Thursday, February 17, 2011

Favorite Political Quotes

Below are some of my favorites political quotes. If you have any recommendations please feel free to share them.

“How is it that the strange idea of making the law produce what it does not contain—prosperity, in a positive sense, wealth, science, religion—should ever have gained ground in the political world? The modern politicians, particularly those of the Socialist school, found their different theories upon one common hypothesis; and surely a more strange, a more presumptuous notion, could never have entered human brain.”—Frederic Bastiat, "The Law", 1850 (PDF)

A culture obsessed with technology will come to value personal convenience above almost all else, and ours does. That has consequences we will explore. Among those consequences', however, is impatience with anything that interferes with personal convenience. Religion, morality, and law do that …”—Robert H. Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, 1996, p 9

Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. 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 must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”—Edmund Burke, A Letter from Mr. Burke, to a Member of the National Assembly, 1791, p 68. See also Edmund Burke,  The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. IV. (of XII), 1887, p 52

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.“—Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons, October 22, 1945

Calvin Coolidge


“Men do not make laws. They do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of righteousness”

It is not the enactment, but the observance of laws, that creates the character of a nation.”

“It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.” —“Speech on the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence”, Calvin Coolidge, July 5, 1926

Duty is collective as well as personal. Law must rest on the eternal foundations of righteousness. Industry, thrift, character, cannot be conferred by act or resolve. Government cannot relieve from toil. Do the day's work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. … We need a broader, firmer, deeper faith in the people, a faith that men desire to do right, that the government is founded upon a righteousness which will endure.”—”Speech on the Duty of Government”, Calvin Coolidge, June 18, 1920

I never doubted, for instance, the existence of a Deity—that he made the world and governed it by his providence— that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man—that our souls are immortal—and that all crimes will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter.”—Benjamin Franklin
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, p 144-145

“So numerous indeed and so powerful are the causes which serve to give a false bias to the judgment, that we, upon many occasions, see wise and good men on the wrong as well as on the right side of questions of the first magnitude to society. This circumstance, if duly attended to, would furnish a lesson of moderation to those who are ever so much persuaded of their being in the right in any controversy. And a further reason for caution, in this respect, might be drawn from the reflection that we are not always sure that those who advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists. Ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition, and many other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operate as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a question. Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.”Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #1”,Saturday, October 27, 1787

Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”—Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love: The Lives of Lazarus Long, 1973

“They tell us that we are weak, unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when will we be stronger? Will it be the next week or the next year? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature has put into our power.”—Patrick Henry, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”, March 23, 1775

“America was long before that time a great and gallant nation. In the estimation of other nations we were so; the beneficent hand of Heaven enabled her to triumph, and secured to her the most sacred rights mortals can enjoy.”Patrick Henry, Argument of Patrick Henry in the British Debt Cause”, 25 Nov 1791, Patrick Henry; Life, Correspondence and Speeches, Vol. 3, William Wirt Henry, p 612.

“Amongst the strange things said of me, I hear it is said by the deists that I am one of their number; and indeed, that some good people think I am no Christian. This thought gives me more pain than the appellation of tory; because I think religion of infinitely higher importance than politics; and I find much cause to reproach myself that I have lived so long and have given no decided proofs of my being Christian. But, indeed, my dear child, this is a character I prize far above all this world has or can boast."Patrick Henry, Letter to his daughter, Betsy Aylett”, 20 Aug 20 1796 Patrick Henry; Life, Correspondence and Speeches, Vol. 2,William Wirt Henry, p 570.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1896, Uncle Sam’s current running expenses were $352,231,470.28. In round millions pensions cost 139; war 51, navy 27; Indians 12; interest 35 [roughly 10% vs. 40% today]; civil and miscellaneous 87.”—William George Jordan, "The Greatest Nation on Earth", The Ladies Home Journal, Jul 1897

“We need in our country today less politics and more statesmanship, less party and more patriotism. We need an awakening to higher ideals. We need a higher conception of America's place and destiny in the evolution of the world. We need something nobler as a purpose than our self-satisfied complacency at the material prosperity of the nation, for there is a moral and ethical success that is never rung up on a cash-register. We need the scourging of the money changers out of the temple of legislation ― State and national. We need purifying and ennobling of the body politic. We need the clear clarion voice of a great inspiration to rouse the States to their duty ― not the gilded phrases of mere rhetoric, but the honest eloquence of a high and exalted purpose ...”—William George Jordan. "The House of Governors", 1907

Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”—attributed to Abraham Lincoln however I was unable to find a source.

Secondly, when believers seek to promote their positions in the public square, their methods and their advocacy should always be tolerant of the opinions and positions of those who do not share their beliefs. We should not add to the extremism that divides our society.”—Dallin H. Oaks, Truth and Tolerance”, September 11, 2011

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”—Thomas Paine,"The American Crisis, 23 December 1776

I once knew a Swedish Clergyman in this city, who told me that when he preached in the Country, he always studied his Congregation first, and Afterwards his sermon. Something like this Should be done by legislators. They should perfectly understand the character of the people whom they represent, and Afterwards suit their laws to their habits and principles. I suspect the present Congress have neglected this important part of their duty.”—Dr. Benjamin Rush, Letter to James Madison”, March 10, 1790

Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families. The Amor Patriae [love of one's country] is both a moral and a religious duty. It comprehends not only the love of our neighbors but of millions of our fellow creatures, not only of the present but of future generations. This virtue we find constitutes a part of the first characters of history.”—Dr. Benjamin Rush, (To His Fellow Countrymen: On Patriotism, Oct 20, 1773 – Letters of Benjamin Rush Vol I: 1761-1792)

“If the Federal Government may enforce one unconstitutional law, it may enforce every unconstitutional law, and thus all the rights of the States and the people may fall one by one, before the omnipotence of that Government.”—Judge Abel P. Upshur, "An Exposition of the Virginia Resolutions of 1798; … No. VI", 1833

“… we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained;“—George Washington, Inaugural Address, April 1789

“Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion, and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked where is security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”—George Washington, “Farewell Address”, 1796 (HTML, PDF)

"Other misfortunes may be borne, or their effects overcome. If disastrous war should sweep our commerce from the ocean, another generation may renew it; if it exhaust our treasury, future industry may replenish it; if it desolate and lay waste our fields, still, under a new cultivation, they will grow green again, and ripen to future harvests. It were but a trifle even if the walls of yonder capitol were to crumble, if its lofty pillars should fall, and its gorgeous decorations be all covered by the dust of the valley. All these might be rebuilt. But who shall reconstruct the fabric of demolished government? Who shall rear again the well proportioned columns of constitutional liberty? Who shall frame together the skillful architecture which unites national sovereignty with state rights, individual security, and public prosperity? No, gentlemen, if these columns fall, they will be raised not again. Like the Coliseum and the Parthenon, they will be destined to a mournful, a melancholy immortality. Bitterer tears, however, will flow over them, than were ever shed over the monuments of Roman or Grecian art; for they will be the remnants of a more glorious edifice than Greece or Rome ever saw—the edifice of constitutional American liberty.

"But, gentlemen, let us hope for better things. Let us trust in that gracious Being who has hitherto held our country as in the hollow of his hand. Let us trust to the virtue and the intelligence of the people, and to the efficacy of religious obligation. Let us trust to the influence of Washington's example. Let us hope that that fear of Heaven which expels all other fear, and that regard to duty which transcends all other regard, may influence public men and private citizens, and lead our country still onward in her happy career."—
Daniel Webster, The speeches of Daniel Webster, and his masterpieces (PDF), 1854, pp. 261-262

US Continental Congress

The committee appointed to consider the memorial of the Rev. Dr. Allison and others, report, "That they have conferred fully with the printers, &c. in this city,and are of opinion, that the proper types for printing the Bible are not to be had in this country, and that the paper cannot be procured, but with such difficulties and subject to such casualties, as render any dependence on it altogether improper: that to import types for the purpose of setting up an entire edition of the bible, and to strike off 30,000 copies, with paper, binding, &c. will cost £10,272 10, which must be advanced by Congress, to be reimbursed by the sale of the books:

"That, your committee are of opinion, considerable difficulties will attend the procuring the types and paper; that, afterwards, the risque of importing them will considerably enhance the cost, and that the calculations are subject to such uncertainty in the present state of affairs, that Congress cannot much rely on them: that the use of the Bible is so universal, and its importance so great, that your committee refer the above to the consideration of Congress, and if Congress shall not think it expedient to order the importation of types and paper, your committee recommend that Congress will order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different ports of the states in the Union:

Whereupon, the Congress was moved, to order the Committee of Commerce to import twenty thousand copies of the Bible
”—The Journals of the Continental Congress, Sept 11, 1777
"Whereupon, Resolved, That the United States in Congress assembled, highly approve the pious and laudable undertaking of Mr. Aitken, as subservient to the interest of religion as well as an instance of the progress of arts in this country, and being satisfied from the above report, of his care and accuracy in the execution of the work, they recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States, and hereby authorise him to publish this recommendation in the manner he shall think proper."—  From the Journals of the Continental Congress, September 12, 1782

Many of today's "elite" espouse the view that our Founding Fathers were, by and large, atheists, agnostics, and deists. That being the case how did this piece of legislation sneak by? Or the prior action?

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