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Happiness is the interval between periods of unhappiness.
Don Marquis
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Main article: Anarchism


  • As a woman I have no country. As a woman, I want no country. ~Virginia Woolf
  • We cannot acknowledge allegience to any human government. Our country is the world, our countrymen are all mankind. ~ William Lloyd Garrison


  • If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman
  • I must create my own System, or be enslaved by another Man's. I will not Reason and Compare — my business is to Create! ~ William Blake
  • 'Art and not morality is represented as the actual metaphysical activity of mankind' ~ Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy
  • Some teachers of mankind--as Plato, the first Christians, the orthodox Muslims, and the Buddhists--have gone so far as to repudiate art. [They consider it] so highly dangerous in its power to infect people against their wills, that mankind will lose far less by banishing all art than by tolerating each and every art. Such people were wrong in repudiating all art, for they denied that which cannot be denied--one of the indispensable means of communication, without which mankind could not exist. Now there is only fear, lest we should be deprived of any pleasures art can afford, so any type of art is patronized. And I think the last error is much grosser than the first and that its consequences are far more harmful. ~ Leo Tolstoy What is Art? (1896)

Bipartisanship, patriotism, and unity

  • America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. ~ President Abraham Lincoln
  • Patriotism is in political life what faith is in religion. ~ Lord Acton Dalberg in 'Nationality', in The Home and Foreign Review (July 1862)
  • I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. "I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs." "I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking." "Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!" ~ Bill Hicks
  • Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. ~ Samuel Johnson
  • Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy. ~ George Bernard Shaw
  • Right wing (definition): As with the left wing, half the propulsive force of a flightless bird. ~ Richard Summerbell, Abnormally Happy (1985)
  • You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it. ~ Malcolm X
  • Why is it the Mongols of this world always tell us they're defending us against the Mongols? ~ Edward Whittemore, Nile Shadows (1983)

Business and economy

  • Aristocracy and exclusiveness tend to final overthrow, in language as in politics. ~ W. D. Whitney

  • The free market is ugly and stupid, like going to the mall; the unfree market is just as ugly and just as stupid, except there is nothing in the mall and if you don't go there they shoot you. ~ P.J. O'Rourke
  • Political institutions are a superstructure resting on an economic foundation. ~ Nikolai Lenin The Three Sources and Three Constituent Parts of Marxism (1913)
  • The right to suffer is one of the joys of a free economy. ~ Howard Pyle (aide to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, commenting on the unemployment situation in Detroit)


  • Those who are responsible for the national security must be the sole judges of what the national security requires. It would be obviously undesirable that such matters should be made the subject of evidence in a court of law or otherwise discussed in public. ~ Unattributed member of the The House of Lords discussing the removal of trade union rights at GCHQ, (1984)
  • No beacon shines with greater vivacity than that resurrected by oppression. ~ Anonymous
  • A recognition that there is a bit of Torquemada in everyone should make us wary of any attempt to enforce a consensus or demonize those who challenge it. ~ What is Your Dangerous Idea? (2007) ed., John Brockman, "Introduction," Steven Pinker, p. xxxi.
  • Censorship is stopping a man from eating steak because a baby cant chew it. -Mark Twain

Civil rights and race relations

Also see Danish People's Party

  • When was the last time you talked about race with someone of a different race? If the answer is never, you're part of the problem. ~ Bill Bradley
  • Gwinnett is a profoundly racist, anti-Semitic and corrupt county that hides behind a carefully fabricated facade (to the contrary). ~ Attorney John Matteson, Gwinnett County, Georgia (2004)


  • I think I can say, and say with pride, that we have legislatures that bring higher prices than any in the world. ~ Mark Twain
  • Suppose you were a member of Congress. And suppose you were an idiot. But I repeat myself. ~ Mark Twain
  • If pro is the opposite of con, then isn't progress the opposite of congress? ~ Keith Avery
  • Congress is like diapers; it should be changed regularly as it gets full of the same thing. ~ seen on a bumper sticker
  • Your appliances should be dumber than you, just like your furniture, your pets and your representatives in Congress. ~ Dave Barry
  • Those who can't do, teach. And those who can neither do nor teach, run for congress. ~ Stephen Huey


  • Corrupt, adj.: In politics, holding an office of trust for profit. ~ unknown Not Your Average Dictionary
  • The Enron scandal should launch a national movement to leash the corrupt power of money in politics so that legislators and regulators can serve the public interest. ~ The American Prospect (2002)
  • The honest politician is one who, when he is bought, stays bought. ~ U.S. Senator Simon Cameron (1862)
  • People say I steal. Well, all politicians steal. ~ Huey P. Long
  • POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. ~ Ambrose Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary
  • POLITICS, n. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage. ~ Ambrose Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary
  • Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. ~ Lord Acton (1887)
  • A thief is more moral than a congressman; when a thief steals your money, he doesn't demand you thank him. ~ Walter Williams


  • In Switzerland, 500 years of democracy and peace. And what does it produce? The cuckoo clock. ~ Graham Greene, The Third Man
  • Socialism needs democracy like the human body needs oxygen. ~ Leon Trotsky
  • Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates. ~ Gore Vidal
  • Because democracy is not a spectator sport. ~ US presidential election slogan, Democrats (2004)
  • Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. ~ H.L. Mencken
  • The 20th century has been characterised by three developments of great political importance. The growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda against democracy. ~ Alex Carey, Australian social scientist.
  • The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it. ~ Edward Dowling, Editor and Priest, Chicago Daily News (28 July 1941)
  • 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 other forms that have been tried from time to time. ~ Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons (11 November 1947)
  • A Democracy lead by politicians and political parties, fails ~ James E. Fisher

Dictatorships, totalitarianism, and tyranny

  • If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator. ~ CNN.com, (December 18, 2000) George Bush
  • Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry. ~ Sir Winston Churchill
  • The craziest of all political systems, the unique dictatorship, found its earned end. History will note for eternity that the German people were not able on their own initiative to shake off the yoke of the National Socialists. The victory of the Americans, English and Russians was a necessary occurrence to disrupt the National Socialists’ delusions and plans for world domination. ~ Friedrich Kellner
  • The people who vote decide nothing. The people who count the vote decide everything. ~ Joseph Stalin
  • There is only one difference between dictatorship and democracy. In democracy, you vote and then take orders; in dictatorship you don't waste time voting. ~ Charles Bukowski
  • Totalitarianism is never fun unless you're the leader.
  • Wherever you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship. ~ President Harry S Truman
  • What good fortune for governments that the people do not think ~ Adolf Hitler
  • Even grass we will eat ~ Ramiz Alia, former Albanian president said that during an interview, when asked about Albania opening to the democracy.
  • Communism was a great system for making people equally poor. In fact, there was no better system in the world for that than communism. -The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman.
  • Why is it the Mongols of this world always tell us they're defending us against the Mongols? ~ Edward Whittemore, Nile Shadows (1983)
  • "Many of our moral and political policies are designed to preempt what we know to be the worst features of human nature. The checks and balances in a democracy, for instance, were invented in explicit recognition of the fact that human leaders will always be tempted to arrogate power to themselves. Likewise, our sensitivity to racism comes from an awareness that groups of humans, left to their own devices, are apt to discriminate and oppress other groups, often in ugly ways. History also tells us that a desire to enforce dogma and suppress heretics is a recurring human weakness, one that has led to recurring waves of gruesome oppression and violence. A recognition that there is a bit of Torquemada in everyone should make us wary of any attempt to enforce a consensus or demonize those who challenge it." ~ What is Your Dangerous Idea? (2007) ed., John Brockman, "Introduction," Steven Pinker, p. xxxi.


  • We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together or we are going to learn to live together and if we are to live together we have to talk. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  • I feel the happiest when I can light my American cigarettes with Soviet matches. ~ Mohammed Daud Khan, President of Afghanistan, 1973-1978
  • Diplomacy might be boring, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than war. ~ Clint Borgen, President of The Borgen Project.
  • Ultimately European anti-Americanism isn’t our problem. It’s Europe’s problem. ~ Denis Boyles
  • Sometimes I must speak other than I think, that's called diplomacy. ~ Stilgar, a naib in Frank Herbert 's Dune Messiah

I"ve never asked for a sqaure inch of England,neither a sqaure inch of Europe.So Blair,keep your England ,and let me keep my Zimbabwe. Robert Gabriel Mugabe (2002,U N Summit,Cape Town )


  • Learn as much by writing as by reading. ~ Lord Acton
  • An educated nation have a lot of ideas, an un-educated nation don't have ideas, it limits to follow someone ~ Vasco E. G. Lima e Silva

Equality, freedom, liberty, and rights

  • A recognition that there is a bit of Torquemada in everyone should make us wary of any attempt to enforce a consensus or demonize those who challenge it. ~ What is Your Dangerous Idea? (2007) ed., John Brockman, "Introduction," Steven Pinker, p. xxxi.
  • All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. ~ George Orwell
  • As soon as men live entirely in accord with the law of love, which excludes all resistance by violence, and therefore hold aloof from all participation in violence, not only will hundreds be unable to enslave millions, but not even millions will be able to enslave a single individual. ~ Leo Tolstoy A Letter to a Hindu (1908)
  • Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting that vote. ~ frequently attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but it does not appear in his writings.
  • Few men desire liberty; The majority are satisfied with a just master. ~ Sallust
  • I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it has in some way obstructed inter-state commerce. ~ J. Edgar Hoover
  • Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end. ~ Lord Acton
  • Life springs from death; and from the graves of patriot men and women spring living nations.

~ Patrick Pearse, from his graveside oration at the funeral of the Fenian Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, 1 August 1915.

  • Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have. ~ Barry Goldwater
  • The difference between a republic and a people's republic is a lot like the difference between a jacket and a strait jacket. ~ Ronald Reagan
  • The man who prefers his country before any other duty shows the same spirit as the man who surrenders every right to the state. They both deny that right is superior to authority. ~ Lord Acton
  • The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities. ~ Lord Acton
  • There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order. ~ Ed Howdershelt
  • Self governance is preferable to Good governance ~ Bhagat Singh
  • When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called 'the People's Stick.' ~ Mikhail Bakunin in Statism and Anarchy
  • Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe. ~ Edmund Burke

Government bureaucracy

  • “Bureaucracy expands to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.” ~ Oscar Wilde
  • "Politics is the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant." ~ Henri Queuille, The Bureaucrat (1985)
  • "The bigger the politics, the smaller the print." - Leonid S. Sukhorukov

International affairs, United Nations, and world government

  • We're the first society in history with the option of living in a world without poverty. The fact poverty still exist says more about our political leaders than I can. ~ Clint Borgen, architect behind the movement to make poverty a political priority.
  • I do not believe that the United States should be bound by the same rules as the smallest African nation. Life isn't like that. ~ Richard Perle, USA Pentagon advisor
  • It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens. ~ Baha'u'llah
  • The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves. ~ Henry Kissinger, on the election of Chilean President Salvador Allende
  • Treaties are like roses and young girls; they last while they last. ~ Charles de Gaulle;

attributed to President Charles de Gaulle, on Franco-German treaty talks, Time (12 July 1963)

  • We [the U.S.] have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of the world’s population.… Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. ~ George Kennan, former member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff (1948) as quoted by Thomas H. Etzold and John Lewis Gaddis in Containment: Documents on American Policy and Strategy, 1945-1950 (1978)

Freedom of speech

  • I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. ~ James Baldwin
  • If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise we do not believe in it at all. ~ Noam Chomsky
  • I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. ~ Evelyn Beatrice Hall, commenting on an attitude of Voltaire in an expression which has often been misattributed to him.
  • You had the right to say: my worst enemy has the right to be free, on condition that he not ask for my death or that of my brothers. You did not have the right to say: my worst enemy is a comrade. You did not have the right to take a falsifier of history and to recast him in the colors of truth. ~ Pierre Vidal-Naquet
  • Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. ~ George Orwell
  • A recognition that there is a bit of Torquemada in everyone should make us wary of any attempt to enforce a consensus or demonize those who challenge it. ~ Steven Pinker, in the "Introduction" of What is Your Dangerous Idea? (2007) edited by John Brockman, p. xxxi.


Men and women

  • It will be years — not in my time — before a woman will become Prime Minister. ~ Margaret Thatcher (1974)
  • When women are depressed, they either eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking. ~ Elayne Boosler

Misstatements and tautologies

  • When a great many people are unable to find work, unemployment results. ~ Calvin Coolidge (ex-president, discussing the United States economic situation in 1931)
  • If Lincoln was alive today, he'd roll over in his grave. ~ Gerald Ford
  • Things are more like they are now than they have ever been. ~ Gerald Ford
  • I love sports. Whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio. ~ Gerald Ford
  • There is a mandate to impose a voluntary return to traditional values. ~ Ronald Reagan
  • Wait a minute! I'm not interested in agriculture. I want the military stuff. ~ Senator William Scott, during a briefing in which officials began telling him about missile silos
  • The proof is the proof, and if we have the proof, then that is the proof, and if it's a good proof it's because it's been proven. ~ Jean Chrétien
  • Those who survived the San Francisco earthquake said, 'Thank God I'm still alive. But, of course, those who died, their lives will never be the same again.' ~ Sen. Barbara Boxer
  • They believe sentences imposed by juries should be carried out. ~ George W. Bush

Politics, laws of politics

  • If it's a crime to kill, then what is it to allow a person to starve to death?. ~ Clint Borgen in Geneva Nights
  • Nationalism is having the ego to think of the 191 countries you could have been born in, you happened to be born into the one that is the best. ~ Clint Borgen.
  • In politics, you have your word and your friends; go back on either and you're dead. ~ Morton C. Blackwell in Laws of Politics
  • In volunteer politics, a builder can build faster than a destroyer can destroy. ~ Morton C. Blackwell in Laws of Politics
  • Moral outrage is the most powerful motivating force in politics. ~ Morton C. Blackwell in Laws of Politics
  • A disordered currency is one of the greatest political evils. ~ Daniel Webster
  • A leader has to lead otherwise he has no business in politics. ~ Harry Truman in Memoirs
  • We will stand by our friends and administer a stinging rebuke to men or parties who are either indifferent, negligent, or hostile, and, wherever opportunity affords, to secure the election of intelligent, honest, earnest trade unionists, with clear, unblemished, paid-up union cards in their possession. ~ Samuel Gompers, Men of Labor! Be Up and Doing editorial, American Federationist (May 1906)
  • All growth, including political growth, is the result of risk-taking. ~ Jude Wanniski in The Wall Street Journal.
  • All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies. ~ Dr. John Arbuthnot as quoted in Hoyts New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (1922)
  • All politics are based on the indifference of the majority. ~ James Reston
  • Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics. ~ Richard Brinsley Sheridan in The Duenna. Act ii. Sc. 4.
  • A cult is a religion with no political power. ~ Tom Wolfe
  • Don't follow leaders, watch your parkin' meters. ~ Bob Dylan
  • Envy is the cause of political division. ~ Democritus
  • Good politics are often inextricably intertwined. ~ Morris Udall
  • I have no faith in political arithmetic. ~ Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations
  • The key to understanding the American system is to imagine that you have the power to make nearly any law you want. But your worst enemy will be the one to enforce it. ~ Rick Cook
  • Man is by nature a political animal. ~ Aristotle
  • The most important political office is that of private citizen. ~ Louis Dembitz Brandeis American Supreme Court Justice
  • No amount of political freedom will satisfy the hungry masses. ~ Nikolai Lenin (1917)
  • Political promises go in one year and out the other. ~ unknown
  • [C]ampaign promises are—by long democratic tradition—the least binding form of human commitment. ~ Antonin Scalia
  • Politics is a concentric series of conspiracies in which the last party to conspire emerges victorious ~ George Obiozor
  • Politics is not an exact science but an art. ~ Otto von Bismarck (15 March 1884)
  • Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies. ~ Groucho Marx
  • Politics is the art of putting people under obligation to you. ~ Jacob L. Arvey (1990?)
  • Practical politics consists of ignoring facts. ~ Henry Adams in The Education of Henry Adams (1907)
  • There is only one thing more useful in politics than having the right friends, and that is having the right enemies. ~ Anonymous, Economist 375: 8432 (25 June 2005), p. 84
  • Therefore, the good of man must be the end of the science of politics. ~ Aristotle
  • Transcend political correctness and strive for human righteousness. ~ Anthony D'Angelo,

The College Blue Book

  • University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small. ~ Henry Kissinger
  • Victory is a political fiction. ~ unknown
  • We live in a world in which politics has replaced philosophy. ~ Martin L. Gross
  • The whole art of politics consists in directing rationally the irrationalities of men. ~ Reinhold Niebuhr
  • Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever. ~ Albert Einstein
  • A zebra does not change its spots. ~ Al Gore

Political jokes

  • I don't make jokes. I just watch the Government and report the facts.

Politicians and lawyers

  • The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy. ~ Edwin W. Edwards
  • A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground. ~ H.L. Mencken
  • Politics is the entertainment industry for ugly people. ~ Mark Turpin
  • Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
  • They [the people] may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Carl W. Buechner
  • The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes. ~ Winston Churchill

Power and money

  • Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you really want to test his character, give him power. ~ Abraham Lincoln
  • If you want power, you don't deserve it. ~ Clint Borgen, one of the most politically powerful humanitarians in the United States.
  • In public policy, it matters less who has the best arguments and more who gets heard — and by whom. ~ Ralph Reed, head of Christian Coalition, in memo to Enron executives, (2000)
  • Talking to politicians is fine, but with a little money they hear you better. ~ Justin Dart, chairman, Port Industries (1982)
  • Politics has gotten so expensive that it takes a lot of money to even get beat with. ~ Will Rogers (1931)
  • There are two things you need for success in politics. Money and I can't think of the other. ~ Senator Mark Hannah (R-OH), 1903
  • Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. ~ P.J. O'Rourke
  • Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely ~ Amin Fallahi
  • All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, nor from the want of honor or virtue, so much as the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation. ~ John Adams
  • Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create deposits, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again. However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create deposits. ~ Josiah Stamp, Governor of the Bank of England (1920)
  • If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks ill 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. ~ Thomas Jefferson
  • History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance. ~ James Madison
  • If congress has the right under the Constitution to issue paper money, it was given them to use themselves, not to be delegated to individuals or corporations. ~ Andrew Jackson
  • The main mark of modern governments is that we do not know who governs, de facto any more than de jure. We see the politician and not his backer; still less the backer of the backer; or, what is most important of all, the banker of the backer. ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Throned above all, in a manner without parallel in all past, is the veiled prophet of finance, swaying all men living by a sort of magic, and delivering oracles in a language not understood of the people. ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien


  • PRESIDENCY, n. The greased pig in the field game of American politics. ~ Ambrose Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary

The public

Public opinion and polls

  • That mysterious independent variable of political calculation, Public Opinion. ~ Thomas Huxley in "Universities, Actual & Ideal"
  • If we Americans are split into two meaningful camps, it is not conservative versus liberal. The two camps are the politically awake and the hypnotized. ~ Doris "Granny D" Haddock
  • In politics, there are things which you do but don't talk about them and things which you talk about but don't do anything. ~ Constantine Karamanlis

Public safety, domestic security, and gun control

  • The streets are safe in Philadelphia — it's only the people who make them unsafe. ~ Frank Rizzo, ex-police chief and mayor of Philadelphia
  • Rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon — so long as there is no answer to it — gives claws to the weak. ~ George Orwell
  • It's not about guns — it's about control.
  • A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks. ~ Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr (1785) The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.
  • No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms. ~ Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution (1776)
  • [The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. ~ James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46.
  • Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people. ~ Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
  • The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned. ~ Pennsylvania's Constitution of 1790

Public service

  • If there is anything a public servant hates to do it's something for the public. ~ Anonymous
  • People must act with conviction. Where there is no conviction, there cannot be honorable action. ~ spheresector.com

The "Masses"

  • They [governments] talk about the people and the proletariat, I talk about the fools and the suckers. ~ Graham Greene, The Third Man
  • The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie, than to a small one. ~ Adolf Hitler
  • Mankind's greatest flaw is man itself. Without mankind, there would exist none of the problems we have today. ~Michael Suggs


  • A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it the superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable cry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason. ~ Thomas Paine (1776)
  • History is a long and tragic story of the fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. ~ Martin Luther King, Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963)
  • I never saw so many shocking bad hats in my life. (on seeng the first Reformed Parliament) ~ Duke of Wellington, W. Frazer Words on Wellington (1889)
  • Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein
  • It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary. ~ Winston Churchill
  • Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. ~ Dale Carnegie
  • Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. ~ Confucius
  • Out of perfection nothing can be made. Every process involves breaking something up. ~ Joseph Campbell
  • Politicians are all the same. They promise reforms then reform their promises. ~ Leonid S. Sukhorukov, All About Everything (2005)
  • Reason accepts no authority above itself and is necessarily subversive.~ Allan Bloom
  • Reform is not for the shortwinded. ~ Arthur Vanderbilt, New Jersey Supreme Court Justice (1949)
  • The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. ~ Albert Einstein
  • Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. ~ President John F. Kennedy
  • You cannot impose ideologies on people who do not embrace it wholeheartedly. ~ Peter F. Hamilton (through character Endron) in The Neutronium Alchemist
  • Promise people something and they'll just have to wait for it. ~ Anonymous

Campaign finance reform

  • Today's political campaigns function as collection agencies for broadcasters. You simply transfer money from contributors to television stations. ~ Senator Bill Bradley, 2000
  • We've got a real irony here. We have politicians selling access to something we all own -our government. And then we have broadcasters selling access to something we all own — our airwaves. It's a terrible system. ~ Newton Minow, former Federal Communications Commission chairman (2000)
  • Unless we fundamentally change this system, ultimately campaign finance will consume our democracy. ~ Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) (1996)
  • [Buckley v. Valeo is] one of the most weakly reasoned, poorly written, initially contradictory court opinions I've ever read. ~ Senator (and former federal district court judge) George J. Mitchell (D-ME) (1990)
  • We don't buy votes. What we do is we buy a candidate's stance on an issue. ~ Allen Pross, executive director, California Medical Association's PAC (1989)
  • Political action committees and moneyed interests are setting the nation's political agenda. Are we saying that only the rich have brains in this country? Or only people who have influential friends who have money can be in the Senate? ~ Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) (1988)
  • The day may come when we'll reject the money of the rich as tainted, but it hadn't come when I left Tammany Hall at 11:25 today. ~ George Washington Plunkett (1905)
  • Who are to be the electors of the federal representatives? Not the rich, more than the poor, not the haughty heirs of distinguished names, more than the humble sons of obscure and propitious fortune. ~ James Madison, Federalist 57 (1788)

Religion, separation of church and state

  • Difference of religion breeds more quarrels than difference of politics. ~ Wendell Phillips
  • The neoconservative revival is a profound and, in many ways, a heartening phenomenon. For the neoconservative sees through the emptiness of the present and the poverty of the modern subject. The neoconservative knows that a present without past memory and tradition is self-illusory and finally self-destructive. The neoconservative knows that a subject without community and tradition is very soon little else that the modern possessive individual rendered passive and historyless. The neoconservative sees the folly of the Enlightenment’s wholesale attack on the very concept of tradition. She or he senses the unreality of the assumed universalism in Western liberal social-evolutionary schemas applied to history. The neoconservative notes the wasteful and complacent obstruction of the rich resources of the tradition. She or he knows the need to retrieve these resources anew in our parlous times if we are to maintain any truly Christian identity at all. ~ David Tracy, On Naming the Present
  • Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible. ~ Jamie Raskin, 2006-03-01
    • Raskin was responding to state senator Nancy Jacobs at a hearing on a proposed Maryland constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage [1]. At the time, Raskin was himself a candidate for senate.
  • The true destiny of America is religious, not political: it is spiritual, not physical. ~ Alvin R. Dyer in Ensign (November 1968)

Truth, honesty, integrity, and transparency

  • [In the West] unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without any need for an official ban. ~ George Orwell
  • This is something, eh, that is the kind of thing that must be gone through with what I believe is best not talked about too much until we know whatever answers there will be. ~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower, responding to questions about the investigation of J. Robert Oppenheimer's supposed Communist sympathies

Voting and participation

  • Have you ever seen a candidate talking to a rich person on television? ~ Art Buchwald,Quotations for our Time by Laurence J. Peter (1977)
  • I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. ~ Confucius
  • If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal. ~ Emma Goldman
  • If we do not maintain Justice, Justice will not maintain us. ~ Francis Bacon
  • If you don't believe in the resurrection of the dead, look at politicians seeking re-election. ~ Leonid S. Sukhorukov, All About Everything (2005)
  • It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error. ~ Robert H. Jackson, United States Attorney General & Assoc. Justice
  • The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ~ Edmund Burke
  • The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it. ~ Albert Einstein
  • Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy. ~ Confucius
  • Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair. ~ George Burns
  • Next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election. ~ George Carlin
  • Voter apathy was, and will remain the greatest threat to democracy." ~Hazen Pingree, former mayor of Detroit and governor of Michigan.
  • The French approach election differently than the Americans... they vote. ~ Bill Maher

War, military, and peace

  • Every government does as much harm as it can, and as much good as it must. ~ Nicholas Walter
  • If we cannot by reason, by influence, by example, by strenuous effort, and by personal sacrifice, mend the bad places of civilization, we certainly cannot do it by force. ~ Auberon Herbert
  • Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction. ~ Albert Einstein
  • History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes. ~ Mark Twain
  • The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions. ~ Robert Lynd
  • How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it. ~ Marcus Aurelius
  • If it were proved to me that in making war, my ideal had a chance of being realized, I would still say 'No' to war. For one does not create human society on mounds of corpses. ~ Louis Lecoin, French pacifist leader
  • It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways. ~ Buddha
  • Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. ~ Albert Einstein
  • The pioneers of a warless world are the young men (and women) who refuse military service. ~ Albert Einstein
  • Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed. ~ Mao Tse-tung
  • Take the so-called politics of fear — the constant reference to risks, from hoodies on the street corner to international terrorism. Whatever the truth of these risks and the best ways of dealing with them, the politics of fear plays on an assumption that people cannot bear the uncertainties associated with them. Politics then becomes a question of who can better deliver an illusion of control.
  • There is nothing that war has ever achieved that we could not better achieve without it. ~ Havelock Ellis
  • This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. ~ Dwight Eisenhower
  • To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day. ~ Sir Winston Churchill
  • War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. ~ John Stuart Mill
  • War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. ~ Karl Kraus
  • Warmaking doesn't stop warmaking. If it did, our problems would have stopped millennia ago. ~ Colman McCarthy
  • We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war. There is no task that is more important or closer to my heart. ~ Albert Einstein
  • Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy. ~ George Kennan (1987)
  • The world cannot continue to wage war like physical giants and to seek peace like intellectual pygmies. ~ Basil O'Connor

Iraq War

  • More was spent in the first month of the Iraq War, then is needed to end world hunger. Don't tell me we went to Iraq to help the people. ~ Clint Borgen, famous humanitarian (March 2005)
  • Why is it the Mongols of this world always tell us they're defending us against the Mongols? ~ Edward Whittemore, Nile Shadows (1983)
  • When Britain faced daily bombardment and threat of invaison in 1940, did they give up? No! They fought on for 5 more years. America is in a much smaller problem and Americans want to back down? It's hard to belive they had ever won independence from England. then again, that was 200 years ago. ~ Former Brigideer Brody, (British army, 1970)
  • And I said on my program, if, if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush Administration again. ~ Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, on Good Morning America (18 March 2003)
  • Excuse me, I am not convinced. I cannot go to the public and say, well let's go to war... and I don't believe in it myself. ~ German foreign minister Fischer to US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld about the necessity of a war on Iraq (February 8 2003)
  • Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. ~ ex-Ambassador Joseph Wilson (July 6 2003)
  • By invading Iraq, the president has greatly undermined the war on terrorism. ~ Richard A. Clarke, former National Security Council Special Advisor (24 March 2004)
  • Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. ~ George W. Bush in Cinncinati (October 2002)
  • He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983. ~ Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser (18 February 1998)
  • History is made by angry minorities, not by passive majorities. ~ Fareed Zakaria on insurgent action in Iraq, This Week with George Stephanopoulos (15 August 2004)
  • Hussein has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies. ~ Madeline Albright Clinton Secretary of State, (10 November 1999)
  • I asked for universal health care and all I got was this lousy stealth bomber. ~ a protester's plaque
  • I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. ~ Ken Adelman, defense policy board member (13 Febuary 2002)
  • I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it. ~ Madeleine Albright, May 12, 1996 — On whether the cost to the Iraqi people, due to sanctions against Iraq, including the deaths of children, could be justified. Later she wrote of that response, "I should have answered the question by reframing it and pointing out the inherent flaws in the premise behind it. … My reply had been a terrible mistake, hasty, clumsy, and wrong. … I had fallen into a trap and said something that I simply did not mean. That is no one’s fault but my own.[1]

  • I think these people are the last remnants of a dying cause. ~ Paul Wolfowitz (18 June 2003)
  • I voted for the 87 billion, before I voted against it ~ John Kerry
  • If you are looking at a map of the world and wondering where the United States is, you can find it over there, trapped between Iraq and a hard place. ~ John Bell Smithback, writer of Idiom-Magic (15 July 2005)
  • In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. ~ Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D, NY) (10 October 2002)
  • Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power. ~ Al Gore, (September 2002)
  • Iraq will not require sustained aid. ~ Mitch Daniels, (28 March 2003)
  • It's disingenuous for the State Department people to say they were bamboozled because they knew about this for a year. ~ Ambassador Joseph Wilson, (6 May 2003) in an anonymous interview with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, on the absence of evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program or weapons.
  • Japan is the second largest donor in Iraq after the United States, with over $5 billion dollars for humanitarian, infrastructure and reconstruction projects. ~ Michael K. Simpson
  • There is a possibility, Rockefeller says, that the fabrication of these [Niger] documents may be part of a larger deception campaign aimed at manipulating public opinion and foreign policy regarding Iraq. ~ Senator Jay Rockefeller (D. WVa) (21 March 2003), writing to FBI Director Robert Mueller asking for an investigation of the Niger letters.
  • My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. ~ Dick Cheney (16 March 2003)
  • Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process. ~ Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), (16 December 1998)
  • Saddam Hussein has not developed any significant capacity with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors. ~ Secretary of State Colin Powell (24 February 2001)
  • Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam now has weapons of mass destruction. ~ Dick Cheney, vice president of USA, (26 August 2002)
  • The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons. ~ Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV) (3 October 2002)
  • We are able to keep his [Saddam's] arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt. NSC advisor Condoleezza Rice (29 July 2001)
  • We do know that [Saddam] is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon. ~ Condoleezza Rice, (10 September 2002)
  • In our war against the British, they overwhelmingly underestimated our most deadly weapon... No alternative. ~ Cillian Morris, (Speaking of the IRA's campaign)
  • We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. ~ Condoleezza Rice (September 2002)
  • We know where [the weapons] are. They're in an area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, north and south somewhat. ~ Donald Rumsfeld (30 March 2003)
  • You have a mixture of a small number of terrorists, a small number of militias, coupled with some demonstrations and some lawlessness. ~ Donald Rumsfeld (9 April 2004)
  • You know, I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over. I don't believe he went in there for oil. We didn't go in there for imperialist or financial reasons. We went in there because he bought the Wolfowitz-Cheney analysis that the Iraqis would be better off, we could shake up the authoritarian Arab regimes in the Middle East, and our leverage to make peace between the Palestinians and Israelis would be increased. ~ Bill Clinton (Time Magazine, June 2004)
  • The Dick Cheney shooting incident shows what happens when you put the kids in charge of the kindergarten and let them play with guns. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo show what happens when you put them in charge of other kids without responsible adult supervision. The Iraq war shows what happens when you put the lunatics in charge of the asylum and let them play with real armies. ~ Letter to the editor, The Age Newspaper (Australia) (20 February 2006)
  • The war in Iraq is about winning over the minds of the Iraqis. Unfortunately the president continues to see Iraq as a military war. ~ Seargent First Class Willams
  • When I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the "left" started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of "right or left", but "right and wrong." ~ Cindy Sheehan (29 May, 2007)
  • I was born about a quarter of a mile from where we are sitting now and I was here in London during the Blitz. And every night I went down into the shelter. 500 people killed, my brother was killed, my friends were killed. And when the Charter of the UN was read to me, I was a pilot coming home in a troop ship: 'We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind.' That was the pledge my generation gave to the younger generation and you tore it up. And it's a war crime that's been committed in Iraq, because there is no moral difference between a stealth bomber and a suicide bomber. Both kill innocent people for political reasons. - Tony Benn, ex-Labour Party MP, (22 March 2007)

Notes and references

  1. Albright, Madeleine (2003). "Madam Secretary".