Some Curious Quotes

Copyright © 1999, 2002 by Hugo S. Cunningham
started 990329
latest minor update 2012/0225St


quote and authorsource-- book or URLquote in original language (if applicable)


"If I advance, follow me! If I retreat, kill me! If I die, avenge me!"
    --Henri de la Rochejaquelein, young cavalry commander of Vendée counterrevolutionaries, France, 1790s
"Dieu Seul Suffit"
(A right-wing French Catholic site).
Added 990329
"Si j'avance, suivez-moi; si je recule, tuez-moi; si je meurs, vengez-moi!"
"Go, stranger, and tell the Lacedaemonians that we lie here in obedience to their law"
    -- Simonides of Ceos
    Epitaph for the Spartan defenders at Thermopylae, slain to the last man in battle (480 BCE)
H.P. Jones, Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Classical Quotations, John Grant Publishers, Edinburgh; p. 181.
Added 990330
(Classical Greek)
"W 3ein, àggellein Lakedaimoníois, 'óti thde keíme8a, tois keinon dhmasi pei8omenoi"

Explanation of Greek transcription used here
"The strength of a wall is neither greater nor less than the courage of the men who defend it."
    --Genghis Khan (1162-1227)
from Harold Lamb, Genghis Khan, Bantam Books, New York, 1955; p. 126.
Added 990330
"Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters, 'U.S.'; let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, and there is not power on earth that can deny that he had earned the rights to citizenship in the United States."
    --Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), Black Abolitionist and civil rights leader, 1863.
from Melvin Drimmer, editor, Black History, Anchor Books, Garden City NY, 1969; p. 259
Added 991228
A nation or a people that cannot fight may be pitied, but cannot be respected.
    --Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), 1863.
Recruiting poster, from Gilder Lehman collection, reproduced in the "New York Times," 2004/0719M, p. B5
Added 10040719
"Hereditary bondsmen! Know ye not
Who would be free themselves must strike the blow?"
    --George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788–1824)
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto the Second, stanza #76
Quote added 2008/0731
This quote was repeated by Abolitionist hero Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) in Chapter 17 ("The Last Flogging") of his autobiography The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. Douglass used the spelling "bondmen" rather than "bondsmen."
"My foreign policy and domestic policy are the same. For domestic policy, I wage war! For foreign policy, I wage war!.
"I intend to keep faith with our allies. When Russia betrays us, I continue to wage war. When unhappy Romania is forced to capitulate, I continue to wage war, and I will continue to wage war to the last quarter hour.
    --Georges Clemenceau, wartime Premier of France, before the French parliament on 8 March 1918.

      --réponse à une interpellation de M. Émile Constant, député, «sur les responsabilités gouvernementales et les compromissions révélées par les débats du procès Bolo» appuyée par M. Renaudel, au nom du parti socialiste (8 mars 1918).
French version from
Georges Clemenceau, Discours de Guerre publiés par la Société des Amis de Clemenceau, Librairie Plan, Paris, 1934; p. 215
Added 990403
«Ma politique étrangère et ma politique intérieure, c'est tout un. Politique intérieure, je fais la guerre; politique extérieure, je fais toujours la guerre. Je fais toujours la guerre.


«Je cherche à me maintenir en confiance avec nos alliés. La Russie nous trahit, je continue de faire la guerre. La malheureuse Roumanie est obligée de capituler: je continue de faire la guerre, et je continuerai jusqu'au dernier quart d'heure.»

"Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight in the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing strength and confidence in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender, and even if, as I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and liberation of the Old."
    --Winston S. Churchill, 4 June 1940.
from Winston Churchill, Their Finest Hour, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1949, p. 118.
Added 990330
"The Guard dies, but does not surrender!"
    --attributed to General Cambronne, commander of Napoleon's "Imperial Guard," in response to a demand for surrender after the Battle of Waterloo (1815). According to some other accounts, the blunt soldier's response was "Merde!"
J. Christopher Herold, The Age of Napoleon, American Heritage Publishing Co./Harper & Row, New York, 1963; pp. 397-398.
[added 000219]
"La Garde meurt, mais ne se rend pas!"
"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."
    --Winston S. Churchill
Winston S. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, Houghton Mifflin Co. (Boston)/ The Riverside Press (Cambridge), 1948; p. 348.
Quote also on the net at
(internet site)
[added y11007]
"The dream of my life has risen to become fact. Self-defense in the ghetto will have been a reality. Jewish armed resistance and revenge are facts. I have been a witness to the magnificent, heroic fighting of Jewish men in battle."
    --Mordecai Anielewicz, commander (a civilian) of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
    final letter, dated 23 April 1943
Yad Vashem web site
[added y11007]
I do not know. Polish? Yidish? Hebrew?
"When I meet a historian who cannot think that there have been great men, great men moreover in politics, I feel myself in the presence of a bad historian, and there are times when I incline to judge all historians by their opinion of Winston Churchill -- whether they can see that, no matter how much better the details, often damaging, of man and career become known, he still remains quite simply, a great man."
    --Geoffrey Elton, an English historian
Gertrude Himmelfarb, "The Roar" (a review of two Churchill biographies) in "The New Republic," 26 Nov 2001, p. 46
Quote added y11229
Editor's note:
The most serious charge against Churchill was his WW2 policy toward India: indifference toward a famine that killed 3 million in Bengal, and encouraging the separatist ambitions of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the vain hope that an India divided by religion could be kept in the British Empire.
But that charge, serious though it is, does not cancel out his achievement in rallying Britain and a sullen isolationist America to resist Hitler.
"What if they gave a war and no one came?
Then the war will come to you.
He who stays home when the fight begins
And lets others fight for his cause
Should take care. He who does not take part
In the battle will share in the defeat.
Even avoiding battle does not avoid
Battle, since not to fight for your cause
Really means
Fighting on behalf of your enemy's cause.
    --Anonymous amalgamation of Carl Sandburg and Berthold Brecht
which in turn cites
Quote added 20020725, sourcing revised 20120226Sn

More on the origins of this quote.

Stell dir vor, es ist Krieg, und keiner geht hin
Dann kommt der Krieg zu euch
Wer zu Hause bleibt, wenn der Kampf beginnt
Und läßt andere kämpfen für seine Sache
Der muß sich vorsehen; denn
Wer den Kampf nicht geteilt hat
Der wird teilen die Niederlage
Nicht einmal den Kampf vermeidet
Wer den Kampf vermeiden will; denn
Es wird kämpfen für die Sache des Feinds
Wer für seine eigene Sache nicht gekämpft hat.

[Opposing forces in 1918]
"Unlike his German opposite number, the British infantryman was not remarkable for his industry: it was surprising how little digging he would do under cover of night when supervison was impossible. When in the line the German soldier burrowed like a mole; the British soldier did what he was told to do and no more, firmly convinced that it was better to live at slightly increased risk and personal discomfort than to perform an uncongenial task."
H. Essame, The Battle for Europe 1918, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1972; p. 9.
Quote added 20020928
Editor's note:
I include this quote as a commentary on the supreme fighting quality of the German soldier in WW I and WW II. The Soviet Russian had unsurpassed courage, while the Anglo-Americans had technical aptitude, but the German combined these qualities with an obsessive work ethic.
(The German work ethic may correlate with a strong, highly professional officer corps and a society expecting to obey them. But German enlisted men and NCOs also displayed initiative, especially in comparison with their Allied opponents.)
Soldierly skill does not automatically correlate with the justice of one's cause, however.
"I'm not going to let my people get nailed for something they were ordered to do."
    --Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr., director, CIA "Directorate of Operations," 2004-2007
JAR's repeated statement of policy, as quoted by his deputy Robert Richer
New York Times article, 2008/0220 Wednesday, pp. A1, A12:
Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane, "Tape Inquiry: Ex-Spymaster In the Middle>"
Quote added 2008/0220
Editor's note:
Mr. Rodriguez became a focus of press interest in December 2007 for ordering in 2005 the destruction of 2 CIA tapes allegedly showing harsh interrogation (including "waterboarding," which has a choking effect) of two senior al-Qa'ida terror suspects, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah. Rodriguez acted honorably and correctly; if the tapes had not been destroyed, they would inevitably have been leaked out as (1) recruiting videos for al-Qa'ida, and (2) conduits for both terrorist and legalist attacks on the junior CIA employees on the film. Congressional investigators who profess shock at obstruction of their investigations have failed to articulate any useful information the tapes could have provided them.
Was the tape destruction "obstruction of justice"? A better description is "obstruction of treason."
"There have always been people strong enough to resist the most powerful kings, to refuse to bow down before them... there have been very few to resist the masses, to stand up to the misled multitude."
    --Georges Clemenceau about Emile Zola, hero of the Dreyfus Affair.
Elliot Rosenberg, But Were They Good for the Jews? Over 150 Historical Figures Viewed from a Jewish Perspective, Birch Lane Press/Carol Publishing Group, 1997; p. 211.
added 2008/1119

Valor -- Fictional

Take my drum to England,
hang it by the shore,
Strike it when your powder's running low;
If the Dons sight Devon,
I'll quit the port of Heaven,
And drum them up the Channel
as we drummed them long ago."
--supposedly the ghost of Sir Francis Drake
From "Drake's Drum," a poem in Admirals All and Other Verses (1897) by Sir Henry (John) Newbolt (1862-1938).
Written in the dialect of Devon seafaring folk, in honor of Sir Francis Drake (1540?-1596), privateer, victor over the Spanish Armada (1588), and unsurpassed naval hero, who eventually died off Nombre de Dios, Panama.
The last I checked, the full text of the poem was available at

[Devon dialect of Newbolt's original]
Take my drum to England,
hang et by the shore,
Strike et when your powder's runnin' low;
 If the Dons sight Devon,
I'll quit the port o' Heaven,
  An' drum them up the Channel
as we drummed them long ago."
[In wartime] "It's a naval officer's duty to shoot and be shot at."
    --The character "Admiral Cornwallis" in C.S. Forester, Hornblower and the Hotspur
C.S. Forester, Hornblower and the Hotspur, Pinnacle Books/Little Brown & Co., New York, 1962; p. 339
Added Y00114
"I, who am about to die, will show you a Roman's grave -- piled high with Caesar's enemies!"
    --The character, Centurion "Junio," in Robert Heinlein, Have Spacesuit -- Will Travel
Robert A. Heinlein, Have Spacesuit -- Will Travel, Ace Books, New York, 1958; p. 230.
Added Y00114
"It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule."
    --The character Gandalf in J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings 3: The Return of the King, Ballantine Books, New York, 1965; p. 190.
Added Y00114
"There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries."
    --The character Brutus in William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar; Act 4, Scene 3, lines 217-220.
Added Y20924
"Peace and freedom, do you say? The North would have known them little but for us. Fear would have destroyed them. But when dark things come from the houseless hills, or creep from sunless woods, they fly from us ...
"And yet less thanks have we than you. Travellers scowl at us, and countrymen give us scornful names... Yet we would not have it otherwise. If simple folk are free from care and fear, simple they will be, and we must be secret to keep them so."
    --the character "Aragorn" at the council of Elrond in Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, V. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Ballantine Books, 1965; p. 326.
"It must often be so ... when things are in danger: someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them."
--the character "Frodo" to "Sam" in Tolkien's The Return of the King
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, V. 3: The Return of the King, Ballantine Books, 1965; p. 382.
Editor's note: I am put in mind of the claim by some right-wing "revisionist" historians that "Appeasement" of Hitler was the only way for Britain to preserve her Empire. By fighting Hitler, Britain bankrupted herself, and the loss of her Empire followed within a generation. But Appeasement would have carried its own price -- Britain's soul. An Appeaser's Britain would inevitably have become a satellite of Nazi Germany, importing Nazi racial policies and aiding Nazi aggression.
"I can't spare this man. He fights!"
    --Abraham Lincoln, in response to advice from Colonel Alexander K. McClure that he dismiss Gen. Ulysses Grant after the bloody, precarious victory at Shiloh TN (6-7 April 1862).
Alexander K. McClure himself is the only original source.
In recent years, Grant biographer Brooks Simpson has disputed this quote (wonderfully apt though it sounds). In particular, Simpson (1) casts doubt on the general credibility of Col. McClure, and (2) notes that Lincoln would waver in his support of Grant over the next year, until Grant's success at Vicksburg.

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"Whatever the reason -- whether Hitler thought he might get away with what he had got without fighting for it, or whether it was that after all the preparations were not sufficiently complete -- however, one thing is certain, he missed the bus.""
    -- Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain
    speech, 5 April 1940
Added 2005/1205
On 9 April 1940, Hitler invaded Denmark and Norway. The fumbling British response, even in Norway where British sea-power should have been decisive, led to demands for Chamberlain's resignation. On 10 May 1940, Hitler invaded Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, achieving decisive victory by 22 June.
"Mission accomplished"
    --banner greeting US President George W. Bush
    in photo op, landing fighter aircraft on USS Abraham Lincoln
Added 2005/1205
In fact the mission was nowhere near accomplished. Iraq's economy (and US credibility) collapsed, as US troops allowed massive looting. A well-organized insurgency would soon put outnumbered US troops on a bloody defensive.
As the Iraq war turned sour, some Bush flaks tried to claim they had nothing to do with the banner, that it had been a spontaneous idea of the ship's crew.
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"He was even polite to the rats."
    --from an obituary of Atlanta physician and philanthropist George Brumley Jr. (1935?-2003)
Article in the New York Times, Tues 22 Jul 2003
"Atlanta Philanthropist and Family Die in Kenyan Plane Crash" by Jeffrey Gettleman
Added 20030722
For amusement, this quote is best taken out of context. In context, it was a reasonable observation that Dr. Brumley, head of a research laboratory, handled the laboratory rats gently.
"I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."
J.D. Mackie, A History of Scotland (Second Edition, revised and edited by Bruce Lenman and Geoffrey Parker), Penguin Books, 1979; p. 222.
Added 20080207
Cromwell adopted the rhetoric of holiness to attempt to persuade fellow Protestants not to trust Charles II. When polite words failed, however, Cromwell carried out an effective invasion to get his way.

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"And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
    --Job 1:8
The King James Bible
Added 990403
" Give me here the head of John the Baptist on a platter."
    --Salome, daughter of Herodias
    Matthew 14:8
Bibles (various)
Added 990403
(Greek original)
Dos moi 'wde epi pinaki thn kefalhn Iwannou tou Baptistou.
(Latin translation [Vulgate])
Da mihi hic in disco caput Ioannis Baptistae.

Explanation of Greek transcription used here
"Isn't the President of the United States entitled to one personal grudge?"
    --Franklin D. Roosevelt, asking good-government types (unsuccessfully) for permission to oust Robert Moses from the NY Triborough Bridge Authority, Feb 1934.
Joseph Price, as reported in Robert A Caro, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York, 1974.
P. 438.
Added y11229
"These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family doesn't resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him -- at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars -- his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself-- such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my dog."
    --Franklin D. Roosevelt, 23 Sept 1944
edited by M.S. Venkataramani, The Sunny Side of FDR, Ohio University Press, 1973; p. 171
which in turn cited
Public Papers and Addresses, 1944, pp. 285, 289-90.
[Added y20105]
Editor's remark:
The "Fala speech" is best seen and heard in the original film clip, to get the full impact of FDR's tongue-in-cheek delivery, an all-time comic masterpiece. His audience, a nation of dog-lovers, may not have been entirely convinced by his denial of the destroyer story, but they didn't care. Who but the most priggish Republican do-gooder would abandon a family pet in the Arctic wastes?

CdG: "Ah, Stalingrad! All the same, they are a pretty tremendous people, a very great people."
AW: "Ah, yes, the Russians..."
CdG: "No, I'm not talking about the Russians; I mean the Germans. In spite of everything, to have pushed so far!"
    --Charles de Gaulle, leader of liberated France, at reception in French Embassy, Moscow, Dec 1944, talking to BBC correspondent Alexander Werth.
Alexander Werth, Russia at War 1941-1945, E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc, New York, 1964; p. 930.
Added y20201
CdG: "Ah, Stalingrad! C'est tout de même un peuple formidable, un très grand peuple."
AW: "Ah, oui, les Russes..."
CdG: "Mais non. Je ne parle pas des Russes, je parle des Allemands. Tout de même, avoir poussé jusque là!"
Alexander Werth considered this a calculated indiscretion, in response to a rather off-hand reception by Soviet leaders over the last few days. Stalin did not share de Gaulle's belief that France would recover to become a major power.
"Delegation after delegation has called on me with the same request, 'Recall [Gen. Ulysses] Grant from command,' as the members of the delegations were not willing their sons and brothers should be under the control of an intemperate [ie. habitually drunken] leader. I could not think of relieving him, and their demands became very vexatious. I therefore hit upon this plan to stop them.
"One day a delegation headed by a distinguished doctor of divinity from New York, called on me and made the familiar complaint and protest against Grant being retained in his command. After the clergyman had concluded his remarks, I asked if any others desired to add anything to what had already been said. They replied that they did not. Then looking as serious as I could, I said:
"'Doctor, can you tell me where General Grant gets his liquor?'
"The doctor seemed quite nonplussed, but replied that he could not. I then said to him:
"'I am very sorry, for if you could tell me I would direct the Chief Quartermaster of the army to lay in a large stock of the same kind of liquor, and would also direct him to furnish a supply to some of my other generals who have never yet won a victory.'"
    --Abraham Lincoln
Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, Harcourt, Brace, & Co., 1939; Vol 2, pp. 119-120.
Sandburg appears to be citing John M. Thayer, a Brigadier General visiting President Lincoln at the time of Grant's Vicksburg campaign (1863).
Added 20050221
When overzealous people had accused [Gen. Ulysses] Grant of intemperance, Lincoln's reply was, 'If I knew what brand of whiskey he drinks I would send a barrel or so to some other generals"
    --Abraham Lincoln, at time of 1863 Vicksburg campaign
Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, Harcourt, Brace, & Co., 1939; Vol 2, p. 120.
Sandburg in turn cites Lincoln's secretaries Nicolay and Hay.
Added 20050221

Statecraft and/or cynicism

"If you can't drink [lobbyists'] booze, take their money, chase their women, and then vote against 'em, you don't belong in politics."
    --Jesse M. Unruh, majority leader of California House(?), to various California legislators in 1960s.
cited by David Broder, column in "Omaha World Herald," 860511
Added 990330
"'Treason doth never prosper.' What's the reason?
Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason!"
    --Sir John Harington (1561-1612).
Added 990330
[A politician's] "record is like a tin kettle to a dog's tale -- it's a noisy appendage, wich makes the dog conspicuous and invites everybody to shy a brick at him."
    --"Petroleum Vesuvius Naseby," a character developed by David Ross Locke
    Note: the mispellings ("tale" and "wich") are intentional, a common feature in mid-1800s American political satire, suggesting the speaker is rustic and poorly educated. The faux-rustic may embody the common sense of the people, or satirize the prejudices of the ignorant.
David Ross Locke, The Struggles of Petroleum Vesuvius Naseby edited by Joseph Jones, Beacon Press, Boston, 1963; pp. 93-94.
Added y20105
"It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."
    --Justice Louis Brandeis (of the US Supreme Court)
as quoted by Jeffrey Rosen in article "Class Action: The Liberal Roots of Vouchers" in the magazine "New Republic," 18 March 2002, p. 20.
A handful of websites give this legal cite:
New York State Ice Co. v. Liebmann (1932) 285 U.S. 311
"Stenhouse, when I was a boy on the farm in Illinois there was a great deal of timber on the farm which we had to clear away. Occasionally we would come to a log which had fallen down. It was too hard to split, too wet to burn, and too heavy to move, so we plowed around it. You go back and tell Brigham Young that if he will let me alone I will let him alone."
    --Abraham Lincoln, as told to T. B. H. Stenhouse, an emissary from the Mormons in Utah
Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints, Vintage Books/Random House, New York, 1980; p. 170
Arrington and Bitton in turn cite:
Stenhouse to Young, 7 June 1863, Brigham Young Correspondence, Church Archive; also Preston Nibley, Brigham Young: The Man and His Work (Salt Lake City, 1937), p. 369.
Relations of the new Mormon Church with US politicians were prickly before 1890, partly because of the US Protestant majority's general intolerance (to Catholics as well as Mormons), partly because of Mormon polygamy (renounced in 1890), partly from distrust of the Mormons' unusually tightly-knit cooperative economic and political activity. The 1860 political platform of Lincoln's new Free-soil "Republican Party" included a pledge to eradicate polygamy, but Lincoln wisely recognized he faced far more important problems.

Freedom and Its Enemies

"They that start by burning books will end by burning men."
    --Heinrich Heine (1797-1856).
    Does this uncanny prophesy of Nazism 112 years later sound too good to be true? Heine actually said it
from The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 1979; p. 244.
Added 990403
"Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen."
From the play "Almansor" (1821)
"... What is called liberty of the press does not in the least mean that the press is free, but simply that certain potentates are at liberty to direct it as they wish, in support of their particular interests and, if need be, in opposition to the interests of the state. ... Today [in National Socialist Germany] the journalist knows he is no mere scribbler, but a man with a sacred mission of defending the highest interests of the state."
    --Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)
from Robert Edwin Herzstein, The War that Hitler Won: Goebbels and the Nazi Media Campaign, Paragon House Publishers, New York, 1987 (copyright 1978); p. 36.
Herzstein in turn cited Adolf Hitler, Hitler's Secret Conversations 1941-1944, New York, 1953; pp. 452-453.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
    --First Amendment to the US Constitution.
Added 20020827
"Treason against" [one's country] "shall consist only in levying war against" [it], "or in adhering to" [its] "enemies, giving them aid and comfort."
    --US Constitution, Article 3, Section 3
Added 20020827
[Antisemitism is] "the socialism of fools."
    --August Bebel (1840-1913), a German socialist. 1873.
No hard-copy citation; found at Internet site and
added 20030615
[Antisemitismus ist] "der Sozialismus der dummen Kerls."
"Learning will spoil the best nigger in the world. If he learns to read the Bible, it will forever unfit him to be a slave."
    --a slaveholder overheard by the young Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
Frederick Douglass, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, reprint by Wordsworth American Library, 1996; p. 49.
added 2008/0731


"It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."
    --Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780).
Commentaries on the Laws of England (Book IV), Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1769 (Reprint of first edition with supplement by Dawson's of Pall Mall, London, 1966); ch. 27, p. 352.
Added 991228
"I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood..."
    --John Brown, abolitionist rebel
    final public statement
(internet site)
Added y11007
"Osawatomie" Brown was right. The crimes of slavery would be atoned with blood: 600,000 soldiers dead out of a whole US population of 31,000,000, not to mention massive devastation in the South. This sacrifice needs to be considered, whenever anyone talks about "reparations" to individuals who themselves were never slaves, from individuals whose ancestors did not own slaves. And who will pay reparations to the descendants of the 350,000 Union soldiers who died to end slavery?
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."
    --Barry Goldwater
    accepting Republican presidential nomination 16 Jul 64
Simpson’s Contemporary Quotations, compiled by James B. Simpson.  1988.
(internet site)
Added y11008
Barry Goldwater composed the perfect epitaph for John Brown, but a bit late -- 105 years after John Brown's death.
"There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice."
    --Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu,
Dorothy Rabinowitz, No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times, A Wall Street Journal Book/Free Press, New York etc., 2003; p. vi.
A senior reporter at the Wall Street Journal, Rabinowitz was a leading debunker of the day-care hysteria of the 1980s and 1990s, eg. the Kelly Michaels case (NJ), , the Grant Snowden case (FL), the Wenatchee Witch Hunt (WA), and especially Fells Acres (MA).
Added 2007/1221

Justice -- fictional

"'Do you really think that we want those laws to be observed?' said Dr. Ferris" [a bad guy]. "'We want them broken. ... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted -- and you create a nation of law-breakers -- and then you cash in on guilt.'" Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Part II chapter 3;
Signet/New American Library, p. 411.

Added 2009/1017

Historical Personalities

Gen. Erich Ludendorff about Hitler, 1933:
"I solemnly prophesy that this accursed man will cast our Reich into the abyss and bring our nation to inconceivable misery. Future generations will damn you in your grave for what you have done."
    --letter to the senile President Paul von Hindenburg, who had just named Hitler Chancellor of a Right-Far-Right coalition government.
    Apart from its early prescience, this letter is notable for its author, himself a hero of Germany's ultra-nationalist Right.
book review by Istvan Deak in "The New Republic," 12 Apr 99, p. 47, cited from Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1936-1939: Hubris, Norton.
Note -- I tried to find this quote in some other biographies of Ludendorff, without success. Might it have been invented later by an admirer of Ludendorff?
Quote added 990329
"We are now heading towards the type of labor [he stated] that is socially regulated on the basis of an economic plan, obligatory for the whole country, compulsory for every worker. This is the basis of socialism ... The militarization of labor, in this fundamental sense of which I have spoken, is the indispensable basic method for the organization of our labor forces. ... Is it true that compulsory labor is always unproductive? ... This is the most wretched and miserable liberal prejudice: chattel slavery, too was productive. ... Compulsory serf labor did not grow out of the feudal lords' ill-will. It was (in its time) a progressive phenomenon."
    --Lev Davydovich Trotsky
from Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, p. 501.
Deutscher cited Tretij S'ezd Profsoyuzov, pp. 87-96
Added 990330
"But there's one thing I can predict to eaters of meat, that the world of the future will be vegetarian!"
    --Adolf Hitler
from Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944 translated by Norman Cameron and R.H. Stevens, Oxford University Press, 1988; p. 125 -- end of selection for 11 November 1941, evening.
Added 000913
[Note: this sentence did not appear in Henry Picker, Hitlers Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquartier: Entstehung, Struktur, Folgen des Nazionalsozialismus, Propyläen Taschenbuch bei Ullstein, 1997. Picker edited the notes differently and omitted material, especially when (like this sentence) it was unrelated to the previous discussion.


"It's like this. I know I swear a lot, and tell many dirty stories. I also drink whisky. It is very wrong to blaspheme and it is very wicked to drink whisky, but I have to do it for good reason. Do you not recall how Christ was crucified and how he descended into hell, and on the third day he again rose from the dead? I am like Christ. I shall on the final judgment sit on one hand of God, while Christ sits on the other. I have told you that. But, you, brothers and sisters, have often left the straight and narrow way that leads to heaven. Some of you have gone so far on the way to perdition that it is too late for me to save you in this world. You will go to hell. Therefore, I have to blaspheme and drink whisky so that I will also descend into hell where I can intercede for you. There is no danger for me. On the third day I shall rise again like Christ. But for you there is danger, for you cannot get back from hell unless I go to bring you back. Therefore brothers and sisters, do not be deceived. I do not blaspheme and drink whisky because I like it. Inwardly I shudder each time and like Christ I often say 'Dear God, if it be possible, take this cup away from me.'"
    --Peter Petrovich Verigin, leader of the Doukhobor (Dukhobor) sect in western Canada, late 1920s.
cited in John P. Zubek and Patricia Anne Solberg, Doukhobors at War, The Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1952; pp. 124-125.
Added 991228
(Original Russian probably not written down)
[There is] "no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodic fits of morality."
    -- Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay (1800-1859)
cited by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in "The Wall Street Journal," 30 Jan 1992.
Added Y00114
"Accuse them of murdering three men and a dog, and they will triumphantly produce the dog alive."
    --Fr. George Tyrell, about Jesuits ca. 1900
cited by William F. Buckley in "National Review," 30 Dec. 1991, p. 27.
Added Y00114
"Disraeli would have been amused, and Gladstone appalled, by Churchill's famous quip, 'I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is ready to meet me is another question.' Churchill himself, asked to elaborate on his religious belief, quoted Disraeli: 'Sensible men are all of the same religion.' Pressed further, he cited Disraeli again: 'Sensible men never tell.'" Gertrude Himmelfarb, "The Roar" (a review of two Churchill biographies) in "The New Republic," 26 Nov 2001, p. 28.
Added Y11229
"In England, we have a curious institution called the Church of England. Its strength has always been in the fact that on any moral or political issue it can produce such a wide divergence of opinion that nobody -- from the Pope to Mao Tse-tung -- can say with any confidence that he is not an Anglican. Its weaknesses are that nobody pays much attention to it and very few people attend its functions."
    --Auberon Waugh
column by William F. Buckley, "National Review" magazine, 31 Jan 1975
Note: I was not able to find a more precise reference on the internet. A handful of posters attributed the quote to Auberon's better-known father Evelyn
Added 20020724

"Political Science"

[We] "are not just scientists, but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to leave the world a better place... To do that, we need some broad-based support, to capture the public imagination. That of course entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."
    --Stephen Schneider of "Scientific American," scientist and environmental activist
as quoted by "Economist" magazine (a political opponent), 2 Feb 2002, p. 16, in an article on the Bjorn Lomborg controversy.
Added approx. 20020710


[One notes] "the horrible -- the really disgusting prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex maniac, Quaker, 'Natural Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England."
    --George Orwell in The Road to Wigan Pier
as quoted by Charles Krauthammer in "The New Republic," 820816, p. 31
Added 20020724
"One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that; no ordinary man could be such a fool."
    --George Orwell in an article "Notes on Nationalism" (1945)
Added 20020724

Bogus quotes

"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."
    --supposedly Japan's Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, questioning junior officers' exuberant boasting over Pearl Harbor
The Columbia Book of Quotations (1996) could find no older attribution than the Hollywood film Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970).
Added 20040421, updated 20040421.
Editor's note: When I heard the quote on the film some 34 years ago, I, like many others, thought it must have had a basis in reality, even if the wording (as well as other lines fed to the "Yamamoto" actor) was modified to appeal to American audiences. It was known that Yamamoto had misgivings about going to war with America, and that he was disappointed with the results of the Pearl Harbor raid, eg Admiral Nagumo's failure to knock out the dockyards and fuel depots, and the absence of the American aircraft carriers (not Nagumo's fault).
After I entered military service, however, I realized no senior officer was likely to make a remark so demoralizing to his own men, especially since the Pearl Harbor raid had been Yamamoto's idea.

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