I want to rotate the quotations at the head of the blog, to save readers (or myself) becoming over-familiar with them. So when they have reached the 'contempt' stage, I will store them here. There's no logic to any of this - just bits and bobs that have struck me, at one time or another, as amusing or thought-provoking. Or just true.
The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.
- J S Mill, On Liberty, 1859
There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.
- P. J. O'Rourke
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
- C. S. Lewis
Four wheels move the body; two wheels move the soul.
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
- Noam Chomsky
‘The LSE can pay its diversity director £120,000 a year, but can’t pay its cooks and security guards a living wage. That’s disgusting.’
- Lord Glasman (Labour peer)
If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart.
- Socrates (or Solon, depending on who you ask)
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond.
- from Gerard Manley Hopkins, That Nature is a Herclitean Fire, and of the Comfort of the Resurrection (which has to be one of the best poem titles ever)
My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
- J B S Haldane
In the political language of today, people who want to keep what they have earned are said to be "greedy," while those who wish to take their earnings from them and give it to others (who will vote for them in return) show "compassion."
We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest.
- Georg Lichtenberg (d. 1799)
If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
- George Washington