February 16

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Quotes of the day from previous years:

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance. ~ e. e. cummings
A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. ~ Henry Adams (born 16 February 1838)
Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds. ~ Henry Adams (born 16 February 1838)
The counsels of impatience and hatred can always be supported by the crudest and cheapest symbols; for the counsels of moderation, the reasons are often intricate, rather than emotional, and difficult to explain. And so the chauvinists of all times and places go their appointed way: plucking the easy fruits, reaping the little triumphs of the day at the expense of someone else tomorrow, deluging in noise and filth anyone who gets in their way, dancing their reckless dance on the prospects for human progress, drawing the shadow of a great doubt over the validity of democratic institutions. And until people learn to spot the fanning of mass emotions and the sowing of bitterness, suspicion, and intolerance as crimes in themselves — as perhaps the greatest disservice that can be done to the cause of popular government — this sort of thing will continue to occur. ~ George F. Kennan
Public opinion, or what passes for public opinion, is not invariably a moderating force in the jungle of politics. It may be true, and I suspect it is, that the mass of people everywhere are normally peace-loving and would accept many restraints and sacrifices in preference to the monstrous calamities of war. But I also suspect that what purports to be public opinion in most countries that consider themselves to have popular government is often not really the consensus of the feelings of the mass of the people at all, but rather the expression of the interests of special highly vocal minorities — politicians, commentators, and publicity-seekers of all sorts: people who live by their ability to draw attention to themselves and die, like fish out of water, if they are compelled to remain silent. ~ George F. Kennan
All experience is an arch, to build upon. ~ Henry Brooks Adams
What one knows is, in youth, of little moment; they know enough who know how to learn. ~ Henry Adams
Knowledge of human nature is the beginning and end of political education. ~ Henry Adams
Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces. ~ Henry Adams
No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.
~ Henry Adams ~
The difference is slight, to the influence of an author, whether he is read by five hundred readers, or by five hundred thousand; if he can select the five hundred, he reaches the five hundred thousand.
~ Henry Adams ~
In essence, religion was love; in no case was it logic. Reason can reach nothing except through the senses; God, by essence, cannot be reached through the senses; if he is to be known at all, he must be known by contact of spirit with spirit, essence with essence; directly; by emotion; by ecstasy; by absorption of our existence with his; by substitution of his spirit for ours.
~ Henry Adams ~
I know of nothing useful in life except what is beautiful or creates beauty.
~ Henry Adams ~
Whenever you have a possibility of going in two ways, either for peace or for war, for peaceful methods of for military methods, in the present age there is a strong prejudice for the peaceful ones. War seldom ever leads to good results.
~ George F. Kennan ~
What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight — it's the size of the fight in the dog.
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower ~
Boys never see a conclusion; only on the edge of the grave can man conclude anything; but the first impulse given to the boy is apt to lead or drive him for the rest of his life into conclusion after conclusion that he never dreamed of reaching.
~ Henry Adams ~
No man likes to have his intelligence or good faith questioned, especially if he has doubts about it himself.
~ Henry Adams ~
Modern politics is, at bottom, a struggle not of men but of forces. The men become every year more and more creatures of force, massed about central power-houses. The conflict is no longer between the men, but between the motors that drive the men, and the men tend to succumb to their own motive forces.
~ Henry Adams ~
I don't have any answers. Use your common sense. Be nice. This is the best I can do. All the trouble in the world is human trouble. Well, that's not true. But when cancer cells run amok and burst out of the prostate and take over the liver and lymph glands and end up killing everything in the body including themselves, they certainly are acting like some humans we know.
~ P. J. O'Rourke ~
  • proposed by Kalki, in regard of his recent death.
A lot of times I would play a lot of roles a man would play…In One Million Years B.C. — yes, the costume was revealing. But I was outdoors all the time, I was fighting to survive, there was a girlfight. I was participating, it was physical, and I was independent. I wasn’t that pushover kind of a girl. And I think that left an impression.
~ Raquel Welch ~
  • proposed by Kalki; in regard of her recent death.
Religious art is the measure of human depth and sincerity; any triviality, any weakness, cries aloud.
~ Henry Adams ~
Rank or add further suggestions…

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4 : Excellent – should definitely be used. (This is the utmost ranking and should be used by any editor for only one quote at a time for each date.)
3 : Very Good – strong desire to see it used.
2 : Good – some desire to see it used.
1 : Acceptable – but with no particular desire to see it used.
0 : Not acceptable – not appropriate for use as a quote of the day.
An averaging of the rankings provided to each suggestion produces it’s general ranking in considerations for selection of Quote of the Day. The selections made are usually chosen from the top ranked options existing on the page, but the provision of highly ranked late additions, especially in regard to special events (most commonly in regard to the deaths of famous people, or other major social or physical occurrences), always remain an option for final selections.
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Condemn me, it does not matter: history will absolve me. ~ Fidel Castro proclaimed Prime Minister of Cuba 16 February 1959.

  • 4 if only because there is a dearth of entries relating to people who were born or died on this date. Fys. “Ta fys aym”. 00:58, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  • 0 ♌︎Kalki ⚓︎ 17:51, 14 February 2012 (UTC) 1 Kalki 19:50, 15 February 2009 (UTC) * 2 Kalki 20:24, 15 February 2007 (UTC)Though I might rank this a 3 or more on a date with a more notable linkage. I generally prefer to do birthdays and highly notable anniversaries when possible, and am disinclined to use death dates save where birthdates are unknown, and minor linkages only when no great quotes can be found with stronger ones. I also think this would be a good quote to use whenever he actually does die, which is probably something that isn't all that far away. I do not believe it sufficiently appropriate at all for a QOTD on this particular date, as of 2012·02·14.
  • 2 InvisibleSun 22:21, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  • 4 because this is another of my strong beliefs. History finds ways to absolve. This is another of my favorites and I wish I had brought it up myself. Also, it should be moved to Castro's birth or death date instead. Zarbon 22:24, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

There is a real question as to whether "bigness" in a body politic is not an evil in itself, quite aside from the policies pursued in its name. ~ George F. Kennan

  • 3 Kalki 20:24, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  • 3 InvisibleSun 22:21, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 22:24, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

I certainly have enough self-confidence...I told myself that I shall either be a general at thirty, or that I shall not be alive by then. ~ Mikhail Tukhachevsky

  • 3 because the strong hint of do or die trying lives inside this quote. Zarbon 02:52, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 23:05, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Practical politics consists in ignoring facts. ~ Henry Adams

Power when wielded by abnormal energy is the most serious of facts.
~ Henry Adams ~

True ignorance approaches the infinite more nearly than any amount of knowledge can do, and, in our case, ignorance is fortified by a certain element of nineteenth-century indifference which refuses to be interested in what it cannot understand; a violent reaction from the thirteenth century which cared little to comprehend anything except the incomprehensible.
~ Henry Adams ~

In every age man has been apt to dream uneasily, rolling from side to side, beating against imaginary bars, unless tired out he has sunk into indifference or scepticism. Religious minds prefer scepticism. The true saint is a profound sceptic; a total disbeliever in human reason, who has more than once joined hands on this ground with some who were at best sinners.
~ Henry Adams ~

Truth, indeed, may not exist; science avers it to be only a relation; but what men took for truth stares one everywhere in the eye and begs for sympathy.
~ Henry Adams ~

Theist or atheist, monist or anarchist must all admit that society and science are equally interested with theology in deciding whether the Universe is one or many, a harmony or a discord. The Church and State asserted that it was a harmony, and that they were its representatives. They say so still. Their claim led to singular but unavoidable conclusions, with which society has struggled for seven hundred years, and is still struggling.
~ Henry Adams ~

The audacity of the man would have seemed sublime if she had felt sure that he knew the difference between good and evil, between a lie and the truth; but the more she saw of him, the surer she was that his courage was mere moral paralysis, and that he talked about virtue and vice as a man who is colour-blind talks about red and green; he did not see them as she saw them; if left to choose for himself he would have nothing to guide him. Was it politics that had caused this atrophy of the moral senses by disuse? Meanwhile, here she sat face to face with a moral lunatic.
~ Henry Adams ~

No representative government can long be much better or much worse than the society it represents. Purify society and you purify the government. But try to purify the government artificially and you only aggravate failure.
~ Henry Adams ~

How can we all be right? Half of our wise men declare that the world is going straight to perdition; the other half that it is fast becoming perfect. Both cannot be right.
~ Henry Adams ~