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The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace in a continual state of alarm (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing them with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell.
Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right.
A home is not a mere transient shelter its essence lies in the personalities of the people who live in it.
All successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They never defend anyone or anything if they can help it if the job is forced on them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else.
All zoos actually offer to the public in return for the taxes spent upon them is a form of idle and witless amusement, compared to which a visit to a penitentiary, or even to a State legislature in session, is informing, stimulating and ennobling.
An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
For it is mutual trust, even more than mutual interest that holds human associations together. Our friends seldom profit us but they make us feel safe... Marriage is a scheme to accomplish exactly that same end.
I never lecture, not because I am shy or a bad speaker, but simply because I detest the sort of people who go to lectures and don't want to meet them.
It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.
It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.
Man is never honestly the fatalist, nor even the stoic. He fights his fate, often desperately. He is forever entering bold exceptions to the rulings of the bench of gods. This fighting, no doubt, makes for human progress, for it favors the strong and the brave. It also makes for beauty, for lesser men try to escape from a hopeless and intolerable world by creating a more lovely one of their own.
Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists.
Philosophy consists very largely of one philosopher arguing that all others are jackasses. He usually proves it, and I should add that he also usually proves that he is one himself.
Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.
The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animal.
The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.
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.
The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.
The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth--that the error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it is cured on one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one.
To die for an idea it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true
Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
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