-- Dan Quayle

We are not ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.
-- Dan Quayle

My fellow Americans, I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.
-- Ronald Reagan before a radio broadcast, not realizing the microphone was already on

The streets are safe in Philadelphia, it's only the people that make them unsafe.
-- Frank Rizzo, former mayor of Philadelphia

Why should we put ourselves out of our way to serve posterity? For what has posterity ever done for us?
-- Sir Boyle Roche

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win though to absolute victory.... ....with confidence in our armed forces -- with the unbounding determination of our people -- we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us god.
-- President Franklin D Roosevelt, December 8th, 1941,Speaking to the American people after the attack on Pearl Harbor

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
--Theodore Roosevelt

In the fall of 1972 President Nixon announced that the rate of increase of inflation was decreasing. This was the first time a sitting president used the third derivative to advance his case for reelection.
-- Hugo Rossi

Man is born free but everywhere is in chains.
--Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Good laws lead to the making of better ones; bad ones bring about worse.
--Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
-- Bertrand Russell

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.
-- Bertrand Russell

The President has kept all of the promises he intended to keep.
-- George Stephanopolous, former White House spokesman, on Larry King Live

The first who was king was a fortunate soldier:
Who serves his country well has no need of ancestors.
-- Voltaire

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
-- Oscar Wilde

I fear all we have done is to wake a sleeping giant, and fill him with a terrible resolve.

--Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, after the attack on Pearl Harbor
Power corrupts, but we need electricity.
-- anon

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