Tag Archives: Quotes

Democrats, Republicans, and Chickweed

”The Democrats are the party of government activism, the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, taller, and get the chickweed out of your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then get elected and prove it.”

—P.J. O’Rourke

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BOGUS George Washington Quote used to support gun ownership and wariness of government

Note / 2015.08.19: Over time I have received any number of comments about the need to be suspect of government, etc. While that may be true, and while the bogus quote attributed to George Washington supports the ‘never trust government’ mindset: the bogus quote in the meme is not what George Washington said.


Bogus quote.

George Washington

This quote implies that A) Washington was talking about individuals being armed, and B) that they were to be wary of their own government.

Washington did not make the above bogus quote.

Supposedly Washington gave this bogus quote in his first address to Congress — Washington’s speech is readily available for reading. No such quote or similar quote exists. However, in addressing Congress, Washington asked for the native manufacturing of arms and relevant materials (“manufactories”). See his full quote below.

What Washington really said:

“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”

— First Annual Address, to both House of Congress, January 8th, 1790.

Kudos to my FB friend Bob Morehead for catching the misquote and doing the factcheck.


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Alexis de Tocqueville Quotes – How many still apply to ‘America 2012’?

Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville, or known to most Americans as just Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote Democracy in America (1835) after his travels in the United States.

de Tocqueville saw democracy as an equation that balanced liberty and equality, concern for the individual as well as the community.

How many of the quotes below from de Tocqueville’s early 1830’s observations about America and Americans still represent our country today?

“The whole life of an American is passed like a game of chance, a revolutionary crisis, or a battle.”

“What is most important for democracy is not that great fortunes should not exist, but that great fortunes should not remain in the same hands. In that way there are rich men, but they do not form a class.”

“No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.”

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

“As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?”

“The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.”

“The debates of that great assembly are frequently vague and perplexed, seeming to be dragged rather than to march, to the intended goal. Something of this sort must, I think, always happen in public democratic assemblies.”

“The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colours breaking through.”

“The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”

“There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.”

“The main business of religions is to purify, control, and restrain that excessive and exclusive taste for well-being which men acquire in times of equality.”

“There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one.”

“There is hardly a pioneer’s hut which does not contain a few odd volumes of Shakespeare. I remember reading the feudal drama of Henry V for the first time in a log cabin.”

“I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.”

“A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.”

“Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”

“I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.”

“In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.”

“In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.”

“In politics shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendships.”

You can download Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America from Google Books for free.

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Ronald Reagan and dodgy quotes

Each day a variety of Quotes of the Day arrive in my emailbox.

Am not so sure that much thought is given to some of these quotes. Or perhaps what seemed like a great quote once upon a time has now become tarnished with written history.

Today’s Quote of the Day:

To those who say we can’t cut spending, lower taxes and, yes, rebuild the defenses we need in this dangerous world, I have a six-word answer: “Yes we can, and yes we must.”

— Ronald Reagan, June 25th, 1981

No, no he didn’t and no we didn’t.

Yes, we did rebuild our defenses. Yes, ‘lower taxes’ happened. However it is most unfortunate that the ‘cut spending’  part never came about.

Yes, we cut social spending. And it was the Reagan Administration that proposed declaring ketchup a vegetable in school lunches long before the Obama Administration tried to declare pizza a vegetable — personally I think pizza as a vegetable is my kind of vegetable.

Defense spending of the 1980s knew no limits. And we did nothing to pay for it. By 1984 and early 1985 so many Republicans were alarmed that they tried to box Reagan in on the 1985 and 1986 budgets. Instead they bought the promise of trust me, it will all work out. (Reagan later said that he regretted all the red ink in his authorized biography by Lou Cannon).

The theory was that if we cut taxes and the economy grew then magic would happen: so much money would come in via taxes on the new economic growth that balance would be achieved. George H. Bush called this voodoo economics back in 1980 when campaigning against Reagan.  Yet, Bush, when faced with his own balancing act, chose to raise taxes — and paid for it because in a moment of insanity had declared ‘Read my lips: no new taxes’ which he was punished for.

Anway, the grand Reagan/Laffer curve didn’t work out as predicted and Reagan gave us the basis for our national debt today, leaving office with $2.7 trillion in red ink — even though he blasted Carter for leaving us barely $300 billion in debt, which Reagan claimed he will pay off completely by 1983. Oh, well.

It was not my intent to get off on a tangent about Reagan. I like Reagan. I was a 1980 Reagan campaign staffer and he will always be Saint Ronnie to me. I love the Gipper. It is just that Reagan was human and whomever is editor of these Quotes of the Day should either read them before posting or … anyway, oh, well. Whatever.

BTW – Many conservatives hate Reagan’s biography. Seems that having warts and being human is not what we want to know about Reagan. Reagan himself, and his wife Nancy Reagan, however seem to have had no problem with the biography. One of Reagan’s strengths was pragmatism and being a realist about most things.


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Zen – When is the regulation of truth misplaced?

“There is a huge difference between journalism and advertising. Journalism aspires to truth. Advertising is regulated for truth. I’ll put the accuracy of the average ad in this country up against the average news story any time.”

– Jef Richards

More Jef Richards Quotes  – Advertising Guru

Thanks to Shane Brooks for bringing this quote to my attention. Shane always finds the goodies.

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The Wit and Wisdom of Bertrand Russell

“All movements go too far. ”

“Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who’ll get the blame.”

“A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it.”

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.”

“Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.”

“Boredom is… a vital problem for the moralist, since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.”

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”

“It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.”

“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.”

“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.”

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

From Wikipedia:

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970), was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic.

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Political Quotes that make me crazy.

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
–Abraham Lincoln

So how does that work? Who gets to decide who is the perverter and who is the patriot? Who and how and when will we know? I’m pretty sure than an open, fair election could settle this.

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then.”
— Thomas Jefferson

So if resistance to government is valuable yet violently wrong, and God save us should a wrong-headed rebellion occur, should we just laugh it off or consider that by encouraging continuous resistance as a way of life is itself a perversion of the U.S. Constitution? Dear TJ, you are one of my heroes but this wishy-washyness about recurring rebellion being good is a bit  … let me think about it.

“Laws just or unjust may govern men’s actions. Tyrannies may restrain or regulate their words. The machinery of propaganda may pack their minds with falsehood and deny them truth for many generations of time. But the soul of man thus held in trance or frozen in a long night can be awakened by a spark coming from God knows where and in a moment the whole structure of lies and oppression is on trial for its life.”
— Sir Winston Churchill

So you meant to say ‘Stuff happens’ at the most unexpected moments? This is one of those rousing calls for eternal hope that sounds great … but only when it comes to rallying folks to your side. Sir Churchhill was one of the (mostly) good guys, although he had another side, too:

“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

… and Churchhill once also said:

“There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.”

“Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind…War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.” – John F. Kennedy

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