Quotations by Kempton, Murray


Every now and then, in the course of great events, the elements of tradition and innovation ally themselves and each one’s weakness supplements the other and together they achieve the perfect debacle.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
“The Genius of Mussolini,” New York Review of Books (7 Oct 1982)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Rebellions, Perversities, and Main Events (1994).
Added on 29-Apr-20 | Last updated 29-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

There are things a man must not do even to save a nation.

Kempton - even to save a nation - wist_info quote

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
“To Save a Nation,” America Comes of Age (1963)
Added on 18-Apr-16 | Last updated 18-Apr-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

A critic is someone who enters the battlefield after the war is over and shoots the wounded.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
(Attributed)

Generally attributed to Kempton (though sometimes as being about editorial writers rather than critics) without specific citation. More on this quote here.
Added on 23-May-20 | Last updated 23-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

No great scoundrel is ever uninteresting.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
(Attributed)
Added on 28-Aug-20 | Last updated 28-Aug-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

As an organized political group, the Communists have done nothing to damage our society a fraction as much as what their enemies have done in the name of defending us against subversion.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
America Comes of Middle Age: Columns, 1950-1962 (1963)
Added on 24-Jul-20 | Last updated 24-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

There is a raging tiger inside every man whom God put on this earth. Every man worthy of the respect of his children spends his life building inside himself a cage to pen that tiger in.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
America Comes of Middle Age: Columns, 1950-1962 (1963)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Aug-20 | Last updated 7-Aug-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

Every social war is a battle between the very few on both sides who care and who fire their shots across a crowd of spectators.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Part of Our Time: Some Ruins & Monuments of the Thirties (1955)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Jul-20 | Last updated 3-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

Any experience deeply felt makes some men better and some men worse. When it has ended, they share nothing but the recollection of a commitment in which each was tested and to some degree found wanting. They were not alike when they began, and they were not alike when they finished. […] The consequences of the journey change the voyager so much more than the embarking or the arrival.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Part of Our Time: Some Ruins & Monuments of the Thirties, “A Prelude” (1955)
    (Source)
Added on 5-Jun-20 | Last updated 5-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

For the Communists offer one precious, fatal boon: they take away the sense of sin. It may or may not be debatable whether a man can live without God; but, if it were possible, we should pass a law forbidding a man to live without the sense of sin.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Part of Our Time: Some Ruins & Monuments of the Thirties, ch. 1 “The Sheltered Life” (1955)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Jun-20 | Last updated 12-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

It is not the least of a martyr’s scourges to be canonized by the persons who burned him.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Part of Our Time: Some Ruins & Monuments of the Thirties, ch. 2 (1955)
    (Source)
Added on 10-Jul-20 | Last updated 10-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

A revolution requires of its leaders a record of unbroken infallibility; if they do not possess it, they are expected to invent it.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Part of Our Time: Some Ruins & Monuments of the Thirties, ch. 3 (1955)
    (Source)
Added on 19-Jun-20 | Last updated 19-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

A man can look upon his life and accept it as good or evil; it is far, far harder for him to confess that it has been unimportant in the sum of things.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Part of Our Time: Some Ruins & Monuments of the Thirties, ch. 5 (1955)
    (Source)
Added on 17-Jul-20 | Last updated 17-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

It is a measure of the Negro’s circumstance that, in America, the smallest things usually take him so very long, and that, by the time he wins them, they are no longer little things: they are miracles.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Part of Our Time: Some Ruins & Monuments of the Thirties, ch. 8 (1955)
    (Source)

On the formation of the Pullman Porters union.
Added on 26-Jun-20 | Last updated 26-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

The bearers of the myth of every decade seem to carry in their hands the ax and the spade to execute and inter the myth of the previous one.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Part of Our Time: Some Ruins & Monuments of the Thirties, Prelude (1955)
    (Source)
Added on 29-May-20 | Last updated 29-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

To say that an idea is fashionable is to say, I think, that it has been adulterated to a point where it is hardly an idea at all.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Part of Our Time, ch. 6 “The Day of the Locust” (1955)
    (Source)
Added on 1-May-20 | Last updated 1-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

A political convention is just not a place where you come away with any trace of faith in human nature.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Column on the 1960 Republican National Convention, Chicago (28 Jul 1960)
    (Source)
Added on 15-May-20 | Last updated 15-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

People are very romantic about these guys, but the only thing I’ve ever learned is that if you talk to gangsters long enough, you’ll find out they’re just as bad as respectable people.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
In Ron Rosenbaum, The Secret Parts of Fortune, “The Connoisseur of Scoundrels” (2000)
    (Source)
Added on 8-May-20 | Last updated 8-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray