top liberal quotes

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In response to a recent comment on my review of William Martin's What Liberals Believe, I was asked to share a few of my favorite quotes from the book. I was going to share a "top ten" list, but decided to go for a baker's dozen instead:

Here's a wonderful retort to small-government conservatives:

"Other than telling us how to live, think, marry, pray, vote, invest, educate our children, and, now, die, I think the Republicans have done a fine job of getting government out of our personal lives." (p. 36, editorial page, Portland Oregonian, 19 June 2005)

I used this quote when criticizing George Will's ANWR errors:

"That's what happened to Jimmy Carter--he asked Americans to take responsibility for their profligate ways, and promptly lost to Ronald Reagan, who told them once again that they could do anything they wanted." (p. 125, Jane Smiley, "The Unteachable Ignorance of the Red States," Slate, 4 November 2004)

Although I'm an atheist, these two pro-Christian quotes are well worth pondering (the second one I had read a long time ago, but hadn't added to my commonplace book):

"Liberalism is secular Christianity." (p. 115, anonymous)

"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth can save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you." (p. 128, Jesus, The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas)

I laughed out loud over this one:

"Jesse Helms and Newt Gingrich were shaking hands congratulating themselves on the introduction of an anti-gay bill in Congress. If it passes, they won't be able to shake hands, because it will then be illegal for a prick to touch an asshole." (p. 248, Judy Carter, "Editor's Bit," BC Magazine, 16 June 2005)

TR would be appalled at the depths to which his (former) party has sunk over the past century:

"There once was a time in history when the limitation of governmental power meant increasing liberty for the people. In the present day the limitation of governmental power, of governmental actions, means the enslavement of the people by the great corporations." (p. 279, Theodore Roosevelt, Progressive Principles: Selections from Addresses Made During the Presidential Campaign of 1912)

Mencken was a hell-raiser of historic proportions, and funny to boot:

"It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is forbidden to resort to physics and chemistry." (p. 340, H.L. Mencken, Minority Report, 1956)

So was the great anarchist Emma Goldman:

"The most unpardonable sin in society is independence of thought." (p. 380, Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays, 1910)

Krugman does a great job here:

"If Bush said the earth was flat, the mainstream media would have stories with the headline: 'Shape of the Earth--Views Differ.' Then they'd quote some Democrat saying that it was round." (p. 364, Paul Krugman, interviewed by Terence McNally, "The Professor Takes the Gloves Off," AlterNet, 12 November 2003)

This was depressingly prescient concerning Jonah Goldberg's screed Liberal Fascism:

"Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal." (p. 636, Ronald Reagan, Time, 17 May 1976)

We could really use a Schlesinger today:

"Human rights is not a religious idea. It is a secular idea, the product of the last four centuries of Western history. ... The basic human rights documents--the American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man--were written by political, not religious, leaders." (p. 33, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., 1989 speech at Brown University, quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief)
"The great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights in the contemporary sense--not only for their acquiescence in poverty, inequality and oppression, but for their enthusiastic justification of slavery, persecution, torture and genocide." (p. 506, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Cycles of American History, 1999)

These words are especially apropos for this coming weekend:

"It occurs to me that my patriotic duty is to recapture my flag from the men now waving it in the name of jingoism and censorship." (p. 395, Barbara Kingsolver, "And Our Flag Was Still There," San Francisco Chronicle, 25 September 2001)

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on July 1, 2008 9:23 PM.

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