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6,095 quotations, showing Bulwer-Lytton to Cable

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Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Edward
Common sense is only a modification of talent. Genius is an exaltation of it. The difference is, therefore, in degree, not nature.

When people have no other tyrant, their own public opinion becomes one.

The easiest person to deceive is one's own self.

from The Disowned
Burger, Warren
Although it had flaws and is still not perfect, our Constitution has allowed a system of government to flourish with freedom and opportunity unequaled anywhere in the world before or since. The United States has no need for walls or laws to keep people from moving elsewhere; and for over 200 years countless millions of people have come here from all parts of the globe, creating a society of pluralism and diversity resting on liberty.

from The Constitutions: Foundation of Our Freedom
Burke, Edmund
Depend upon it, that the lovers of freedom will be free.

But whoever is a genuine follower of Truth, keeps his eye steady upon his guide, indifferent whither he is led, provided that she is the leader.

from A Vindication of Natural Society
Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there is without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.

Slavery they can have everywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil.

Mar. 22, 1775 - from his second speech on conciliation with America
A good parson once said that where mystery begins religion ends. Cannot I say, as truly at least, of human laws, that where mystery begins justice ends?

1756 - from A Vindication of Natural Society
I set out with a perfect distrust of my own abilities, a total renunciation of every speculation of my own, and with a profound reverence for the wisdom of our ancestors, who have left us the inheritance of so happy a Constitution and so flourishing an empire, and, what is a thousand times more valuable, the treasury of the maxims and principles which formed the one and obtained the other.

Mar. 22, 1775 - from his speech "On Conciliation with the American Colonies"



Public calamity is a mighty leveller.

Mar. 22, 1775 - from his speech "On Conciliation with the American Colonies"
The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.

from a speech at Buckinghamshire
The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by parts ... the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Apr. 3, 1777 - from a letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol
No government ought to exist for the purpose of checking the prosperity of its people or to allow such a principle in its policy.

To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.

[Family] ... to love the little platoon we belong to in society ... is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country and to mankind...

from his first speech on conciliation with the American colonies
Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament.

Nov. 03, 1774 - from his speech to the electors of Bristol
It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.

1769 - from "Observations on the Present State of the Nation"
It is not, what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tell me I ought to do.

Mar. 22, 1775 - from his second speech on conciliation with America
All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter. ... Man acts from motives relative to his interests; and not on metaphysical speculations.

1770 - from "On the Causes of the Present Discontents"



A populace never rebels from passion for attack, but from impatience of suffering.

The state includes the dead, the living, and the coming generations.

Freedom, and not servitude is the cure of anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the true remedy for superstition.

Mar. 22, 1775 - from his second speech on conciliation with America
People crushed by law have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those, who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous, more or less.

from a letter to Hon. C.J. Fox
Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.

Nov. 03, 1774 - from his speech to the electors of Bristol
There is ... a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.

1769 - from "Observations on a Late Publication on the Present State of the Nation"
Well is it known that ambition can creep as well as soar.

from Letters on a Regicide Peace
Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.

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 the nature of all greatness not to be exact.




A law against property is a law against industry.

Dec. 01, 1783 - from his "Speech on Mr. Fox's East India Bill"
There is no safety for honest men but by believing all possible evil of evil men.

1790 - from Reflections on the Revolution in France
Because half a dozen grasshoppers under a fern make the field ring with their importunate chink, whilst thousands of great cattle... chew the cud and are silent, pray do not imagine that those who make the noise are the only inhabitants of the field; that, of course, they are many in number; or that, after all, they are other than the little, shriveled, meagre, hopping, though loud and troublesome insects of the hour.

1790 - from Reflections on the Revolution in France
... what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils, for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

1790 - from Reflections on the Revolution in France
Mere parsimony is not economy. ... Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part of true economy.

1796 - from a letter
To drive men from independence to live on alms, is itself great cruelty.

1790 - from Reflections on the Revolution in France
Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.

[Revolutionaries] With them it is a sufficient motive to destroy an old scheme because it is old. As to the new one, they are in no sort of fear with regard to the duration of a new building run up in haste; because duration is no object to those who think little or nothing has been done before their time.

The resources of intrigue are called in to supply the defects of argument and wit.

By hating vices too much, they come to love men too little.

1790 - from Reflections on the Revolution in France



Good order is the foundation of all good things.

Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found.

1775
Custom reconciles us to everything.

1756 - from On the Sublime and Beautiful
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.

1790 - from Reflections on the Revolution in France
Burnett, Francis Hodgson
At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done - then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.

Burnett, Leo
Regardless of the moral issue, dishonesty in advertising has proved very unprofitable.

quoted in 100 LEO's, published by the Leo Burnett Company
When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won't come up with a handful of mud either.

The secret of all effective originality in advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.

Burnham, James
Modern liberalism, for most liberals, is not a consciously understood set of rational beliefs but a bundle of unexamined prejudices and conjoined sentiments. The basic ideas and beliefs seem more satisfactory when they are not made fully explicit, when they merely lurk rather obscurely in the background, coloring the rhetoric and adding a certain emotive glow.

1964 - from Suicide of the West



The most important practical consequence of the guilt encysted in the liberal ideology and psyche is this: that the liberal, and the group, nation or civilization infected by liberal doctrine and values, are morally disarmed before those whom the liberal regards as less well off than himself.

1964 - from Suicide of the West
The judgements that liberals render on public issues, domestic and foreign, are as predictable as the salivation of Pavlovian dogs.

1964 - from Suicide of the West
Burris, Alan
Tariffs, quotas and other import restrictions protect the business of the rich at the expense of high cost of living for the poor. Their intent is to deprive you of the right to choose, and to force you to buy the high-priced inferior products of politically favored companies.

A Liberty Primer
Burroughs, William S.
Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind...

1985 - from "My Own Business", published in The Adding Machine
Burton, Robert
Ignorance is the mother of Devotion.

Bush, George
If we've learned anything in the past quarter century, it is that we cannot federalize virtue.

1991
A recent poll tells why the people of New Hampshire are supporting George Bush. Forty percent like my foreign policy. Forty percent support my economic policy. And 20 percent believe I make a good premium beer.

Bush, George W.
Iíve described myself as a compassionate conservative, because I am convinced a conservative philosophy is a compassionate philosophy that frees individuals to achieve their highest potential. It is conservative to cut taxes and compassionate to give people more money to spend. It is conservative to insist upon local control of schools and high standards and results; it is compassionate to make sure every child learns to read and no one is left behind. It is conservative to reform the welfare system by insisting on work; itís compassionate to free people from dependency on government. It is conservative to reform the juvenile justice code to insist on consequences for bad behavior; it is compassionate to recognize that discipline and love go hand in hand.

Mar. 7, 1999 - from his speech announcing his consideration of the Republican nomination for the presidency of the United States
We must show courage in a time of blessing by confronting our problems instead of passing them on... I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort, to defend needed reforms against many attacks, to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbors. I ask you to be citizens. Citizens, not spectators.

Jan. 20, 2001 - from his inaugural address
What is the right thing to do? ... Then do it.

quoted by Bush staffers as a frequent response to potentially-unpopular policy proposals



... times of plenty, like times of crisis, are tests of ... character.

Aug. 3, 2000 - from his speech accepting the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the U.S.
... the path of least resistance is always downhill.

Aug. 3, 2000 - from his speech accepting the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the U.S.
Our generation has a chance to reclaim some essential values -- to show we have grown up before we grow old.

Aug. 3, 2000 - from his speech accepting the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the U.S.
[Bureaucrats are] always seeing the tunnel at the end of the light.

Aug. 3, 2000 - from his speech accepting the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the U.S.
We must give our children a spirit of moral courage, because their character is our destiny. ... Our schools must support the ideals of parents, elevating character and abstinence from afterthoughts to urgent goals.

Aug. 3, 2000 - from his speech accepting the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the U.S.
A hundred years from now, this must not be remembered as an age rich in possessions and poor in ideals.

Aug. 3, 2000 - from his speech accepting the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the U.S.
[Community and faith-based charities] do for others what no government can ever do ... Government cannot be replaced by charities, but it can welcome them as partners instead of resenting them as rivals. ... Our plan will not favor religious institutions over non-religious institutions [but] the days of discriminating against religious institutions, simply because they are religious, must come to an end.

Feb. 6, 2001 - from a speech at a national prayer breakfast
Faith ... teaches us not merely to tolerate one another, but to respect one another - to show a regard for different views and the courtesy to listen. This is essential to democracy.

Feb. 6, 2001 - from a speech at a national prayer breakfast
Civility does not require us to abandon deeply held beliefs. Civility does not demand casual creeds and colorless convictions. ... civility and firm resolve [can] live easily with one another. But civility does mean that our public debate ought to be free from bitterness and anger, rancor and ill will. We have an obligation to make our case, not to demonize our opponents. As the Book of James reminds us, fresh water and salt water cannot flow from the same spring.

Feb. 6, 2001 - from a speech at a national prayer breakfast
We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles. Every citizen must uphold them.

Jan. 20, 2001 - from his Inaugural Address



Government has great responsibilities for public safety and public health, for civil rights and common schools. Yet compassion is the work of a nation, not just a government.

Jan. 20, 2001 - from his Inaugural Address
Encouraging responsibility is not a search for scapegoats, it is a call to conscience. And though it requires sacrifice, it brings a deeper fulfillment. We find the fullness of life not only in options, but in commitments.

Jan. 20, 2001 - from his Inaugural Address
Our public interest depends on private character, on civic duty and family bonds and basic fairness, on uncounted, unhonored acts of decency which give direction to our freedom.

Jan. 20, 2001 - from his Inaugural Address
The most important tasks of a democracy are done by everyone.

Jan. 20, 2001 - from his Inaugural Address
[Education vouchers] In order for an accountability system to work, there have to be consequences... If children are trapped in schools that will not teach and will not change, there have to be different consequences.

quoted in "Bush to boomers: A call to grown-ups", by Maggie Gallagher, published by UPS
Butler, Samuel
The foundations of morality are like all other foundations: if you dig too much around them the superstructure will come tumbling down.

Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.

from The Way of All Flesh
The public buys its opinions as it buys its meat, or takes in its milk, on the principle that it is cheaper to do this than to keep a cow. So it is, but the milk is more likely to be watered.

from Notebooks
You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.

from Notebooks
Logic is like the sword--those who appeal to it shall perish by it.




A virtue to be serviceable must, like gold, be alloyed with some commoner but more durable metal.

1903 - from The Way of All Flesh
A credulous mind ... finds most delight in believing strange things, and the stranger they are the easier they pass with him; but never regards those that are plain and feasible, for every man can believe such.

1667 - from Characters
The most important service rendered by the press and the magazines is that of educating people to approach printed matter with distrust.

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.

1912 - from Notebooks
Butt, Ronald
Socialism requires constant expropriation as a condition of its survival: it needs a perpetual process of intervention against individual actions. It demands in practice a kind of dictatorship.

1985 - from an essay in the London Times
Buzuvis, Erin
The past is not rectifiable; and while it is important to recognize and address the evils of history, the baggage of guilt and blame must be dropped by both the majority and the minority in order to build a community without racism and discrimination.

Apr. 04, 1997 - from an editorial in The New Hampshire newspaper
Byfield, Ted  
A tremendous gulf clearly exists between the national vision held by the two westernmost provinces and the national vision held in Ontario. We are being shown again and again that the West's vision doesn't matter--nor will it ever matter.

Jan. 1, 2001 - from "Westview", his column in Report magazine
Byrnes, James F.
Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity.

The nearest approach to immortality on earth is a government bureau.

Byron, Lord
There is, in fact, no law or government at all [in Italy]; and it is wonderful how well things go on without them.

Jan. 1821 - from a letter to Thomas Moore



Out of chaos God made a world, and out of high passions comes a people.

Jan. 5, 1821 - from his Ravenna journal
A man must serve his time to every trade save censure - critics all are ready made.

from "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers"
The reason that adulation is not displeasing is that, though untrue, it shows one to be of consequence enough, in one way or other, to induce people to lie.

Nov. 28, 1813 - from his journal
My parliamentary schemes are not much to my taste ... [I] have no intention to "strut another hour" on that stage.

Mar. 1818 - from a letter to Augusta Leigh
Give me a republic, or a despotism of one, rather than the mixed government of one, two, three. A Republic! ... To be the first man - not the Dictator, not the Sylla, but the Washington or the Aristides - the leader in talent and truth is next to the Divinity!

Nov. 28, 1818 - from his journal
I have simplified my politics into an utter detestation of all existing governments...

Jan. 16, 1815 - from his journal
Society is now one polished horde, formed of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored.

1818 - from Don Juan
Caball, James Branch
The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.

1926 - from The Silver Stallion
Cabell, James Branch
The optimist proclaims we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.

1926 - from The Silver Stallion
Cable, Howard  
The beaver is a good national symbol for Canada. He's so busy chewing he can't see what's going on.