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6,095 quotations, showing Chesterton to Churchill

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Chesterton, Gilbert K.
... the most dangerous of all forms of ignorance is ignorance of work.

Nov. 03, 1918 - from a column in the New York Sun
Bigotry is an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.

from Lunacy and Letters
Modern man is staggering and losing his balance because he is being pelted with little pieces of alleged fact which are native to the newspapers; and, if they turn out not to be facts, that is still more native to newspapers.

1923
The cheapest and most childish of all the taunts of the Pacifists is, I think, the sneer at belligerents for appealing to the God of Battles. It is ludicrously illogical, for we obviously have no right to kill for victory save when we have a right to pray for it. If a war is not a holy war, it is an unholy one - a massacre.

Oct. 23, 1915
What we need is to have a culture before we hand it down. In other words, it is a truth, however sad and strange, that we cannot give what we have not got, and cannot teach to other people what we do not know ourselves.

Jul. 5, 1924
The comedy of man survives the tragedy of man.

Feb. 10, 1906 - from a column in the Illustrated London News
The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.

Jun. 11, 1935 - from a radio broadcast
The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.

Oct. 28, 1922 - from a column in the Illustrated London News
This is the age in which thin and theoretic minorities can cover and conquer unconscious and untheoretic majorities.

Dec. 20, 1919 - from a column in the Illustrated London News
The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.

Apr. 19, 1924 - from a column in the Illustrated London News



The past is not what it was.

1917 - from A Short History of England
War is not the best way of settling differences; it is the only way of preventing their being settled for you.

Jul. 24, 1915 - from a column in the Illustrated London News
The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.

Jan. 14, 1911 - from a column in the Illustrated London News
The unconscious democracy of America is a very fine thing. It is a true and deep and instinctive assumption of the equality of citizens, which even voting and elections have not destroyed.

1922 - from What I Saw In America
When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws.

Jul. 29, 1905 - from a column in the London Daily News
When a politician is in opposition he is an expert on the means to some end; and when he is in office he is an expert on the obstacles to it.

Apr. 6, 1918 - from a column in the Illustrated London News
There cannot be a nation of millionaires, and there never has been a nation of Utopian comrades; but there have been any number of nations of tolerably contented peasants.

from "Outline of Sanity" in Collected Works
I tell you naught for your comfort / Yea, naught for your desire / Save that the sky grows darker yet / And the sea rises higher.

1911 - from Ballad of the White Horse
Large organization is loose organization. Nay, it would be almost as true to say that organization is always disorganization.

1926 - from Outline of Sanity
Whenever we see things done wildly, but taken tamely, then the State is growing insane.

1911 - from "The Mad Official", published in the London Daily News



There are commonwealths, plainly to be distinguished here and there in history, which pass from prosperity to squalor, or from glory to insignificance, or from freedom to slavery, not only in silence, but with serenity.

1911 - from his essay The Mad Official
Although I believe in liberalism, I find it difficult to believe in liberals.

Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell.

1909 - from Tremendous Trifles
A large section of the intelligentsia seems wholly devoid of intelligence.

I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.

The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.

Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.

1910 - from What's Wrong With The World, Chapter 3, The New Hypocrite
The moment you step into the world of facts, you step into a world of limits.

1908 - from Orthodoxy
Many clever men like you have trusted to civilization. Many clever Babylonians, clever Egyptians, many clever men at the end of Rome. Can you tell me, in a world that is flagrant with the failures of civilization, what there is particularly immortal about yours?

A progressive is always a conservative; he conserves the direction of progress. A reactionary is always a rebel.

from his introduction to Thomas Carlysle's Past and Present



Children are innocent and love justice, while most adults are wicked and prefer mercy.

A Puritan's a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things.

At least five times faith has, to all appearances, gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases, it was the dog that died.

quoted by Cal Thomas in "The Sixties Are Dead: Long Live the Nineties", a presentation at Hillsdale College
... it is often necessary to walk backwards, as a man on the wrong road goes back to a signpost to find the right road. The modern man is more like a traveller who has forgotten the name of his destination, and has to go back whence he came, even to find out where he is going.

Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.

1905 - from Heretics
Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision.

1908 - from Orthodoxy
Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.

1910 - from What's Wrong With the World
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death.

1908 - from Orthodoxy
Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God.

1933 - from Christendom in Dublin
He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.

from Varied Types



You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.

1909 - from Tremendous Trifles
For fear of the newspapers politicians are dull, and at last they are too dull even for the newspapers.

1908 - from All Things Considered
It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.

Mar. 01, 1921 - from a column in The Cleveland Press
It is a good sign in a nation when things are done badly. It shows that all the people are doing them. And it is bad sign in a nation when such things are done very well, for it shows that only a few experts and eccentrics are doing them, and that the nation is merely looking on.

from All Things Considered
It's not that we don't have enough scoundrels to curse; it's that we don't have enough good men to curse them.

1908
Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice.

1909
I say that a man must be certain of his morality for the simple reason that he has to suffer for it.

1906
Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities.

1910 - from What's Wrong With the World
The world will very soon be divided, unless I am mistaken, into those who still go on explaining our success, and those somewhat more intelligent who are trying to explain our failure.

1920 - from a speech to the Anglo-Catholic Congress
Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.

1921 - from The Uses of Diversity



The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.

1910 - from What's Wrong With The World
The modern world is filled with men who hold dogmas so strongly that they do not even know they are dogmas.

1905 - from Heretics, XX Concluding Remarks on the Importance of Orthodoxy
In short, the democratic faith is this: that the most terribly important things must be left to ordinary men themselves -- the mating of the sexes, the rearing of the young, the laws of the state.

1908 - from Orthodoxy
Chigbo, Okey  
The antispanking movement of the last 15 years has done a brilliant job propagating the view that spanking is just another form of child abuse. Today, normal parents are not just frightened of appearing abusive; they also fear that an occasional swat to the behind can turn their little darling into a dangerously aggressive adolescent and an incorrigibly criminal adult, as the "scientific evidence" says. In fact, the antispanking movement, and its agents in the mainstream media, has used this weak, and in some cases simply non-existent, evidence to beat parents into submission. Antispanking advocates have given us nothing more than a smattering of half-truths along with heavy smacks of propaganda.

Jul. 1998 - from "Bum rap", published in The Next City Magazine, Summer 1998
Even without a PhD in sociology, the average person, using his common sense, should be suspicious of studies that claim spanking increases societal violence. The first question the skeptic asks: Was there more violence and crime in the '50s and '60s than there is now? The answer, of course, is no.

Jul. 1998 - from "Bum rap", published in The Next City Magazine, Summer 1998
For many of the black intelligentsia, especially those from the Caribbean, all roads lead to racism, which is both a starting point and an end point for endless discussions about black problems. Racism wields tremendous religious power in that, like a belief in the malignant, pervasive and invisible workings of Satan, it so clearly and simply explains why so much evil and misfortune contaminate black existence.

May 1997 - from "Reading, writing and racism", published in The Next City Magazine, Spring 1997
In the U.S. the teaching of African and Afrocentric history in schools with black populations has been going on for literally decades. American blacks have even set up separate school systems. Do we observe significant improvement in the performance of African-Americans? No, we don't. Similar changes have been occurring in Toronto schools since the 1970s in response to demands by the growing black community and its white supporters. ... a plethora of multicultural policies target the schools with equally dismal results.

May 1997 - from "Reading, writing and racism", published in The Next City Magazine, Spring 1997
Chisolm, Brock
 The idea of good and evil is a myth created by the politicians, the priests, and all those who have an interest to keep it at their mercy.

1945 - quoted in Brock Chisolm: Doctor to the World, by Allan Irving
Chomsky, Noam
Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.




Chrétien, Jean  
 If you look at only one aspect of life [taxes], maybe you would prefer living elsewhere.

Jul. 25, 1999 - quoted in Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper while he was Prime Minister, encouraging critics of high taxation to leave Canada
 The problem with cutting taxes is the people don't realize, because they think they have more cash is because they have a pay increase and so on. ... It's not very visible because it's not a huge sum of money on every pay...

Sep. 8, 2001 - quoted in "No more tax cuts, PM says" by Shawn McCarthy, published in the Globe and Mail
[At Juno Beach, France] On the beach behind us, Canadians gave their lives so the world would be a better place. In death they were not anglophones or francophones, not from the West or the East, not Christians or Jews, not aboriginal people or immigrants. They were Canadians.

Jun. 06, 1994 - from his speech, as quoted by the Toronto Star
 I am not a lawyer.

Dec. 30, 2000 - evading a legal question by reporters; Chrétien is a lawyer. Quoted in "2000: The year the music died", by Peter C. Newman, National Post
Some people think that the American culture is a problem. It's not a problem... don't be afraid to be citizens of the world.

Nov. 31, 2000 - from a post-election speech in Ottawa, repudiating the stance he used through most of his political life to curry favour with nationalists, quoted in "The End of Canada?", by Peter Newman, published in Maclean's magazine, Jan. 8, 2001
The art of politics is learning to walk with your back to the wall, your elbows high, and a smile on your face. It's a survival game played under the glare of lights.

1985 - from Straight from the Heart
The public is moved by mood more than logic, by instinct more than reason, and that is something that every politician must make use of or guard against.

1985 - from Straight from the Heart
 I'm not interested in patronage because I'm a Liberal.

Feb. 2, 1990 - quoted in the Ottawa Citizen, reported in Quotations From Chairman Jean by van Wegen and Wood
 Why buy automatic rifles, nuclear arms, to have fun with. It's dangerous, and when they're in the house, there could be a child who will use that, and sometimes the family circumstances are not very happy, and they could use them.

Nov. 1997 - quoted in Saturday Night Magazine, reported in Quotations From Chairman Jean by van Wegen and Wood
 I promise that [transfer payments] will not go down, and I hope the we will be able to increase them... I really do not intend to lower the level of transfer payments, not at all...

1993 - from a leaders' debate during the federal election campaign, reported in Quotations From Chairman Jean by van Wegen and Wood. Chrétien subsequently won the government, and immediately cut more than seven billion dollars from annual transfer payments to Canada's provinces for health care and education.



Terrorism should not stop us. Terrorism should motivate us.

Sep. 27, 2001 - from a speech delivered in Halifax during a nationwide storm of criticism that his government was not responding effectively to terrorist threats
 They know that I am a Liberal and they know that the Liberal mentality is very different from the Tory mentality, because the Tory mentaility is orientated to serve the big business interests.

Jan. 11, 1993 - quoted in the Ottawa Citizen while his party pandered to businesses and raised more money from big business than all other parties in Canada combined
 I have never been doctrinaire on issues. That is one of the great things about being a Liberal; you can base your decisions on the circumstances without having to worry about your established public image.

1985 - from Straight from the Heart
 [Government social engineering in northern Canada] gives us a chance to build the kind of society we want, without repeating the mistakes of the past.

1970 - quoted in Trade Secrets by Pat Carney, when Chrétien was Minister of Indian Affairs
Churchill, Charles
The danger chiefly lies in acting well, no crime's so great as daring to excel.

from Epistle to William Hogarth
Those who would make us feel--must feel themselves.

from The Rosciad
No statesman e'er will find it worth his pains, to tax our labours and excise our brains.

from Night
By different methods different men excel.

from Epistle to William Hogarth
Churchill, Sir Winston
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.

May 13, 1940 - from a speech in the British Parliament, three days after becoming Prime Minister
Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

Nov. 11, 1947 - from a speech in the British House of Commons



We must beware of needless innovation, especially when guided by logic.

We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.

Dec. 30, 1941 - from a speech to the Canadian Parliament
When great causes are on the move in the world, stirring all men's souls, drawing them from their firesides, casting aside comfort, wealth and the pursuit of happiness in response to impulses at once awe-inspiring and irresistable, we learn we are spirits - not animals.

Jun. 16, 1941 - from a radio broadcast
There is only one duty, only one safe course, and that is to try to be right.

Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.

Out of intense complexities intense simplicities emerge.

If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find we have lost the future.

from a speech in the British House of Commons
Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is - the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.




An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

quoted in Reader's Digest, Dec. 1954
A fanatic is one who cannot change his mind and won't change the subject.

Jul. 5, 1954 - quoted in the New York Times
Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.

The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.

There is no limit to the ingenuity of man if it is properly and vigorously applied under conditions of peace and justice.

There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.

You don't make the poor richer by making the rich poorer.

If you go on with this nuclear arms race, all you are going to do is make the rubble bounce.