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George Bernard Shaw
1856 - 1950

Playwright, socialist activist, and author of countless pamphlets promoting his politics. Shaw was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (1925) but refused it. He was editor of and contributor to Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889), a classic of British socialism, author of the plays Man and Superman (1905), Pygmalion (1913), and others, and of The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (1928). Shaw explored various sides of political and social themes in many of his plays, leading to quotations from his work that are palatable to non-socialists.

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The Portable Bernard Shaw (1977)
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When the master has come to do everything through the slave, the slave becomes his master, since he cannot live without him.

1921 - from Back to Methuselah
If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.

quoted in The MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations
The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.

He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.

1903 - from Man and Superman
You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'

1921 - from Back to Methuselah, Part I, Act I
The trouble with the media is that it seems unable to distinguish between the end of the world and a bicycle accident.

If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.

Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature!

The art of government is the organization of idolatry.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

1905 - from Man and Superman
Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

1905 - from Major Barbara
Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

People are always blaming their circumstance for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them.

1893 - from Mrs. Warren's Profession
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. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.

1916 - from Androcles and the Lion
Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius.

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.

We should have had socialism already, but for the socialists.

The truth is the one thing that nobody will believe.

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

1903 - from Man and Superman, "Maxims for Revolutionists: Crime and Punishment"
All great truths begin as blasphemies.

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.