War and Peace
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Doctors pour drugs of which they know little, to cure
diseases of which they know less, into human beings of whom
they know nothing. --Voltaire
I am dying with the help of too many physicians.
--Alexander the Great
Any stigma will do to beat a dogma. --Philip Guedalla
In democracies those who lead, follow, those who
follow, lead. --Holbrook Jackson b. 1874
There are two reasons for drinking: one is, when you
are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you not rhirsty,
to prevent it. --Thomas Love Peacock 1785-1866
When I drink, I think; and when I think I drink.
--Franscois Rabelais 1553
Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many
for appointment by the corrupt few. --GBS
Election of the appointees of the corrupt few. --U.W.
Deserted as the Pearly Gates. --U.W.
The crash of the whole solar and stellar systems could
only kill you once. --Thomas Carlyle
No deity could fill any of our requirements if
handicapped with existance. --Ambrose Bierce
Democracy is the theory that the common people know
what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
Democracy is also a form of religion. It is the
worship of jackals by jackasses. --Ib.
Democracy, as I see it, is simply the organized hatred
of the lower orders. That hatred explains all its
phenomena. Nothing else does. --Ib.
My explanation of Puritanism, as of democracy, is that
it is founded upon hatred of the fellow who is having, or
seems to be having, a better time. --Ib.
I drink exactly as much as I want, and one drink
Their very faces were stamped with those signs of
degradation only to be found in the people of big towns.
He that dies pays all debts. --Shakespeare The Temp-
est Act III Sc. 2
Datary, n. A high ecclesiastic official in the Roman Catholic
church whose important function is to brand the Pope's bulls with the
words _Datum_Romae_. He enjoys a princely revenue and the friendship
of God. --Ambrose Bierce
Dawn, n. The time when men of reason go to bed.
Debt, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the
Debtor, n. A worthy person, in whose interest the national
finances should be so managed as to depreciate the national currency.
Defame, v.t. To lie about another. To tell the truth about
Demented, adj. The melancholy mental condition of one whose
arguments we are unable to answer.
Deputy, n. A male relative of an officeholder, or of his
bondsman. The deputy is commonly a beautiful young man, with a red
necktie and an intricate system of cobwebs extending from his nose to
his desk. --Ib.
Diagnosis, n. The physicians art of determining the condition
of the patient's purse, in order to find out how sick to make him.
Diplomacy, n. The art and business of lying for one's country.
Disabuse, v.t. To present your neighbor with another and better
error than the one which he has deemed it advantageous to
Drive thy business! let not that drive thee! --Poor Richard
When [Charles Lee] should discover in Men as much Fidelity,
Honesty and Gratitude as he daily experienced in his Dogs, he
promised to love Men as well as his Dogs. --John Adams
When we are attracted to a person and find his or her proximity
agreeable, it means that he or she disgusts us less than the average
human being disgusts us--which, if we have delicate sensibilities, is
a good deal more than is comfortable. --H.L. Mencken
Democracy is that system of government under which the people,
having 35,717,342 native-born adult whites to choose from, including
thousands who are handsome and many who are wise, pick out a Cooledge
to be head of the State. It is as if a hungry man, set before a
banquet prepared by master cooks and covering a table an acre in
area, should turn his back upon the feast and stay his stomach by
catching and eating flies. --Ib.
Defamation exists all over the world, but it is incredible to
what an extent this vice is carried in America. --Fred Marryat
Here is the fatal weakness of Democracy: the bureaucrat.
--Frank Lloyd Wright
In the future the so-called Dark Ages will perhaps be lengthened
to include our own. --C.C. Lichtenberg
There's more old Drunkards than old Doctors. --R. Saunders
Death takes no bribes. --Ib.
I have, therefore, no more faith in dreams than Cicero, who said
that for a single one which accidentally came true, he was perplexed
by a thousand false ones. --Francisco Petrarca per James Harvey
A drunkard would not give money to sober people. He said they
would only eat it, and buy clothes and send their children to school
with it. --Sam Butler 1835-1902
I have discovered the art of deceiving diplomats. I speak the
truth, and they never believe me. --Camillo di Cavour 1818-61
Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy
means government by the badly educated. --G.K. Chesterton
Years ago I began to recognize my kinship with all living
beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the
meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a
lower class I am in it; while there is a criminal I am of it,; while
there is a soul in prison, I am not free. --Eugene Debs
I know no Nation in the World, whose Government is not perfectly
Despotick, that ever makes preventive Laws. --Daniel Defoe 1660?-1731
For more than twenty years I have had numberless proofs that
regular physicians do exceedingly litle good. --John Wesley
Nothing is so disgusting to our sex as a want of cleanliness and
delicacy in yours. --Th. Jefferson to his daughter Dec. 22, 1783
I believe that in a free society, the people who work in
government have a right to know what's going on in their own
departments. --Art Buchwald
In England, and probably in Canada, to steal a hare, is death
the first offense. To steal above the value of twelve pence is death
the second offense. --Th. Jefferson 1792
There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.
It is hard to say whether the doctors of law, or divinity have
made the greater advances in the lucrative business of mystery.
--Edmund Burke 1729-97
Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'ille me/rite. --Joseph de
Maistre Aug. 1871
Divorce is banned by the Irish Constitution. --The Economist
The five fundamental prohibitions of the Decalogue--those
leveled at murder, theft, trespass, adultery and false witness--are
to be found in every moral system ever heard of, and seem to be
almost universally supported by human opinion. This support, of
couse, does not mean that they are observed with anything properly
describable as pedantic strictness... --Saint Mencken
Druids performed their religious rites in groves, and knew
nothing of church mortgages and the season-ticket system of pew-rents.
Caesar himself went to Britain, but does not appear to have
obtained any high preferment in the Druidical Church, although his
talent for human sacrifice was considerable. --Ib.
Duty, n. That which sternly impels us in the direction of
profit, along the line of desire. --Ib.
Death is not the end; there remains the litigation over the
Another told me that the freezing point of water was 50[degree
sign] below zero, and another that the boiling point was fixed by
filling a thermometer tube with boiling mercury! What are your
colleges of surgeons about? Some of their licentiates are
_consummate_ignoramuses_. --Joe Dalton Hooker July 14, 1859
Of the many things we have done to democracy in the past, the
worst has been the indignity of taking it for granted. --Max Lerner
If we take habitual drunkards as a class, their hearts and their
heads will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other
class. There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant
and warm-blooded to fall into this vice. The demon of intemperance
ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and
generosity. --Abe Lincoln address to the Wash. Temperance Soc.
February 27, 1842
Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid.
--Ib. Aug. 24, 1855
Only those generals who gain successes can set up dictators.
What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the
dictatorship. --Ib. Jan. 26, 1863 (Hooker said the country needed a
It is not the insurrections of ignorance that are dangerous, but
the revolts of intelligence. --James Russell Lowell
Honest doubt is better than faith in a pious fraud. --Old Am.
Saying per ELS
Savoir dissimuler est le savoir des rois. --Cardinal Richelieu
Divine right needs no whip. --George Bernard Shaw
If your dreams never come true, stop dreaming. --Liz Fuller
Has there ever been a society which had died of dissent?
Several have died of conformity in our lifetime. --Jacob Bronowski
Discussion in America means dissent. --James Thurber
I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in
fourteen days I lost two weeks. --Joe E. Lewis
I distrust camels and anyone else who can go a week without a
If you drink like a fish, don't drive. Swim. --Ib.
Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to
have nothing to do with it. --W. Somerset Maughm
Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the
monkey cage. --H.L. Mencken
The best school of discipline is home--family life is God's own
method of training the young; and homes are very much what women make
them. --Samuel Smiles 1812-1904
Your doctor seems to keep you on the long cure. Precipitate
healings are never good. --Charles Lamb Apr. 17, 1829
When I die, I want to go peacefully in my sleep like my father
did, not screaming in terror like his passengers. --Jack Handy ?
Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot
clipper. --Student blooper per Richard Lederman
Your litle child is your only true democrat. --Harriet Beecher
Great Spirit, give to me a heaven not so large as yours but
large enough for me. --Emily Dickenson
Being an Episcopalion interferes neither with my business nor my
religion. --John Kendrick Bangs 1862-1922
A man who never goes to school may steal from a freight
car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the
whole railroad. --Theodore Roosevelt
If all economists were laid end to end they would not reach a
I heard him speak disrespectfully of the equator.
Everybody steals a lot in commerce and industry, I've stolen a
lot myself, but I know how. --Thomas Alva Edison
The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and
these are ignorance, superstition, and incompetance. --Elbert Hubbard
Err, v.i. To believe or act in a way contrary to my beliefs and
actions. --Ambrose Bierce
Etiquette requires us to admire the human race.
Electorate, n.v. A beast noted for its attention span and long
memory. --Ambrose Bierce
The foundation on which all [our constitutiions] are built, is
the natural equality of man, the denial of every
pre-eminence but that annexed to legal office and, particularly, the
denial of a pre-eminence by birth. --Th.
Beyond the rudiments, it is impossible to teach anything. All
the rest the student acquires himself. His teacher merely makes it
difficult for him. --H.L. Mencken
The English that Wesley spoke seemed to be some new form of
Latin, mechanically double-faced, limpid to the point of
transparency, and open to infinite interpretation.
--Martin Cruz Smith
The Romans worshipped their standards; and the Roman standard
happened to be an Eagle. Our standard is only one tenth of an Eagle--
a Dollar--but we make all even by adoring it with tenfold devotion. -
-Edgar Allen Poe
Elysium, n. The heaven of the ancients. Nothing could be more
ludicrous than this crude conception: instead of golden clouds,
harps, crowns, and a great white throne, there were fields, groves,
streams, flowers and temples. In the ancient Elysium we have a
signal example of the inferiority of pagan imagination to Christian
Embalm, v.t. To cure the human bacon. (etc.) --Ib.
Embassador, n. A minister of high rank maintained by one
government at the capitol of another to execute the will of his
Emperor, n. One ranking next above a king. An ace, as it
Encomium, n. A kind of intellectual fog through which the
virtues of its object are seen magnified many diameters.
He is a bird of bad moral character; he does not get his living
honestly; you may have seen him perched on some dead tree nearby the
river, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labour of
the fishing-hawk; and, when that diligent bird has at length taken a
fish and is bearing it to his nest for the support of his mate and
young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes it from him. With
all this injustice he is never in good case; but like those among men
who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally poor and often very
lousy. Besides, he is a rank coward; the little kingbird, not bigger
than a sparrow, attacks him boldly and drives him out of the
district. ...the turkey is in comparison a much more respectable
bird, and withal a true original native of America...He is (though a
little vain and silly, it is true, but not the worse emblem for that)
a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of
the British Guards who should presume to invade his farmyard with a
red coat on. --Ben Franklin
Human Nature, depraved as it is, has interwoven in its very
Frame, a Love of Truth, Sincerity, and Integrity, which must be
overcome by Art, Education, and habit, before the Man can become
entirely ductile to the Will of a dishonest Master. --John Adams
Oh wretched mortals, open your eyes. --Leonardo da Vinci
Experience is a good school, but the fees are high.
To suppose that Earth is the only populated world in infinite
space, is as absurd as to believe that in an entire field sown with
millet, only one grain will grow.
--Metrodorus of Chios 4th cent. B.C.E.
A French bastard landing with an armed banditti and establishing
himself king of England against the consent of the natives is in
plain terms a very paltry, rascally original. --Thomas Paine
But let us avoid the grand and chronic dreams of the race and
get down to some of the concrete problems of life under the Christian
enlightenment. --H.L. Mencken
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should
find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all
hostility. --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
My Notions on Electricity are confused and indigested. --
Cadwallader Colden Oct. 28, 1751
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth
can stand by itself. --Th. Jefferson
Error is the stuff of which the web of life is woven and he who
lives longest and wisest is only able to weave out the more of it. --
I fancy it must be the quantity of animal food eaten by the
English which renders their character insusceptible of
civilization. --Th. Jefferson Sept. 25, 1785
Quos Deus vult perdere, dementat prius. --Euripedes?
I feel my lack of education everyday, particularly in the French
language. --John Adams
They defend their errors as if they were defending their
inheiritance. --Edmund Burke Feb. 11, 1780
...error is always talkative. --Oliver Goldsmith
Of two evils, choose neither. --Charles H. Spurgeon
...choose to ignore inconvenient evidence in the style of the
truly devoted, the truly pious... --Gore Vidal
Englishmen are too apt to be silent when they have nothing to
say; too apt to be sullen when they are silent; and when they are
sullen, to hang themselves. --Ben Franklin
No men of English breed have ever groaned or been goaded long;
they always looked to the matter with the first weitht or the first
thrust. --Andrew Macphail, humorist
The only rational way of ecucating is to be an example--if one
can't help it, a warning example. --Albert Einstein
And of all the plagues with which mankind
Ecclesiastical tyranny's the worst.
The doctrine that the earth is neither the center of the
universe nor immovable, but moves even with a daily rotation, is
absurd, and both philosophically and theologically false, and at the
least an error of faith.
--Roman Congregation decision against Galileo
Scriptural, Christian, Etc., are all equivocal words. --John
There is no divine visitation which is likely to have so general
an influence upon sinners as an earthquake. The rich can no more
guard against it than the poor. Therefore I have often thought this
would be no undesirable event. --Ib.
It is the melancholy law of human societies to be compelled
sometimes to choose a great evil in order to ward off a greater. --
Th. Jefferson to Wm. Short 1814
Not less than two hours a day should be devoted to exercise. --
Ib. to T.M. Randolph 1786
The European are nations of eternal war. All their energies are
expended in the destruction of the labor, property, and lives of
their people. --Ib. to Monroe 1823
I took the repeal of the corn laws as light amusement compared
with the difficult task of inducing the priests of all denominations
to agree to suffer the people to be educated. --Richard Cobden 1846
...it is better, is a paradoxical way, to do evil than to do
nothing; at least we exist. --T.S. Eliot 1930ish
I made a discovery recently about the word 'excellence.' While
it loosely translates into 2796 languages spoken today, few people
seem to grasp its meaning. --Charles Berlitz
I have ever deemed it more honorable and more profitable, too,
to set a good example than to follow a bad one. --Th. Jefferson to
M. Correa 1814
Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of
body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day. --
Ib. to Dupont de Nemours 1816
Eulogy, n. Praise of a person who has either the advantages of
wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead. --Ambrose Bierce
To one who, journeying through night and fog,
Is mired neck-deep in an unwholesome bog,
Experience, like the rising of the dawn,
Reveals the path that he should not have gone.
You will scarcely believe it, but these people are so lazy and
capricious, that our headman and the crew actually _ran_ away from
their own boat, (a large covered luggage craft, 80 feet long) leaving
it to be the property of nobody, (i.e. _our_ property if we chose);
so we had to hire other men at Pubriah, and brought it on to Dacca.
--Joe Dalton Hooker 1851
I write thus largely on this suspicion which you have suffered
to enter your mind, because in youth we are apt to be too rigorous in
our expectations, and to suppose that the duties of life are to be
performed with unfailing exactness and regularity, but in our
progress through life we are forced to abate much of our demands, and
to take friends such as we can find them, not as we would make them.
--Sam Johnson July 14, 1763 to Geo. Strahan
Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan
or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most
important subject which we, as a people, can be engaged in... --Abe
Lincoln 1st public speech 1832
Every age explodes old errors and creates new ones.
--Old Am. Saying per ELS
Probably in all history there is no instance of a society in
which ecclesiastical power was dominant which wa not at once
stagnant, corrupt and brutal. --George A. Reid
On the diffusion of education among the people rest the
preservation and perpetuation of our free institutions.
All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been
convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of
youth. --Aristotle 384-322
The education of a man is never completed until he dies. --
Robert E. Lee
A little experience upsets a lot of theory. --S. Parks
It may be thought whimical, but it is truth; I have found by
experience that they, who have spent all their lives in cities,
contract not only an effeminacy of habit, but even of thinking. --
Oliver Goldsmith Nov. 10, 1759
Economists have not yet earned the right to be listened
to attentively. --John Maynard Keynes 1883-1946
Take care to be an economist in prosperity; there is no fear of
your not being one in adversity. --Johann George
"Reeling and writhing, of course, to begin with," Mock Turtle
replied, "and the different branches of arithmetic--ambition,
distraction, uglification and derision."
--Lewis Carroll 1833-98
Schoolhouses are the republican line of fortifications.
--Horace Mann 1796-1859
The animal looks for man's intentions right into his eyes. --
Hiram Powers 1805-73
Europeans must join together to resist all the enemies of our
civilization--Russians, Americans, orientals--each in their own way a
hideous menace. --Aldous Huxley Dec. 24, 1927
Of all injustice, that is the greatest which goes under the name
of law; and of all sorts of tyranny the forcing of the letter of the
law against the equity, is the most insupportable. --Sir Roger
It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry. --
Th. Paine 1737-1809
A good man has few enemies. A ruthless man has none.
--Jack Handy ?
State intervention in the economy is not ultimately an answer to
over-mighty vested interests: for it soon comes to collude with
them. --Meg Thatcher 1995
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