Words to the Wise: Useful Quotes

Thomas Jefferson – perhaps the wisest American that ever lived…

  • “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”
  • “Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day.”
  • “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
  • “Never spend your money before you have it.”
  • “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.”
  • “I have the consolation of having added nothing to my private fortune during my public service, and of retiring with hands clean as they are empty.”
  • “If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.”
  • “An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.”
  • “Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself.”
  • “Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.”

Will Rogers – A True American and a “Good Democrat”

  • “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.”
  • “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”
  • “The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.”
  • “An ignorant person is one who doesn’t know what you have just found out.”

Henry David Thoreau – The Original American Seeker

  • “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
  • “If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life. “
  • “I have seen how the foundations of the world are laid, and I have not the least doubt that it will stand a good while.”
  • “I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
  • “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”
  • “I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.”
  • “Beware of all enterprises that require a new set of clothes.”
  • “Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something. “
  • “Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.”
  • “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”
  • “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”
  • “If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.”
  • “It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”
  • “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
  • “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
  • “Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.”
  • “Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed by them.”
  • “Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”
  • “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”
  • “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Edmund Burke – Perhaps the true father of the American Dream

  • “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
  • “Among a people generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist.”
  • “Facts are to the mind what food is to the body.”
  • “Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.”
  • “If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.”
  • “In a democracy, the majority of the citizens is capable of exercising the most cruel oppressions upon the minority.”
  • “It is the interest of the commercial world that wealth should be found everywhere.”
  • “The effect of liberty to individuals is that they may do what they please: we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations.”
  • “The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.”
  • “The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.”
  • “Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants.”
  • “When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.”

 George Orwell – Probably rolling over in his grave, muttering “I told you so”,  don’t you think?

  • “”Doublethink” means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them”.
  • “War is evil, but it is often the lesser evil.”
  • “(Mankind) is not likely to salvage civilization unless he can evolve a system of good and evil which is independent of heaven and hell.”
  • “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”
  • “Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.”
  • “We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
  • “He was an embittered atheist, the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him.”
  • “All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”
  • “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
  • “What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?”
  • “On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good and not quite all the time”
  • “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”
  • “So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.”
  • “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
  • “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
  • “In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”
  • “Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.”
  • “Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.”

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