A bevy of quotes!

Working on cataloging some quotes for the Quotes files for my Zen fortune cookie program, and I figured I’d post a few of them here:

I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on man unless they act. ~G.K. Chesterton


The free man is he who does not fear to go to the end of his thought. – Leon Blum


Truth often suffers more from the heat of its defenders than from the arguments of its opposers. — William Penn


Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six. — Leo Tolstoy


We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the same sense and to the same extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart. – H. L. Mencken


I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. — Stephen Roberts


Confusing monogamy with morality has done more to destroy the conscience of the human race than any other error. — George Bernard Shaw


True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubts often, and changes his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubts not; he knows all things but his own ignorance. – Akhenaton


There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped or turned back, for their private benefit. –Robert Heinlein


To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead. — Bertrand Russell

24 thoughts on “A bevy of quotes!

  1. Who is Stephen Roberts, I wonder. Love the quote. And I wouldn’t mind having this one on a tshirt. *laugh* “Confusing monogamy with morality has done more to destroy the conscience of the human race than any other error. — George Bernard Shaw”

  2. Who is Stephen Roberts, I wonder. Love the quote. And I wouldn’t mind having this one on a tshirt. *laugh* “Confusing monogamy with morality has done more to destroy the conscience of the human race than any other error. — George Bernard Shaw”

  3. Heinlein rules

    Heinlein rules. BTW, if you really want some good quotes, take a look at the quotes of Lazarus Long…

    If I may offer a quote: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.” — (possibly?) Prof. Alexander Tytler

    …welcome to government of the ARP

  4. Heinlein rules

    Heinlein rules. BTW, if you really want some good quotes, take a look at the quotes of Lazarus Long…

    If I may offer a quote: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.” — (possibly?) Prof. Alexander Tytler

    …welcome to government of the ARP

  5. Stephen Roberts is a genius. I’ll have to research him.

    I’ve been familiar with Mencken for some time – all these are his quotes:

    * Generalizations, indeed, all have their limits – even this one.
    * Truth would quickly cease to become stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.
    * Firmness in decision is often merely a form of stupidity. It indicates an inability to think the same thing out twice.
    * …there is always a well-known solution to every human problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.
    * No article of faith is proof against the disintegrating effects of increasing information; one might almost describe the acquirement of knowledge as a process of disillusion.
    * …even stupidity, it must be plain, has its uses in the world, and some of them are uses that intelligence cannot meet. One would not tell off a Galileo or a Pasteur to drive an ash-cart, or an Ignatius Loyola to be a stockbroker, or a Brahms to lead the orchestra in a Broadway cabaret. By the same token, one would not ask a Herbert Spencer or a Duns Scotus to instruct sucklings. Such men would not only be wasted at the job; they would also be incompetent.
    * Complaints, naturally, are far more numerous than compliments; it is only indignation that can induce the average man to brave the ardors of pen and ink.
    * Government under democracy is thus government by orgy, almost by orgasm.
    * So long as theologians keep within their proper bounds, science has no quarrel with them, for it is no more able to prove that they are wrong then they themselves are able to prove that they are right. But human experience shows that they never keep within their proper bounds voluntarily; they are always bulging over the line, and making a great uproar over things that they know nothing about.
    * One seldom discovers a true believer that is worth knowing.
    * A man who is an agnostic by inheritance, so that he doesn’t remember any time that he wasn’t, has almost no hatred for the religious.
    * If x is the population of the United States and y is the degree of imbecility of the average American, then democracy is the theory that x times y is less than y.
    * Philosophy consists very largely of one philosopher arguing that all other philosophers are jackasses. He usually proves it, and I should add that he also usually proves that he is one himself.
    * In the long run, perhaps, we’ll reach a point in human progress where denying the truth will be a crime, and not only a crime but a dishonorable act.
    * To wage a war for a purely moral reason is as absurd as to ravish a woman for a purely moral reason.
    * Science, at bottom, is really anti-intellectual. It always distrusts pure reason, and demands the production of objective fact.
    * No man who believes in apocalypses can possibly bring himself to laugh.
    * The intellectual heritage of the race belongs to the minority, and to the minority only. The majority has no more to do with it than it has to do with the ecclesiastical politics on Mars.

    – ZM

  6. Stephen Roberts is a genius. I’ll have to research him.

    I’ve been familiar with Mencken for some time – all these are his quotes:

    * Generalizations, indeed, all have their limits – even this one.
    * Truth would quickly cease to become stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.
    * Firmness in decision is often merely a form of stupidity. It indicates an inability to think the same thing out twice.
    * …there is always a well-known solution to every human problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.
    * No article of faith is proof against the disintegrating effects of increasing information; one might almost describe the acquirement of knowledge as a process of disillusion.
    * …even stupidity, it must be plain, has its uses in the world, and some of them are uses that intelligence cannot meet. One would not tell off a Galileo or a Pasteur to drive an ash-cart, or an Ignatius Loyola to be a stockbroker, or a Brahms to lead the orchestra in a Broadway cabaret. By the same token, one would not ask a Herbert Spencer or a Duns Scotus to instruct sucklings. Such men would not only be wasted at the job; they would also be incompetent.
    * Complaints, naturally, are far more numerous than compliments; it is only indignation that can induce the average man to brave the ardors of pen and ink.
    * Government under democracy is thus government by orgy, almost by orgasm.
    * So long as theologians keep within their proper bounds, science has no quarrel with them, for it is no more able to prove that they are wrong then they themselves are able to prove that they are right. But human experience shows that they never keep within their proper bounds voluntarily; they are always bulging over the line, and making a great uproar over things that they know nothing about.
    * One seldom discovers a true believer that is worth knowing.
    * A man who is an agnostic by inheritance, so that he doesn’t remember any time that he wasn’t, has almost no hatred for the religious.
    * If x is the population of the United States and y is the degree of imbecility of the average American, then democracy is the theory that x times y is less than y.
    * Philosophy consists very largely of one philosopher arguing that all other philosophers are jackasses. He usually proves it, and I should add that he also usually proves that he is one himself.
    * In the long run, perhaps, we’ll reach a point in human progress where denying the truth will be a crime, and not only a crime but a dishonorable act.
    * To wage a war for a purely moral reason is as absurd as to ravish a woman for a purely moral reason.
    * Science, at bottom, is really anti-intellectual. It always distrusts pure reason, and demands the production of objective fact.
    * No man who believes in apocalypses can possibly bring himself to laugh.
    * The intellectual heritage of the race belongs to the minority, and to the minority only. The majority has no more to do with it than it has to do with the ecclesiastical politics on Mars.

    – ZM

  7. Confusing monogamy with morality has done more to destroy the conscience of the human race than any other error. — George Bernard Shaw

    this one reminded me of a quote from a very famous brazilian writer, Machado de Assis, that also deals with people confusing different things and making them into ‘rules’. i’ll try to translate:

    “God, for man’s happiness, invented faith and love. The Devil, in envy, made man confuse faith with religion and love with marriage.”

    i’m an atheist, but i find the quote rather amusing. thought i’d share.

  8. Confusing monogamy with morality has done more to destroy the conscience of the human race than any other error. — George Bernard Shaw

    this one reminded me of a quote from a very famous brazilian writer, Machado de Assis, that also deals with people confusing different things and making them into ‘rules’. i’ll try to translate:

    “God, for man’s happiness, invented faith and love. The Devil, in envy, made man confuse faith with religion and love with marriage.”

    i’m an atheist, but i find the quote rather amusing. thought i’d share.

  9. My suspicion is that a civilization that uses tools up to the atomic age is absolutely going to discover radio somewhere along the way. I won’t say that becoming atomic without discovering radio is quite as bad as getting to the steam age without discovering the wheel, but it’s pretty close. Certainly any sort of electronics–which I would think will probably be a necessary prerequisite for atomic power or weapons–will discover radio interference if only accidentally, and it becomes fairly obvious from there.

    Of course, I have no examples other than our own. 🙂

  10. My suspicion is that a civilization that uses tools up to the atomic age is absolutely going to discover radio somewhere along the way. I won’t say that becoming atomic without discovering radio is quite as bad as getting to the steam age without discovering the wheel, but it’s pretty close. Certainly any sort of electronics–which I would think will probably be a necessary prerequisite for atomic power or weapons–will discover radio interference if only accidentally, and it becomes fairly obvious from there.

    Of course, I have no examples other than our own. 🙂

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