There is a new and highly regarded literary genre inquiring into the cultural defects that keep us from responding properly to the crimes of others. An interesting question no doubt, though by any reasonable standard it ranks well below a different one: Why do we persist in our own crimes, either directly or through crucial Read more…
History is the quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all.
A conservative is a statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.
A historian is a broad-gauge gossip.
We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.
A conservative is someone who admires radicals a century after they’re dead.
It seems to me that movements will only grow sufficiently large and committed to win truly major victories if they are both political and economic ? as well as gender and culture focussed. I think even to be strong enough to win major reforms, much less to win a whole new society, movements will have Read more…
The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.
Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud. Any of us will put out more and better ideas if our efforts are appreciated.
All things are possible until they are proved impossible – and even the impossible may only be so, as of now.
In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed. They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it.
Success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.
O God, help us not to despise or oppose what we do not understand.
I do not want the peace which passeth understanding, I want the understanding which bringeth peace.
Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow down before children.
Those who write clearly have readers; those who write obscurely have commentators.
For two thousand years Christianity has been telling us: life is death, death is life; it is high time to consult the dictionary.
Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.
The thorough skeptic is a dogmatist. He enjoys the delusion of complete futility.
I was raised to sense what someone else wanted me to be and to be that kind of person. It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.
Reverence: the spiritual attitude of a man to a god and a dog to a man.
The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.
A highwayman is as much a robber when he plunders in a gang as when single; and a nation that makes an unjust war is only a great gang.
A people living under the perpetual menace of war and invasion is very easy to govern. It demands no social reforms. It does not haggle over expenditures for armaments and military equipment. It pays without discussion, it ruins itself, and that is an excellent thing for the syndicates of financiers and manufacturers for whom patriotic Read more…
If the State cannot survive the antislavery agitation, then let the State perish. If the Church must be cast down by the strugglings of Humanity to be free, then let the Church fall, and its fragments be scattered to the four winds of heaven, never more to curse the earth. If the American Union cannot Read more…
With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men, I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost.
Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present.
I hold a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.
The interest of the State is in intimate connection with those of the rich individuals belonging to it.
On the whole, I am on the side of the unregenerate who affirm life as an end in itself, and against the saints who deny it.
When a dog barks at the moon, then it is religion; but when he barks at strangers, it is patriotism!
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 Read more…
He that dies a martyr proves that he was not a knave, but by no means that he was not a fool.
We should not forget that our tradition is one of protest and revolt, and it is stultifying to celebrate the rebels of the past … while we silence the rebels of the present.
My country right or wrong, is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, My mother, drunk or sober.
…the greatest obstacle to international order is that monstrously exaggerated spirit of nationalism which also goes by the fair-sounding but misused name of patriotism. During the last century and a half this idol has acquired an uncanny and exceedingly pernicious power everywhere.
The course of events in the last few years has once more shown us how little we are justified in leaving the struggle against armaments and against the war spirit to the Governments. On the other hand, the formation of large organizations with a large membership can of itself bring us very little nearer to Read more…
I believe that a refusal on conscientious grounds to serve in the army when called up, if carried out by 50,000 men at the same moment, would be irresistible. The individual can accomplish little here, nor can one wish to see the best among us devoted to destruction through the machinery behind which stand the Read more…
The importance of securing international peace was recognized by the really great men of former generations. But the technical advances of our times have turned this ethical postulate into a matter of life and death for civilized mankind to-day, and made the taking of an active part in the solution of the problem of peace Read more…
Is the severe persecution to which conscientious objectors to military service are subjected to-day a whit less disgraceful to the community than those to which the martyrs of religion were exposed in former centuries?
The cult of individual personalities is always, in my view, unjustified. To be sure, nature distributes her gifts variously among her children. But there are plenty of the well-endowed ones too, thank God, and I am firmly convinced that most of them live quiet, unregarded lives. It strikes me as unfair, and even in bad Read more…
My political ideal is that of democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized. It is an irony of fate that I myself have been the recipient of excessive admiration and respect from my fellows through no fault, and no merit, of my own. The cause of this may well Read more…
War seems to me to be a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business. And yet so high, in spite of everything, is my opinion of the human race that I believe this bogey would have disappeared long ago, had the sound sense of Read more…
The weakest of weak things is a virtue which has not been tested in the fire.
Sociability is as much a law of nature as mutual struggle… mutual aid is as much a law of animal life as mutual struggle.
One day, perhaps, unimaginable generations hence, we will evolve into the knowledge that human beings are more important than real estate and will permit this knowledge to become the ruling principle of our lives. For I do not for an instant doubt, and I will go to my grave believing, that we can build Jerusalem, Read more…
Vladimir Ilyich [Lenin], your concrete actions are completely unworthy of the ideas you pretend to hold.
A revolution is first and foremost a movement from the old to the new, and needs above all new words, new verse, new passwords-all the symbols in which ideas and feelings are made tangible.Ã¿ The mass creation and appropriation of what is needed is a revealing picture of a whole people on their journey into Read more…
Even if one is not an actual immigrant or expatriate, it is still possible to think as one, to imagine and investigate in spite of barriers, and always to move away from the centralizing authorities towards the margins where you see things that are usually lost on minds that have never traveled beyond the conventional Read more…
Every teacher is always a pupil and every pupil is always a teacher.