Compiled by Laird Wilcox
“Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.” HENRY BROOKS ADAMS.
“A lively, disinterested, persistent liking for truth is extraordinarily rare. Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not to be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism or doubt.” HENRY FREDERIC AMIEL, Amiel’s Journal, 1849-71.
“The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of truth that the liar and the deceiver wants to hide.” HANNAH ARENDT, Crisis Of The Republic, 1972.
“There is a tonic in the things that men do not love to hear. Free speech is to a great people what the winds are to oceans…and where free speech is stopped miasma is bred, and death comes fast.” HENRY WARD BEECHER.
“The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means.” GEORGES BERNANOS, Last Essays, 1949.
“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficient….The greatest dangers to our liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” LOUIS BRANDEIS, U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
“The dearest ambition of a slave is not liberty, but to have a slave of his own.” SIR RICHARD BURTON.
“Slogans are both exciting and comforting, but they are also powerful opiates for the conscience.” JAMES BRYANT CONANT, Baccalaureate Address, Harvard University, 1934.
“It is a capital crime to theorize before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.” SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes, 1891.
“When there is a choice about how to lie, liars usually prefer concealing to falsifying. There are many advantages. For one thing, concealing is easier than falsifying. Nothing has to be made up. There is no chance of getting caught without having the whole story worked out in advance.” PAUL EKMAN, Telling Lies, 1985.
“Propaganda is persuading people to make up their minds while witholding some of the facts from them.” HAROLD EVANS.
“There is no zeal blinder than that which is inspired with the love of justice against offenders.” HENRY FIELDING, Tom Jones.
“There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as moral indignation, which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue.” ERICH FROMM, Man For Himself, 1947.
“I doubt if the oppressed ever fight for freedom. They fight for pride and for power — power to oppress others. The oppressed want above all to imitate their oppressors; they want to retaliate.” ERIC HOFFER, The Passionate State Of Mind.
“There is no method of reasoning more common, and yet none more blamable, than, in philosophical disputes, to endeavor the refutation of a hypothesis, by a pretense of its dangerous consequence to religion and morality.” DAVID HUME, An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748.
“The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that the other set are human.” ALDOUS HUXLEY, The Olive Tree, 1937.
“…every crusade tends, by the very difficulty of its struggle and the fervor of its hope, to develop overdrive — a determination that may go too far.” ORRIN E. KLAPP, The Collective Search For Identity, 1969.
“The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliche. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed.” ROBERT J. LIFTON, Thought Reform And The Psychology Of Totalism, 1961.
“For the majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.” NICOLO MACHIAVELLI, Discources, 1513-17.
“The historians first duties are sacrilege and the mocking of false Gods. They are his indispensible instruments for establishing the truth.” JULES MICHELET, Historie de France, 1833-67.
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back at you.” FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, 1878.
“What gives the new despotism its peculiar effectiveness is indeed its liason with humanitarianism, but beyond this fact its capacity for entering into the smallest details of human life.” ROBERT NISBET, Twilight Of Authority, 1981.
“A person growing up with Newspeak as his sole language would no more know that equal had once the secondary meaning of ‘politically equal,’ or that free had once meant ‘intellectually free,’ …” GEORGE ORWELL, Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1948.
“You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths, or any other kind of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.” ROBERT M. PIRSIG, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
“Our experience is composed rather of illusions lost rather than wisdom acquired.” JOSEPH ROUX, Meditations Of A Parish Priest, 1886.
“Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are.” GEORGE SANTAYANA, Little Essays, 1920.
“To claim ‘humanitarian motives,’ when the true motive is envy and its supposed appeasement, is a favorite rhetorical device of politicians today…” HELMUT SCHOEK, Envy: A Theory Of Social Behavior, 1966.
“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism in those who have not got it.” GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Man & Superman, 1903.
“Policies are judged by their consequences but crusades are judged by how good they make their crusaders feel.” THOMAS SOWELL, Compassion vs. Guilt, 1987.
“If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us.” ADLAI STEVENSON, Speech, University of Wisconson, 1952.
“The basis of fascism is blind belief and a contempt for reason … Fascism exploits the fear of reason which lives secretly in the conscious and sub-conscious minds of many people. Reason means facing up to life and facts.” ERNEST TOLLER.