Out of Office

August 23, 2019

I'm taking the week off from the blog as I prepare for another series.  Here are some intriguing, inspiring, thought-provoking, and powerful quotes from conservative thinkers to tide you over until I return:

 

G. K. Chesterton, English writer/philosopher

“It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.”

 

“Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God.”

 

“Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion.  In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.”

 

“You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.”

 

“The secret of life lies in laughter and humility.”

 

“How many excellent thinkers have pointed out that political reform is useless until we produce a cultured populace?”

 

Yuval Levin, political theorist

“The statesman’s task is...not to drive society toward some particular ultimate and just condition but to create and constantly sustain a space in which the people may exercise their freedom and enjoy the benefits of life in society.”

 

“Man’s reliance on his imagination to guide even his reason is a natural fact crucially relevant to political life.  A successful political order must protect and sustain the ‘wardrobe of our moral imagination’ and never lose sight of its importance.”

 

Edmund Burke, British statesman

“Politics ought to be adjusted not to human reasoning but to human nature, of which reason is but a part, and by no means the greatest part.”
 

“Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

 

“Dark and inscrutable are the ways by which we come into the world.  The instincts which give rise to this mysterious process of nature are not of our making.  But out of physical causes, unknown to us, perhaps unknowable, arise moral duties, which, as we are able perfectly to comprehend, we are bound indispensably to perform.”

 

“Men must have a certain fund of natural moderation to qualify them for freedom, else it becomes noxious to themselves and a perfect nuisance to everybody else.”

 

Russell Kirk, political theorist

“All great systems, ethical or political, attain their ascendancy over the minds of men by virtue of their appeal to the imagination; and when they cease to touch the chords of wonder and mystery and hope, their power is lost, and men look elsewhere for some set of principles by which they may be guided.”

 

“Respect for the rights and duties of business does not mean that industrialists ought to write our laws and direct our state policies.”

 

“If most folk come to believe that our culture must collapse—why, then collapse it will.”

 

“Culture arises from the cult; and that when belief in the cult has been wretchedly enfeebled, the culture will decay swiftly.  The material order rests upon the spiritual order.”

 

“No cause worth upholding ever is lost altogether.”

 

“Deny a fact, and that fact will be your master.”

 

Thomas Sowell, writer/economist

“Cultural features do not exist merely as badges of ‘identity’ to which we have some emotional attachment.  They exist to meet the necessities and forward the purposes of human life.”

 

“Life does not ask what we want.  It presents us with options.”

 

“Economic policies need to be analyzed in terms of the incentives they create, rather than the hopes that inspired them.”

 

“Adam Smith had a high opinion of capitalism, despite his low opinion of capitalists.”

 

“When a company makes a million dollars in profits, that does not mean that its output would cost a million dollars less if produced by a non-profit organization or by a government-run enterprise.  Without the incentives and constraints created by the prospects of profit and the threat of losses, the same output might well cost millions of dollars more.”

 

“Knowledge is one of the scarcest of all resources.”

 

“If payments to foreign investors impoverished a nation, then the United States would be one of the most impoverished nations in the world.”

 

Roger Scruton, British philosopher

“There is great hunger for beauty in our world, and it is a hunger that popular art often fails to recognize and much serious art defies.”

 

“Religion and family are two realms of value.  But the first is increasingly marginal to the lives of modern urban people, and the second is beginning to lose its privileged status, as the forum in which peace and fulfilment are to be found.”

 

“You don’t need to regard marriage as a sacrament and a vow before God in order to adhere to the traditional view of it.  In every society of which records exist, marriage is seen as a bond between man and woman in which the whole of society has an interest.”

 

“The state can redistribute wealth only if wealth is created, and wealth is created by those who expect a share in it.”

 

“There is a line of obligation that connects us to those who gave us what we have; and our concern for the future is an extension of that line.”

 

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