Quotes I Like


I may have said something prescient, philosophical, witty, or even memorable, but I don't recall and I'll bet no one was writing it down. Fortunately, history has preserved plenty of these from a variety of people, and I've collected some of my favorites for your enjoyment.
Thanks for reading!

Ability

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
 - Robert A. Heinlein, Author, from "Time Enough For Love"

"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people."
 - Hyman G. Rickover, Admiral, US Navy

"All fact-collectors, who have no aim beyond their fact, are one-story men. Two-story men compare, reason, generalize, using the labors of the fact-collectors as well as their own. Three-story men idealize, imagine, predict; their best illumination comes from above, through the skylight."
 - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Author

"When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."
 - R. Buckminster Fuller, Futurist

"Don't get involved in partial problems, but always take flight to where there is a free view over the whole single great problem, even if this view is still not a clear one."
  - Ludwig Wittgenstein

Banking

"The central bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the Principles and form of our Constitution. I am an Enemy to all banks discounting bills or notes for anything but Coin. If the American People allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the People of all their Property until their Children will wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered."
 - Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States of America

"Common" Sense

“The secret of getting things done is to act.”
 - Dante Alighieri

"First things first, but not necessarily in that order."
 - Dr. Who

"Be ever questioning. Ignorance is not bliss. It is oblivion. You don't go to heaven if you die dumb. Become better informed. Learn from other's mistakes. You could not live long enough to make them all yourself."
 - Hyman George Rickover (1900-86), Admiral, US Navy, father of the US Nuclear Navy

"The truth is always the strongest argument."
 - Sophocles (496-406 B.C.)

"The raised nail gets pounded down."
  - Japanese Proverb

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.”
 - W. C. Fields, Actor & Comedian

Government

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague."
 - Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC)

"If ever time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."
 - Samuel Adams

"Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
 - George Washington, 1st President of the United States of America

“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
 - James Madison,  4th President of the United States of America, speaking to the 1788 Virginia convention

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
 - George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States of America, Aug. 5, 2004

"Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms [of government] those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."
- Thomas Jefferson, "Bill for the More General diffusion of Knowledge" (1778)

"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, 40th President of the United States of America

"If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress... Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America."
 - James Madison (1751-1836), 4th President of the United States of America

"We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of [Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt's] Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started... And an enormous debt to boot!"
 - Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury under FDR, speaking to the House Committee on Ways and Means, May 9, 1939.

"A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, [which is] always followed by a dictatorship."
 - Prof. Alexander Tyler, Professor of History, Univ. of Edinborough, Scotland, in 1887.

Management

"If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done."
 - Ludwig Wittgenstein

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."
  - Chinese Proverb

"To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice."
 - Confucius (B.C. 551-479)

"May you always live in interesting times."
 - Chinese Proverb, intended as a curse on the recipient

"My friends, each of you is a single cell in the great body of the State. And today, that great body has purged itself of parasites. We have triumphed over the unprincipled dissemination of facts. The thugs and wreckers have been cast out. And the poisonous weeds of disinformation have been consigned to the dustbin of history. Let each and every cell rejoice! For Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directive! We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of Thought is a more powerful weapon than any fleet or army on Earth. We are one people. With one will. One resolve. One cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death. And we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!"
 - Apple's "1984" Ad, original text to be spoken by "Big Brother"

Taxes

"The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to procure the greatest quantity of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing."
 - Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Finance Minister to King Louis XIV of France

"If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, and give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses; And the sixteen being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they do now, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; But be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains around the necks of our fellow sufferers; And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second, that second for a third, and so on 'til the bulk of society is reduced to mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering...and the forehorse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression."
 - Thomas Jefferson,  to Samuel Kercheval, 1816.

Miscellaneous

"...it seems that the path to stop the hegemony of capitalism is to carry out a real radical change that will help you liberate...the White House so that Barack Hussein [Obama] will be liberated and with him, everyone else from the hegemony of these corporations. Peace be upon those who head the advice."
 - Osama Bin Laden, Leader of Al Qaeda terrorist organization, in a video released September 12, 2011