Quotations about   defense

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Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Proverbs 31:8-9 [NRSV]
    (Source)

  • KJV: "Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy."
  • GNT: "Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy."
Added on 23-Apr-19 | Last updated 23-Apr-19
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The aims of life are the best defense against death.

Primo Levi (1919-1987) Italian Jewish chemist and writer
The Drowned and the Saved (1988)
Added on 16-Jun-17 | Last updated 16-Jun-17
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[T]here are historic situations in which refusal to defend the inheritance of a civilization, however imperfect, against tyranny and aggression may result in consequences even worse than war.

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) American theologian and clergyman
“Christian Faith and the World Crisis,” Christianity and Crisis (10 Feb 1941)
Added on 12-Jun-17 | Last updated 12-Jun-17
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The law, in all vicissitudes of government … will preserve a steady undeviating course; it will not bend to the uncertain wishes, imaginations, and wanton tempers of men. … On the one hand it is inexorable to the cries of the prisoners; on the other it is deaf, deaf as an adder to the clamours of the populace.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
“Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials” (4 Dec 1770)
Added on 14-Nov-16 | Last updated 14-Nov-16
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Men think they may justly do that for which they have a precedent.

[Quod exemplo fit, id etiam jure fieri putant.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Epistulae ad Familiares, 4.3
Added on 12-Oct-16 | Last updated 12-Oct-16
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I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer [pseud. of Francois-Marie Arouet]
(Misattributed)
    (Source)

The words are not found in any Voltaire and actually belong to historian Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing as S. G. Tallentyre in The Friends of Voltaire (1906), describing an 1759 incident where Voltaire learned that Claude-Adrien Helvétius' book On the Mind [De l’esprit] had been burned (along with Voltaire's own "On Natural Law") after condemnation by the Paris Parliament and the Sorbonne.
‘What a fuss about an omelette!’ he had exclaimed when he heard of the burning. How abominably unjust to persecute a man for such an airy trifle as that! ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,’ was his attitude now.
Hall later wrote to a friend that the actual words were her own and ought not to have had quotation marks.

Variations:
  • I wholly disapprove of what you say -- and will defend to the death your right to say it.
  • Monsieur l’Abbé, je déteste ce que vous écrivez, mais je donnerais ma vie pour que vous puissiez continuer à écrire.
More information here.
Added on 12-Jul-16 | Last updated 12-Jul-16
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We need an adequate defense, but every arms dollar we spend above adequacy has a long-term weakening effect upon the nation and its security.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
White House Years: Waging Peace, 1956-1961 (1965)
Added on 14-Jun-16 | Last updated 14-Jun-16
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If a cause be good, the most violent attack of its enemies will not injure it so much as an injudicious defense of it by its friends.

Colton - injudicious defense - wist_info quote

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, #475 (1821 ed.)
Added on 18-May-16 | Last updated 18-May-16
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Arms alone can give the world no permanent peace, no confident security. Arms are solely for defense — to protect from violent assault what we already have. They are only a costly insurance. They cannot add to human progress.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors, Washington, DC (21 Apr 1956)
Added on 12-Apr-16 | Last updated 12-Apr-16
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Americans, indeed, all free men, remember that in the final choice a soldier’s pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner’s chains.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Inaugural Address (20 Jan 1953)
Added on 5-Apr-16 | Last updated 5-Apr-16
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Because, therefore, we are defending a way of life, we must be respectful of that way of life as we proceed to the solution of our problem. We must not violate its principles and its precepts, and we must not destroy from within what we are trying to defend from without.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, NATO Council (26 Nov 1951)
Added on 29-Mar-16 | Last updated 29-Mar-16
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Never complain and never explain.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) English politician and author
(Attributed)

Regarding attacks on him in Parliament. Quoted in John Morley, Life of William Ewart Gladstone (1903).
Added on 28-Mar-16 | Last updated 28-Mar-16
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War is mankind’s most tragic and stupid folly; to seek or advise its deliberate provocation is a black crime against all men. Though you follow the trade of the warrior, you do so in the spirit of Washington — not of Genghis Khan. For Americans, only threat to our way of life justifies resort to conflict.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, Graduation Exercises, US Military Academy, West Point (3 Jun 1947)
Added on 8-Mar-16 | Last updated 8-Mar-16
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PASTORE: Is there anything connected in the hopes of this accelerator that in any way involves the security of this country?

WILSON: No sir; I do not believe so.

PASTORE: Nothing at all?

WILSON: Nothing at all.

PASTORE: It has no value in that respect?

WILSON: It only has to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with those things. It has nothing to do with the military, I am sorry.

PASTORE: Don’t be sorry for it.

WILSON: I am not, but I cannot in honesty say it has any such application.

PASTORE: Is there anything here that projects us in a position of being competitive with the Russians, with regard to this race?

WILSON: Only from a long-range point of view, of a developing technology. Otherwise, it has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things that we really venerate and honor in our country and are patriotic about. In that sense, this new knowledge has all to do with honor and country but it has nothing to do directly with defending our country, except to make it worth defending.

Robert R. Wilson (1914-2000) American physicist
Testimony, Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (17 Apr 1969)

Dialog between Senator John Pastore (D-RI) and Wilson regarding the funding for FY 1970 of Fermilab's first particle accelerator. Pastore was actually a proponent of Fermilab, but was seeking arguments to use with some of his colleagues.

The exchange is frequently portrayed as more hostile, and Wilson's answer is often paraphrased / elided as: "It has only to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending."

See here for more background.

Added on 15-Dec-15 | Last updated 15-Dec-15
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Every defendant is entitled to a trial in which his interests are vigorously and conscientiously advocated by an able lawyer. A proceeding in which the defendant does not receive meaningful assistance in meeting the forces of the state does not, in my opinion, constitute due process.

Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) American lawyer, US Supreme Court Justice (1967-1991)
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984) [Dissenting]
    (Source)
Added on 22-Oct-15 | Last updated 22-Oct-15
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We do, then, most solemnly before God and the world declare that regardless of every consequence, at the risk of every distress, the arms we have been compelled to assume we will use with perseverance, exerting to their utmost energies all those powers which our Creator hath given us to preserve that liberty which he committed to us in sacred deposit and to protect from every hostile hand our lives and our properties.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
“Declaration on Taking Up Arms” (1775) [Papers 1:202]
Added on 7-Apr-15 | Last updated 7-Apr-15
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We should be wanting to ourselves, we should be perfidious to posterity, we should be unworthy that free ancestry from which we derive our descent, should we submit with folded arms to military butchery and depredation.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Declaration on Taking Up Arms (1775) [Papers 1:202]
Added on 31-Mar-15 | Last updated 31-Mar-15
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I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, Canadian Club, Ottawa (10 Jan 1946)
Added on 16-Mar-15 | Last updated 16-Mar-15
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The way chosen by the United States was plainly marked by a few clear precepts, which govern its conduct in world affairs.

First: No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice.

Second: No nation’s security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.

Third: Any nation’s right to form of government and an economic system of its own choosing is inalienable.

Fourth: Any nation’s attempt to dictate to other nations their form of government is indefensible.

And fifth: A nation’s hope of lasting peace cannot be firmly based upon any race in armaments but rather upon just relations and honest understanding with all other nations.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
“The Chance for Peace,” speech to American Society of Newspaper Editors, Washington (16 Apr 1953)

Also known as the "Cross of Iron" speech.
Added on 5-Feb-15 | Last updated 23-Jun-18
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I was too weak to defend, so I attacked.

Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) American military leader
(Attributed)

On his strategy at the Battle of Chancellorsville (1863).
Added on 25-Sep-14 | Last updated 25-Sep-14
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I do not know how the Third World War will be fought, but I can tell you what they will use in the Fourth — rocks!

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Interview with Alfred Werner, Liberal Judaism (April-May 1949)
Added on 20-May-14 | Last updated 20-May-14
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If you want to know when a war might be coming, you just watch the U.S. and see when it starts cutting down on its defenses. It’s the surest barometer in the world.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
(Attributed)

Quoted in Bryan B. Sterling, ed., The Best of Will Rogers (1990).
Added on 10-Jan-14 | Last updated 10-Jan-14
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A nation that continues year after year to spend more on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Beyond Vietnam,” speech, Clergy and Laity Concerned, Riverside Church, New York City (4 Apr 1967)
    (Source)

Reprinted (or the phrase repeated) in Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967) and The Trumpet of Conscience (1968). See also this.
Added on 27-Jul-12 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
“The Chance for Peace,” address to American Society of Newspaper Editors, Washington (16 April 1953)

Also known as the "Cross of Iron" speech.
Added on 12-Mar-08 | Last updated 7-Jan-15
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I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) American politician
Speech, accepting the GOP Presidential Nomination, San Francisco (16 Jul 1964)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Nov-15
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Most people would rather defend to the death your right to say it, than listen to it.

Robert Brault (b. c. 1945) American aphorist, programmer
(Attributed)

See Voltaire.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Jul-16
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There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.

George Washington (1732-1799) American military leader, Founding Father, US President (1789-1797)
Fifth Annual Message, Philadelphia (3 Dec 1793)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Aug-14
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Humor is just another defense against the universe.

Mel Brooks (b. 1926) American comedic actor, writer, producer [b. Melvyn Kaminsky]
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Jul-16
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He threatens many who injures one.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 31-May-16
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History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Inaugural Address (20 Jan 1953)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-May-15
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