This Week In Quotes: July 29 – Aug 2


It’s a wonderment to me that the Government Workers and Government Clients spend so much time and effort assiduously insuring that their incomes always rise, but then, when taxpayers, who are after all signing these checks, object that they’d like to see property tax rates capped so that they themselves can have a little more money themselves, say to the taxpayers: “How dare you.”

The scary thing is that they seem to actually mean it. Like, it’s not just theater. They are so gripped by their self-deception they’re aghast at seeing someone else wish for a little extra money to spend as he pleases. — Ace

(Obama has) never even had a real job, for God’s sake. — House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)

In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party. This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them. The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and his family for any injury we have caused. — The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

If you want to fine Catholic hospitals for following Catholic teaching, or prevent Jewish parents from circumcising their sons, or ban Chick-fil-A in Boston, then don’t tell religious people that you respect our freedoms. Say what you really think: that the exercise of our religion threatens all that’s good and decent, and that you’re going to use the levers of power to bend us to your will. — Ross Douthat

My pessimism is supported by a simple historical observation. The achievements of the last 25 years were actually not that big a deal compared with what we did in the preceding 25 years, 1961-1986 (e.g. landing men on the moon). And the 25 years before that, 1935-1960, were even more impressive (e.g. splitting the atom). In the words of Peter Thiel, perhaps the lone skeptic within a hundred miles of Palo Alto: In our youth we were promised flying cars. What did we get? 140 characters. — Niall Ferguson

It’s a dangerous world. Ask anyone who works in the world of intelligence to list the biggest threats we face, and they’ll likely include bioterrorism, cyber war, and nuclear proliferation. What these have in common, of course, is the way modern technology can empower radicalized (or just plain crazy) individuals and groups. — Niall Ferguson

I wish I were a technoptimist. It must be heart-warming to believe that Facebook is ushering in a happy-clappy world where everybody “friends” everybody else and we all surf the net in peace (insert smiley face). But I’m afraid history makes me a depressimist. And no, there’s not an app–or a gene–that can cure that. — Niall Ferguson

I finally threw out my old syllabi last month: the 1985 Greek Literature in Translation course at CSU Fresno seemed to read like a Harvard class in comparison to my 2003 version with half the reading, half the writing, and all sorts of directions on how to make up missed work and flunked exams. It wasn’t just that I lost my standards, but that I lost my students who could read. — Victor Davis Hanson

The word is out (Mitt Romney) hasn’t paid taxes for 10 years. — Harry Reid

I am not basing (the claim Mitt Romney hasn’t paid taxes) on some figment of my imagination. I have had a number of people tell me that. I don’t think the burden should be on me. The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes. — Harry Reid

(Mitt Romney’s) poor father must be so embarrassed about his son. )A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office) Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years. He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain. But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look? — Harry Reid

Israel is also a telling example. Like the United States, the state of Israel has a culture that is based upon individual freedom and the rule of law. It is a democracy that has embraced liberty, both political and economic. This embrace has created conditions that have enabled innovators and entrepreneurs to make the desert bloom. In the face of improbable odds, Israel today is a world leader in fields ranging from medicine to information technology. — Mitt Romney

In today’s culture of immediate reward, a work ethic centering on self-discipline and the ability to defer gratification is almost, to use a favorite term of the avant-garde, transgressive. Hmm: With so much of our economy and politics now based on the absence of those characteristics, maybe it really is a bit transgressive.

But those mores just may be making a comeback in these tough times. The fact is, self-discipline and the ability to defer gratification really do help you get ahead, avoid debt and feel more in control of your life.

In boom times, even slackers can do well enough (or borrow enough to seem to) to make those rules seem old-fashioned and unnecessary. But when the bust comes, reality reasserts itself and those trite sayings (“waste not, want not,” “neither a borrower nor a lender be,” etc. – Kipling’s “Gods of the Copybook Headings”) turn out to be not so much trite, as true. — Glenn Reynolds

It’s time for Harry to put up or shut up. — Mitt Romney

It was either Adolf Hitler or his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who said that the people will believe any lie, if it is big enough and told often enough, loud enough. Although the Nazis were defeated in World War II, this part of their philosophy survives triumphantly to this day among politicians, and nowhere more so than during election years. — Thomas Sowell

I wish you to be successful because this success is needed to the United States, of course, but to Europe and the rest of the world, too. Gov. Romney, get your success. Be successful! — Lech Walesa

You say, “Williams, you’re just old-fashioned and out of touch with modern society.” Maybe so, but I think that a society’s first line of defense is not the law but customs, traditions and moral values. These behavioral norms — transmitted by example, word of mouth, religious teachings, rules of etiquette and manners — represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages through experience and trial and error. They include important legal thou-shalt-nots — such as shalt not murder, steal, lie or cheat — but they also include all those civilities one might call ladylike or gentlemanly behavior. Police officers and courts can never replace these social restraints on personal conduct. At best, laws, police and the criminal justice system are a society’s last desperate line of defense. — Walter Williams

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