It is a basic economic proposition that as long as a relatively few men own the railroads, the telegraph, the telephone, own the oil fields and the gas fields and the steel mills and the sugar refineries and the leather tanneries — own, in short, the sources and means of life — they will corrupt our politics, they will enslave the working class, they will impoverish and debase society, they will do all things that are needful to perpetuate their power as the economic masters and the political rulers of the people.

Eugene Debs
Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926) American union leader, activist, socialist, politician
“The Issue,” Speech, Girard, Kansas (23 May 1908)
    (Source)
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Blood that has soaked into the sands of a beach is all of one color. America stands unique in the world: the only country not founded on race but on a way, an ideal. Not in spite of but because of our polyglot background, we have had all the strength in the world. That is the American way.

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan (1911-2006) US President (1981-89), politician, actor
Speech (10 Aug 1988)

On signing a bill providing restitution to Japanese-Americans who had been put in internment camps during World War II. He originally spoke the words as an Army Captain in December 1945 at a "United America Day" rally for the posthumous awarding of the Distinguished Service Cross to Sgt. Kazuo Masuda.
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I believe long habits of virtue have a sensible effect on the countenance.

Ben Franklin
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
“Busy-Body Papers,” American Weekly Mercury (18 Feb 1729)
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Man cannot live without hope. If it is not engendered by his own convictions and desires, it can easily be fired from without, and by the most meretricious and empty of promises.

Portrait Of Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
“What Has Happened to the American Dream?” Atlantic Monthly (Apr 1961)
    (Source)
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I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.

Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer
(Attributed)
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Personally, I hate to have to think of any man as of a definite race, creed, or color; so few men are really worth knowing that it seems a shameful waste to let an anthropoid prejudice stand in the way of free association with one who is.

HL Mencken2
H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“The Library,” The American Mercury (May 1931)
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In proportion as the structure of a government gives forces to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

George Washington
George Washington (1732-1799) American military leader, Founding Father, US President (1789-1797)
Farewell Address (17 Sep 1796)
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Only mediocrity can be trusted to be always at its best. Genius must always have lapses proportionate to its triumphs.

Max Beerbohm
Max Beerbohm (1872-1956) English parodist, caricaturist, wit, writer [Sir Henry Maximilian Beerbohm]
Obituary of Dan Leno, Saturday Review (5 Nov 1904)
    (Source)
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I don’t have anything against God. Far from it. But I don’t understand Him. And I don’t trust a lot of the people that go around claiming that they’re working in His best interests.

Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Grave Peril, ch. 24 (2008)
    (Source)
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However accurately we may determine the “facts” of history, the facts themselves and our interpretations of them, and our interpretation of our own interpretations, will be seen in a different perspective or a less vivid light as mankind moves into the unknown future. Regarded historically, as a process of becoming, man and his world can obviously be understood only tentatively, since it is by definition something still in the making, something as yet unfinished. Unfortunately for the “permanent contribution” and the universally valid philosophy, time passes; time, the enemy of man as the Greeks thought; to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow creeps in this petty pace, and all our yesterdays diminish and grow dim: so that, in the lengthening perspective of the centuries, even the most striking events (the Declaration of Independence, the French Revolution, the Great War itself; like the Diet of Worms before them, like the signing of the Magna Carta and the coronation of Charlemagne and the crossing of the Rubicon and the battle of Marathon) must inevitably, for posterity, fade away into pale replicas of the original picture, for each succeeding generation losing, as they recede into a more distant past, some significance that once was noted in them, some quality of enchantment that once was theirs.

Carl L Becker
Carl L. Becker (1873-1945) American historian
“Everyman His Own Historian” (3), speech, American Historical Association, Minneapolis (29 Dec 1931)
    (Source)
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A riot is the language of the unheard.

Martin-Luther-King-Jr
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman and reformer
“The Other America,” speech, Stanford U. (1967)
    (Source)
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Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish essayist, novelist, poet
(Spurious)
    (Source)

Frequently attributed to Stevenson, but not found in his works.
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Righteousness cannot be born until self-righteousness is dead.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Justice in War-Time (1916)
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Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.

Lord Chesterfield
Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (10 Mar 1746)
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Perhaps the most fundamental value of a liberal education is that it makes life more interesting. It allows you to think things which do not occur to the less learned … it makes it less likely that you will be bored with life.

Kingman Brewster
Kingman Brewster, Jr. (1919-1988) American educator, diplomat
(Attributed)
    (Source)
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The superstition in which we were brought up never loses its power over us, even after we understand it.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramiturg, writer
(Attributed)

Quoted in J. K. Hoyt & Anna L. Ward (eds.), The Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (1881)
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I’ve always been in the right place at the right time. Of course, I steered myself there.

Bob Hope
Bob Hope (1903-2003) American comedian, actor, humanitarian (b. Leslie Townes Hope)
In Merla Zellerbach, “Revealing Secrets of Their Success,” San Francisco Chronicle (11 Jul 1979)
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Every time a child says, “I don’t believe in fairies,” there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead.

James Barrie
James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
Peter Pan, Act 1 (1928)
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Theories are only verified hypotheses, verified by more or less numerous facts. Those verified by the most facts are the best, but even then they are never final, never to be absolutely believed.

Claude Bernard
Claude Bernard (1813-1878) French physiologist, scientist
An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine [Introduction à l’Étude de la Médecine Expérimentale] (1865)
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For if he wou’d try effectually to acquire the real Science or TASTE of Life; he wou’d certainly discover, “That a RIGHT MIND, and GENEROUS AFFECTION, had more Beauty and Charm, than all other Symmetrys in the World besides.”

Earl of Shaftesbury
Anthony Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713) English politician and philosopher
Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, Vol. 3, “Miscellany III,” ch. 3 (1711)
    (Source)
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I loved coming to the US in 1992, mostly because I loved the idea that freedom of speech was paramount. I still do. With all its faults, the US has Freedom of Speech. The First Amendment states that you can’t be arrested for saying things the government doesn’t like. You can say what you like, write what you like, and know that the remedy to someone saying or writing or showing something that offends you is not to read it, or to speak out against it. I loved that I could read and make my own mind up about something.

Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Neil Gaiman’s Journal, “Why defend freedom of icky speech?” (1 Dec 2008)
    (Source)
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EDDIE: Kid, life’s hard. But it’s a lot harder if you’re stupid.

Paul Monash
Paul Monash (1917-2003) American producer and screenwriter
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (movie) (1973)

Screenplay based on the novel by George V. Higgins (though the line is not in the book). Played in the movie by Robert Mitchum, to whom the quote is often attributed.
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Every great study is not only an end in itself, but also a means of creating and sustaining a lofty habit of the mind.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Study of Mathematics,” Mysticism and Logic (1918)
    (Source)
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So, why do you write these strong female characters?

Because you’re still asking me that question.

Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Equality Now Tribute Address (15 May 2006)
    (Source)
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A problem never exists in isolation; it is surrounded by other problems in space and time. The more of the context of a problem that a scientist can comprehend, the greater are his chances of finding a truly adequate solution.

Russell Ackoff
Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
“The development of operations research as a science,” Operations Research (Jun 1956)
Added on 22-Jan-15 | Last updated 22-Jan-15
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Administrivia: Great Googley-Moogley (again)

I’ve restarted transcribing each day’s quotations over to Google+ (here), if that’s an easier or more convenient way for you to read the daily WIST entries than the blog, email, Twitter, or Facebook. The G+ entries will be the full quotations and citations, as well as a link back to the individual entry on WIST, but will not include the source links or secondary information about the quotes.

It is, alas, a manual effort due to G+’s API, but I hope that it will let a few more people see the work done here.


Added on 21-Jan-15; last updated 21-Jan-15
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Every sect clamours for toleration when it is down. […] It would not be very wise to conclude that a beggar is full of Christian charity because he assures you that God will reward you if you give him a penny; or that a soldier is human, because he cries out lustily for quarter when a bayonet is at his throat. The doctrine which, from the very first origin of religious dissensions, has been held by bigots of all sects, when condensed into a few words and stripped of rhetorical disguise, is simply this: I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me, for it is your duty to tolerate truth; but when I am the stronger, I shall persecute you, for it is my duty to persecute error.

Thomas Babington Macaulay
Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) English writer and politician
“Sir James Mackintosh’s History of the Revolution,” Edinburgh Review (Jul 1835)
    (Source)
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America — a conservative country without any conservative ideology — appears now before the world a naked and arbitrary power, as, in the name of realism, its men of decision enforce their often crackpot definitions upon world reality. The second-rate mind is in command of the ponderously spoken platitude. In the liberal rhetoric, vagueness, and in the conservative mood, irrationality, are raised to principle. Public relations and the official secret, the trivializing campaign and the terrible fact clumsily accomplished, are replacing the reasoned debate of political ideas in the privately incorporated economy, the military ascendancy, and the political vacuum of modern America.

C Wright Mills
C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) American sociologist, academic, author [Charles Wright Mills]
The Power Elite, ch. 14 “The Conservative Mood” (1956)
    (Source)
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Love that has nothing but beauty to keep it in good health is short-lived, and apt to have ague fits.

Desiderius Eramus
Desiderius Erasmus (1465-1536) Dutch humanist philosopher and scholar
(Attributed)

Quoted without citation in numerous 19th Century works, including John Timbs, Laconics: Or, The Best Words of the Best Authors (1829).
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To me, the democratic system represents man’s best and brightest hope of self-fulfillment, of a life rich in promise and free from fear; the one hope, perhaps, for the complete development of the whole man. But I know, and learn more clearly every day, that we cannot keep our system strong and free by neglect, by taking it for granted, by giving it our second-best attention. We must be prepared, like the suitor in The Merchant of Venice — and, I might point out, the successful suitor — to give and hazard all we have.

Portrait Of Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
“What Has Happened to the American Dream?” Atlantic Monthly (Apr 1961)
    (Source)
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He who will please the crowd and for the sake of the most ephemeral renown will either proclaim those things which nature does not display or even will publish genuine miracles of nature without regard to deeper causes is a spiritually corrupt person.

Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer
De fundamentis astrologiae certioribus, Foreward (1601)
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A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) US President (1801-09)
Letter to James Madison (20 Dec 1787)
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Nothing makes the multitude angrier than when someone forces them to change their opinion of him.

Herman Hesse
Herman Hesse (1877-1962) German-born Swiss poet, novelist, painter
Reflections, #100 [ed. V. Michels (1974)]
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When we watch a child trying to walk, we see its countless failures; its success are but few. If we had to limit our observation within a narrow space of time, the sight would be cruel. But we find that in spite of its repeated failures, there is an impetus of joy in the child which sustains it in its seemingly impossible task. We see it does not think of its falls so much as of its power to keep its balance though for only a moment.

Rabindaranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) Indian Bengali poet, philosopher [a.k.a. Rabi Thakur, Kabiguru]
Sadhana: The Realization of Life, ch. 3 (1913)
    (Source)
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All things pass in time. We are far less significant than we imagine ourselves to be. All that we are, all that we have wrought, is but a shadow, no matter how durable it may seem. One day, when the last man has breathed his last breath, the sun will shine, the mountains will stand, the rain will fall, the streams will whisper — and they will not miss him.

Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Princeps’ Fury, Epilogue [Gaius Sextus] (2008)
    (Source)
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Left to themselves, the facts do not speak; left to themselves they do not exist, not really, since for all practical purposes there is no fact until some one affirms it.

Carl L Becker
Carl L. Becker (1873-1945) American historian
“Everyman His Own Historian” (3), speech, American Historical Association, Minneapolis (29 Dec 1931)
    (Source)
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There is no greater challenge than to have someone relying upon you; no greater satisfaction than to vindicate his expectation.

Kingman Brewster
Kingman Brewster, Jr. (1919-1988) American educator, diplomat
Baccalaureate address, Yale (12 Jun 1966)
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The Law is a blunt instrument. It’s not a scalpel. It’s a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible.

Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Neil Gaiman’s Journal, “Why defend freedom of icky speech?” (1 Dec 2008)
    (Source)
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A tower of nine storeys begins with a heap of earth.
The journey of a thousand li starts from where one stands.

Laozi
Lao-tzu (604?-531? BC) Chinese philosopher, poet [also Lao-tse, Laozi]
Tao te Ching

Popularized in the west by John F. Kennedy, "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step," announcing the atmospheric nuclear test ban treaty (26 Jul 1963).
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A self-righteous country soon forgets its righteousness and remembers only the self.

George Bernard Shaw 2
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Remark (1940s)

To the author, in Stephen Winsten, Days with Bernard Shaw, ch. 25 (1949)
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Next to doing things that deserve to be written, there is nothing that gets a man more credit, or gives him more pleasure, than to write things that deserve to be read.

Lord Chesterfield
Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (1739)
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You can’t reason someone out of an idea they weren’t reasoned into.

Generic
Sig Lines
~
Added on 16-Jan-15 | Last updated 16-Jan-15
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Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered I was not God.

oliver wendell holmes jr
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935) American jurist, Supreme Court Justice
Comment (8 Mar 1931)

When asked by a reporter on his 90th birthday.
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For what a man would like to be true, that he more readily believes.

francis bacon
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, author, politician
Novum Organum, Book 1, aphorism 49 (1620)

See Demosthenes.
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When we meet a fact which contradicts a prevailing theory, we must accept the fact and abandon the theory, even when the theory is supported by great names and generally accepted.

Claude Bernard
Claude Bernard (1813-1878) French physiologist, scientist
An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine [Introduction à l’Étude de la Médecine Expérimentale] (1865)
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‘Tis not Wit merely, but a Temper which must form the Well-Bred Man. In the same manner, ’tis not a Head merely, but a Heart and Resolution which must compleat the real Philosopher.

Earl of Shaftesbury
Anthony Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713) English politician and philosopher
Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, Vol. 2 “Miscellany III” (1711)
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The great business of study is to form a mind adapted and adequate to all times and all occasions; to which all nature is then laid open, and which may be said to possess the key of her inexhaustible riches.

Joshua Reynolds
Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) British painter, critic
“Discourse Eleven” (10 Dec 1782)
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People with real power never fear of losing it. People with control think of little else.

Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
“Mom, He’s Doing It Again…”, Whedonesque.com (10 Nov 2007)
    (Source)
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Girls … were allowed to play in the house … and boys were sent outdoors. … Boys ran around in the yard with toy guns going kksshh-kksshh, fighting wars for made-up reasons and arguing about who was dead, while girls stayed inside and played with dolls, creating complex family groups and learning how to solve problems through negotiation and roleplaying. Which gender is better equipped, on the whole, to live an adult life, would you guess?

Garrison Keillor
Garrison Keillor (b. 1942) American entertainer, author
The Book of Guys (1993)
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Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
“A Psalm of Life” (1838)
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There can be no permanent disfranchised peasantry in the United States. Freedom can never yield its fullness of blessings so long as the law or its administration places the smallest obstacle in the pathway of any virtuous citizen.

James Garfield
James A. Garfield (1831-1881) US President (1881), lawyer, lay preacher, educator
Inaugural address (4 Mar 1881)
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I know that we will be the sufferers if we let great wrongs occur without exerting ourselves to correct them.

Portrait Of Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
“My Day” (13 Aug 1943)
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Richard Cumberland
Richard Cumberland (1732-1811) English dramatist and civil servant.
The Observer (1788)
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Single-mindedness is all very well in cows or baboons; in an animal claiming to belong to the same species as Shakespeare it is simply disgraceful.

Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Do What You Will (1929)
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How important are free speech and satire? Important enough that people will murder others to silence the kind of speech they don’t like.

Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Twitter (7 Jan 2014)
    (Source)

Regarding the mass murder at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.
Added on 13-Jan-15 | Last updated 13-Jan-15
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