- 1 Anarchism
- 2 Anti-nationalism
- 3 Art
- 4 Bipartisanship, patriotism, and unity
- 5 Business and economy
- 6 Corruption
- 7 Democracy
- 8 Dictatorships, totalitarianism, and tyranny
- 9 Equality, freedom, liberty, and rights
- 10 Government bureaucracy
- 11 Men and women
- 12 Politics, laws of politics
- 13 Political jokes
- 14 Politicians and lawyers
- 15 Power and money
- 16 Presidency
- 17 Public opinion and polls
- 18 Public safety, domestic security, and gun control
- 19 Public service
- 20 The "Masses"
- 21 Reform
- 22 Religion, separation of church and state
- 23 Voting and participation
- 24 War, military, and peace
- 25 Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- 26 The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)
- 27 See also
- La propriété, c'est le vol!
- Translated: Property is theft!
- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What is Property? (1840), Ch. I: "Method Pursued in this Work. The Idea of a Revolution". Alternately translated as "Property is robbery!"
- As a woman I have no country. As a woman, I want no country.
- Our country is the world, our countrymen are all mankind. We love the land of our nativity, only as we love all other lands.
- William Lloyd Garrison, "Declaration of Sentiments, Adopted by the Peace Convention, Held in Boston, September 18, 19 and 20, 1838", in Selections from the Writings and Speeches of William Lloyd Garrison (Boston: R. F. Wallcut, 1852), p. 72 (Google Books e-text), originally published in The Liberator (September 28, 1838), p. 154.
- If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution.
Bipartisanship, patriotism, and unity
- After years of secret slavery the Republican Party and the Democratic Party come out into the open and reveal to themselves and to the nation as nothing but the right wing and the left wing of the same bird of prey. There is not a word in either of their platforms that might not have been written and unanimously endorsed by a convention exclusively of corporation lawyers and Wall Street Bankers. The only difference between these platforms as some one has remarked, is the number of words used to say nothing. Confronted by the gravest crisis in the history of civilization, they have demonstrated, even to their own adherents, that they are without the vision of statesmanship, the courage of leadership or the conviction of patriotism.
- Allen McCurdy, Keynotes for the Third Party National Convention (1920)
- Patriotism is in political life what faith is in religion.
- Lord Acton in 'Nationality', in The Home and Foreign Review (July 1862).
- A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
- I'll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. "I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs." "I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking." "Hey, wait a minute, there's one guy holding out both puppets!"
- Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
- Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.
- George Bernard Shaw, reported in Norman Thomas et al., eds., The World Tomorrow (1934), p. 401.
- Right wing (definition): As with the left wing, half the propulsive force of a flightless bird.
- Richard Summerbell, Abnormally Happy (1985).
- You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.
- Why is it the Mongols of this world always tell us they're defending us against the Mongols?
- Edward Whittemore, Nile Shadows (1983).
Business and economy
- Aristocracy and exclusiveness tend to final overthrow, in language as in politics.
- W. D. Whitney, Language and the Study of Language: Twelve Lectures on the Principles of Linguistic Science (1868), p. 150.
- Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.
- Attributed to William F. Buckley, Jr. by Jonathon Green, The Cynics' Lexicon: A Dictionary of Amoral Advice (1984) , p. 34.
- Political institutions are a superstructure resting on an economic foundation.
- Vladimir Lenin, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism (1913), p. 5.
- An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.
- Attributed to Simon Cameron by Allen Johnson, Chronicles of America Series, Yale University Press, 1918. (Cameron was forced to resign as United States Secretary of War in 1862, due to allegations of corruption).
- People say I steal. Well, all politicians steal. ~ Huey P. Long
- POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. ~ Ambrose Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary.
- POLITICS, n. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage. ~ Ambrose Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary.
- All power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
- Lord Acton, letter to Mandell Creighton, April 1887. Reprinted in John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, Essays on Freedom and Power, 1949, Boston:The Beacon Press, p. 364.
- A thief is more moral than a congressman; when a thief steals your money, he doesn't demand you thank him. ~ Walter Williams
- In Switzerland, 500 years of democracy and peace. And what does it produce? The cuckoo clock. ~ Graham Greene, The Third Man.
- Socialism needs democracy like the human body needs oxygen. ~ Leon Trotsky
- Democracy is more dangerous than fire. Fire can't vote itself immune to water. ~ Michael Z. Williamson
- Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.
- Gore Vidal, "Gods and Greens" (1989), in A View from the Diner's Club (1991).
- Because democracy is not a spectator sport. ~ US presidential election slogan, Democrats (2004).
- Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
- H. L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy (1949).
- The 20th century has been characterised by three developments of great political importance. The growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda against democracy.
- Alex Carey, Taking the Risk out of Democracy, 1997, University of Illinois Press, ch. 2 p. 18.
- The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it. ~ Edward Dowling, Editor and Priest, Chicago Daily News (28 July 1941).
- Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
- Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons: The Official Report, House of Commons (5th Series), 11 November 1947, vol. 444, cc. 206–07.
- Votes count, but resources decide ~ Stein Rokkan
Dictatorships, totalitarianism, and tyranny
- Politics is a form of evil. The greatest mistake of my life.
- Spanish: La política es una forma de la maldad. El mayor error que he cometido en mi vida.
- Mario Vargas Llosa
- If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator. ~ CNN.com, (December 18, 2000) George Bush
- Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.
- Winston Churchill, letter with unspecified recipient (November 11, 1937), reported in Winston Churchill, Step by Step: 1936-1939 (1939), p. 159.
- The craziest of all political systems, the unique dictatorship, found its earned end. History will note for eternity that the German people were not able on their own initiative to shake off the yoke of the National Socialists. The victory of the Americans, English and Russians was a necessary occurrence to disrupt the National Socialists' delusions and plans for world domination.
- I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this—who will count the votes, and how.
- Russian: Я считаю, что совершенно неважно, кто и как будет в партии голосовать; но вот что чрезвычайно важно, это - кто и как будет считать голоса.
- Joseph Stalin, 1923, as quoted in The Memoirs of Stalin's Former Secretary (1992) by Boris Bazhanov [Saint Petersburg] (Борис Бажанов. Воспоминания бывшего секретаря Сталина). (Text online in Russian).
- Common paraphrase: "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything".
- There is only one difference between dictatorship and democracy. In democracy, you vote and then take orders; in dictatorship you don't waste time voting. ~ Charles Bukowski
- Wherever you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship.
- President Harry S Truman, lecture at Columbia University (April 28, 1959).
- What good fortune for governments that the people do not think ~ Adolf Hitler
- Communism was a great system for making people equally poor. In fact, there was no better system in the world for that than communism. -The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman.
- "Many of our moral and political policies are designed to preempt what we know to be the worst features of human nature. The checks and balances in a democracy, for instance, were invented in explicit recognition of the fact that human leaders will always be tempted to arrogate power to themselves. Likewise, our sensitivity to racism comes from an awareness that groups of humans, left to their own devices, are apt to discriminate and oppress other groups, often in ugly ways. History also tells us that a desire to enforce dogma and suppress heretics is a recurring human weakness, one that has led to recurring waves of gruesome oppression and violence. A recognition that there is a bit of Torquemada in everyone should make us wary of any attempt to enforce a consensus or demonize those who challenge it." ~ What is Your Dangerous Idea? (2007) ed., John Brockman, "Introduction," Steven Pinker, p. xxxi.
- Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
- Reinhold Niebuhr, The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, 1944.
- Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.
- Discworld politics explained (Terry Pratchett, Mort).
- All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
- As soon as men live entirely in accord with the law of love natural to their hearts and now revealed to them, which excludes all resistance by violence, and therefore hold aloof from all participation in violence — as soon as this happens, not only will hundreds be unable to enslave millions, but not even millions will be able to enslave a single individual.
- Leo Tolstoy A Letter to a Hindu (1908), p. 20.
- Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting that vote.
- Author unknown; reported in William F. Shughart, Robert D. Tollison, Policy Challenges and Political Responses (2005), p. 130 (noting that the quote is frequently attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but is anachronistic in that it contains the phrase "to have for lunch", a usage which does not appear until the 1840s).
- Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.
- Lord Acton, "Freedom in Antiquity", in The History of Freedom and Other Essays: And Other Essays (1907), p. 22.
- To refuse political equality is to rob the ostracized of all self-respect.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, reported in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Correspondence, Writings, Speeches (1981), p. 249.
- Self government is preferable to good government.
- Author unknown; variously reported as an old maxim or slogan, as reported in East Africa and Rhodesia (1960), p. 1087, and Douglas Jay, Socialism in the New Society (1962), p. 104; and attributed to authors such as Campbell Bannerman, reported in William White, Notes and Queries (1942), p. 138; Alfred Milner, reported in Vernon McKenzie, Here Lies Goebbels! (1940), p. 184.
- They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Politics is the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant.
- Henri Queuille, The Bureaucrat (1985).
Men and women
- It will be years — not in my time — before a woman will become Prime Minister. ~ Margaret Thatcher (1974).
Politics, laws of politics
- Political technology determines political success.
- Morton C. Blackwell in Laws of Politics.
- Sound doctrine is sound politics.
- Morton C. Blackwell in Laws of Politics.
- In politics, you have your word and your friends; go back on either and you're dead.
- Morton C. Blackwell in Laws of Politics.
- In volunteer politics, a builder can build faster than a destroyer can destroy.
- Morton C. Blackwell in Laws of Politics.
- In politics, nothing moves unless it's pushed.
- Morton C. Blackwell in Laws of Politics.
- Moral outrage is the most powerful motivating force in politics.
- Morton C. Blackwell in Laws of Politics.
- Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them.
- Paul Valéry, in Tel Quel (1943).
- A disordered currency is one of the greatest political evils.
- A leader has to lead, or otherwise he has no business in politics.
- Harry Truman, reported in Merle Miller, Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman (1974), p. 422.
- We will stand by our friends and administer a stinging rebuke to men or parties who are either indifferent, negligent, or hostile, and, wherever opportunity affords, to secure the election of intelligent, honest, earnest trade unionists, with clear, unblemished, paid-up union cards in their possession.
- Samuel Gompers, "Men of Labor! Be Up and Doing" (editorial), American Federationist (May 1906).
- All growth, including political growth, is the result of risk-taking.
- Jude Wanniski in The Wall Street Journal.
- All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.
- Dr. John Arbuthnot as quoted in Hoyts New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (1922).
- All politics are based on the indifference of the majority.
- The best politics is right action.
- Conscience has no more to do with gallantry than it has with politics.
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan in The Duenna, Act ii, scene 4.
- A cult is a religion with no political power.
- The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun.
- Envy is the cause of political division.
- Everything you do is political.
- Finality is not the language of politics.
- Benjamin Disraeli, speech in the House of Commons, 28 February 1859.
- Good politics are often inextricably intertwined.
- I have no faith in political arithmetic.
- Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations.
- In politics an absurdity is not a handicap.
- The key to understanding the American system is to imagine that you have the power to make nearly any law you want. But your worst enemy will be the one to enforce it.
- The most important political office is that of private citizen.
- Louis Dembitz Brandeis American Supreme Court Justice
- No amount of political freedom will satisfy the hungry masses.
- Vladimir Lenin (1917).
- Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.
- Campaign promises are—by long democratic tradition—the least binding form of human commitment.
- Politics and Religion are obsolete. The time has come for Science and Spirituality.
- Politics is a concentric series of conspiracies in which the last party to conspire emerges victorious
- Politics is not an exact science.
- Die Politik ist keine exakte Wissenschaft.
- Otto von Bismarck, speech to Prussian upper house (18 December 1863)
- Variant: Die Politik ist keine Wissenschaft, wie viele der Herren Professoren sich einbilden, sondern eine Kunst.
- Politics is not a science, as the professors are apt to suppose. It is an art.
- Expression in the Reichstag (1884), as quoted in The Quote Verifier : Who Said What, Where, and When (2006) by Ralph Keyes.
- Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.
- Politics is the art of putting people under obligation to you.
- Jacob L. Arvey (1990?).
- Die Politik ist die Lehre vom Möglichen.
- Politics is the art of the possible.
- Otto von Bismarck, remark to Meyer von Waldeck, 11 August 1867. Quoted in Heinz Amelung, Bismarck-Worte, 1918; as reported in The Yale Book of Quotations, Yale University Press, 2006. This is widely attributed to Bismarck but there is no firsthand account of his exact words, as discussed in Ralph Keyes, The Quote Verifier, Macmillan, 2006.
- Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
- Politics is, as it were, the gizzard of society, full of grit and gravel, and the two political parties are its two opposite halves,—sometimes split into quarters, it may be, which grind on each other. Not only individuals, but States, have thus a confirmed dyspepsia, which expresses itself, you can imagine by what sort of eloquence.
- Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects.
- Politics offers yesterday's answers to today's problems.
- Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen.
- Stupidity is not a handicap in politics.
- There is only one thing more useful in politics than having the right friends, and that is having the right enemies.
- Therefore, the good of man must be the end of the science of politics.
- University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.
- We live in a world in which politics has replaced philosophy.
- What's real in politics is what the voters decide is real.
- All social cooperation on a larger scale than the most intimate social group requires a measure of coercion.
- Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study of Ethics and Politics 1932.
- Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.
- They say that politics is the second oldest profession. I find that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
- The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.
- … that is the nature of politics: poly, meaning more than one, and ticks, meaning blood-sucking parasites.
- Kinky Friedman, attributed by him to "some guy in Corpus"
- Quoted in Taylor, Michael Ray (October 11, 2007). "Poly-Ticks as Unusual". Nashville Scene. Retrieved on 2008-03-19.
- Alternative version quoted in Arrillaga, Pauline (21 October 2006). "On the Road with Texas Candidate Kinky". Associated Press (via Yahoo! News). Retrieved on 2008-03-19.
- I don't make jokes. I just watch the Government and report the facts.
- Politicians are like nappies, they should be changed regularly and for the same reason.
- What do you call a politician displaying his honesty in public? A rare work of art...
Politicians and lawyers
- The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.
- A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.
- Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.
- Politics is the entertainment industry for ugly people.
- So far as one can generalize, the most graciouis, cultivated, and innovative people in this country are French Canadians. Certainly they have given us the most exciting politicians of our time: Trudeau, Lévesque. Without them, Canada would be an exceedingly boring and greatly diminished place.
- Mordecai Richler, Reported in Donald Smith, D'une nation à l'autre: des deux solitudes à la cohabitation (Montreal: Éditions Alain Stanké, 1997), p. 61.
- They [the people] may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
- Our society is run by a managerial bureaucracy, by professional politicians; people are motivated by mass suggestion, their aim is producing more and consuming more, as purposes in themselves.
- Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving (1956}.
- We learned that Tim Geithner, Barack Obama's top economics guy, vetoed any suggestion that the Irish Government might demand that bank bondholders pay some of their own gambling debts.Some weeks later, face to face with Obama, Enda Kenny chickened out of raising that matter. Face to face with Geithner, Michael Noonan also chickened out. We learned, in short, that Irish politicians are tough when they're taking money away from blind people.
- Gene Kerrigan, "Austerity doesn't work? No problem." Sunday Independent, December 18 2011.
- The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.
- When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can’t help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.
- Thomas Sowell, "Don’t Get Weak", National Review, May 1, 2007.
- He gave it for his opinion, that whosoever could make two ears of corn or two blades of grass to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.
- Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you really want to test his character, give him power.
- In public policy, it matters less who has the best arguments and more who gets heard — and by whom.
- Ralph Reed, head of Christian Coalition, in memo to Enron executives, (2000).
- Talking to politicians is fine, but with a little money they hear you better.
- Justin Dart, chairman, Port Industries (1982).
- Politics has gotten so expensive that it takes a lot of money to even get beat with.
- Will Rogers (1931).
- There are two things you need for success in politics. Money and I can't think of the other.
- Senator Mark Hannah (R-OH), 1903.
- Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
- P. J. O'Rourke, Parliament of Whores (1991).
- All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, nor from the want of honor or virtue, so much as the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.
- History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance.
- If congress has the right under the Constitution to issue paper money, it was given them to use themselves, not to be delegated to individuals or corporations.
- The main mark of modern governments is that we do not know who governs, de facto any more than de jure. We see the politician and not his backer; still less the backer of the backer; or, what is most important of all, the banker of the backer.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.
- Throned above all, in a manner without parallel in all past, is the veiled prophet of finance, swaying all men living by a sort of magic, and delivering oracles in a language not understood of the people.
- Let me issue and control a nation's money, and I care not who writes its laws.
- Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1790).
- PRESIDENCY, n. The greased pig in the field game of American politics.
- Ambrose Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary.
Public opinion and polls
- That mysterious independent variable of political calculation, Public Opinion.
- Thomas Huxley in "Universities, Actual & Ideal".
- If we Americans are split into two meaningful camps, it is not conservative versus liberal. The two camps are the politically awake and the hypnotized.
- Doris "Granny D" Haddock
- In politics, there are things which you do but don't talk about them and things which you talk about but don't do anything.
Public safety, domestic security, and gun control
- The streets are safe in Philadelphia — it's only the people who make them unsafe.
- Frank Rizzo, ex-police chief and mayor of Philadelphia
- A great many sportsmen have urged me to support this bill. It is hard for me to understand the interest of sportsmen in pistols. I myself have fished and hunted a great deal. I have a deep interest in outdoor sports and the various associations which foster them, but it is common knowledge, of course, that fishermen never use a pistol and hunters practically never use a pistol... [even for] theoretical self-protection, the value of a revolver is very problematical.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1931, opposing the Hanley-Fake firearms bill which would have increased access to hanguns. Quoted in Gun Violence in America:The Struggle for Control, Alexander DeConde, 2003 (p.132).
- Rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon — so long as there is no answer to it — gives claws to the weak.
- By... our readiness to allow arms to be purchased at will and fired at whim; by allowing our movie and television screens to teach our children that the hero is one who masters the art of shooting and the technique of killing; by allowing all of these developments, we have created an atmosphere in which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes.
Martin Luther King, Jr., November 1963. Quoted in I have a Dream: the Life and Times of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Lenwood G. Davis, 1973. (p.266).
- No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.
- Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution (1776).
- Most gun dealers follow the law and run honest businesses. But the statistics show that 1 percent of dealers sell more than half of all illegal guns. Why isn't the federal government going after them? Here's one reason: unlike mayors, members of Congress don't get a phone call in the middle of the night when a cop is shot and killed. They don't deliver the eulogies.
"The Changing Gun Debate", Newsweek April 30, 2007.
- [The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
- James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 46.
- Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
- Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.
- The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned.
- Pennsylvania Constitution of 1790.
- To "bear arms" is, in itself, a military term. One does not bear arms against a rabbit.
Garry Wills, "To Keep and Bear Arms", The New York Review of Books", September 21, 1995.
- If there is anything a public servant hates to do it's something for the public.
- Each generation is responsible to make the future of the next.
- Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (Speech at the Capitol Visitor Center, 07.12.2008).
- They [governments] talk about the people and the proletariat, I talk about the fools and the suckers.
- Graham Greene, The Third Man.
- The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie, than to a small one.
- Reason accepts no authority above itself and is necessarily subversive.~ Allan Bloom
- A reform is a correction of abuses; a revolution is a transfer of power.
- You cannot impose ideologies on people who do not embrace it wholeheartedly.
- Peter F. Hamilton (through character Endron) in The Neutronium Alchemist.
- Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
- President John F. Kennedy
- We must reform if we would conserve.
- Reform is not for the shortwinded.
- Arthur Vanderbilt, New Jersey Supreme Court Justice (1949).
Campaign finance reform
- Today's political campaigns function as collection agencies for broadcasters. You simply transfer money from contributors to television stations.
- Senator Bill Bradley, 2000.
- We've got a real irony here. We have politicians selling access to something we all own -our government. And then we have broadcasters selling access to something we all own — our airwaves. It's a terrible system.
- Newton Minow, former Federal Communications Commission chairman (2000).
- You're more likely to see Elvis again than to see this bill pass the Senate.
- Unless we fundamentally change this system, ultimately campaign finance will consume our democracy.
- Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) (1996).
- [Buckley v. Valeo is] one of the most weakly reasoned, poorly written, initially contradictory court opinions I've ever read.
- Senator (and former federal district court judge) George J. Mitchell (D-ME) (1990).
- We don't buy votes. What we do is we buy a candidate's stance on an issue.
- Allen Pross, executive director, California Medical Association's PAC (1989).
- Political action committees and moneyed interests are setting the nation's political agenda. Are we saying that only the rich have brains in this country? Or only people who have influential friends who have money can be in the Senate?
- Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) (1988).
- The day may come when we'll reject the money of the rich as tainted, but it hadn't come when I left Tammany Hall at 11:25 today.
- George Washington Plunkett (1905).
- Who are to be the electors of the federal representatives? Not the rich, more than the poor, not the haughty heirs of distinguished names, more than the humble sons of obscure and propitious fortune.
- James Madison, Federalist 57 (1788).
Religion, separation of church and state
- Difference of religion breeds more quarrels than difference of politics.
- Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.
- The true destiny of America is religious, not political: it is spiritual, not physical.
- Alvin R. Dyer in Ensign (November 1968)
Voting and participation
- Decisions are made by those who show up.
- Have you ever seen a candidate talking to a rich person on television?
- Art Buchwald,Quotations for our Time by Laurence J. Peter (1977).
- If voting changed anything they’d abolish it.
- It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.
- Robert H. Jackson, United States Attorney General & Assoc. Justice
- The French approach election differently than the Americans... they vote.
- Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.
- Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair.
- George Burns, quoted in Antony Jay, Lend Me Your Ears: The Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations.
Oxford University Press, (p.49-50).
- Next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election.
- Voter apathy was, and will remain the greatest threat to democracy.
- Hazen Pingree, former mayor of Detroit and governor of Michigan.
- Democracy (in America) means you have to pretend to care about 51 percent of the people once in four years.
- Variously attributed
War, military, and peace
- Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.
- Mao Zedong, "On Protracted War" (May 1938)
- Every Communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.
- Mao Zedong, "The Little Red Book".
- Take the so-called politics of fear — the constant reference to risks, from hoodies on the street corner to international terrorism. Whatever the truth of these risks and the best ways of dealing with them, the politics of fear plays on an assumption that people cannot bear the uncertainties associated with them. Politics then becomes a question of who can better deliver an illusion of control.
- This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 610-13.
- All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.
- Attributed to John Arbuthnot in Life of Emerson', p. 165.
- Listen! John A. Logan is the Head Centre, the Hub, the King Pin, the Main Spring, Mogul, and Mugwump of the final plot by which partisanship was installed in the Commission.
- It is necessary that I should qualify the doctrine of its being not men, but measures, that I am determined to support. In a monarchy it is the duty of parliament to look at the men as well as at the measures.
- We are Republicans, and don't propose to leave our party and identify ourselves with the party whose antecedents have been Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion.
- You had that action and counteraction which, in the natural and in the political world, from the reciprocal struggle of discordant powers draws out the harmony of the universe.
- Of this stamp is the cant of, not men, but measures.
- Edmund Burke, Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontent. Phrase used in letter by Earl of Shelburne (July 11, 1765), before Burke's use of it.
- Protection and patriotism are reciprocal.
- Away with the cant of "Measures, not men!"—the idle supposition that it is the harness and not the horses that draw the chariot along. No Sir, if the comparison must be made, if the distinction must be taken, men are everything, measures comparatively nothing.
- George Canning, speech against the Addington Ministry (1801).
- The Duty of an Opposition is to oppose.
- Quoted by Randolph Churchill.
- One of the greatest of Romans, when asked what were his politics, replied, "Imperium et libertas." That would not make a bad programme for a British Ministry.
- Randolph Churchill, speech, Mansion House, London (Nov. 10, 1879).
- Here the two great interests IMPERIUM ET LIBERTAS, res olim insociabiles (saith Tacitus), began to incounter each other.
- Sir Winston Churchill, Divi Britannici, p. 849. (1675).
- Nam ego in ista sum sententia, qua te fuisse semper scio, nihil ut feurit in suffragiis voce melius.
I am of the opinion which you have always held, that "viva voce" voting at elections is the best method.
- It is a condition which confronts us—not a theory.
- Grover Cleveland, Annual Message (1887).
- Party honesty is party expediency.
- Grover Cleveland, interview in New York Commercial Advertiser (Sept. 19, 1889).
- Laissez faire, laissez passer.
Let it alone. Let it pass by.
- Free trade is not a principle, it is an expedient.
- Benjamin Disraeli, On Import Duties (April 25, 1843).
- The Right Honorable gentleman [Sir Robert Peel] caught the Whigs bathing and walked away with their clothes.
- Benjamin Disraeli, House of Commons (Feb. 28, 1845).
- Party is organized opinion.
- Benjamin Disraeli, speech at Oxford (Nov. 25, 1864).
- Information upon points of practical politics.
- Benjamin Disraeli, Vivian Gray, Chapter XIV. Given by Walsh as first appearance of the phrase "practical politics".
- All the ten-to-oners were in the rear, and a dark horse, which had never been thought of, and which the careless St. James had never even observed in the list, rushed past the grand stand in sweeping triumph.
- Benjamin Disraeli, The Young Duke, Book II, Chapter V.
- Damned Neuters, in their Middle way of Steering,
Are neither Fish, nor Flesh, nor good Red Herring.
- John Dryden, Duke of Guise, Epilogue. Phrase used by Dr. Smith. Ballet, Chapter IX. In Musarum Deliciæ.
- What is a Communist? One who has yearnings
For equal division of unequal earnings.
- Ebenezer Elliot, Epigrams.
- All political power is a trust.
- Charles James Fox (1788).
- Oh! we'll give 'em Jessie
When we rally round the polls.
- Popular song of Fremont's Supporters in the Presidential Campaign of 1856.
- I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
- W. S. Gilbert, H. M. S. Pinafore.
- Measures, not men, have always been my mark.
- Oliver Goldsmith, Good-Natured Man, Act II.
- Who, born for the universe, narrow'd his mind,
And to party gave up what was meant for mankind.
- Oliver Goldsmith, Retaliation (1774), line 31.
- Who will burden himself with your liturgical parterre when the burning questions [brennende Fragen] of the day invite to very different toils?
- Hagenbach, Grundlinien der Liturgik und Homiletik (1803). "Burning question" used by Edward Miall, M.P., also by Disraeli in the House of Commons (March, 1873).
- He serves his party best who serves the country best.
- Rutherford B. Hayes, Inaugural Address (March 5, 1877).
- The freeman casting, with unpurchased hand,
The vote that shakes the turrets of the land.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Poetry, A Metrical Essay, line 83.
- Non ego ventosæ plebis suffragia venor.
I court not the votes of the fickle mob.
- Horace, Epistles I. 19. 37.
- Like an armed warrior, like a plumed knight, James G. Blaine marched down the halls of the American Congress and threw his shining lance full and fair against the brazen foreheads of the defamers of his country, and the maligners of his honor.
- Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.
- If a due participation of office is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be obtained? Those by death are few; by resignation, none.
- Usually quoted, "Few die and none resign." Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elias Shipman and Merchants of New Haven (July 12, 1801).
- Of the various executive abilities, no one excited more anxious concern than that of placing the interests of our fellow-citizens in the hands of honest men, with understanding sufficient for their stations. No duty is at the same time more difficult to fulfil. The knowledge of character possessed by a single individual is of necessity limited. To seek out the best through the whole Union, we must resort to the information which from the best of men, acting disinterestedly and with the purest motives, is sometimes incorrect.
- I have always said the first Whig was the Devil.
- Skilled to pull wires he baffles nature's hope, who sure intended him to stretch a rope.
- Free trade, one of the greatest blessings which a government can confer on a people, is in almost every country unpopular.
- Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, on Mitford's History of Greece.
- Factions among yourselves; preferring such
To offices and honors, as ne'er read
The elements of saving policy;
But deeply skilled in all the principles
That usher to destruction.
- Philip Massinger, The Bondman, Act I, scene 3, line 210.
- Agitate, agitate, agitate.
- Lord Melbourne. In Torrens, Life of Lord Melbourne, Volume I, p. 320, and in Walpole's History of England from Conclusion of the Great War, Volume III, p. 143.
- Every time I fill a vacant office I make ten malcontents and one ingrate.
- Those who would treat politics and morality apart will never understand the one or the other.
- John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn, Rousseau, p. 380.
- Car c'est en famille, ce n'est pas en public, qu'un lave son linge sale.
- But it is at home and not in public that one should wash ones dirty linen.
- Napoleon I of France, on his return from Elba, speech to the Legislative Assembly.
- Better a hundred times an honest and capable administration of an erroneous policy than a corrupt and incapable administration of a good one.
- E. J. Phelps, at a dinner of the New York Chamber of Commerce (Nov. 19, 1889).
- The White Plume of Navarre.
- Name given to New York Tribune during the Civil War. See Wendell Phillips, Under the Flag (Boston, April 21, 1861).
- A weapon that comes down as still
As snowflakes fall upon the sod;
But executes a freeman's will,
As lightning does the will of God;
And from its force, nor doors nor locks
Can shield you; 'tis the ballot-box.
- John Pierpont, A Word from a Petitioner.
- A weapon that comes down as still
- Party-spirit, which at best is but the madness of many, for the gain of a few.
- Alexander Pope, letter to Blount (Aug. 27, 1714).
- Old politicians chew on wisdom past,
And totter on in business to the last.
- Alexander Pope, Moral Essays (1731-35), Epistle I, line 228.
- Party is the madness of many for the gain of a few.
- A mugwump is a person educated beyond his intellect.
- Horace Porter, A Bon-Mot in Cleveland Blaine Campaign, (1884).
- Abstain from beans.
- Pythagoras. Advice against political voting, which was done by means of beans. See Lucian Gallus, IV. 5. Vitarum Auctio. Sect. 6. The superstition against beans was prevalent in Egypt however. See Herodotus, II. 37, also Sextus Empiricus. Explanations to abstain from beans from lost treatise of Aristotle in Diog. Laertes, VIII. 34. Beans had an oligarchical character on account of their use in voting. Plutarch gives a similar explanation in De Educat, Chapter XVII. Caution against entering public life, for the votes by which magistrates were elected were originally given by beans. Pythagoras referred to by Jeremy Taylor—Holy Living. Section IV, p. 80.
- I will drive a coach and six through the Act of Settlement.
- Stephen Rice, quoted by Macaulay, History of England, Chapter XII. Familiarly known as "Drive a coach and six through an Act of Parliament".
- There is a homely old adage which runs: "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." If the American nation will speak softly and yet build and keep at a pitch of the highest training a thoroughly efficient navy, the Monroe Doctrine will go far.
- Theodore Roosevelt, address at Minnesota State Fair (September 2, 1901).
- The first advice I have to give the party is that it should clean its slate.
- Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery , speech at Chesterfield (December 16, 1901).
- Get thee glass eyes;
And, like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not.
- O, that estates, degrees, and offices
Were not deriv'd corruptly, and that clear honour
Were purchased by the merit of the wearer!
- Persuade me not; I will make a Star-chamber matter of it.
- When I first came into Parliament, Mr. Tierney, a great Whig authority, used always to say that the duty of an Opposition was very simple—it was to oppose everything and propose nothing.
- Lord Stanley, debate (June 4, 1841). See Hansard's Parliamentary Debates.
- Who is the dark horse he has in his stable?
- William Makepeace Thackeray, Adventures of Philip.
- As long as I count the votes what are you going to do about it? Say.
- William M. Tweed, on the Ballot (1871).
- Defence, not defiance.
- Motto adopted by the "Volunteers," when there was fear of an invasion of England by Napoleon (1859).
- The king [Frederick] has sent me some of his dirty linen to wash; I will wash yours another time.
- Voltaire, reply to General Manstein, CXI.
- The gratitude of place expectants is a lively sense of future favours.
- I am not a politician, and my other habits air good.
- Artemus Ward, Fourth of July Oration.
- Politics I conceive to be nothing more than the science of the ordered progress of society along the lines of greatest usefulness and convenience to itself.
- Tippecanoe and Tyler too.
- Political slogan, attributed to Orson E. Woodbury. (1840).
The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)
- Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 196-198.
- It cannot but occur to every person's observation, that as long as parties exist in the country (and perhaps it is for the good of the country that parties should exist to a certain degree, because they keep ministers on their guard in their conduct), they will have their friends and adherents. A great political character, who held a high situation in this country some years ago, but who is now dead, used to say that ministers were the better for being now and then a little peppered and salted. And while these parties exist, they will have their friendships and attainments, which will sometimes dispose them to wander from argument to declamation.
- Lord Kenyon, Holt's Case (1793), 22 How. St. Tr. 1234.
- The learned counsel has very properly avoided all political discussions unconnected with the subject, and I shall follow his example. Courts of justice have nothing to do with them.
- Kenyon, L.C.J., Trial of John Vint and others (1799), 27 How. St. Tr. 640.
- There may be cases in which there is so much of difficulty in knowing where the law stands that we take time to consider, and sometimes doubt much and sometimes differ among ourselves. But I believe every one of the Judges acts upon the principle that he is before man and God in the discharge of his duty, and acts upon his solemn oath, and declares tbe law not according to any political fancy, or for [the purposes of serving one party or serving another, but according to the pure conviction of his own mind without looking to any party.
- Bayley, J., Case of Edmonds and others (1821), 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 899.
- The Constitution does not allow reasons of State to influence our judgments: God forbid it should! We must not regard political consequences, how formidable soever they might be: if rebellion was the certain consequence, we are bound to say, "Fiat justitia mat caelum." The Constitution trusts the King with reasons of State and policy; he may stop prosecutions,1 he may pardon offences2; it is his, to judgewhetherthelaworthecriminalshould yield. We have no election.
- Lord Mansfield, Case of John Wilkes (1770), 19 How. St. Tr. 1112.
- Political arguments, in the fullest sense of the word, as they concern the government of a nation, must be, and always have been, of great weight in the consideration of the Court.
- Lord Hardwicke, The Earl of Chesterfield v. Janssen (1750), 1 Atk. 352; id. 2 Ves. Sen. 153.
- I am in too high a situation to fear any man or class of men. I thank God I am in a position which puts me above politics.
- Earl of Clonwell, Case of Glennan and others (1796), 26 How. St. Tr. 459.
- One cannot look too closely at and weigh in too golden scales the acts of men hot in their political excitement.
- Hawkins, J., Ex parte Castioni (1890), 60 L. J. Rep. (N. S.) Mag. Cas. 33.
- Men argue differently, from natural phenomena and political appearances: they have different capacities, different degrees of knowledge, and different intelligence. But the means of information and judging are open to both: each professes to act from his own skill and sagacity; and, therefore, neither needs to communicate to the other.
- Lord Mansfield, Carter v. Boehm (1765), 3 Burr. 1905.
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