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 ~
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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.
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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 ~

Religious art is the measure of human depth and sincerity; any triviality, any weakness, cries aloud.
~ 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 ~