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Political Quotations – Set 7

  1. We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them. – Livy, Roman historian (64 or 59 B.C.-A.D. 17)
  2. Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are. – Bertholt Brecht, German poet and dramatist (1898-1956)
  3. We must not waste life in devising means. It is better to plan less and do more. – William Ellery Channing, American clergyman (1780-1842)
  4. The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves. – Plato, philosopher (427-347 BCE)
  5. The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do. – Samuel P. Huntington
  6. A man who has in mind an apparent advantage and promptly proceeds to dissociate this from the question of what is right shows himself to be mistaken and immoral. Such a standpoint is the parent of assassinations, poisonings, forged wills, thefts, malversations of public money, and the ruinous exploitation of provincials and Roman citizens alike. Another result is passionate desire — desire for excessive wealth, for unendurable tyranny, and ultimately for the despotic seizure of free states. These desires are the most horrible and repulsive things imaginable. The perverted intelligences of men who are animated by such feelings are competent to understand the material rewards, but not the penalties. I do not mean penalties established by law, for these they often escape. I mean the most terrible of all punishments: their own degradation. Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
  7. To do nothing is sometimes a good remedy. – Hippocrates, physician (460-c.377 BCE)
  8. Hero-worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom. – Herbert Spencer, British philosopher (1820-1903)
  9. In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects. – J. William Fulbright, US Senator (1905-1995)
  10. If men could regard the events of their own lives with more open minds, they would frequently discover that they did not really desire the things they failed to obtain. – Emile Herzog, writer (1885-1967)
  11. Mediocrity can talk; but it is for genius to observe. – Benjamin Disraeli, British prime minister (1804-1881)
  12. There is no one, no matter how wise he is, who has not in his youth said things or done things that are so unpleasant to recall in later life that he would expunge them entirely from his memory if that were possible. – Marcel Proust, novelist (1871-1922)
  13. Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power. – Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)
  14. The best teacher, until one comes to adult pupils, is not the one who knows most, but the one who is most capable of reducing knowledge to that simple compound of the obvious and the wonderful which slips into the infantile comprehension…. The best teacher of children, in brief, is one who is essentially childlike. – H.L. Mencken, American author-journalist (1880-1956)
  15. You have not converted a man because you have silenced him. – John Morley, statesman and writer (1838-1923)
  16. Words are the soul’s ambassadors, who go / Abroad upon her errands to and fro. – James Howell, writer (c. 1594-1666)
  17. Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults. – Socrates, philosopher (469?-399 BCE)
  18. The world in general doesn’t know what to make of originality; it is startled out of its comfortable habits of thought, and its first reaction is one of anger. – W. Somerset Maugham, writer (1874-1965)
  19. The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group or any controlling private power. – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-45)
  20. The statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception. – Mark Twain, “The Mysterious Stranger” (1910)

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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