Archives for category: Quotation

To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.

Aldous Huxley, attributed — on the Web and in many books it is cited as from his first comic novel of ideas, Crome Yellow, but it is not in there.
Richard Overton, cited on Common Sense with Paul Jacob.

To every individual in nature is given an individual property by nature not to be invaded or usurped by any. For every one, as he is himself, so he has a self-propriety, else could he not be himself; and of this no second may presume to deprive any of without manifest violation and affront to the very principles of nature and of the rules of equity and justice between man and man. Mine and thine cannot be, except this be. No man has power over my rights and liberties, and I over no man’s. I may be but an individual, enjoy my self and my self-propriety and may right myself no more than my self, or presume any further; if I do, I am an encroacher and an invader upon another man’s right — to which I have no right. For by natural birth all men are equally and alike born to like propriety, liberty and freedom. . . .

Richard Overton, An Arrow against all Tyrants from the prison of Newgate into the prerogative bowels of the arbitrary House of Lords and all other usurpers and tyrants whatsoever (1646).

We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.

CIA Director William J. Casey, February 1981, Roosevelt Room, White House

Caricature by Andre Gill.

Progress is in inverse ratio to the coercive action of man on man, in direct ratio to his command over things. The Protectionist, by trying to prevent his countrymen from consuming what they choose, wishes to remove them from the effects of all external progress, and when he gains his ends he may indeed find the most extravagant conceptions of Swift pale before the irony of his creation.

Yves Guyot, The Comedy of Protection, 1906, viii. (h/t Common Sense with Paul Jacob).
Caricature by Andre Gill.

We must not confound liberty with anarchy. Liberty is the reciprocal respect for personal rights, according to certain fixed rules known by the name of law. Anarchy is the privilege of some and the spoliation of others, according to the caprices and arbitrary will of the cunning and the violent, and the feebleness and lack of energy of the timorous.

Yves Guyot, The Tyranny of Socialism, 1894 (h/t Common Sense with Paul Jacob).
George Henry Lewes Painting; George Henry Lewes Art Print for sale
G. H. Lewes, The Study of Psychology: Its Object, Scope, and Method.

I often quote the highlighted sentence:

“Ideas are forces: the existence of one determines our reception of others.”
The Sigil of Scoteia*

I quite fixedly believe the Wardens of Earth sometimes unbar strange windows, that face on other worlds than ours. And some of us, I think, once in a while get a peep through these windows. But we are not permitted to get a long peep, or an unobstructed peep, nor very certainly, are we permitted to see all there is — out yonder. The fatal fault, sir, of your theorizing is that it is too complete. It aims to throw light upon the universe, and therefore is self-evidently moonshine. The Wardens of Earth do not desire that we should understand the universe, Mr. Kennaston; it is part of Their appointed task to insure that we never do; and because of Their efficiency every notion that any man, dead, living, or unborn, might form as to the universe will necessarily prove wrong.

Richard Fentnor Harrowby, a character in (and narrator of) James Branch Cabell’s The Cream of the Jest: A Comedy of Evasion (1917), Ch 28 : The Shallowest Sort of Mysticism.

* The coded message on this “sigil” (which can be found as an illustration in every edition of this novel) is “James Branch Cabell made this book so that he who wills may read the story of mans eternally unsatisfied hunger in search of beauty. Ettarre stays inaccessible always and her lovliness is his to look on only in his dreams. All men she must evade at the last and many ar the ways of her elusion.” The sigil was designed by the author, as was the simple code.

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

From Edward J. Wood’s 1868 book on giants and dwarves in history.

Each people has its own barbarians.

Herodotus, Histories