Defender of Liberty Vice-President of Engineering at Best Web Buys, Inc. Owner/Consultant of Allegro Media Editor/Curator of Back to Sugi Sorensen's home page
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Favorite Quotes

On Liberty...

  "Live free or die. Death is not the worst of evils."
    -- General John Stark (1809)
Speech to Veterans of the Battle of Bennington (1777)
  "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    -- Benjamin Franklin (1759)
Historical Review of Pennsylvania
  "Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
    -- Geroge Bernard Shaw
  "We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour."
    -- Thomas Jefferson (1776)
Declaration of Independence
  "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
    -- Thomas Jefferson (1800)
(Letter to Benjamin Rush)
  "Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limit drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law', because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual."
    -- Thomas Jefferson (1819)
(Letter to Isaac H. Tiffany)
  "Let the eye of vigilance never be closed."
    -- Thomas Jefferson (1821)
(Letter to Spencer Roane)
  "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
    -- Justice Joseph Story (1833)
Commentaries on the United States Constitution, vol. 3
(Story was an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1812 to 1845.)
  "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."
    -- Alexander Hamilton (1798)
The Listener
  "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
    -- Edmund Burke
Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontent, Vol. I
  "War does not determine who is right - only who is left."
    -- Bertrand Russell
  "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
    -- Justice Louis D. Brandeis
  "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."
    -- Daniel Webster
  "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences."
    -- C.S. Lewis

On Government...

  "Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one."
    -- Thomas Paine (1776)
Common Sense
  "In general the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to the other."
    -- Voltaire
  "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office."
    -- Aesop
  "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
    -- Plato
  "...A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities. "  
    -- Thomas Jefferson (1801)
First Inaugural Address
  "Subjects have no greater liberty in a popular than in a monarchial state. That which deceives them is the equal participation of command."
    -- Thomas Hobbes (1651)
The Citizen: Philosophical Rudiments Concerning Government and Society
  "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent."
    -- Justice Louis D. Brandeis
  "With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers (enumerated in the Constitution) connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."
    -- James Madison (1792)
  "The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods."
    -- H.L. Mencken
  "Coronation: The ceremony of investing a sovereign with the outward and visible signs of his divine right to be blown skyhigh with a dynamite bomb."
    -- Ambrose Bierce
The Devil's Dictionary
  "Better pointed bullets than pointed speeches."
    -- Otto Von Bismarck
  "The last thing that's going to happen is for the government to take any type of offensive action here. It's just not going to happen. You know, we don't hurt babies. You know, we don't hurt women. We don't do those types of things."
    -- FBI Negotiator to Branch Davidians
(March 7, 1993, Waco, Texas)

On Science...

  "It would have been cheaper to mount one of our regular telescopes on a 81 mile high stack of $50 bills."
    -- Dave Barry
(on the Hubble Space Telescope)
  "Thus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the nine-millimeter bullet."
    -- Dave Barry
  "The human race likes to give itself airs. One good volcano can produce more greenhouse gases in a year than the human race has in its entire history."
    -- Ray Bradbury
  "A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg."
    -- Samuel Butler (1885)

On Religion...

  "I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use."
    -- Galileo Galilei
  "For my own part I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey, who braved his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper; or from that old baboon, who, descending from the mountains, carried away in triumph his young comrade from a crowd of astonished dogs—as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions."
    -- Charles Darwin (1871)
The Descent of Man
  "The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference."
    -- Richard Dawkins (1995)
Scientific American, Nov. 1995
  "I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I, which is my life, the power to create."
    -- Vincent Van Gogh (1888)
Letter to his brother Theo
  "Out of all of the sects in the world, we notice an uncanny coincidence: the overwhelming majority just happen to choose the one that their parents belong to. Not the sect that has the best evidence in its favor, the best miracles, the best moral code, the best cathedral, the best stained glass, the best music: when it comes to choosing from the smorgasbord of available religions, their potential virtues seem to count for nothing, compared to the matter of heredity. This is an unmistakable fact; nobody could seriously deny it. Yet people with full knowledge of the arbitrary nature of this heredity, somehow manage to go on believing in their religion, often with such fanaticism that they are prepared to murder people who follow a different one."
    -- Richard Dawkins (1992)
A debate with the Archbishop of York

On Education...

  "I would sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University."
    -- William F. Buckley Jr.

On Music...

  "Music is the most brilliant cipher, the best code ever developed for preserving a person's emotions and psychological and philosophical state. And it is the performer's task to decode those messages encoded in the notes, to enable everyone to hear the feelings that the composer locked up in them."
    -- Andrei Gavrilov

On Relationships...

  "It is necessary to get behind someone before you can stab them in the back."
    -- Sir Humphrey Appleby
Yes Prime Minister
  "It is easier to be a lover than a husband for the simple reason that it is more difficult to be witty every day than to say pretty things from time to time."
    -- Honoré de Balzac (1829)
The Physiology of Marriage
  "The duration of passion is proportionate with the original resistance of the woman."
    -- Honoré de Balzac (1829)
The Physiology of Marriage
  "Marriage must incessantly contend with a monster that devours everything: familiarity."
    -- Honoré de Balzac (1829)
The Physiology of Marriage
  "No man should marry until he has studied anatomy and dissected at least one woman."
    -- Honoré de Balzac

On Man's Brilliance...

  "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people."
    -- P.T. Barnum
  "Every crowd has a silver lining."
    -- P.T. Barnum
  "Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines."
    -- John Benfield

On Knowledge, Wisdom and Integrity...

  "Man by nature wants to know."
    -- Aristotle
  "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
    -- Aristotle
  "The least deviation from truth will be multiplied later."
    -- Aristotle
  "Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is."
    -- Francis Bacon