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6,095 quotations, showing Wilde to Yeltsin

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Wilde, Oscar
The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.

1888 - from The Critic as Artist
An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.

1888 - from The Critic as Artist
Indifference is the revenge the world takes on mediocrities.

1883 - from Vera, or the Nihilists
There is no essential incongruity between crime and culture. We cannot re-write the whole of history for the purpose of gratifying our moral sense of what should be.

1888 - from The Critic as Artist
There is always more books than brains in an aristocracy.

1883 - from Vera, or the Nihilists
The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.

1894 - from Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young
It is only an auctioneer who should admire all schools of art.

Feb. 8, 1886 - from "To Read, or Not to Read", published in the Pall Mall Gazette
Wilder, Billy
Hindsight is always 20:20.

Wilder, Scott
It starts with something that seems little and meaningless. In the grand scheme of things, what could it possibly matter if I do this or that? Shading the truth here and adding to the story there to make your point. That couldn't make a difference. Pretty soon, we're confused about right and wrong. Right and wrong implies some standard... some truth... something non-negotiable. And this is a negotiable world. Everything is up for debate today. There's your truth and her truth and my truth. And what's true for me today might not be true for me tomorrow. Before we know it, we are so far down the road that where we are in no way resembles where we were not so long ago.

from his radio show
Wilkie, Wendell
Freedom is an indivisible word. If we want to enjoy it, and fight for it, we must be prepared to extend it to everyone, whether they are rich or poor, whether they agree with us or not, no matter what their race or the color of their skin.

1943 - from his book One World

Will, George F.
[Liberals say] art is whatever an artist says it is, and an artist is anyone who produces art. So the word "art" has become a classification that no longer classifies, there being nothing it excludes. How perfect, now that "inclusive" is the day's ultimate accolade because it is an antonym of "judgmental."

Jan. 25, 2001 - from "An artists bill of rights?", published by the Washington Post Writers Group
Freedom is not only the absence of external restraints. It is also the absence of irresistible internal compulsions, unmanageable passion, and uncensorable appetites.

from Statecraft as Soulcraft
Today Internet pornography is protected from regulation, but not Internet political speech. And campaign finance "reformers" aspire to much, much more regulation because, they say, there is "too much money in politics."

Mar. 11, 2001 - from "Memo to First Amendment: Look Out!", published by Creators Syndicate Inc.
It is repellent to hear the political class complacently discussing tax cuts as if they are just one of three options for using the surplus, in no way morally superior to spending or debt reduction. The nation's economic product is not the government's property. The gusher of money that comprises the surplus did not well up, like oil from Spindletop in 1901, because government punched a lucky hole in the ground. The money got into the government's hands because the government extracted it from productive Americans, using tax rates that are too high because they extract too much. Judged by their projected results--large, chronic surpluses--the rates do not establish a reasonable relationship between pressing public needs, as distinct from political appetites, and the private sector's wealth-creating capacity.

Feb. 18, 2001 - from "Rational semi-exuberance", published by the Washington Post Writers Group
Voters do not decide issues. They decide who will decide issues.

1976 - from a column in Newsweek Magazine
A disquieting era of genetic manipulation is coming, one that may revolutionize human capacities, and notions of health. If we treat moral scruples impatiently, as inherently retrograde in a scientifically advancing civilization, we will not be in moral trim when, soon, our very humanity depends on our being in trim.

Jan. 20, 2000 - from "Scruples and Science", published by the Washington Post Writers Group
The theory is that election to Congress is tantamount to being dispatched to Washington on a looting raid for the enrichment of your state or district, and no other ethic need inhibit the feeding frenzy.

from an essay in The Oread Review, University of Kansas
The best use of history is as an inoculation against radical expectations, and hence against embittering disappointments.

from The Pursuit of Happiness and Other Sobering Thoughts
A determined assault on poverty is not only compatible with conservatism, but should be one of its imperatives in an urban, industrialized society.

from The Pursuit of Happiness and Other Sobering Thoughts
This age ... defines self-fulfillment apart from, even against, the community. The idea of citizenship has become attenuated and is now defined almost exclusively in terms of entitlements.

from The Pursuit of Happiness and Other Sobering Thoughts

Something has changed ... we now have people entering politics, particularly legislative life, hoping to, planning to, determined to have careers there, to stay there as long as possible, and using all the many facets of the modern government that permeates our lives in so many ways, all its myriad regulating and subsidizing activities, to further their career... We now have a modern government that makes it worthwhile wielding this power, and it makes it possible to bend public power for the essentially private purpose of maintaining a career.

Oct. 18, 1992 - in a televised interview on the C-SPAN program Booknotes
Once you lose the sense that not everything is the federal government's business, the floodgates are down, and everything in ... life becomes fair game for career politicians to use the federal government's omnipresent, omniprovident role to bolster their careers.

Oct. 18, 1992 - in a televised interview on the C-SPAN program Booknotes
In a 500-channel environment, [the rationale that government must subsidize alternative programming] is as absurd as public television's recent slogan 'If PBS doesn't do it, who will?' Who? The History Channel, Discovery, Arts and Entertainment, Bravo, the Outdoor Channel, the Travel Channel, Nickelodeon, CNN, and scores more. And all of them do something public television does not--they pay, as opposed to consume, taxes. The public television lobby still argues that no matter how many choices the market offers, government must offer other programming. The lobby also argues, with antic illogic, that such programs as Sesame Street serve sizable audiences but no private, taxpaying broadcast entity would be interested in broadcasting them. Still, 'concern' for 'children' is the card that presumably trumps all others nowadays, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting plays that card vigorously in defense of its subsidies.

Aug. 1, 1999 - from his column "Who needs public broadcasting"
... legislating to regulate cultural change is like lassoing a locomotive with a cobweb.

Jun. 27, 1999 - from his column "Gambler nation"
Gambling has been swiftly transformed from a social disease into social policy. A generation ago, legalized gambling was rare and generally stigmatized. Today it is ubiquitous ... [and encouraged by] governments that run lotteries. Those lotteries prove, redundantly, that it's better to deal with the private sector than the public sector. In casinos, slot machines are the gamblers' worst bets, and even they keep only about 15 percent of the money fed them. Government keeps about 50 percent of the money spent on lottery tickets. Often lottery revenues are dedicated to education or some other popular goal. But money is fungible, and it is difficult to demonstrate that the availability of lottery revenues substantially increases spending on, say, education--that is, that those revenues actually change states' spending priorities.

Jun. 27, 1999 - from his column "Gambler nation"
... any legislation abridging the rights of a single interest to participate in politics is constitutionally suspect.

Jun. 27, 1999 - from his column "Gambler nation"
Perhaps nowadays gambling appeals because the rest of life is enervatingly predictable.

Jun. 27, 1999 - from his column "Gambler nation"
Conservatives rightly associate the culture of gambling with habits of mind inimical to self-government. However, when they ascribe gambling's explosive growth to government's ravenousness for revenues, they neglect their possible complicity. An indiscriminate celebration of wealth, disassociated from concern for the moral worth of the ways of acquiring wealth, may help explain why gambling and conservatism have waxed simultaneously.

Jun. 27, 1999 - from his column "Gambler nation"
Ohio's Supreme Court recently joined Wisconsin's in affirming the constitutionality of school choice voucher programs that leave it up to parents to choose where the vouchers are redeemed: They can be redeemed at religious schools without violating the First Amendment proscription of 'establishment' of religion. Do the teachers' unions have [U.S. Vice President Al] Gore on such a short leash that he still opposes such voucher programs that would empower poor parents to make the kind of educational choices that he and Tipper made?

Jun. 20, 1999 - from his column "Promises from Carthage"
For 40 years Congress has passed a crime bill in every two-year session, except the last one. The criminal class has not been impressed.

Nov. 15, 1993 - from "Are we a 'Nation of Cowards'?, published in Newsweek Magazine

The essence of childishness is an inability to imagine an incompatibility between one's appetite and the world. Growing up involves, above all, a conscious effort to conform one's appetites to a crowded world.

from Statecraft as Soulcraft
The concern is less that children will emulate the frenzied behavior described in porn rock than they will succumb to the lassitude of the de-moralized.

from Morning After
Williams, Polly
White liberals feel guilty about blacks, and they do things to convince themselves they are helping blacks. It's feel-good politics, which is really just helping themselves. Poor people becomes the trophies of white social engineers. We have to be saved from our saviors. They have been feeding us pablum for so long, we are finally tired and demand some real meat. We want self-sufficiency, self-determination, and self-reliance, not a hand-out.

Oct. 01, 1990 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
None of the people who oppose my [school voucher] plan lack choice in education themselves. They have no idea what the lack of choice in education means, the damage it does when you have to go to an inferior school that will trap you for life.

Oct. 01, 1990 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
They [public education bureaucrats] tried everything to stop me [in a drive to introduce choice to the public education system]. After they were convinced choice couldn't be stopped, they tried to hijack the issue and came up with their own version of choice. It basically created another bureaucracy which would have supervised the whole choice process and strangled it. The Milwaukee Public Schools would have selected the students for the choice program, not the parents. Students would have been picked if they met enough of the seven negative criteria they set up. If you were in a family of alcoholics, had a brother in prison and a pregnant teenage sister, and were inarticulate, you would have been a perfect candidate for their choice plan. In other words, a program they hoped would fail.

Oct. 01, 1990 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
I could see some affirmative action if it went to the people who really needed it--at the very bottom. But it never does that; it goes to people who don't need it, who can make it largely on their own. And it carries with it the stigma that whatever position you succeed in getting, people think you got there because of favoritism. That can be very destructive.

Oct. 01, 1990 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
[Why not fix the public schools instead of implementing a voucher system?] We've tried to do that for years, and the best we get is, 'Well, we're the experts, you are just parents.' We're tired of that excuse. Look, if you go to a doctor and you stay sick, at some point don't you have a right to a second opinion? The choice plan is our second opinion. The folks who run the poverty industry in this town are worried that kids will get a better education at schools that cost half the amount they spend on the public schools. In their shoes, I'd be worried too.

Oct. 01, 1990 - from an interview published in Reason Magazine
Williams, Walter E.
According to one study, as far back as 1969, black males who grew up in homes where there were magazines, books and library cards had incomes identical to whites from similar homes and education. The obvious conclusion is whites discriminate against blacks from homes without magazines, books and library cards. How they do it is a mystery to me. I haven't seen any white people--at least not that many--peeking into the windows of black houses to see who had books, magazines and library cards.

1999 - from More Liberty Means Less Government
[In the U.S.] 90 percent of violent crimes are committed without a handgun. Of those committed with a handgun, 93 percent of the guns used were obtained through unlawful means. Registration and waiting times are of little value in deterring criminals.

1999 - from More Liberty Means Less Government
In terms of natural resources, Africa is the world's richest continent. It has 50 percent of the world's gold, most of the world's diamonds and chromium, 90 percent of the cobalt, 40 percent of the world's potential hydroelectric power, 65 percent of the manganese, millions of acres of untilled farmland as well as other natural resources. Despite the natural wealth, Africa is home to the world's most impoverished and abused people. Of the 41 black African nations, only three (Senegal, Botswana and Mauritius) allow their people the right to vote and choose their own leaders. Only two (Botswana and Senegal) permit freedom of expression and criticism of government policies. In countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, Sudan, Chad and others, ethnic genocide has taken the lives of untold millions of innocent victims. Slavery is still practiced in the Sudan and Mauritania.

1999 - from More Liberty Means Less Government

We shouldn't focus our energies on trying to change the hearts and minds of politicians. We should try to change the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. We must sell our fellow Americans the idea that the legitimate and moral role of government is to protect those unalienable rights to life, liberty and property.

1999 - from More Liberty Means Less Government
History is not going to be kind to liberals. With their mindless programs, they've managed to do to Black Americans what slavery, Reconstruction, and rank racism found impossible: destroy their family and work ethic.

Liberals believe government should take people's earnings to give to poor people. Conservatives disagree. They think government should confiscate people's earnings and give them to farmers and insolvent banks. The compelling issue to both conservatives and liberals is not whether it is legitimate for government to confiscate one's property to give to another, the debate is over the disposition of the pillage.

from All It Takes Is Guts, a collection of his columns
It is both possible and moral to love one's country and hate its government.

Wilson, Edmund O.
We are not compelled to believe in biological uniformity in order to affirm human freedom and dignity.

1978 - from On Human Nature, Harvard University Press
Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals.

1977 - from Letters on Literature and Politics
Wilson, Flip
You can't expect to hit the jackpot if you don't put a few nickels in the machine.

Wilson, Harold
Every dog is allowed one bite, but a different view is taken of a dog that goes on biting all the time.

Mar. 2, 1967 - from a speech
The labour party is like a stage-coach. If you rattle along at great speed everybody inside is too exhilarated or too seasick to cause any trouble. But if you stop everybody gets out and argues about where to go next.

1964 - quoted in Harold Wilson, Authentic Portrait, by Leslie Smith
Everybody should have an equal chance - but they shouldn't have a flying start.

1963 - quoted in the London Observer

He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.

Jan. 24, 1967 - quoted in the New York Times
One man's wage rise is another man's price increase.

Jan. 11, 1970 - quoted in the London Observer and in The MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations
Wilson, James Q.
Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness.

Character is not the enemy of self-expression and personal freedom, it is their necessary precondition.

1995 - from On Character
Crime is the price society pays for abandoning character.

Sep. 1985 - from "The Rediscovery of Character: Private Virtue and Public Policy" published in The Public Interest
There aren't any liberals left in New York. They've all been mugged by now.

In the long run, the public interest depends on private virtue.

1985 - from an essay in Public Interest
The most important change in how one defines the public interest that I have witnessed ... over the last twenty years has been a deepening concern for the development of character in the citizenry.

Sep. 1985 - from "The Rediscovery of Character: Private Virtue and Public Policy" published in The Public Interest
Wilson, Michael  
No matter how we define the term, Canada has an acute shortage of rich people.

Wilson, Robert Anton
I regard a 'cult' as a religion small enough to be easily victimized by the authorities and a religion as a cult big enough to force the authorities to treat it with respect. And that is the only difference I can see.

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

The State exists for the sake of society, not society for the sake of the State.

One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is to supply light and not heat.

Liberty does not consist in mere declarations of the rights of man. It consists in the translation of those declarations into definite action.

Jul. 4, 1914 - from a speech
No man can sit down and withhold his hands from the warfare against wrong and get peace from his acquiescence.

May 7, 1911 - from a speech delivered in Denver
Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.

Sep. 9, 1912 - from a speech given in New York
Energy in a nation is like sap in a tree; it rises from the bottom up.

The concentration of power is what always precedes the destruction of human initiative, and therefore of human energy.

Prosperity is necessarily the first theme of a political campaign.

The history of liberty is the history of the limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it. When we resist the concentration of power we are resisting the powers of death. Concentration of power precedes the destruction of human liberties.

Sep. 12, 1912 - from a speech given in New York

No one who has read official documents needs to be told how easy it is to conceal the essential truth under the apparently candid and all-disclosing phrases of a voluminous and particularizing report....

Wilson-Smith, Anthony  
The silly notion underlying [the Liberals'] institutionalized fibbing and historical revisionism is that politics is a blood sport, in which any admission of error, or credit to the opposition, demonstrates mortal weakness. In fact no one expects others - especially not polititicans - to be perfect. And a whole-hearted apology goes a long way towards quelling controversy.

Feb. 26, 2001 - from "The politics of fibbing", Maclean's magazine
Unlike doctors or lawyers, both of whom have to pass rigorous tests, and can be barred from practising if they violate rules regarding their conduct journalism has no such barriers or universal codes of conduct.

Winch, Harold  
I don't want your vote. I want something more important. I want your commitment to think. Because once you start thinking, I'll get your vote.

quoted in Columbo's New Canadian Quotations by John Robert Columbo
Windsor Star  
[After a bi-election stump speech by Mr. Clark] By the end of the hour, the nice Joe Clark of days gone by seemed egotistical and closed-minded, and defensive of his unremarkable record. Clark still talked as though he was still prime minister. He blustered about his party's national importance, although everyone in the room knew his party is in fifth place. He accused Chretien of 'ducking every important issue', yet ducked every tough question we put to him.

Apr. 03, 1999 - from its Editorial page
Winne, Ross
The people will stand for anything. What they can't stand for, they'll fall for.

Winters, Robert H.  
You have perhaps heard the story of the four students, British, French, American, Canadian, who were asked to write an essay on elephants. The British student entitled his essay 'Elephants and the Empire.' The French student called his 'Love and the Elephant.' The title of the American student's essay was 'Bigger and Better Elephants,' and the Canadian student called his 'Elephants: A Federal or Provincial Responsibility?'

Wiseman, Jack
We regard education as a means of safeguarding the family from too great a reliance upon the state rather than as a means for the state to take over the responsibilities of the family.

1970 - from Education for Democrats (with Alan Peacock)
Wodehouse, Paul  
Last year, the [United Nations Council on the Rights of Children] informed the British that their children could not be exempted from certain public school programs - sex education for instance - at the request of the parents alone. They would be required to seek the child's consent. The implications of this judgment may be felt in Canada.

Aug. 9, 1999 - from "One Child, One Vote", Alberta Report
Wolfe, Alan
 Middle-class Americans have added an Eleventh Commandment: "Thou shalt not judge."

1998 - from a speech to journalists in Washington, similar assertion also appears in One Nation, After All

Wolfe, Claire
America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.

from 101 Things to Do Until the Revolution
Taken together, these [newly evolving government] databases, ID cards and programs will become a citizen monitoring system that would have been the envy of the old Soviet Empire or Nazi Germany.

1998 - from A Number, Not a Name: Big Brother by Stealth
Wong, Eva
Persons who are not in touch with their tradition are like weeds blown by the wind.

Woodard, Joe  
Since the 1982 adoption of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms ... Canada's judges have moved boldly into the public policy arena, shaping laws to fit their own peculiar biases and ideologies. In effect, Canada's top judges have become the supreme rulers of the land, and that has turned the [Supreme Court justice] selection process into a back-room brawl between competing interests.

Jan. 19, 1998 - from "Rumblings of a counter-revolution", Alberta Report
Pollsters and theologians agree that Canadians prefer their faith unmediated by doctrine or denomination. Religion is now a matter of private judgement and observance for a majority, and thus we have become a country of not a few hundred different creeds but a few million.

Jun. 10, 1996 - from "Every man his own church", Alberta Report
The manipulation of the UN process, family advocates warn, is a key component of the Chretien government's strategy to impose social radicalism back at home.

Jul. 1, 1996 - from "Canadians Go Home", Alberta Report
Woodcock, George  
Accustomed to seeing ourselves as one of the most liberated nations on earth, in recent years we have discovered that in reality we belong to one of the most over-governed countries in the western world. The growing reaction to this situation is likely to have a considerable influence on the coming changes in the structure of political life. The wind is now set toward increasing devolution and decentralization, the direction of true confederacy.

quoted in Columbo's New Canadian Quotations by John Robert Columbo
The pattern is clear. Canadians distrust heroes, partly because heroism is always a kind of imposition; the hero is dominating us by his strength, by his brute courage, and we have become suspicious of such qualities. ... We suspect the sheer gigantic irrationalism of the heroic, for we like to consider ourselves a reasonable people.

quoted in Columbo's New Canadian Quotations by John Robert Columbo
Wooden, John
Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

Woodman, Cousin
Good judgment comes from experience, and experience - well, that comes from poor judgment.

The afternoon knows what the morning only suspected.

If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.

Any fool can make a rule, and every fool will mind it.

Woodson, Carter
The mere imparting of information is not education. Above all things, the effort must result in making a man think and do for himself.

Wordsworth, William
Power is much more easily manifested in destroying than in creating.

1796 - from The Borderers
Wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop Than when we soar.

Wright, Frances
... liberty means, not the mere voting at elections, but the free and fearless exercise of the mental faculties and that self-posession which springs out of well-reasoned opinions and consistence practice.

Jul. 4, 1828 - from her Independence Day address at New Harmony, Indiana
Wriston, Walter
Satellites are no respecters of idealogy.

1992 - from The Twilight of Sovereignty, Charles Scribner's, New York
Yeats, William Butler
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

Yeltsin, Boris
Letís not talk about Communism. Communism was just an idea, just pie in the sky.