The following is a list of interesting quotes that have either appeared on Library Grape or otherwise crossed your authors’ minds.


“I’ve been on food stamps and welfare, did anybody help me out? No.” –?Craig T. Nelson


“The second greatest trick the Devil ever played was to convince folks that being good, and having good intentions, means that you can’t do evil.” – von

“We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” – John Archibald Wheeler

Timeless Wisdom

“In all men is evil sleeping; the good man is he who will not awaken it, in himself or in other men.” – Mary Renault

Civil Rights

“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.” Tolstoy

“What Dr. King understood is that if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those walls of oppression would not be moved. But maybe if a few more walked, the foundation might start to shake. If a few more women were willing to do what Rosa Parks had done, maybe the cracks would start to show. If teenagers took freedom rides from North to South, maybe a few bricks would come loose. Maybe if white folks marched because they had come to understand that their freedom too was at stake in the impending battle, the wall would begin to sway. And if enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” — Barack Obama

Rule of Law

“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” – U.N. Convention Against Torture, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.

“When poor and ordinary Americans who commit crimes are prosecuted and imprisoned, that is Justice. When the same thing is done to Washington elites, that is Ugly Retribution.” — Glenn Greenwald

“War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, ‘I was just following orders’.” — President George W. Bush, March 13, 2003

“If you were to present to me a hypothetical country where the government holds an official to account for perjury but refuses to hold another official to account for the willful violation of the country’s constitution, criminal laws and international treaties that prohibit torturing people, I wouldn’t find this hypothetical country very appealing.” — Monitor @ Library Grape

“Coercing the supposed state’s criminals into confessions and using such confessions so coerced from them against them in trials has been the curse of all countries. It was the chief iniquity, the crowning infamy of the Star Chamber, and the Inquisition, and other similar institutions. The Constitution recognized the evils that lay behind these practices and prohibited them in this country. . . . The duty of maintaining constitutional rights of a person on trial for his life rises above mere rules of procedure, and wherever the court is clearly satisfied that such violations exist, it will refuse to sanction such violations and will apply the corrective.” — U.S. Supreme Court, Fisher v. State, 145 Miss. 116, 134, 110 So. 361, 365 (1935)

Contemporary Politics

“Until conservatives once again hold Republicans to the same standard they hold Democrats, they will have no credibility and deserve no respect.” – Conservative Economic Historian Bruce Bartlett

“Trying to analyze the ‘birther’ phenomenon would mean taking it seriously, and taking it seriously would be like arguing about the color of unicorns.” – Eugene Robinson

“Hopefully, the next time the nation faces a grave national security crisis, we will listen to the people who were right, not the people who were wrong, and heed those who reported the truth, not those who served as stenographers to liars.” – Dan Froomkin

“My Republican friends keep asking me when I’ll take the GOP seriously again and why I’ve stopped writing about ticky-tak political gamesmanship and GOP consultant tricks. When they’re a serious party with serious ideas, then we can talk.” — Marc Ambinder

“It is important to remember that every defense dollar spent to over-insure against a remote or diminishing risk … is a dollar not available to take care of our people, reset the force, win the wars we are in, and improve capabilities in areas where we are underinvested and potentially vulnerable. That is a risk I will not take.” — Defense Secretary Robert Gates

“How weird is our world that Jim Cramer is on TV baking pie and Martha Stewart is the one who went to jail for securities fraud?” — John Stewart during his epic smackdown of Jim Cramer

“I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.” — John Cole

“Al Qaeda could never have destroyed our commitment to liberty, human rights, and the rule of law by itself. It could only hope that we would respond unthinkingly and do the dirty work ourselves. We obliged them, and in so doing did a lot more damage to ourselves than al Qaeda could ever have dreamed of doing.” — Hilzoy

“[Bush and his cronies] need to accept that the best they can hope for is to end up among history’s inept clowns instead of history’s villains. It’s not much, but it’s all they’ve got.” — Digby

“Sarah Palin is like that crazy relative who comes over and doesn’t want to leave. She just seemingly does not want to leave the limelight. You know, maybe a better way to put it, one of my friends said, ‘You know, she’s like Sanjayah from American Idol. When is the fifteen minutes gonna be up?'” — Democratic Strategist Chris Kofinas

“I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny — Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.” — Republican Margaret Chase Smith, 1950 Declaration of Conscience

“[T]he only public events that have so far featured his absurd choice of running mate have shown her to be a deceiving and unscrupulous woman utterly unversed in any of the needful political discourses but easily trained to utter preposterous lies and to appeal to the basest element of her audience.” — Christopher Hitchens on Sarah Palin

Timeless Politics

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” – H. L. Mencken

“In retrospect, all revolutions seem inevitable. Beforehand, all revolutions seem impossible.” — Michael McFaul

“Leading the populace to believe that its opinion matters is extraordinarily dangerous for a regime that has no intention of listening.” — Dish Reader

“The prince is like the boat, the people, like the water. Water can support the boat, but can also overturn it.” — a sentiment appropos to the public’s current recession-fueled unrest by Confucius.

“True patriotism exists where citizens love their country enough to hold it accountable.” — Minister Oliver Thomas

“All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side … The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” — George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism


“In his native state, man may be a brutish and bloodthirsty creature, but it is when man is imbued with the notion that he is doing God’s Work does he truly become a monster.” — Metavirus

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Mahatma Gandhi

“Say what you will about the fundamentally ludicrous tenets of Christianity, the thing that really gets to me about all of this is the cafeteria approach to the beliefs Christians claim to hold (i.e. “Well, today I’ll have the anti-gay-marriage salad, stem-cell parfait and a diet coke, but please hold the deadly-sin-of-greed garnish, sex-before-marriage breadsticks and bearing-false-witness lemon squares.”).” — Library Grape

“Religion only happens because the human brain’s capacity for pattern recognition is slightly overdeveloped.” — Tim F. at Balloon Juice

“Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration – courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth.” — H.L. Mencken, “Autobiographical Notes” (1925)

“Fear prophets and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.” — Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose


“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” — Charles Darwin, Descent of Man, 1871


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