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Economy makes men independent.


  • Capitalism: You have two cows. Sell one. Buy a bull.
  • Communism: You have two cows. They are nationalized. You are liquidated as a class enemy of the proletariat.
  • Conservatism: You have two cows. Freeze the milk. Embalm the cows.
  • Fascism: You have two cows. Give the milk to the government. They sell it.
  • Nazism: You have two cows. The government shoots you and takes the cows.
  • New Dealism: You have two cows. The government shoots one, pours milk down sink.
  • Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.


The public doesn't know anything about wasting government money. We are the experts.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

When a government official spends one hundred sous more, this implies that the taxpayer spends on his own behalf one hundred sous the less. But the spending of the government official is seen, because it is done; while that of the taxpayer is not seen, because — alas! — he is prevented from doing it.

Frederic Bastiat

Labor (n): One of the processes by which A acquires property for B.

Ambrose Bierce

Economy (n): Purchasing the barrel of whiskey that you do not need for the price of the cow that you cannot afford.

Ambrose Bierce

Each peso is a contract between the government and the peso holder. That contract guarantees that each peso — as a unit of value that the holder has worked hard to get — will be worth as much tomorrow as today. If the government breaks that contract, it's breaking the law. The only role of government in the economy should be to guarantee the integrity of market transactions

Domingo Cavallo

Men do not realize how great a revenue economy is.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Social Credit was a monetary heresy devised in the 1920s by a Scottish engineer named C.H. Douglas, who was vexed by the eternal mystery of "poverty in the midst of plenty", and apparently deluded by certain analogies between the money economy and an electrical circuit.

Douglas theorized that capitalist societies suffered from a constant leakage of wealth that left consumers perpetually short of purchasing power and caused chronic and worsening "overproduction." The villains were fractional-reserve banks. Douglas did not see why private lenders should have the power to create money by, as he saw it, mere fiat. He proposed to nationalize credit — create a savings account for every citizen, inject fresh money into it every month or so, and offer loans to business willy-nilly at some low rate tied to econometric statistics.

This madness found a rapt audience amidst certain parts of Western society. Any economic sector deep in hock to the banks could see the genius in nationalizing them. To anti-Semites, Douglas's dislike for shadowy "financiers" was catnip. And engineers were easily swayed by one who spoke their language.

Colby Cosh

GDP may be accurate as a tally of how much our farms, factories, and offices produce, but it's increasingly inadequate as a measure of how well the economy provides us with what we want. Our ability to choose a balanced life is one of the market's most important success stories.

W. Michael Cox

Compared to previous generations, today's Americans are starting work later in life, spending less time on chores at home, and living longer after retirement. All told, 70 percent of a typical American's waking lifetime hours are available for leisure[ in 2002], up from 55 percent in 1950.

W. Michael Cox

[K]nowledge has become the key economic resource and the dominant, if not the only, source of competitive advantage.

Peter Drucker

A budget tell us what we can't afford, but it doesn't keep us from buying it.

William Feather

There is no free lunch.

Milton Friedman

When the United States was formed in 1776, it took 19 people on the farm to produce enough food for 20 people. So most of the people had to spend their time and efforts on growing food. Today, it's down to 1% or 2% to produce that food. Now just consider the vast amount of supposed unemployment that was produced by that. But there wasn't really any unemployment produced. What happened was that people who had formerly been tied up working in agriculture were freed by technological developments and improvements to do something else. That enabled us to have a better standard of living and a more extensive range of products.

Milton Friedman

You know, it's a mystery as to why people think Roosevelt's policies pulled us out of the Depression. The problem was that you had unemployed machines and unemployed people. How do you get them together by forming industrial cartels and keeping prices and wages up? That's what Roosevelt's policies in the New Deal amounted to. Essentially, increasing the role of government, enhancing the monopolistic position of labor, and creating as I said before the equivalent of price fixing cartels made things worse. So most of his policies were counterproductive.

Milton Friedman

It is an iron law of international economics that the Exploitation Police will swoop down and denounce anyone who creates new jobs, particularly in relatively poor areas. [. . .] The Exploitation Police make this sound almost criminal. In fact, it's the way capitalism has always expanded and the way that poor regions have traditionally turned themselves into less poor regions. To consider this sort of change deplorable is to miss the fact that business lives by ingenuity and perishes when it ceases to find new and cheaper ways to get its work done.

Robert Fulford

Economic forecasting was invented to make astrology look respectable.

John Kenneth Galbraith (attributed)

Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another. But if we face a monopolist we are at his mercy. And an authority directing the whole economic system would be the most powerful monopolist conceivable.

Friedrich A. Hayek

You cannot make a man worth a given amount by making it illegal for anyone to offer him anything less. You merely deprive him of the right to earn the amount that his abilities and situation would permit him to earn, while you deprive the community even of the moderate services that he is capable of rendering. In brief, for a low wage, you substitute unemployment. You do harm all around, with no comparable compensation.

Henry Hazlitt

It's as though our economic movers and shakers and our captains of industry don't even remember life before 1998 or 1999. They freaked out when the Dow went below 9000 as if they couldn't remember the time not so long ago that they freaked out because it went above 9000. Fools! I mean, my dog had a fit the first time he saw me use the vacuum cleaner, but when it didn't suck him up into it, he had it all figured out. Just chill out, don't make any sudden movements, and everything will be back to normal before you know it, only with cleaner floors. The more trouble you cause, the longer it takes before it's over. (Sluggo is available for your portfolio management, BTW.)

Lisa Higgins

Market Failure (n.): The inability of the market to recover from a blow by intervention.

Vernon Imrich

If we were directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we would soon want bread.

Thomas Jefferson

Economists were created to make weather forecasters look good.

David Jones

In the long run we are all dead.

John Maynard Keynes

The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.

John Maynard Keynes

You can't do serious economics unless you are willing to be playful. Economic theory is not a collection of dictums laid down by pompous authority figures. Mainly, it is a menagerie of thought experiments — parables, if you like — that are intended to capture the logic of economic processes in a simplified way. In the end, of course, ideas must be tested against the facts. But even to know what facts are relevant, you must play with those ideas in hypothetical settings. And I use the word 'play' advisedly: Innovative thinkers, in economics and other disciplines, often have a pronounced whimsical streak.

Paul Krugman

Christmas is the time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell government what they want and their kids pay for it.

Richard Lamm

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together.

Karl Marx

Affluence creates poverty.

Marshall McLuhan

Communism, like any other revealed religion, is largely made up of prophecies.

H.L. Mencken

For a country, everything will be lost when the jobs of an economist and a banker become highly respected professions.


As for Clinton's attitude toward the Haitians, why he's glad to invade their country. He's perfectly willing to shoot Haitians. But let them drive cabs in New York City? Oh no.

P.J. O'Rourke

While Europe sleepwalks toward a 35-hour work-week, we are moving toward the 35-hour day. The intense performance of our economy would be unattainable without the torrent of energy introduced by competitive female job candidates. American women revolutionized the workforce and the workplace. Future social and economic historians will probably judge that the entry of women into our workforce was the factor that broke the stranglehold of American trade unions and gave a new lease on life to those domestic industries able to adapt. American women were the Japanese cars of business labor relations: better, cheaper, dependable, and they defied the rules. Everybody had to work harder and smarter to survive, but the results have been a spectacular recovery of economic leadership and soaring national wealth.

Ralph Peters

In the United States [. . .] intensive progress has been rapid—leading to [. . .] a tendency to understate economic progress by ignoring improvements in quality and choice. The consumer price index (CPI) may include shampoo, but not the added safety of replacing a glass bottle with an unbreakable plastic one; a pair of slacks, but not the improvement of wrinkle-free fabric; housing, but not the now-standard central air-conditioning or the stain-resistant carpet; an automobile, but not its increased working life. The CPI does not pick up the convenience of 24-hour toll-free numbers or supermarkets and pharmacies open around the clock. These improvements are real, but they are much harder to count. So when they show up in higher prices, it's easy to attribute the increase to inflation. The result of ignoring incremental, intensive progress is a systematic underestimate of the standard of living.

Virginia Postrel

Deprive a mirror of its silver, and even the Tsar won't see his face.

Russian Proverb

An economist is a man that can tell you . . . what can happen under any given condition, and his guess is liable to be as good as anybody else's too.

Will Rogers

Thus, if consumer demand should increase for the goods or services of any private business, the private firm is delighted; it woos and welcomes the new business and expands its operations eagerly to fill the new orders. Government , in contrast, generally meets this situation by sourly urging or even ordering consumers to buy less, and allows shortages to develop, along with deterioration in the quality of its service. Thus, the increased consumer use of government streets in the cities is met by aggravated traffic congestion and by continuing denunciations and threats against people who drive their own cars. The New York City administration, for example, is continually threatening to outlaw the use of pivate cars in Manhattan, where congestion has been most troublesome. It is only government, of course, that would ever think of bludgeoning consumers this way. It is only government that has the audacity to "solve" traffic congestion by forcing private cars (or trucks or taxis or whatever) off the road. According to this principle, of course, the "ideal" solution to traffic congestion is simply to outlaw all vehicles!

Murray N. Rothbard

Minimum wage laws tragically generate unemployment, especially among the poorest and least skilled or educated workers . . . Because a minimum wage, of course, does not guarantee any worker's employment; it only prohibits, by force of law, anyone from being hired at the wage which would pay his employer to hire him.

Murray N. Rothbard

Do I have to turn in my libertarian decoder ring if the thought of people blowing $5,000 on handbags while a couple [of] billion people remain in absolute poverty turns my stomach just a bit?

Julian Sanchez

An economist who argues for restricting trade is almost as common today as a physician who favors leeching patients.

Julian Simon

Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer. The maxim is so self-evident, that it would be absurd to attempt to prove it. But in the mercantile system, the interest of the consumer is almost constantly sacrificed to that of the producer; and it seems to consider production, and not consumption, as the ultimate end and object of all industry and commerce.

Adam Smith

It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy . . . What is prudence in the conduct of every private family, can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom. If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better buy it of them with some part of the produce of our own industry, employed in a way in which we have some advantage.

Adam Smith

The value of any commodity, therefore, to the person who possess it, and who means not to use or consume it himself, but to exchange it for other commodities, is equal to the quantity of labour which it enables him to purchase or command. Labour, therefore, is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities.

Adam Smith

The pricing process is a social process. It is consummated by an intersection of all members of the society. All collaborate and co-operate, each in the particular role he has chosen for himself in the framework of the division of labor. Competing in co-operation and co-operating in competition all people are instrumental in bringing about the result, viz., the price structure of the market, the allocation of the share of each individual. These three events are not three different matters. They are only different aspects of one indivisible phenomenon which our analytical scrutiny separates into three parts.

Ludwig von Mises

Some five years back, the editors of yet another anthology for school readers put together a volume with some 400 (count 'em) short stories in it. How do you cram 400 short stories by Twain, Irving, Poe, Maupassant and Bierce into one book?

Simplicity itself. Skin, debone, demarrow, scarify, melt, render down and destroy. Every adjective that counted, every verb that moved, every metaphor that weighed more than a mosquito — out! Every simile that would have made a sub-moron's mouth twitch — gone! Any aside that explained the two-bit philosophy of a first-rate writer — lost!

Every story, slenderized, starved, bluepenciled, leeched and bled white, resembled every other story. Twain read like Poe read like Shakespeare read like Dostoevsky read like — in the finale — Edgar Guest. Every word of more than three syllables had been razored. Every image that demanded so much as one instant's attention — shot dead.

Ray Bradbury

An editor should have a pimp for a brother, so he'd have someone to look up to.

Gene Fowler

Editors wouldn't recognize good writing if it jumped into their laps, pulled their pants down and fellated them for three hours straight.

Emperor Misha I

Quiver before me —
As defender of style
I wield the red pen.

Emily Navarre

Education makes a greater difference between man and man than nature has made between man and brute.

John Adams

There's so much to learn and so much of it not worth learning.


Education ends in the classroom, but learning ends only with life.


Education means developing the mind, not stuffing the memory.


The Tree of Learning bears the noblest fruit, but noble fruit tastes bad.


He who has imagination with no learning has wings but no feet.


Teaching is the fine art of imparting knowledge without possessing it.


Department of Education officials favour comprehensive education because it ensures that when their own children leave their public schools they have minimal competition for places at Oxford and Cambridge.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

The officials at the Department of Education tell Labour governments that grammar schools are divisive and Conservative governments that they are expensive. Thus they preserve the comprehensives, keep the NUT happy, and never have to disturb the status quo.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

Comprehensive schools were introduced to abolish class distinction. Not between children, but between teachers. They have brought the salaries of NUT teachers from Secondary Moderns up to the level of the NAS teachers from the old Grammar Schools.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

Politicians complain that there is total anarchy in the classrooms and children are being taught subversive nonsense. But if there is total anarchy in the classrooms they won't even know they're being taught subversive nonsense.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

People think the government raised the school leaving age so that children could learn more. In fact they did it to keep teenagers off the job market and hold down the unemployment figures.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

The British Education System does all that is required of it. It keeps the children off the streets while their parents are at work.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

The PM complains that we're supposed to be preparing children for a working life and three quarters of the time they are bored stiff. I would have thought that being bored stiff three quarters of the time was an excellent preparation for a working life.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

A professor is one who talks in someone else's sleep.

W.H. Auden

To spend too much time in one's studies is sloth.

Francis Bacon

Since early in the 20th century . . . educators have had a mistrust of testing and competition and a yearning to protect children from their rigors. Educators ban tag and dodge ball, because some kids lose. Teacher unions seek tenure, higher pay, and lower accountability. Parents' expectations are often low: Mom and Dad, busy working in Hard America, don't want to notice that their kids are not learning much. There are exceptions of course: Many schools do a good job despite all this. But for most kids who are not on the track to the relatively few select colleges, junior high and high school are something like the Soviet system: They pretend to teach, and we pretend to learn.

Michael Barone

High School: An institution that offers impressionable adolescents a first- rate education in sociology, esp. the dynamics of clique formation and pecking orders. Other subjects include Comparative Partying Techniques for Minors, Sex 101, Celibacy for Math and Science Wonks, Theory and Practice of Drag Racing, Pregnancy 101, Sports for Would-Be Studs (the key: avoid golf), Empty Rhetoric for Student Council Aspirants, Male Bonding Through Social Alcoholism, and Living with Zits.

Rick Bayan

Lore (n): Learning, particularly that sort which is not derived from a regular course of instruction but comes from the reading of occult books, or by nature. This latter is commonly designated as folk-lore and embraces popularly myths and superstitions. One of the most general and ancient of these myths is that Arabian tale of "Ali Baba and the Forty Rockefellers."

Ambrose Bierce

Erudition (n): Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.

Ambrose Bierce

Lecturer (n): One with his hand in your pocket, his tongue in your ear and his faith in your patience.

Ambrose Bierce

Academe (n): An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught
Academy (n): (from Academe) A modern school where football is taught.

Ambrose Bierce

Education (n): That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.

Ambrose Bierce

Learning (n): The kind of ignorance distinguishing the studious.

Ambrose Bierce

The original "three R's" were "reading, reckoning, and rhetoric," a triad known to alarmingly few pedagogues.

Donald Chain Black

It is often easier for our children to obtain a gun than it is to find a good school. (Joycelyn Elders)
Maybe that's because guns are sold at a profit, while schools are provided by the government.

David Boaz

If I were advising a totalitarian regime on how to perpetuate itself, I would suggest rounding up all the children in the morning and locking them up in buildings where people would lecture them all day. Whatever else you do, cut them off from the world.

Jeremy Brecher

Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.

G.K. Chesterton

Our schools are, in a sense, factories, in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned into products to meet the various demands of life. The specifications for manufacturing come from the demands of twentieth-century civilization, and it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down.

Elwood Cubberley

Education has always been a minority interest in England. The English have generally preferred to keep the bloom of their ignorance intact and on the whole have succeeded remarkably well, despite a century and a quarter of compulsory schooling of their offspring.

Theodore Dalrymple

I want to live among people who can read, write, give correct change and name the capital of their state. Beyond that, I think education is a luxury that people should pay for themselves.

John Derbyshire

Whenever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to insure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.

Benjamin Disraeli

It is the studying that you do after your school days that really counts. Otherwise, you know only that which everyone else knows.

Henry L. Doherty

Getting an education from MIT is like trying to get a drink from a fire hose.

Richard P. Feynman

Creative minds always have been known to survive any kind of bad training.

Anna Freud

Riddle of the year: How is a public school like the U.S. Post Office?
Answer: It's inefficient, it costs more each year than the last, it is a perpetual subject of complaint about which nothing is ever done. It is, in short, a typical government monopoly.

David Friedman

If the only motive was to help people who could not afford education, advocates of government involvement would have simply proposed tuition subsidies.

Milton Friedman

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

Robert Frost

Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school. These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own messes. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt someone.Think what a better world it would be if we all — the whole world — had cookies and milk at 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and cleaned up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Robert Fulghum

In my high school French class we were supposed to read Hugo's Les Miserables. I don't think any of us knew French well enough to make our way through this enormous book. Like the rest of the class, I just skimmed the Cliff's Notes. When we were given a test on the book, I noticed that the questions sounded odd. They were full of long words that our teacher wouldn't have used. Where had these questions come from? From the Cliff's Notes, it turned out. The teacher was using them too. We were all just pretending.

Paul Graham

One of the marks of a genuinely educated person is that he respects the knowledge of others, even if he has not been so fortunate as to acquire it himself.

Edward L. Hart

[The schools reject] the idea of education as the acquisition of knowledge and skills [and instead] regard the fundamental task in education as therapy.

Samuel Hayakawa

"Why?" "Why not?" "What if?" "What then?" . . . Question everything.

Robert A. Heinlein

You can lead a boy to college, but you cannot make him think.

Elbert Hubbard

Perhaps the most valuable results of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not.

Thomas Henry Huxley

Pay attention in middle school physics class or Geeks will use your mind as a small, soft punching bag.


To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical. I have sworn on the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

Thomas Jefferson

[T]he result has been school systems that treat children as units to be processed into particular shapes and dropped into slots roughly congruent with the status of their parents.

Michael Katz

The first goal and primary function of the U.S. public school is not to educate good people, but good citizens. It is the function which we call in enemy nations "state indoctrination."

Jonathan Kozol

I owe a lot to my teachers and mean to pay them back someday.

Stephen Leacock

Nurture their growing minds! Water the tender shoots of their curiosity! Pack organic fertilizer around their burgeoning sense of wonder! Hose them down with the Miracle-Gro of free expression! Make low passes with a cropduster that sprays the broadband insectiside of learning!

James Lileks

The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother's care, shall be in state institutions at state expense.

Karl Marx

A highbrow is a person educated beyond his intelligence.

Brander Matthews

The evil growth of the more absurd forms of nationalism during the past century is probably largely due to the spread of free education. When the pedagogue becomes a public functionary his natural puerility and timidity are increased, and he is a docile propagandist of any doctrine enunciated by the politicians.

H.L. Mencken

I do not believe in education, and am glad I never went to a university. Beyond the rudiments, it is impossible to teach anything. All the rest the student acquires himself. His teacher merely makes it difficult for him. I never learned anything in school. As I look back, I remember but one teacher with pleasure. He saved me a whole year by insisting upon promoting me when all of the other asses were trying to teach me what I already knew.

H.L. Mencken

State education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly alike one another; . . . in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body.

John Stuart Mill

Get all the education you can: then add the learning.

Jack Miner

[T]o acquire knowledge is the duty of every Muslim, male or female.


At every hour of every day, I can tell you on which page of which book each schoolchild in Italy is studying.

Benito Mussolini

What is the task of higher education? To make a man into a machine. What are the means employed? He is taught how to suffer being bored.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Our major universities are now stuck with an army of pedestrian, toadying careerists, Fifties types who wave around Sixties banners to conceal their record of ruthless, beaverlike tunneling to the top.

Camille Paglia

I'm going to say it's the fault of the loopy-left granola fanatics that have decimated our education system. I can just SEE these pony-tailed tie-dyed sunken-eyed soy-eating hippie potheads sitting around staff room tables in the 1960s trying to decide on the curriculum for the next school year.

Bob, the hippie principal: "You know, we really should get rid of shop classes? Because metal and wood working is a skill? And kids who don't have skills won't get it? And it will make them feel bad? And damage their self-esteem?"
Bridgit, the angry libber and manly phys-ed teacher: "Yes, although the idea of eliminating shop classes has been presented by a MAN, and I know you will all agree because it was suggested by a MAN, we should eliminate shop as it is traditionally a course for MEN and BOYS and it's OPPRESSIVE to WOMYN everywhere. We should also kill the shop teacher, because he's a MAN."
Doogan, the mullet-wearing shop teacher: "Far out!"
Siobhan, the flipped out classics teacher: "Yes, we should be attempting to instill in the children entrusted to our stewardship a love of all things natural, of all things from the Goddess. And machine tools are not a gift of the Earth Mother Goddess. The Earth Mother Goddess gives us her gifts through her monthly flow, and the monthly gift is one of life and blood and joyous womynhood — machine tools and hard pointy things are NOT from the Goddess, and so should not be presented to the fragile little children. And although it has nothing to do with what we're talking about, I'm going to say the word 'Doula' now, simply because I like saying it, as it fills me with the womynly spirit of the Earth Mother Goodess, between whose legs the river of life flows: Doula. Doula. Doooooooulaaaaa . . ."
Steven, the sedated vice principal: "Ok, ok, ok . . . let me see if, like, I've got this? Oh, hey — thanks. <sucking noises> Man, this is good doob. Ok. So, we're agreed then? No shop classes next year? Because it's bad for the kids who can't get it, and it's oppressive to womyn, and we should be filling kids with drug-induced nonsense instead? All right! Agreed! Damn, but I've got the munchies something fierce. Pass me them Fritos."

Jonathan Piasecki

With very few exceptions, I watched for 14 years as student after student entered and left high school having learned next to nothing during his or her four-year term. And the problem is not in someone else's school district: It's systemic. My experience has convinced me that if the purpose of the public schools were to prevent children from acquiring an education, they could not do a better job than they are doing right now, at this very moment in classrooms all across the nation . . . Ours is an education system that labels children learning-disabled and then calls for more tax dollars to remediate the problem it created. It is an anti-intellectual, morally bankrupt system whose values-clarification classes and bogus drug- and sex-education programs contribute to the very addictions they sanctimoniously claim to solve. It is a system that crushes our children's intellectual curiosity and then demands they learn anyway . . . Our public educational system is a monopoly founded on anti- intellectualism and bogus theories of learning. As such, real education has always been its enemy, the single greatest threat to its very existence, a persistent reminder of its failed mission to teach our nation's children . . . Real education would put the child-detention centers we call schools out of business. Real education would close schools of education by forcing real subjects to be taught in them . . .

Edward A. Rauchut

The nation alone has the right to educate children.

Maximilien Robespierre

There is nothing so stupid as an educated man, if you get him off the thing he was educated in.

Will Rogers

The role of the schoolmaster is to collect little plastic lumps of human dough from private households and shape them on the social kneadingboard.

Edward Ross

Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property . . . He must be taught to amass wealth, but it must be only to increase his power of contributing to the wants and demands of the state . . . [Education] can be done effectually only by the interference and aid of the Legislature.

Benjamin Rush

The first duty of a State is to see that every child born therein shall be well housed, clothed, fed, and educated, till it attain years of discretion. But in order to the effecting this the Government must have an authority over the people of which we now do not so much as dream.

John Ruskin

The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school.

George Bernard Shaw

Considering the 100% negative contribution they make to it, public school teachers are the most obscenely overpaid individuals in our civilization and that someday history will recognize the public school system as an atrocity comparable to the Soviet system of gulags, or, more appropriately, to the Soviet system of psychiatric hospitals that were used to medicalize and eradicate dissent.

The public school system must be abolished, its buildings razed to the ground so that not one stone is left standing on another, and salt sown on the ruins.

L. Neil Smith

Graduate School is the snooze button on the alarm clock of life.

Jim Squire

The entire American education system seems to exist mainly to promote "self-esteem". That's bad enough if you're an already insufferable prom queen with fabulous hooters. But for less favoured high-school types the cult of self-esteem might just tip you from festering geek into narcissistic psycho. If I understand correctly the educational philosophy underlying the English public school, the idea seems to be to reduce self-esteem to undetectable levels within two weeks of the start of term. On the whole, that seems the shrewder option.

Mark Steyn

High school is the place where you learn the rules that will apply for the rest of your life: Might makes right, humans form herds just like any other animal, rumors will beat facts every time, pretty people can get away with anything, etc. [. . .] Of course, I was such a huge nerd that the captain of the Chess Club gave me a wedgie and stuffed me into my locker. But I'm not bitter. . .

Jim Treacher

Those who can — do. Those who cannot — teach. Those who cannot teach — teach educational studies.

The Underground Grammarian

An academic is someone who worries that what works in practice won't work in theory.

Andrew Tobias

If I had taken a doctoral degree, it would have stifled any writing capacity.

Barbara Tuchman

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Mark Twain

First God made idiots; that was for practice; then He made school boards.

Mark Twain

The search for the one best system has ill-served the pluralistic character of American society . . . [bureaucratization] has often perpetuated positions and outworn practices rather than serving the clients, the children to be taught.

David Tyack

Make me the master of education, and I will undertake to change the world.

Baron Gottfried von Liebnitz

The secret of the superiority of state over private education lies in the fact that in the former the teacher is responsible to society . . . [T]he result desired by the state is a wholly different one from that desired by parents, guardians, and pupils.

Lester Frank Ward

College graduates are useless for a year after they get out into the real world, except for people from MIT. _They're_ useless for two years. . .

Thomas J. Watson

Anyone who has been to an English public school will feel comparatively at home in prison.

Evelyn Waugh

The current state of public education can be summed up the experience of a former coworker: One of her son's requirements for high school graduation was mandatory volunteer work.

Nobody caught the contradictions of that term.

Jim Werbaneth

Learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you.

T.H. White

Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that's worth knowing can be taught.

Oscar Wilde

Without education, you're not going anywhere in this world.

Malcolm X

We participate less in politics for the same reason we stopped going to drive-in movies the way we used to, getting married as teenagers, making dinner at home, and, for men at least, wearing blue suits with white shirts and red ties: not because we can't, but because we don't want to. Our flesh is not weak when it comes to voting; it's just not willing.

The center of gravity in American life has shifted away from partisan politics and into other areas of activity in which individuals (and groups of individuals) have far greater hopes for gaining satisfaction. The big story in American life over the past few decades is not the decline in voter participation but the ever-increasing proliferation of options, of choices, and of identities in everyday life.

Nick Gillespie

I do not trust electricity. I know that touching any wire will cause my skeleton to blink on and off, and possibly cause my intestines to spell out the words EAT AT JOE'S. Even if I set every fuse to the OFF position, I know that I will have missed some crucial detail, and the quick result of starting the job will be a mouth full of melted filings and a spreading stain on the front of my trousers. I won't be at ease unless the poles have been felled and the power lines severed with an axe; even then I will heap suet around the ends of the wires, and watch squirrels feed on the mixture, waiting for a zap, a puff, a wisp of squirrel-scented smoke curling towards heaven.

James Lileks

In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.


Eloquence (n): The art of orally persuading fools that white is the color it appears to be. It includes the gift of making any color appear white.

Ambrose Bierce

Loquacity (n): A disorder which renders the sufferer unable to curb his tongue when you wish to talk.

Ambrose Bierce

Least said is soonest disavowed.

Ambrose Bierce

Watching Canadians have a flame war is like watching the girls in the fifth form dorm attack each other with sticks of candy floss.

Nicholas Barker

As you Internet users know, most e-mail comes from "spammers," who are the mutant spawn of a bizarre reproductive act involving a telemarketer, Larry Flynt, a tapeworm, and an executive of the Third Class mail industry. Every day I get dozens, sometimes hundreds, of e-mails from these people, almost always trying to sell me one of four things: (1) pornography; (2) Viagra; (3) a product for the man who is not satisfied with his natural self and would like to increase, by as much as three inches, the size of his endowment; or (4) a low-interest mortgage.

Why are there so many e-mail ads for these products? Does anybody buy them? Is there a town somewhere, called Spamville, where the men consume Viagra and pornography in bulk quantities, then lurch around in a lust-crazed frenzy, their huge artificially enhanced endowments knocking holes in their walls, so eventually their houses fall down, forcing them to purchase new ones, using low-interest mortgages?

Dave Barry

"This message is a handmade product. Variations in spelling, grammar, and factual accuracy enhance its natural character and are not defects."

Mark Clear

I get a minimum of two Viagra emails per day, and last year, I had a rash of enlargement emails that made me wonder if my ex-girlfriend was publishing a newsletter. And don't even get me started on gay porn emails. Call me a homophobe if you want. I resent the assumption. I'm a great cook, and I have a flair for accessorizing. That doesn't prove a damn thing. None of these emails are particularly flattering. Apparently, I'm an impotent, porn-addicted gay man who shouldn't waste his money on Viagra because in my case, the results aren't worth the effort.

Steve H.

My name has been sold and resold to everyone, so every day brings a blast of e-mail. What fascinates me about this stuff is how stupid these people truly are. For example: The new trick is to use my own name as the sender of the mail, so it looks as if I'm trying to sell myself an AMAZING herbal cream to rub on my mortgage, or a weight-loss secret that will help me save up to 784 percent on my toner cartridge bills.

Let's look at today's harvest of spam. Subject line of the day: incidisseque roztahovat fence Forget the market. Done. The market is forgotten. But I'm still trying to wrap my brain around "Incididsseque Roztahovat," which sounds like someone set a Frenchman on fire and a Hungarian stamped out the flames. Then you get these odd spasms of numbers, as if the computer has become afflicted with Tourette's syndrome:


I know what they're thinking — that I'm expecting a letter from my old friend qi4xmtg12, and I'll be taken in by a letter that's from qi4xmtg21. They almost had me there.

James Lileks

You think [this list] has nasty personal attacks? This is kid stuff. Try subscribing to some of the classical music lists and asking about the appropriate amount of vibrato to use when performing music of Composer X. You haven't been truly flamed until you've participated in a Wobble War. Those folks get vicious.

Kat Nagel

Expert: "X" is the unknown, "spurt" is a drip under pressure.


It's better to retire too soon than too late.


Farm: What a city man dreams of at 5 pm, never at 5 am.


Bower's Law: Talent goes to where the action is.


There may be luck in getting a new job, but there's no luck in keeping it.


The only time some people work like a horse is when the boss rides them.


Strike while your employer has a big contract.

Ambrose Bierce

Overwork (n): A dangerous disorder affecting high public functionaries who want to go fishing.

Ambrose Bierce

Abasement (n): A decent and customary mental attitude in the presence of wealth or power. Peculiarly appropriate in an employee when addressing an employer.

Ambrose Bierce

Once in a while there's wisdom in recognizing that the Boss is.

Malcolm Forbes

If you have a job without any aggravations, you don't have a job.

Malcolm Forbes

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you'll be fired with enthusiasm.

Vince Lombardi

You-Won't-Get-Credit-For-It Theory: He who bases his actions solely on the belief that his efforts will be appreciated by others is doomed to disappointment. The safest assumption is that, at best, your efforts will go unnoticed; at worst, they will be held against you.

Robert J. Ringer

Quick-as-Hell Employment Theory: Simply remove all forms of welfare and unemployment compensation, and people who "can't find jobs" will find them quick as hell.

Robert J. Ringer

I want to share something with you: The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number one, "Cover for me." Number two, "Oh, good idea, boss!" Number three, "It was like that when I got here."

Homer Simpson

Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American Dream?

Homer Simpson

Lisa, if you don't like your job, you don't strike. . .you just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way.

Homer Simpson

To judge whether a workman is fit to be employed, may surely be trusted to the discretion of the employers whose interest it so much concerns. The affected anxiety of the law-giver lest they should employ and improper person, is evidently as impertinent as it is oppressive.

Adam Smith

To find a career to which you are adapted by nature, and then to work hard at it is about as near to a formula for success and happiness as the world provides.

Mark Sullivan

Even paranoids have enemies.


Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.


By definition, you're not paranoid if they really are out to get you.


Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate — and quickly.

Robert A. Heinlein

Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?

Abraham Lincoln

"At least be my enemy!" — thus speaks true awe, which dares not ask for friendship.

Friedrich Nietzsche

I've always believed in making your enemies' worst nightmares come true if you possibly can.

L. Neil Smith

Always forgive your enemies — nothing annoys them so much.

Oscar Wilde

The concept seems to be clear by now. It has been defined several times by examples of what it is not.


I would counsel you to dissuade (as I always do . . .) your friend from making an Engineer of his son — starvation is quite as plentiful as with any other profession . . .

Isembard Kingdom Brunel

Conservation of Elegance Law: Inefficiency at one level breeds kludges at the next level.

David Cheriton

One of the things you learn as an engineer is some problems can't be solved in any acceptable way, no matter how much you might wish it were otherwise. As far as technical problems go, sometimes it's because the technology doesn't exist to do it well, or sometimes it's because all conceivable solutions would in turn create new problems which would be worse. Sometimes the solution would cost more than you're willing to pay. Sometimes implementation of a solution would take so long as to make the solution irrelevant.

Sometimes the situation changes and a solution becomes possible, but sometimes it doesn't. Some things like that last for decades.

Steven Den Beste

Unless the specification states otherwise, we must assume that circuit delay varies in accord with changes in supply voltage, ambient temperature, time, and the Dow-Jones index.

J.H. Haynes

Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig. Pretty soon you realize they both enjoy it.

Peter Newman

I could tell I was in England because I was sitting in the rain under a wet blanket in a muddy field listening to some fucking orchestra in a kind of red tent playing hits from American movie soundtracks. Is there anywhere else in the world where people would do such a thing? Anywhere? Would they do it in Italy? Would they do it in Tierra del Fuego? Would they do it on Baffin Island? No. Even in Japan where national pastimes include ripping out your own intestines with a knife, I think they would draw the line.

Douglas Adams

The Foreign Office has three national groups that it loves: first, the Arabs, then the Germans, and then the Americans. It also has three groups that it hates: the Russians, the French, and worst of all the Israelis. That's why Suez was such a trauma for the FO — the government sided with the French and Israelis against the Arabs and Americans.

Sir Humphrey Appleby

The English are no nearer than they were a hundred years ago to knowing what Jefferson really meant when he said that God had created all men equal.

G.K. Chesterton

Do you have any idea what it is like being English? We're all terrified of embarrassment.

John Cleese

The World Cup has assumed a vast and exaggerated importance in England's otherwise utterly empty national life. Nature hating a vaccuum like the average English mind, it has hastened to fill it with football: Though, in truth, the English are very mediocre even at the sport they so unfortunately gave to the rest of the world.

Theodore Dalrymple

The most modern poets have been the English. No other country can match the line stretching from Wordsworth to Kipling. By the same token England has been notably backward in all the other arts. This seems to me to be an indication that English civilization is somewhat behind the procession, for poetry belongs to a relatively early stage of culture.

H.L. Mencken

The English know how to make the best of things. Their so-called muddling through is simply skill at dealing with the inevitable. Whenever they confront it they make a frank and usually successful effort to evade it or conceal it. There are probably fewer world-savers in England than in any other country. It has never produced a Tolstoy or a Karl Marx.

H.L. Mencken

This [. . .] is what that stupid Welsh nationalism and Scottish nationalism — Sean Connery and devolution and all that — has done: created English nationalism, for the first time in ages. And English nationalism is sometimes not pretty.

Jay Nordlinger

Industrialization came to England but has since left.

P.J. O'Rourke

The folly of asking an Irishman to remember anything when asking him to fight for England was apparent to everyone outside the Castle . . . Remembering Belgium and her broken treaty led Irishmen to remember Limerick and its broken treaty and the recruiting ended in a rebellion, in suppressing which the British artillery quite unnecessarily reduced the centre of Dublin to ruins, and the British commanders killed their leading prisoners of war in cold blood morning after morning with an effect of long-drawn-out ferocity. Really it was the usual childish petulance in which John Bull does things in a week that disgraces him for a century, though he soon recovers his good humour, and cannot understand why the survivors of his wrath do not feel as jolly with him as he with them.

George Bernard Shaw

Cement a European future that finally fixes British identity and interests. Make peace in Europe, set a date for a euro referendum, recognise that compromise with the filthy French is better than being dragged along in the dust of White House war chariots.

Polly Toynbee

The English people are like the English beer. Froth on top, dregs at the bottom, the middle excellent.

Francois-Marie Arouet Voltaire

Charm is the great English blight. It does not exist outside these damp islands. It spots and kills anything it touches.

Evelyn Waugh

England has always been something of a joke to our continental neighbours because of its sexual oddities — the French even call flagellation le vice Anglais. An 18th century headmistress described how a rich old banker paid her a large sum to punish her pupils once a week, while he peered through the hole in the next room and watched them being beaten on their bare behinds. This feverish interest in sex may have something to do with our natural puritanism which makes us relish scandals — particularly when they concern the famous and the royal family. It also explains why we enjoy gasping in horror while the tabloids serve up more prurient details.

Colin Wilson

Modern English is the Wal-Mart of languages: convenient, huge, hard to avoid, superficially friendly, and devouring all rivals in its eagerness to expand.

Mark Abley

Basic English is essentially Rapping, but censored and without the beat.

Jay Bowks

English is essentially bad Dutch with outrageously pronounced French and Latin vocabulary.

Eugene Holman

English is essentially Norse as spoken by a gang of French thugs.

B. Philip Jonsson

[Do] you know what English is? The result of the efforts of Norman men-at-arms to make dates with Saxon barmaids in the Ninth Century, and no more legitimate than any of the other results.

H. Beam Piper

American English is essentially English after having been wiped off with a dirty sponge.

J.R.R. Tolkien

English is essentially Low German plus even lower French minus any sense of culture.

Danny Weir

Whatever their faults, the Communists never created canned laughter.


There's less to this than meets the eye.

Tallulah Bankhead

Entertainment (n): Any kind of amusement whose inroads stop short of death by dejection.

Ambrose Bierce

Opera (n): A play representing life in another world, whose inhabitants have no speech but song, no motions but gestures, and no postures but attitudes. All acting is simulation, and the word simulation is from simia, an ape; but in opera the actor takes for his model Simia audibilis (or Pithecanthropus stentor) the ape that howls.

Ambrose Bierce

Gallows (n): A stage for the performance of miracle plays, in which the leading actor is translated to heaven. In this country the gallows is chiefly remarkable for the number of persons who escape it.

Ambrose Bierce

Pantomime (n): A play in which the story is told without violence to the language. The least disagreeable form of dramatic action.

Ambrose Bierce

[This] is the future of culture: the crap-filters are off. Now we'll see the difference between banal mass-market drivel and true untutored garbage. Now we'll learn that it actually takes skill to make a bad TV sitcom. Even if the jokes are dreadful, it takes actors, lighting directors, cameramen, set directors, costumers, etc — all of whom probably have more talent than the enterprise requires. We're going to learn what it looks like when everyone involved in a creative enterprise lacks the rudiments of the craft.

James Lileks

With Epcot Center the Disney corporation has accomplished something I didn't think possible in today's world. They have created a land of make-believe that's worse than regular life.

P.J. O'Rourke

It's hard to have a righteous opinion on the environment when you're as selfish and uninformed as I am. On one hand, I'm a cat-loving vegetarian who ought to care deeply about the caribou or koala bears or bats or whatever they have in Alaska. On the other hand, I live in California so I'd be willing to squeeze schoolchildren to death if I thought some oil would come out.

Scott Adams

How much oil is in the ground up there in Alaska anyway? In your heart you know that somewhere there's a guy in a cubicle who had to come up with an estimate for his boss. He probably didn't have the budget to do the kinds of tests he wanted to do so he just flew up there, stomped around in a big furry outfit, stuck some poles in the ground, and proclaimed it to contain five billion barrels of oil. He knew he'd be working someplace else before anyone was the wiser. As the data worked its way up the chain of management, every manager tacked on a few billion barrels to puff up his own importance. Now we're pretty sure that the entire planet Earth is comprised of nothing but two inches of topsoil covering a huge ball of oil.

Scott Adams

Make the case, if you can, that human beings are not entitled to greater moral consideration than dolphins solely by virtue of being more intelligent (on average). But why, then, crusade for dolphins while neglecting the moray eel, the grouper and the sponge? Because dolphins are more like — us? It seems there is a Great Chain of Being after all.

Colby Cosh

The environment presents a textbook case for tradeoffs between consumption and other aspects of life. [. . .] Levels of such major air pollutants as particulate matter, sulfur oxides, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and lead were at their peaks in 1970 or earlier. Levels of nitrogen oxides peaked in 1980. Water quality has improved since the 1960s, when authorities banned fishing in Lake Erie. Through government and private foundations, we're spending billions of dollars every year to preserve natural areas from development and save threatened species from extinction. [. . .] Taking better care of the environment is a natural extension of economic progress. [. . .] Exploitation of the environment is worst in poor countries, where the economic imperative lies in producing the food, goods, and services needed for daily life. Wealthier countries possess the means and motive for a balanced life, and they do a better job of taking care of their surroundings.

W. Michael Cox

In the 1970's, the world will undergo famines — hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. . . in 1985, when it is calculated — under the most optimistic scenario — that the major die-back will be over, . . .

Paul Ehrlich

Earthquakes are tough on the devout, whatever they believe. The earth shrugs; 30 thousand die. It's bad enough that this might be evidence of malevolence. What's worse is the fear that it's evidence of indifference. There is a God, but He's busy. Otherwise engaged. Leave a message at the sound of the tone. No religion has arisen to embrace the idea of a disinterested God, and you can understand why. There are the Deists, but that's a position paper, not a creed.

It's tough news for the environmentalists, too. A hard reminder: Nature is not our friend. Nature doesn't care. Put a museum filled with priceless artifacts on a fault line, and Nature would leave it alone for a million years — then swallow it whole without a thought.

James Lileks

A pleasant natural environment is a good — a luxury good, philosophical good, a moral goody-good, a good time for all. Whatever, we want it. If we want something, we should pay for it, with our labor or our cash. We shouldn't beg it, steal it, sit around wishing for it, or euchre the government into taking it by force.

P.J. O'Rourke

Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.

P.J. O'Rourke

People with a mission to save the earth want the earth to seem worse than it is so their mission will look more important.

P.J. O'Rourke

Some kind of central planning seems to be the object of most environmental activists. But why is a politburo expected to work better for plants than it did for Russians?

P.J. O'Rourke

The college idealists who fill the ranks of the environmental movement seem willing to do absolutely anything to save the biosphere, except take science courses and learn something about it.

P.J. O'Rourke

We run out of things all the time. We're way out of whale oil. Also, out of whalebones for corsets. Fortunately, the government of 150 years ago didn't have presidential commissions, Al Gore, and the other apparatus of worry our present government possesses, or Washington might have forseen this. Whale oil would have been rationed. A black market would have been created. Whale oil prices would have soared. All whales would have been killed immediately. And today we'd live in a dim, lampless world where Judy Collins sang duets with tuna fish and everybody had a waistline like Golda Meir. Instead, gaslights, petroleum-based whale-oil substitutes, electricity, and control-top panty hose were invented. When we ran out of whale oil, no one even noticed.

P.J. O'Rourke

Worshiping the earth is more fun than going to church. It's also closer. We can just step off the sidewalk. And sometimes we can get impressionable members of the opposite sex to perform sacramental rites with us. "Every drop of water wasted is a drop less of a wild and scenic river, Jennifer. We'd better double up in the shower."

P.J. O'Rourke

Beneath the rhetoric of survival, behind the Sierra Club calendars, beyond the movie-star appeals, lies a full-fledged ideology — an ideology every bit as powerful as Marxism and every bit as dangerous to individual freedom and human happiness. Like Marxism, it appeals to seemingly noble instincts: the longing for beauty, for harmony, for peace. It is the green road to serfdom.

Virginia Postrel

If Hobbes underestimated the sociability of man, Rousseau and his followers overestimated it; or, at least, they overestimated the sociability of primitive man. By contrasting the nobility and tranquility they claimed to see in rural nature and the Noble Savage with the all-too-evident filth, poverty and crowding in the booming cities of the Industrial Revolution, they secularized the Fall of Man. As their spiritual descendants today still do, they overlooked the fact that the urban poor had unanimously voted with their feet to escape an even nastier rural poverty.

The Rousseauian myth of technological Man as an ugly scab on the face of pristine Nature has become so pervasive in Western culture as to largely drive out the older opposing image of "Nature, red in tooth and claw" from the popular mind. Perhaps this was inevitable as humans achieved more and more control over their environment; protection from famine, plague, foul weather, predators, and other inconveniences of nature encouraged the fond delusion that only human nastiness makes the world a hard place.

Eric S. Raymond

If DDT were 100 percent safe, it would be the only 100 percent safe thing on the planet.

Thomas Sowell

Even if the Kyoto accords didn't deserve dumping in and of themselves, it would have been worth doing just for the pleasure of watching Europe go bananas.

Mark Steyn

Following Gummem Hussein's attack on the Great Satan, the Express declared "Polluter Bush An Oil Industry Stooge" and The Independent dismissed the President as a "pig-headed and blinkered politician in the pocket of the US oil companies". But enough of his good points. According to the eco-alarmists of the Seventies, there wasn't supposed to be any oil industry to be a stooge of by now. The oil was meant to run out by 2000. Being in the pocket of the oil companies should be about as lucrative as being in the pocket of the buggy-whip manufacturers. But somehow the environmental doom-mongers never learn — so concerned about reducing everybody else's toxic emissions, but determined to keep their own going at full blast.

Mark Steyn

I'd like to be an "environmentalist," really I would. I spend quite a bit of my time in the environment and I'm rather fond of it. But these days "environmentalism" is mostly unrelated to the environment: It's a cult, and, like most cults, heavy on ostentatious displays of self-denial, perfectly encapsulated by the time-consuming rituals of "recycling," an activity of no discernible benefit other than as a communal profession of faith.

Mark Steyn

If I understand this global-warming business correctly, the danger is that the waters will rise and drown the whole of Massachusetts, New York City, Long Island, the California coast and a few big cities on the Great Lakes — in other words, every Democratic enclave will be wiped out leaving only the solid Republican heartland. For American conservatives, it's hard to see what the downside to global warming is.

Mark Steyn

The UN's report on climate change, issued in January, insists that the 20th century was the warmest in the last millennium. But it measures the 11th through 19th centuries with one system (tree ring samples) and the 20th with another (thermometers). The resultant graph looks like a long bungalow with the Empire State Building tacked on one end — but only because the UN is using incompatible sets of data. That's why, according to their survey, most of the alleged warming occurred in the early 20th century, when America was a predominantly rural economy: If the UN report proves anything, it's that, as soon as folks got off their horses and starting buying automobiles, the rate of global warming slowed down. This is junk science of the most amateurish kind. Nonetheless, even though they'd only studied tree rings from the Northern Hemisphere, the UN declared the entire globe had warmed. Wisely, they refused to release the full report, just the executive summary, plus a press release from the eco-bureaucrats demonstrating that they'd proved what they set out to prove.

Mark Steyn

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.


Illustrious (adj): Suitably placed for the shafts of malice, envy and detraction.

Ambrose Bierce

Envy (n): Emulation adapted to the meanest capacity.

Ambrose Bierce

Hatred (n): A sentiment appropriate to the occasion of another's superiority.

Ambrose Bierce

The grass is always greener over the septic tank.

Erma Bombeck

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

Mark Twain

Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.

H.G. Wells

Whenever a friend succeeds, a little part of me dies.

Gore Vidal

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.


The defect of equality is that we only desire it with our superiors.

Henry Becque

Discriminate (v): To note the particulars in which one person or thing is, if possible, more objectionable than another.

Ambrose Bierce

The British have a curious attitude toward wealth: they desire it for themselves but wish to deny it to others. And so, not surprisingly, there are very few methods of acquiring wealth of which they approve. Among them is gambling.

When in 1991 the government instituted a National Lottery, Britons were hooked at once. It seemed to them that buying a winning ticket was a perfectly legitimate — perhaps the only perfectly legitimate — way of acquiring a lot of money. After all, everyone who buys a ticket has an equal chance: the effort and talent usually necessary to accumulate wealth are completely redundant. A mental defective has as much chance of winning as a genius, a slothful spendthrift as an industrious saver. This is what the British now mean when they talk of equality of opportunity.

Theodore Dalrymple

If the British happily accepted inequalities of wealth as being in the nature of things, indeed as both a precondition and a consequence of a free society, the pernicious effect of the National Lottery upon the morals of the nation would not be so great. It would merely be a bit of fun. But most Britons equate inequalities of wealth with inequity and injustice, and explain away their own urge for sudden enrichment as a kind of poor man's revenge upon a system that allows men to accumulate an unfairly large portion of the world's goods by talent and hard work. Even so, there is more rejoicing in Britain over the bankruptcy of one self-made millionaire than over the enrichment of 99 poor men.

Theodore Dalrymple

All men are created unequal.

Robert A. Heinlein

Those who see their lives as spoiled and wasted crave equality and fraternity more than they do freedom. If they clamour for freedom, it is but freedom to establish equality and uniformity. The passion for equality is partly a passion for anonymity: to be but one thread of the many that make up a tunic; one thread not distinguishable from the others. No one can then point us out, measure us against others, and expose our inferiority.

Eric Hoffer

So far is it from being true that men are naturally equal, that no two people can be half an hour together, but one shall acquire an evident superiority over the other.

Samuel Johnson

The trauma of the Sixties persuaded me that my generation's egalitarianism was a sentimental error . . . I now see the hierarchical as both beautiful and necessary. Efficiency liberates; egalitarianism tangles, delays, blocks, deadens.

Camille Paglia

It is difficult for any human being to share power already possessed. Authority over their women is the only power many males will ever enjoy. From Greece to the Ganges, half the world is afraid of girls and gratified by their subjugation. It is a prescription for cultural mediocrity, economic failure—and inexpressible boredom. The value added by the training and utilization of our female capital is an American secret weapon.

Ralph Peters

I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don't believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn't want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I'm not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn't know how to return the treatment.

Malcolm X

Ergonomic (adj) — Designed to ensure maximum discomfort in left-handed people.

Chip Rosenthal

You can fix it on the drawing board with an eraser or you can fix it on the site with a sledgehammer.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Esperanto still essentially sounds like Italian being mugged by Polish.

Mia S. Soderquist

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.


If it feels good, don't do it.


Moral (adj): Conforming to a local and mutable standard of right. Having the quality of general expediency.

Ambrose Bierce

Some people are worried about the difference between right and wrong. I'm worried about the difference between wrong and fun

P.J. O'Rourke

We should teach general ethics to both men and women, but sexual relationships themselves must not be policed. Sex, like the city streets, would be risk-free only in totalitarian regimes.

Camille Paglia

An ethical man is a Christian holding four aces.

Mark Twain

Thirty-seven percent of Americans who would refuse to buy stock on an insider tip would because it's wrong to do it. Thirty-seven percent of Americans who would refuse to buy stock on an insider tip would because the tip might not be any good.

Daniel Evan Weiss

Those who boggle at strong language are cowards, because it is real life which is shocking them, and weaklings like that are the very people who cause most harm to culture and character. They would like to see the nation grow up into a group of over-sensitive little people — masturbators of false culture of the type of St Aloysius, of whom it is said in the book of the monk Eustachius that when he heard a man breaking wind with deafening noise he immediately burst into tears and could only be consoled by prayers.

Jaroslav Hasek

[I]n the Washington, D.C., area at least, there used to be a euphemism for Jew, or Jewish: "Is he Canadian?" One would say, "Boy, there are lots of Canadians in this restaurant," or, "Bernie's dating a nice girl, but she's not a Canadian," or, "They don't let Canadians into that club, do they?" or, "I think she's half-Canadian." And so on.

Jay Nordlinger

The Four Horse Oppressors of the Apocalypse were Nutritional Deprivation, State of Belligerency, Widespread Transmittable Condition, and Terminal Inconvenience.

Official Politically Correct Dictionary

In considering the Holocaust, most attention has been given to its direct victims, as is appropriate. However, we must also consider that it was a form of self-administered lobotomy for Continental European culture.

It would not be surprising if the twin anti-modernist themes of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, now rapidly coalescing into a single nasty mess visible in many of the pro-Saddam demonstrations of the past year, become once again the predominant political-cultural theme in Western Continental Europe, overwhelming the decent and positive forces there that had previously prevailed.

James C. Bennett

Maybe there's a reason why the European politicians are so insincere: if they all frankly expressed what they really think of one another, there would be another war in Europe.

Steven Den Beste

European animosity toward the U.S. also has a snobbish component — an anti-bourgeois disdain that is the dual legacy of Europe's socialist Left and ancien régime Right. Notice how the latest "nuanced" European criticisms of America often start out on the Left — we're too hegemonic and don't care about the aspirations of poor countries — and then, in a blink of an eye, they veer to the aristocratic Right: we're a motley sort, promoting vulgar food and mass entertainment to corrupt the tastes of nations that have a much more refined tradition. That Europeans now eat at McDonald's and love Hollywood trash — that's simply the result of American corporate brainwashing.

Victor Davis Hanson

Like Europe's brave new worlds of the past, the European Union is in fact a deeply anti-democratic mechanism that elites can use to grab power while mouthing platitudes about "brotherhood," designed to appeal to the citizen's desire to participate in some kind of higher vision. The E.U.'s transnational government has nothing in place to ensure an institutional opposition — no bicameral legislature, no independent review by high courts, no veto power for individual member states. This authoritarian arrangement allows the E.U. to rule by diktat rather than by consensus and review. Rural Montanans can complain to their congressmen that Washington is out of touch; to whom will Estonians complain that Brussels has no right to decide what goes on their restaurant menus?

Victor Davis Hanson

The cold war was an aberration. Note how quickly the Europeans turned on America once 400 hostile divisions were no longer on their borders. They make up a big continent with a big population that deserves pride and power commensurate with their economy and population; so it is time for both of us to recognize that, bring the troops home or redeploy them in more friendly eastern European countries, and as friends let them develop their own military identity. Keeping 200,000 troops abroad to protect a rich continent is unhealthy for all parties involved.

Victor Davis Hanson

The European Union's greatest hubris is to imagine that it can completely overcome the historical allegiances and political cultures of Europe's many nations by creating a "European" man, freed entirely from local attachments and resentments, conflicting interests, ethnicity, and differing visions of the good life, and wedded instead to rationality, egalitarianism, secularism, and the enlightened rule of wise bureaucrats. No less utopian is the E.U.'s assumption, contrary to all economic reason, that a 35-hour workweek, retirement at 55, ever-longer vacations, extensive welfare benefits, and massive economic regulation can go together with swelling prosperity. All that makes this squaring of the circle plausible even in the short term is Europe's choice to spend little on defense, which allows more money to go to welfare programs — a choice itself resting on another utopian assumption: that the world has entered a new era in which disagreements between nations can be resolved peacefully, through the guidance and pressure of international organizations — above all, the United Nations. In reality, of course, Europe relies on the United States to take care of many of its defense needs.

Victor Davis Hanson

[Europeans are living] in the dream world of welfare, long vacations, guaranteed high pensions, and cradle-to-grave social security [and are yet to realize] they are not moving toward some sort of nirvana.

Vaclav Klaus

The enemies of free societies today are those who want to burden us down again with layer upon layer of regulations. We had that in Communist times. But now if you look at all the new rules and regulations of EU membership, layered bureaucracy is staging a comeback.

Vaclav Klaus

Europe has two strains inimical to American interests. One is the anti-globo anti-capitalism anti-everything nutballs like "Antiimperialista," an Italian organization raising money for the Iraqi "resistance." According to the BBC, which calls the group "anti-war," the money could buy weapons for Baathist terrorists. The technical term for groups like this is "The Enemy."

That's one problem. The other is demographic. There are millions of poor, male, unassimilated Muslims in European cities who agree with Red Ken about Bush, but share nothing else with the mayor. They'd be happy to give him the revolution he long desired. But Red Ken should reread his history: The ones who send the first wave to the scaffold comprise the next batch sacrificed for the cause.

You can scream all you like about how you supported Kyoto and opposed genetically modified food, Ken. They won't know what you're talking about. They won't even care.

James Lileks

How long until America is hit by European terrorists?

Maybe it's a stupid question. Probably so. But anti-Americanism in Europe is starting to resemble Islamic nutballism. Like a religion unhinged, it is desperately intense, gripped with eschatological certainties and devoted to an unswerving belief in a caricature that bears little resemblance to the actual nature of its enemy. Like Islamicists, the anti-Americans despise the Jews, although the latter group wouldn't get their hands dirty getting rid of them. They'd prefer the Jews went up in the attic for a while, sat quietly, and waited for the sound of boots on the steps. (Someone else's boots.)

James Lileks

I hate the French. I would love to be French, but cannot, and it is pointless to want to be French if you are not, and indeed you are an object of contempt! Fool! Be gone! Slither back to the merde-soaked fields of Belgique!

I jest. I don't hate the French. I admire them in many respects — painting, monarchical architecture, 19th century urban design, of course 19th century fiction. The 20th century has been a mixed bag — poisonous intellectual nonsense, from Marcuse to the neo-Stalinists and back again. But they interest me more than the Germans, who are either stolid & productive or alarmingly extroverted; Italy, as interesting as it is today, will never come up with a sequel to Rome: The Empire, and hence their past is much more interesting than they'll ever be. Spain: lovely. Next slide, please? Switzerland: lovely, but should I go there I'll hum a paraphrase of that wretched Jefferson Starship song: We built this city-state on Jewwwwish Gold! Unfair, I know, but them's the breaks.

James Lileks

Red Ken [Livingstone, Mayor of London] is a perfect symbol of Old Europe — not the Europe mired in the Bourbon past, the dusty histories of Ententes Cordiale, but the post-'68 Europe of knee-jerk pro-Marx anti-Americanism. Red Ken's ilk are a disaffected lot; they never got the revolution they sought so keenly. The system crushed their utopian dreams, and all they have to show for the struggle is an iron grip on academia, the media and the political structure of a dozen nations.

James Lileks

Most Americans would be astonished if they understood how few opportunities there are for Europeans to pursue adult education, to change careers, to learn new skills — or to recreate their lives. It's an adult version of being forced to retain your identity in junior high school forever.

Europeans demand security, no matter the price. Americans want a shot at the title.

Ralph Peters

Almost every European country was tainted by the Holocaust and Nazi occupation, but for the sake of the post-war settlement the world agreed to pretend only Germany was to blame. Not so. In France and Holland, the locals eagerly herded Jews onto those eastbound trains. In Belgium, industrial production went up under the Nazis. After half-a-century, the Continentals are sick of this guilt trip. They need to see Israel as the aggressor for their own psychological health. That's why that wacky Dutch broad who's married to the big Eurobanker keeps comparing Sharon to Hitler and Likud to the Nazis. It's a way of evening the score — "Sure, we had Hitler, you have Sharon; we have Auschwitz, you have Jenin." It's their way of belatedly taking a moral shower, a way of saying, "See, the score's one-one now. You're as bad as us. Let's just call it a draw and move on."

Mark Steyn

Other politicians sweat for weeks over a major 90-minute policy speech, hire the best writers, craft memorable phrases, and nobody notices. If you want to "re-shape the debate", as the cliche has it, all you need is a casual aside from Rummy. The concept of "old Europe" barely existed until Rumsfeld used it as a throwaway line a month and a half ago. Within a week, it became the dominant regional paradigm. Belgium — Old Europe. Bulgaria — New Europe. The entire map of the continent suddenly fell into place for the first time since the Cold War. Even those who indignantly huffed about this unacceptable insult seemed unable to resist confirming the truth of it.

Mark Steyn

Evil is that which one believes of others. It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake.

H.L. Mencken

Degrees do not matter . . . one does not bargain about inches of evil.

Ayn Rand

Evil is best recognized not by its objectives but by the methods it is willing to contemplate in pursuit of them.

Eric S. Raymond

The evil that men do lives after them;
the good is oft interred with their bones.

William Shakespeare

All modern men are descended from a wormlike creature, but it shows more on some people

Will Cuppy

Nevertheless, it is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.

H.L. Mencken

Mankind is supposed to have evolved in the treetops. But I have examined my sense of balance, the prehensility of my various appendages, and my attitude toward standing on anything higher than, say, political principles, and I have concluded that, personally, I evolved in the backseat of a car.

P.J. O'Rourke

You realise, of course, that this is a dead argument — no matter what the technique is, North Americans (in general) are not going to learn anything, as we are generally incapable of learning. Stick a fork in us, we're done. We might as well hand the evolutionary keys over to the cockroaches — we've had our time. Now it's their time.

Jonathan Piasecki

Humans have retained several reflexes, and for good reason too — they keep us alive. All of today's animals are reflexively attracted to fast motion in their field of vision. There were undoubtedly many animals that did not have this brain wiring, and these extinct animals are known by the scientific name, breakfast. If you're a two-ounce tree shrew or a one-ton wildebeest, something moves fast in the bushes it would behoove you to give it your undivided attention.

Bill Whittle

Exception (n): A thing which takes the liberty to differ from other things of its class, as an Honest man, a truthful woman, etc. "The exception proves the rule" is an expression constantly upon the lips of the ignorant, who parrot it from one another with never a thought of its absurdity. In the Latin, "Exceptio probat regulam" means that the exception tests the rule, puts it to the proof, not confirms it. The malefactor who drew the meaning from this excellent dictum and substituted a contrary one of his own exerted an evil power that appears to be immortal.

Ambrose Bierce

Exception Theory: He who makes an exception runs the risk of establishing a rule, because exceptions tend to become rules. One exception has a habit of leading to another, until life itself becomes one big exception.

Robert J. Ringer

Excess (n): In morals, an indulgence that enforces by appropriate penalties the law of moderation.

Ambrose Bierce

Glutton (n): A person who escapes the evils of moderation by committing dyspepsia.

Ambrose Bierce

Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.

Robert A. Heinlein

Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas. . . with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.

Hunter S. Thompson

Enough is never enough, and even more is usually inadequate.

Hunter S. Thompson

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

Mae West

Far duller than a serpent's tooth it is to spend a quiet youth.


I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

Fred Allen

If you start a program of diet and exercise NOW, in just a few weeks you can shed that extra 10 pounds, so when it's time to "hit the beach," you can put on that new bikini with the confidence that comes from knowing that you will immediately take off that new bikini, put on a bathrobe, and spend the rest of the weekend in your bedroom, weeping and eating Häagen-Dazs straight from the container.

Dave Barry

The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

Erma Bombeck

I hate to tell you what I did today. I already confessed to owning a Bowflex. This is even worse. I dragged an old "fitness rider" out of my garage. You remember these things. You sit on it like you're riding a bicycle, and you pull the handle and push the pedals, and it looks like you're having sex with an ironing board.

Steve H.

Inexpedient (adj): Not calculated to advance one's interests.

Ambrose Bierce

Horner's Five Thumb Postulate: Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.


Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.


Experience (n): The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.

Ambrose Bierce

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

Jim Horning

Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test before presenting the lesson.

Vernon Law

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.

Auguste Rodin

There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

Will Rogers

Learn what not to do from the experience of others. It's cheaper than your own.

J. Winter Smith

Man really knows nothing save what he has learned by his own experience.

Christopher M. Wieland

Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.

Oscar Wilde

Authority (n): Someone who can tell you more than you really care to know.

Ambrose Bierce

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.

Niels Bohr

Never do yourself what you can con an expert into doing for you.

Lois McMaster Bujold

Always listen to the experts. They will tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it.

Robert A. Heinlein

Consultant: An ordinary guy more than 50 miles from home.

Eric Sevareid

Gradualism in theory is perpetuity in practice.

William Lloyd Garrison

Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice.

Barry Goldwater

Was there ever an organization so devoted to the destruction of its own cause as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals?

Its members have in their smooth human hands one of the most ethically pure causes of our age — treating animals well — and they've managed to equate it with utter crackpottery. One suspects that PETA members were horrified by the collapse of the twin towers because of the hundreds of thousands of rats that perished in the rubble.

James Lileks

Extremists think that "communication" means agreeing with them.

Leo Rosten

If you're not a little bit uncomfortable with your position, it isn't radical enough. How can you be TOO principled? Take the most extreme position you can — you're claiming territory you won't have to fight for later, mostly with your "allies".

L. Neil Smith

Extroverts are easy for introverts to understand, because extroverts spend so much of their time working out who they are in voluble, and frequently inescapable, interaction with other people. They are as inscrutable as puppy dogs. But the street does not run both ways. Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion. They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion. As often as I have tried to explain the matter to extroverts, I have never sensed that any of them really understood. They listen for a moment and then go back to barking and yipping.

Jonathan Rauch

Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone.

Jonathan Rauch

With their endless appetite for talk and attention, extroverts also dominate social life, so they tend to set expectations. In our extrovertist society, being outgoing is considered normal and therefore desirable, a mark of happiness, confidence, leadership. Extroverts are seen as bighearted, vibrant, warm, empathic. "People person" is a compliment.

Jonathan Rauch

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