I have learned early on in my life, that those of the past, and many of those that have lived longer than me can teach important lessons in life. Experience and history is the worlds best teacher of what works and what does not. Unfortunately, most of society, in its self-centered arrogance, tends to ignore history thinking they know better. The fact that history has shown this to be a mistake over and over has no effect, because the arrogance of the current society makes them think they are special. Call it culture, call it technology, call it so-called “enlightenment” it almost always ends up backfiring with their society just another part of history that hopefully the next will finally learn from.
I have assembled together a series of good and poignant quotations of those of the present and the past to best illustrate what everyone could use to better warn them, better live their life, better govern, and even enjoy a good laugh.
You may have noticed it has been a long time since I wrote an article here. It’s simply because I have been working long and hard on this one. This one may not be Pulitzer material (thank God!), but it’s something I feel good about writing, and I hope at least someone reading it can find help, advice, assistance, solace, comfort, or just simple knowledgeable enlightenment about the world around them.
All of those I quote here have some form of wisdom we can learn from. Not all of them are benevolent, not all of them are someone I’d trust to be alone with my children (if I had any), and some may make my blood boil, however, they are experts in their field, some terrifyingly so. Most, however, are people I would invite to dinner and would be quite comfortable to have around children. These quotes fall into three categories, the wise, the ridiculous, and the ironic. You’ll soon see what I mean.
Also remember, wisdom can come from quotes of those far from being wise, and hence the quote becomes ironic or even ridiculous to give us wisdom.
I will go topic by topic, in what I think are important issues of current times, and what we can learn from these wise, and not so wise, people about them.
Let’s get started.
Government Bailouts and New American Socialism
- “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.” — Thomas Jefferson (one of the founders of the Democrat Party and our Nation)
- “But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” — John Adams (One of the founders of our Nation and second President)
- “In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.” — John Adams
- “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower (First Supreme Allied Commander Europe WWII and 34th President, Republican)
- “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” — John F. Kennedy (35th President, Democrat)
- “That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.” — Abraham Lincoln (16th President, Republican)
- “The great masses of the people… will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one.” — Adolf Hitler (Charismatic and articulate political orator, German Chancellor, called by those that heard him speak “the Saviour of Germany”, and responsible for the murder of millions in WWII)
- “Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” — George Orwell (Author)
- “How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.” — Ronald Reagan (Actor and 40th President)
- “The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away.” — Ronald Reagan
- “The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” — Ronald Reagan
- “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” — Mark Twain (aka Samuel Clemins, Author)
- “Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself.” — Thomas Jefferson
- “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” — C.S. Lewis (Author)
- “Never spend your money before you have it.” — Thomas Jefferson
- “My Uncle was an American; but he was one of the lucky ones. He managed to escape in a balloon during the Jimmy Carter Presidency.” — Hillary Flammond (“Top Secret” movie)
- “Already there are insidious influences working termite-like to destroy this basic principle of true democracy.” — David O. McKay
Congress and the Washington Establishment
- “Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” — Mark Twain
- “All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.” — Sir Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister during WWII)
- “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — Martin Luther King Jr. (Civil Rights Leader)
- “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.” — Ronald Reagan
- “I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” — James Madison (American Founding Father and 4th President, Democrat)
- “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” — Vladimir Lenin (First Soviet Premiere, and communist revolutionary)
- “To be turned from one’s course by men’s opinions, by blame, and by misrepresentation shows a man unfit to hold an office.” — Quintas Fabius Maximus (Roman General)
- “What luck for rulers that men do not think.” — Adolf Hitler
- “But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” — John Adams
- “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.” — Thomas Jefferson
- “An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.” — Thomas Jefferson
- “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” — John F. Kennedy
- “I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves.” — Ronald Reagan
- “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.” — Mark Twain
Media and the So-called “Fairness Doctrine”
- “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” — Harry S. Truman (33rd President, Democrat)
- “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.” — Thomas Jefferson
- “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” — Thomas Jefferson
Religion, Atheism, and Government
- “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” — C.S. Lewis (Author)
- “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.” — John Adams
- “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” — Carl Sagan
- “Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book…” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
- “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” — Thomas Jefferson
- “Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.” — Ronald Reagan
- “A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.” — Sir Winston Churchill
- “Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
- “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” — Carl Sagan
- “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible, swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat.
Oh be swift, my soul, to answer him; be jubilant my feet!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
with a glory in his bosom that transfigured you and me.
As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
while God is marching on.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.” — Julia Ward Howe
Education and Intellectuals
- “An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
- “Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” — John Adams
- “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” — C.S. Lewis
- “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” — John F. Kennedy
- “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain
- “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.” — George Washington (Revolutionary War General, First President)
- “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” — Sir Winston Churchill
- “The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.” — Nikola Tesla
- “Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.” — John F. Kennedy
- “Congratulations, there is now a level zero.” — Master Shifu (Kung Fu Panda)
- On European Socialism… “I’m not European. I don’t plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they’re socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, and it still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car.” — Ferris Bueller
- “The most important work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes.” — Harold B. Lee
- “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
- “I always wanted a happy ending… Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.” — Gilda Radner
- “The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children.” — King Edward VIII
- “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” — Bill Cosby
- “If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you’ll be going, ‘you know, we’re alright. We are dang near royalty.’” — Jeff Foxworthy
- “I asked for a car, I got a computer. How’s that for being born under a bad sign?” — Ferris Beuller
Patriotism, Liberty, Military and The War Against Terrorism
- “Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway.” — John Wayne
- “I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
- “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death.” — Patrick Henry
- “A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.” — Alexander Hamilton
- “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” — Sir Winston Churchill
- “Americans never quit” — Douglas MacArthur
- “The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.” — George Orwell
- “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” — Ronald Reagan
- “Carry the battle to them. Don’t let them bring it to you.” — Harry S. Truman
- “In war there is no substitute for victory. ” — Douglas MacArthur
- “Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.” — Thomas Jefferson
- “God gave us the gift of life. It is the most precious gift ever. To be unarmed is to be helpless to protect that gift; that is outright irresponsible.” — Ted Nugent
- “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” — George Orwell
- “Oh, beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,
for purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.
Oh, beautiful for pilgrim feet, whose stern, impassioned stress
a thoroughfare of freedom beat across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine every flaw,
confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.
Oh, beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
who more than self their country loved,
and mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine.
Oh, beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years
thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.” — Katherine Lee Bates
- “Everyone has this most precious of all life’s endowments-the gift of free agency — man’s inherited and inalienable right.” — David O. McKay
- “We have peace in our time” — Neville Chamberlain (shortly before World War II broke out). Ask him how well appeasement foreign policy went.
Environmentalism and So-called “Global Warming”
- “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” — Mark Twain
- “Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense.” — Carl Sagan
- “Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.” — Nikola Tesla
- “The evidence in support of these predictions [of global cooling] has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it.” — Newsweek 1975
- “The debate is over” — Albert Gore Jr. (There never was a debate, just a consensus of 2500 scientists in need of government funding, when 37500 other scientists with contrary opinions and findings offered to debate, the 2500 refused.)
- “One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.” — Master Oogway (Kung Fu Panda)
- “The greatest loser in any argument is the one who’s argument is so weak, that their only response is to attempt silence the opposition.” — SuperSparky
Believe it or not, I had to really shorten this list. With wisdom, comes volumes of understanding and in just a few words. Wisdom cuts to the bone. It says it like it is and is not politically correct. I found the wisdom of some, who’d you never expect, be the most profound.
We cannot forget the past if we hope to survive the future. Remember, “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” — John Wayne