- A little more matriarchy is what the world needs, and I know it. Period. Paragraph.
- Age is not measured by years. Nature does not equally distribute energy. Some people are born old and tired while others are going strong at seventy.
- As far as I can see, I was really put out of Germany for the crime of blasphemy. My offense was to think that Hitler was just an ordinary man, after all. That is a crime in the reigning cult in Germany, which says Mr. Hitler is a Messiah sent by God to save the German people— an old Jewish idea. To question this mystic mission is so heinous that, if you are a German, you can be sent to jail. I, fortunately, am an American, so I was merely sent to Paris. Worse things can happen. (1934)
- Can one preach at home inequality of races and nations and advocate abroad good-will towards all men?
- Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.
- Disillusion comes only to the illusioned. One cannot be disillusioned of what one never put faith in.
- Fear grows in darkness; if you think there's a bogeyman around, turn on the light.
- I know now that there are things for which I am prepared to die. I am willing to die for political freedom; for the right to give my loyalty to ideals above a nation and above a class; for the right to teach my child what I think to be the truth; for the right to explore such knowledge as my brains can penetrate; for the right to love where my mind and heart admire, without reference to some dictator's code to tell me what the national canons on the matter are; for the right to work with others of like mind; for a society that seems to me becoming to the dignity of the human race. (1937)
- "Inventive man" has invented nothing— nothing "from scratch." If he has produced a machine that in motion overcomes the law of gravity, he learned the essentials from the observation of birds.
- It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives.
- No people ever recognize their dictator in advance. He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument [of] the Incorporated National Will. ...When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American. And nobody will ever say Heil to him, nor will they call him Führer or Duce. But they will greet him with one great big, universal, democratic, sheeplike bleat of O.K., Chief! Fix it like you wanna, Chief! Oh Kaaaay! (1935)
- Of all forms of government and society, those of free men and women are in many respects the most brittle. They give the fullest freedom for activities of private persons and groups who often identify their own interests, essentially selfish, with the general welfare.
- Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.
- Peace has to be created, in order to be maintained. It is the product of Faith, Strength, Energy, Will, Sympathy, Justice, Imagination, and the triumph of principle. It will never be achieved by passivity and quietism.
- Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict— alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.
- People have confidence in women to get them out of trouble.
- The instinct to worship is hardly less strong than the instinct to eat.
- The kind of intelligence a genius has is a different sort of intelligence. The thinking of a genius does not proceed logically. It leaps with great ellipses. It pulls knowledge from God knows where.
- The most destructive element in the human mind is fear. Fear creates aggressiveness.
- The only force that can overcome an idea and a faith is another and better idea and faith, positively and fearlessly upheld.
- There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth, the persistent refusal to analyze the causes of happenings.
- They have not wanted Peace at all; they have wanted to be spared war— as though the absence of war was the same as peace.
- Well, it is our fate to live in a time of crisis. To live in a time when all forms and values are being challenged. In other and more easy times, it was not, perhaps, necessary for the individual to confront himself with a clear question: What is it that you really believe? What is it that you really cherish? What is it for which you might, actually, in a showdown, be willing to die? . . . I say, with all the reticence which such large, pathetic words evoke, that one cannot exist today as a person— one cannot exist in full consciousness— without having to have a showdown with one's self, without having to define what it is that one lives by, without being clear in one's mind what matters and what does not matter. (1939)
- When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered.