I’ve always believed that some of the best truisms are the pithy one-line or two line quotations by the famous and not so famous. Here are some.
1. “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” (George Orwell)
2. “If your heart is in the right place and you have good taste, not only will you pass muster in politics, you are destined for it. If you are modest and do not lust after power you belong there.
“The world we live in is made of an immensely complex and mysterious tissue about which we know very little and which we must treat with an utmost humility.
“Through intrigue one may easily become Prime Minister, but that will be the extent of one’s success; one can hardly improve the world that way.” (Vaclev Havel).
3. “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding about others.” (Jung)
4. “First they came for the Jews but I did no speak out because I was not a Jew
“Then they came for the the Communists but I did no speak out because I was not a Communist
“Then they came for the Trade Unionists but I did no speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist
“And then they came for me but there was no one left to speak out for me.” (Pastor Niemoller victim of the Nazis)
5. Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship…….the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. (Albert Göering Nuremburg war trials)
6. Most nights are slow in the politics business, but every once in a while you get a fast one, a blast of wild treachery and weirdness that not even the hard boys can handle. (Hunter S Thompson)
7. “One has a moral obligation to disobey unjust laws.” (MLK)
8. “I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion that you are pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life, that’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what pro-life is.” (Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine Nun, author, speaker)
9. “You take the Red Pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes (the Matrix). The problem is most of our politicians have swallowed the red pill” (unascribed)
10. “The biggest single tool of oppression is ignorance” (unascribed)
11. “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (attributed to Voltaire, but he never spoke or wrote those exact words)
12. “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime” (Balzac). Note that the real and original quotation was “Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu’il a été proprement fait.”
13. “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”
(Aung San Suu Kyi,
14. “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.” (Karl Marx)
15. “Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable” (Franz Kafka)
16. “The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing” (Socrates)