Insightful quotations and aphorisms

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Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Gavin » 20 Feb 2013, 13:05

I thought we could have a thread here not for quotations from TD but from other people, when they're not intermingled with our posts. The posting of a quotation doesn't necessarily mean we admire the speaker without reservation, of course, but we admire the remark.

Some from Bertrand Russell:

"Never be diverted from the truth by what you want to be true."


"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."


Also formed as:

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts."


(It has always struck me that part of the problem with people who are not very intelligent or wise is that, by virtue of this, they don't know they are not very intelligent or wise. Thus they are unlikely to have respect, as we do, for people like TD, and we have empty vessels making the most noise.)
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Nathan » 06 Mar 2013, 17:02

I've always liked this one by Heraclitus, fatalistic though it may be:

Character is destiny
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Gavin » 02 Apr 2013, 02:07

"It's true liberals find liberals to be very nice and conservatives very nasty. But that's part of the narrow-mindedness of liberals."

- Roger Scruton
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Gavin » 11 Apr 2013, 11:39

"Our society lavishes much sentimental sympathy on imaginary victims, whose feckless behaviour is the real cause of their misfortune"

- Roger Scruton


"Political correctness does not seek to include the Other in our community, but to accept his otherness and allow him to live outside”

- Roger Scruton
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Gavin » 04 May 2013, 12:38

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

- Winston Churchill
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Nathan » 21 May 2013, 20:18

This quotation, which oddly enough I hadn't heard of before today, is particularly insightful as to how some people somehow actually can manage to think:

"Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Balanchine ballets, et al. don't redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history."

-Susan Sontag
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Michael » 21 May 2013, 22:22

One of my favourite insightful quotations, revealing the deep truth that meaning in life is made, not found or given:

I am not, indeed, inclined to speak ill of life, as many and even wise men have often done, nor am I sorry to have lived; for I have so lived that I do not think that I was born to no purpose.
-Marcus Tullius Cicero, "On Old Age" (De Senectute)
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Michael » 21 May 2013, 22:28

Another favourite of mine on meaning in life, from Goethe's Faust:

This is the highest wisdom that I own,
The best that mankind ever knew:
Freedom and life are earned by those alone
Who conquer them each day anew.


This heroic view of human life, sadly absent in much of our world today, is a creed by which I try my best to live.
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Mike » 21 May 2013, 22:36

Nathan: it's always worth bearing in mind with Susan Sontag that the phrase "beyond parody" might have been invented for her.
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Gavin » 04 Jun 2013, 14:34

"People are disposed to mistake predicting troubles for causing troubles and even for desiring troubles."

- Enoch Powell


This often reminds me of the treatment of Fjordman today.

Powell was indeed a man of supreme learning and of "impeccable anti-racist credentials", as Ed West notes in his latest book. He greatly respected other cultures, but thought it was a big mistake to try to mix them all together (no doubt because he understood them so well). If ever we saw a prophesy come true... Here is the direct link to his speech again.
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Connor » 06 Jun 2013, 06:01

That Enoch Powell line reminds me of another quote that I came across recently. Fittingly, this one comes from Edmund Burke - a man who foresaw Rivers of Blood in his era.

There is a most absurd and audacious Method of reasoning avowed by some Bigots and Enthusiasts, and through Fear assented to by some wiser and better Men; it is this. They argue against a fair Discussion of popular Prejudices, because, say they, tho' they would be found without any reasonable Support, yet the Discovery might be productive of the most dangerous Consequences. Absurd and blasphemous Notion! As if all Happiness was not connected with the Practice of Virtue, which necessarily depends upon the Knowledge of Truth.
- Edmund Burke


The public temperament apparently hasn't changed since then. As you said, people like Enoch Powell and Fjordman have since been ostracized for pursuing the "Knowledge of Truth."

On a related note: can you guess where I found this quote?

Give up? It was in the Preface to The Bell Curve.

I guess Charles Murray has a knack for prophesy himself.
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Gavin » 06 Jun 2013, 10:12

Thanks Connor. That's a great Burke quote there.
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Gavin » 23 Jun 2013, 18:09

"Popular culture today is bent on exalting the trivial, the indecent, the sarcastic, over the deep, the committed and the virtuous."

- Roger Scruton


"When truth threatens hope it is truth we usually sacrifice, often along with those who search for it."

- Roger Scruton
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Gavin » 30 Jun 2013, 00:00

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

- John Stuart Mill
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Re: Insightful quotations and aphorisms

Postby Grant » 02 Jul 2013, 08:03

Having recently bought TD's "Spoilt Rotten! The toxic cult of sentimentality", today I came across a quote from Mark Twain of which TD would undoubtedly approve. In a letter to a fellow named Will Bowen the marvellous Mr Clemens expressed his view on sentiment - "Do you know that this is simply mental and moral masturbation. It belongs eminently to the period usually devoted to physical masturbation and should be left there and outgrown. Will, you must forgive me, but I haven't the slightest sympathy with what the world calls Sentiment - not the slightest." Considering he buried three of his children and his wife, Mark Twain had every right to wallow in self-pity but took some of life's misfortunes with an equanimity others could well follow.
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