Quotes A – C

• Here is part of a still-growing herd of political, humorous and general quotations, listed in the following categories:

abundance * accidents * activism * adversity * advice * aging * america * anger * apathy * argument * aristocracy * arms & armies
bankers * beliefs * boasting
capitalism & socialism * censorship * change * chaos * character * christianity * class conflict *cleanliness * commitment * communication * compassion * complaints * confidence * conformity * congress * conscience * conservatives * courage & cowardice * credibility * criticism * curiosity * cynicism

A few items are even my own shameless efforts, but I’ve paid my dues by finding all this stuff … and now it’s your turn to suffer. – LLF



Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; give a fish a man and he’ll eat for weeks! –Unknown

I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. –Robert F. Kennedy

I’d like my children to have all the things I could never afford. And then I want to move in with them. –Phyllis Diller

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

There are two ways to get enough; one is to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. –G.K. Chesterton

There is enough for all. The earth is a generous mother; she will provide in plentiful abundance food for all her children, if they will but cultivate her soil in justice and in peace. –Bourke Cockran


Children in the back seat can cause accidents; accidents in the back seat can cause … children! –unknown

Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose — with the exception of guppies, who like to eat theirs. –P. J. O’Rourke

Man blames fate for other accidents, but feels personally responsible when he hits a hole-in-one. –Curmudgeon


An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory. –Friedrich Engels

Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room –Christie Todd Whitman

It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds. –Samuel Adams

Never confuse movement with action. –Ernest Hemingway

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. –Margaret Mead

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. –Edmund Burke

Take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly, and try another. But by all means, try something. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

The citizen who thinks he sees that the commonwealth’s political clothes are worn out, and yet holds his peace and does not agitate for a new suit, is disloyal; he is a traitor. –Mark Twain

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. –Abraham Lincoln

There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at points in history, and creating a power that nothing can suppress. –Howard Zinn

What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority. –Molly Ivins

What’s right and good doesn’t come naturally. You have to stand up and fight for it – as if the cause depends on you, because it does. –Bill Moyers

When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better. –Pauline R. Kezer

You must be the change you want to see in the world. –Mahatma Gandhi


Adversity does not build character, it reveals it. –Unknown

Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters. –Victor Hugo

By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity–another man’s, I mean. –Mark Twain

It’s a shallow life that doesn’t give a person a few scars. –Garrison Keillor

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering … and it’s all over much too soon. –Woody Allen

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. –Abraham Lincoln

No matter which way you go, some days it’s all uphill, and against the wind. –Curmudgeon

The only good thing about having your back to the wall is that it makes it really easy to choose which way you’re going to go. –Jim Butcher

We all have strength enough to endure the misfortunes of others. –Francois de La Rochefoucauld

When everything’s coming your way, you’re probably in the wrong lane. –Unknown

You’ve got to take the bitter with the sour. –Samuel Goldwyn


Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer, but wish we didn’t. –Erica Jong

Don’t ask a barber if you need a haircut. –Warren Buffett

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. –Robert Louis Stevenson

Never face facts; if you do, you’ll never get up in the morning. –Marlo Thomas

Take my advice; I’m not using it. –Curmudgeon

When we ask for advice, we are usually looking for an accomplice. –Marquis de la Grange


A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. –John Barrymore

At my age, ‘getting lucky’ means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for. –Curmudgeon

Don’t worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you. –Winston Churchill

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

Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others. –Virginia Woolf

I always thought getting old would take longer than this. –Curmudgeon

I don’t feel old. I don’t feel anything until noon. Then it’s time for my nap. –Bob Hope

I don’t think we get smarter as we get older; we just run out of stupid things to do. –Curmudgeon

I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity. –Tom Stoppard

I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am. –Bernard M. Baruch

If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself. –Mickey Mantle

If you live long enough, first you will be accused of things you never did, and later, credited for virtues you never had. –I. F. Stone

Maturity is when your world opens up, and you realize that you are not the center of it. –M. J. Croan

Maybe it’s true that life begins at fifty, but everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out. –Phyllis Diller

My Grandmother is over eighty and still doesn’t need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle. –Henny Youngman

No one is ever old enough to know better. –Curmudgeon

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. –Samuel Ullman

Old age is the most unexpected of things that can happen to a man. –Leon Trotsky

Setting a good example for children could take all the fun out of middle age. –William Feather

Sure I’m for helping the elderly! I’m going to be old myself some day. –Lillian Carter [then in her eighties]

The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise. –Alden Nowlan

There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes. –Doctor Who

To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable. –Oscar Wilde

We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress. –Will Rogers

We don’t really know the age of the human race, but everyone agrees that it is old enough to know better. –Unknown

Why worry about your health? Sooner or later, it’ll go away. –Unknown

You can only be young once, but you can always be immature. –Dave Barry

You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing. –Michael Pritchard

You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from, and refuse to tell you where they’re going. –P. J. O’Roarke

Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life. –Herbert Asquith


A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election. –Bill Vaughan

All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from the defects in the Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation. –John Adams

America may be unique in being a country which has leapt from barbarism to decadence without touching civilization. –John O’Hara

Either the United States will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States. –W. E. B. Du Bois

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival…. –-Frederick Douglass

Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half. –Gore Vidal

I am a firm believer in the people, If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts. –Abraham Lincoln

I sometimes think that the saving grace of America lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities- a sense of humor and a sense of proportion. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

“If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings. –Nelson Mandela

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. –James Madison

In America, preposterousness prevents the acceptance, but not the expression, of ideas. –California Attorney General, 1961

In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs forever and ever. –Oscar Wilde

In the United States today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls, but foreign policy follows Machiavelli. –Howard Zinn

It is a paradox that the nation that did so much to articulate and codify human rights in its foundation documents has so consistently resisted the effective functioning of an international framework to protect these principles and values. –Amnesty International, on the United States

One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. –Charles Austin Beard

Our American values are not luxuries but necessities, not the salt in our bread, but the bread itself. Our common vision of a free and just society is our greatest source of cohesion at home and strength abroad, greater than the bounty of our material blessings. –Jimmy Carter

Poor Mexico. So far from God, so close to the United States! –Mexican proverb

Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big. –Theodore Roosevelt

The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives. –Winston Churchill

The Constitution gives every American the inalienable right to make a damn fool of himself. –John Ciardi

The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the wonders of the Western world. No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely from its media all objectivity — much less dissent. –Gore Vidal

The killing, the permanent war, our deranged national priorities, and The system we live under which requires the serial deaths of all those innocents to maintain our economic health should appall us. We sup upon the blood and bonemeal, the byproducts of the idea that is America, and we sleep. And we sleep. –William Rivers Pitt

The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. –H. L. Mencken

The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet. –Mark Twain

The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life. –Theodore Roosevelt

The trouble with America is that there are far too many wide open spaces … surrounded by teeth. –Charles Luckman

The trouble with us in America isn’t that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to Advertising copy. –Louis Kronenberger

The United States of America is still run by its citizens. The government works for us. Rank imperialism and warmongering are not American traditions or values. We do not need to dominate the world. We want and need to work with other nations. We want to find solutions other than killing people. Not in our name, not with our money, not with our children’s blood. –Molly Ivins

Think of what would happen to us in America if there were no humorists; life would be one long Congressional Record. –Tom Masson

Too bad the only people who know how to run this country are busy driving cabs and cutting hair. –George Burns

We Americans live in a nation where the medical-care system is second to none in the world, unless you count maybe 25 or 30 little scuzzball countries like Scotland that we could vaporize in seconds if we felt like it. –Dave Barry

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. –John F. Kennedy

We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock landed on us. –Malcolm X

We’re not going to have the America that we want until we electleaders who are going to tell the truth — not most days, but every day. –Ann Richards

What the people want is very simple. They want an America as good as its promise. –Barbara Jordan

Who knows what Columbus would have discovered if America hadn’t got in the way. –Stanislaw J. Lec


I don’t need anger management. People need to stop pissing me off! –Curmudgeon

Keep cool; anger is not an argument. –Daniel Webster

Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight! –Phyllis Diller

What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority. –Molly Ivins

Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame. –Benjamin Franklin

When angry count four; when very angry, swear! –Mark Twain


Error is better than apathy. Error can be corrected in time to change the outcome. Apathy is seldom corrected until it is too late. –G. Edward Griffin

Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings. –Helen Keller


The Labour Party is going about the country stirring up apathy. –William Whitelaw

The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. –Plato

Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. –Paulo Freire


Arguments are to be avoided; they are always vulgar, and often convincing. –Oscar Wilde

Arguments have no chance against petrified training; they wear it as little as the waves wear a cliff. –Mark Twain

It is not necessary to understand things to argue about them. –Pierre de Beaumarchais

Keep cool; anger is not an argument. –Daniel Webster

Never argue with a man whose job depends on not being convinced. –H. L. Mencken

Nothing is so frustrating as arguing with someone who knows what they are talking about. –Curmudgeon

The best way to win an argument: start by being in the right. –Quintin Hogg Hailsham

The thug is aware that loudness convinces sixty persons where reasoning convinces but one. –Mark Twain

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. –Thomas Paine


A fully equipped Duke costs as much to keep up as two Dreadnoughts, and Dukes are just as great a terror, and they last longer. –David Lloyd George

Any kind of royalty, however modified, any kind of aristocracy, however pruned, is rightly an insult. –Mark Twain

Humans are the only species on the planet that worships its own parasites. –Paul Parian Heinrich

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. –Thomas Jefferson

Some people have so much respect for their superiors they have none left for themselves. –Peter McArthur

The blunting effects of slavery upon the slaveholder’s moral perceptions are known and conceded the world over; and a priveleged class, an aristocracy, is but a band of slaveholders under another name. –Mark Twain


Armaments were not created chiefly for the protection of the nations, but for their enslavement. –Mark Twain

I am not anti-gun. I’m pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We’d turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don’t ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives. –Molly Ivins

If you thought the army was here protecting people like yourself,
I’ve some news for you – we’re here to defend wealth. –Billy Bragg

I’m all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let’s start with typewriters. –Frank Lloyd Wright

The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun. –P. G. Wodehouse

The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. –Mark Twain

The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five. –Carl Sagan


A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, and wants it back the minute it begins to rain. –Will Rogers

Anyone engaging in illegal financial transactions will be caught and persecuted. –George W. Bush

Finance is the art of passing money from hand to hand – until it finally disappears. –Robert W. Sarnoff

* Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered. I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs. –Thomas Jefferson

* If you steal $250 you’re a thief.
Stealing $250,000 makes you an embezzler.
But steal $250,000,000 — and you’re a financier! –The Nation

Money has no motherland. Financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain. –Napoleon Bonaparte

The creditor hath a better memory than the debtor. –James Howell

There are 350 varieties of shark – not counting loan and pool. –L. M. Boyd

When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. –Napoleon Bonaparte


A bigot is someone obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain. –Ambrose Bierce

As far as I’m concerned, human beings have not yet come up with a belief worth believing. –George Carlin

As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities. –Voltaire

Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion, without the discomfort of thought. –John F. Kennedy

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. –Andre Gide

Between believing a thing and thinking you know is only a small step, and quickly taken. –Mark Twain

Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. –Friedrich Nietzsche

Don’t believe everything you think! –unknown

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. –Voltaire

Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it cant be taken on its own merits. –Dan Barker

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable. –H. L. Mencken

I believe what I believe. And I believe … what I believe is right. –George W. Bush

I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education. –Wilson Mizner

If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties. –Francis Bacon

If the man doesn’t believe as we do, we say he is a crank, and that settles it. I mean, it does nowadays, because now we can’t burn him. –Mark Twain

If the whole world woke up with amnesia one morning, you know we would invent at least forty-three thousand new superstitions by lunchtime. –LLF

If you believe everything you read, better not read. –Japanese proverb

If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe the military, nothing is safe. –Lord Salisbury

Learn to think before you learn to believe, or you’ll soon believe that you don’t have to think. –Unknown

No amount of belief makes something a fact. –James Randi

No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means. –George Bernard Shaw

Nobody believes the official spokesman… but everybody trusts an unidentified source. –Ron Nessen

Orthodoxy is my doxy; heterodoxy is your doxy. –John Quincy Adams

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. –George Bernard Shaw

The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it. –George Bernard Shaw

The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in what is palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind. –H. L. Mencken

The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. –Bertrand Russell

The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. –Don Miguel Ruiz

The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on truth. –Edith Sitwell

There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity. –Robertson Davies

There’s nothing so absurd but, if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it. –William James

What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires –desires of which he himself is often unconscious. –Bertrand Russell

What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. — Christopher Hitchens


Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid. –Mark Twain


A criminal is a person with predatory instincts, without sufficient capital to form a corporation. –Howard Scott

Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: the fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate. –Bertrand Russell

Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self interest backed by force. –George Bernard Shaw

Communism is like Prohibition – it’s a good idea, but it won’t work. –Will Rogers

In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy. –Fran Lebowitz

I’ve abandoned free market principles, to save the free market system. –George W. Bush, December 2008

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. –Winston Churchill

The intermediate stage between socialism and capitalism is alcoholism. –Norman Brenner

The only trouble with capitalism is capitalists – they are too damn greedy. –Herbert Hoover

These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people. –Abraham Lincoln

Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite. –John Kenneth Galbraith

When I feed the hungry, they call me a saint. When I ask why people are hungry, they call me a communist. –Archbishop Helder Camara

You show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker. –Malcolm X


A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to. –Granville Hicks

Assassination is the extreme form of censorship. –George Bernard Shaw

By his power of giving or withholding information, the politician can often effectively censor political news. –Edward Bernays

Books won’t stay banned. They won’t burn. Ideas won’t go to jail. –Alfred Whitney Griswold

Every burned book or house enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged word reverberates through the earth from side to side. –Ralph Waldo Emerson


Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are. –Bertolt Brecht

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. –John F. Kennedy

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. –Leo Tolstoy

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult. –E. B. White

If the structure does not permit dialogue the structure must be changed. –Paulo Freire

If you understand it, it is probably obsolete. –Curmudgeon

If you want to make enemies, try to change something. –Woodrow Wilson

In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. –Eric Hoffer

In 2000 I said, ‘Vote for me. I’m an agent of change.’ In 2004, I said, ‘I’m not interested in change –I want to continue as president.’ Every candidate has got to say ‘change.’ That’s what the American people expect. –George W. Bush

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. –Charles Darwin

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. –Margaret Mead

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. –George Bernard Shaw

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it. –Karl Marx

Things are more like they are now than they ever were before. –Dwight D. Eisenhower

When you’re through changing, you’re through. –Bruce Barton

You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty. –Jessica Mitford

You must be the change you want to see in the world. –Mahatma Gandhi

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. –Buckminster Fuller


If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough. –Mario Andretti

Pandemonium did not reign, it poured. –John Hendrick Bangs


A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company. –Charles Evans Hughes

A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. –Malcolm X

A signature always reveals a man’s character — and sometimes even his name. –Evan Esar

Adversity does not build character, it reveals it. –Unknown

Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. –Kurt Vonnegut

Character is like a tree, and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. –Abraham Lincoln

If you can start the day without caffeine;
if you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains;
if you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles;
if you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it;
if you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time ;
if you can take criticism and blame without resentment;
if you can conquer tension without medical help;
if you can relax without alcohol;
if you can sleep without the aid of drugs;
… then you’re probably the family dog. –Curmudgeon

If you were on trial for being honest, would there be enough evidence to convict you? –Curmudgeon

In great affairs men show themselves as they wish to be seen; in small things they show themselves as they are. –Nicholas Chamfort

It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. –J. K. Rowling

It takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong, and an even bigger one to keep his mouth shut when he’s right. –Curmudgeon

No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true. –Nathaniel Hawthorne

Not how did he die, but how did he live.
Not what did he gain, but what did he give.
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth. –Unknown

People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built. –Eleanor Roosevelt

Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what god and angels know of us. –Thomas Paine

The best measure of a man’s honesty isn’t his income tax return. It’s the zero adjust on his bathroom scale. –Arthur C. Clarke

The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out. –Thomas Babington Macaulay

The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second. –John Steinbeck

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. –Samuel Johnson

We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it. –Abraham Lincoln

When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends. –Japanese Proverb

Whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the staring defects in other people’s characters. –Margaret Halsey


A Christian believes the New Testament is a divinely inspired book, admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor, and follows the teachings of Christ – in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin. –Ambrose Bierce

Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good. –H. L. Mencken

If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be–a Christian. –Mark Twain

So much blood has been shed by the Church because of an omission from the Gospel: “Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor’s religion is.” –Mark Twain

* The only thing really wrong with the Baptists is they don’t hold them under water quite long enough. –Kinky Friedman

The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive…but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. –Mark Twain


Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who come down to some perfectly contented class of the community, and sow the seeds of discontent amongst them. That is the reason why agitators are so absolutely necessary. Without them, in our incomplete state, there would be no advance towards civilization. –Oscar Wilde

Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is Poverty; what is the matter with the rich is Uselessness. –George Bernard Shaw

Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours its own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich on the poor. –Thomas Jefferson

He mocks the people, who proposes that the government shall protect the rich, and that they in turn will care for the laboring poor. –Grover Cleveland

I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence. –Eugene Debs

I can always hire half the working class to shoot the other half. –Jay Gould

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. –John F. Kennedy

If the rich could hire other people to die for them, the poor could make a wonderful living. –Yiddish Proverb

If we won’t fight for the working poor, then we’ll slave for the idle rich! –Unknown

It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. –Adam Smith

One function of the income gap is that the people at the top of the heap have a hard time even seeing those at the bottom. They practically need a telescope. The pharaohs of ancient Egypt probably didn’t waste a lot of time thinking about the people who built their pyramids, either. OK, so it’s not that bad yet — but it’s getting that bad. –Molly Ivins

People who have what they want are fond of telling those who don’t have what they want that they really don’t want it. –Ogden Nash

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other. –Oscar Ameringer

Politics isn’t about left versus right; it’s about top versus bottom. –Jim Hightower

Poor folks ain’t got a chance, unless they organize! –Florence Reece

The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return. –Gore Vidal

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. –Anatole France

The people of privilege will always risk their total destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. –John Kenneth Galbraith

The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. –G. K. Chesterton

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 one. –Edward Dowling

The word class has been excised from the acceptable political vocabulary, except in the limited usage of right-wingers when they accuse liberals of inciting ‘class warfare’ — a charge that means it’s okay for rich people to vote their economic interests, but it’s not all right to encourage poor people to do so. –Harry Shearer

There are three social classes in America: upper middle class, middle class, and lower middle class. –Judith Martin

There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that, if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, their prosperity will leak through on those below. The DEMOCRATIC idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them –William Jennings Bryan, 1896

There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher. –Victor Hugo

There’s class warfare all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning. –Warren Buffett, 2006

This world is such a strange, and a funny place to be,
Where the gambling man is rich, while the working man is poor. –Woody Guthrie

Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. –Paulo Freire

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. –Frederick Douglass

Where there is no property there is no injustice. –John Locke

Whereas it has long been known and declared that the poor have no right to the property of the rich, I wish it also to be known and declared that the rich have no right to the property of the poor. –John Ruskin


A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. –unknown

If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign? –Albert Einstein

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries. –A. A. Milne

The only advantage of not being too good a housekeeper is that your guests are so pleased to feel how very much better they are. –Eleanor Roosevelt


* Commitment changes everything. –Robert Fripp

I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation … I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single step — and I will be heard. –William Lloyd Garrison

The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed. –Martina Navratilova

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes … but no plans. –Peter Drucker



I wish people who have trouble communicating would just shut up. –Tom Lehrer

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. –George Bernard Shaw

We sometimes get all the information, but we refuse to get the message. –Curmudgeon


A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog. –Jack London

Children, even infants, are capable of sympathy. But only after adolescence are we capable of compassion. –Louise J. Kaplan

Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind. –Albert Schweitzer

Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism. –Hubert H. Humphrey

For who would dare to assert that eternal happiness can compensate for a single moment’s human suffering. –Albert Camus

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion. –Dalai Lama

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. –Nelson Mandela

The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis. –Thurgood Marshall

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. –Martin Luther King, Jr.


Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness. –Fyodor Dostoevsky

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice that thorn bushes have roses. –Abraham Lincoln


Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation. –unknown

I stand by all the misstatements that I’ve made. –Dan Quayle

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge. –Charles Darwin

The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums. –G. K. Chesterton


Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. –George Orwell

If they give you ruled paper, write the other way. –Juan Ramon Jimenez

The modern susceptibility to conformity and obedience to authority indicates that the truth endorsed by authority is likely to be accepted as such by a majority of the people. –David Edwards

The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity. –Rollo May

We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people. –Arthur Schopenhauer

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform – or pause and reflect. –Mark Twain

Where all think alike, no one thinks very much. –Walter Lippmann


Being elected to Congress is regarded as being sent on a looting raid for one’s friends. –George F. Will

Can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn’t even get out of committee. –F. Lee Bailey

Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says nothing. Nobody listens — and then everybody disagrees. –Boris Marshalov

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress? –unknown

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

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress. –Mark Twain

Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature. –Kin Hubbard

Senators are a never-ending source of amusement, amazement, and discouragement. –Will Rogers

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. –Mark Twain

There ought to be one day– just one– when there is open season on senators. –Will Rogers

This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer. –Will Rogers

We will all be better citizens when the voting records of our congressmen are followed as carefully as the scores of pro football games. –Lou Erickson

When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘Present’ or ‘Not guilty.’ –Theodore Roosevelt


A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience. –Doug Larson

A “No” uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a “Yes” merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble. –Mahatma Gandhi

A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder. –Thomas Fuller

All a man can betray is his conscience. –Joseph Conrad

Be the master of your will and the slave of your conscience. –Hasidic proverb

Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking. –H. L. Mencken

Conscience is what makes a boy tell his mother before his sister does. –Evan Esar

Conscious is being aware of something; conscience is wishing you weren’t. –Curmudgeon

Courage without conscience is a wild beast. –Robert Ingersoll

Cowardice asks, is it safe? Expediency asks, is it politic? Vanity asks, is it popular? But conscience asks, is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him, it is right. –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don’t worry if you’re a kleptomaniac; you can always take something for it. –Unknown

How I wish abortion were the worst thing we ever do to our children; then I could have the luxury of worrying about its morality. –LLF

If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends. –Charlotte Bronte

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place. –Mahatma Gandhi

Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice. –ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. –Albert Einstein

Reason often makes mistakes, but conscience never does. –Josh Billings

The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it. – -Madame De Stael

There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball,
And that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all. –Ogden Nash

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? –Eleanor Roosevelt


A conservative is a man who sits and thinks, mostly sits. –Woodrow Wilson

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

Among conservatives there’s been too much pseudo-populism, almost too much concern and attention for “the people”…. After all, we conservatives are on the side of the lords and barons…. We are pulling up the drawbridge against the peasants. –William Kristol

Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives. –John Stuart Mill

Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen. –Mort Sahl

Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear. –William E. Gladstone

The conservative is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the liberal who wishes to replace them with others. –Ambrose Bierce

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. –John Kenneth Galbraith

The reactionary is always willing to take a progressive attitude on any issue that is dead. –Theodore Roosevelt


A man of courage never needs weapons, but he may need bail. –Lewis Mumford

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. –Ambrose Redmoon

Courage is the most valuable of all the virtues, because without it you cannot practice any of the others. –Maya Angelou

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. –Winston Churchill

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful, even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow. –Dorothy Thompson

Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps. –David Lloyd George

Even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man. –Aung San Suu Kyi

Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage. –George Patton

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare. –Mark Twain

It is easy to be brave from a safe distance. –Aesop

Many would be cowards if they had courage enough. –Thomas Fuller

One man with courage is a majority. –Thomas Jefferson

Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it’s cowardice. –George Jackson

Pity the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. –Don Marquis

The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity. –Rollo May

The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority. –Ralph W. Sockman

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty. –Thomas Jefferson

To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men. –Abraham Lincoln

True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve of virtue and reason. –Alfred North Whitehead


Credibility, like virginity, can only be lost once and never recovered. Hence, the problem the Bush administration has in dealing with Iran, is that having been so wrong about Iraq, who can believe it now? –Charley Reese, Conservative columnist

For every credibility “gap”, there is a gullibility “fill”. –Curmudgeon


Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp post how it feels about dogs. –Christopher Hampton

Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves. –Bertrand Russell

Criticism is prejudice made plausible. –H. L. Mencken

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. –Eleanor Roosevelt

He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help. –Abraham Lincoln

I don’t mind constructive criticism, but when it comes with footnotes and a bibliography, I can get testy. –LLF

Most of us would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. –Norman Vincent Peale

Pay no attention to what the critics say. No statue has ever been erected over a critic. –Jean Sibelius

People ask for criticism, but they only want praise. –W. Somerset Maugham

To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize. –Voltaire

We could all take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism. –unknown

When I am abroad I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the Government of my country. I make up for lost time when I am at home. –Winston Churchill

Without the freedom to criticize, there is no true praise. –Pierre de Beaumarchais


* Be curious, not judgmental. –Walt Whitman

I was never aware of any other option but to question everything. –Noam Chomsky

Nature has planted in our minds an insatiable longing to see the truth. –Cicero

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. –Dorothy Parker

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. –Albert Einstein

On ne force pas une curiosité, on l’éveille.
We don’t force curiosity, we awaken it. –Daniel Pennac


A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. –Oscar Wilde

A cynic not only reads bitter lessons from the past, but is prematurely disappointed in the future as well. –Sidney J. Harris

Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth. –Lillian Hellman

It’s hard to argue against cynics — they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side. –Molly Ivins

No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up. –Lily Tomlin


DISCLAIMER: I do not vouch for the accuracy of any quote or attribution in this list, with the possible but not absolute exception of my own lines. Some I’ve edited slightly, and some come from my all-too fallible memory. Those marked with * are still more uncertain. For the rest, I have found them all somewhere in books, music or on some website – which does not signify much, either, and I offer no reference notes for this material. – LLF


3 Responses to Quotes A – C

  1. Pingback: The birthday Boys | Take Heart!

  2. dougstuber says:

    Holy oh Holy Linda, this is an entire semester’s lesson plans. Are you and Antioch Alumna? Anyway here is one back at ya: it’s one of my better poems:

    Ode to Horace Mann

    Be ashamed to die until you have won
    Some victory for humanity. Horace Mann

    Be aware that energy is life, save some for your kids.
    Be afraid that our minds are bent by news not books.
    Be awed by the healing power of the simple purple cone flower.
    Be amazed that after four short years she knows so much.
    Be awake before the bombs drop, before the money rules.
    Be agile: live in a town that walks and bikes to work and play.
    Be amused by ants and birds, goats and potato fields, lilacs and sycamores.
    Be angry only long enough to solve the problem, then move on.
    Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.

    • Thanks for your kind words, and the poem! No, I didn’t go to Antioch, but should have — I foolishly started college at a small church school, and was a stranger in a VERY strange land. I come from southwest Ohio, and listened to WYSO-FM religiously clear through the 70’s. Which might explain a few things, I’m not sure. – Linda

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