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Quotations - WIST - Wish I'd Said That
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A personal, curated collection of quotations. Click through for more info on each quote.
A personal, curated collection of quotations. Click through for more info on each quote.

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The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government.

-- Hugo Black (1886-1971) American politician and jurist, US Supreme Court Justice (1937-71)
New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971) [Majority Opinion]

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[Dr. John] Campbell is a good man, a pious man. I am afraid he has not been in the inside of a church for many years; but he never passes a church without
pulling off his hat. This shews that he has good principles.

-- Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (1 Jul 1763)
In James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)

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The rich rob the poor, and the poor rob each other.

-- Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) American abolitionist, women's rights activist [b. Isabella Baumfree]
(Attributed)

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“Well?” said Greycat. “Does fortune smile upon us?”
“She smiles,” said Dunaan. “And she frowns.”
“How, at the same time?”
“Yes.”
“Fortune has a very flexible countenance.”
“That is well known.”

-- Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Five Hundred Years After (1994)

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The real problem is that through our scientific genius we’ve made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we’ve failed to make of it a brotherhood.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, activist, civil rights leader
“Rediscovering Lost Values,” sermon, Second Baptist Church, Detroit (28 Feb 1954)


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For Fiction is Truth’s elder sister. Obviously. No one in the world knew what truth was till somebody had told a story.

-- Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
A Book of Words, ch. 24 “Fiction” (1928)

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It is not merely that the ownership of any substantial share in the national wealth is concentrated to-day in the hands of a few hundred thousand families, and that at the end of an age which began with an affirmation of the rights of property, proprietary rights are, in fact, far from being widely distributed. Nor is it merely that what makes property insecure to-day is not the arbitrary taxation of unconstitutional monarchies or the privileges of an idle noblesse, but the insatiable expansion and aggregation of property itself, which menaces with absorption all property less than the greatest, the small master, the little shopkeeper, the country bank, and has turned the mass of mankind into a proletariat working under the agents and for the profit of those who own.

-- R. H. Tawney (1880-1962) English writer, economist, historian, social critic [Richard Henry Tawney]
The Acquisitive Century, ch. 5 “Property and Creative Work” (1920)


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We, or at least I, can have no conception of human life and human thought in a hundred years or fifty years. Perhaps my greatest wisdom is the knowledge that I do not know. The sad ones are those who waste their energy in trying to hold it back, for they can only feel bitterness in loss and no joy in gain.

-- John Steinbeck (1902-1968) American writer
Travels With Charley: In Search of America, Part 2 (1962)

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A man must have something to grumble about; and if he can’t complain that his wife harries him to death with her perversity and ill-humour, he must complain that she wears him out with her kindness and gentleness.

-- Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, ch. 32 [Ralph to Milicent] (1848)

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“In my experience, the worst madmen don’t seem odd at all,” Grimm said. “They appear to be quite calm and rational, in fact. Until the screaming starts.”

-- Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
The Aeronaut’s Windlass (2015)
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