Best real life historical quotes ever.


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Shadow Lodge

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” - Hermann Goering

"Do not interfere with an army that is returning home. When you surround as army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard." Sun Tzu

"Treat the captives well, and care for them. This is called Winning a battle and becoming stronger." Sun Tzu

"Focus on the basics! Make a decision, and do it!"

"Build your enemies a golden bridge to retreat across." Sun Tzu

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from a prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Hope for the best, prepare for the worst." English proverb attributed to many people

"The more power you posses, the more you need limits." Marvel Comic (X-Men?)

"He whose generals are able, and not interfered with by the sovereign, will be victorious." Sun Tzu

"When the army engages in protracted campaigns the resources of the state will not suffice." Sun Tzu

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." -Abraham Lincoln

"No matter what political reasons are given for war, the underlying reason is always economic." -A. J. P. Taylor

"I find your lack of faith desturbing." a non-b%$@@y Vader.

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." -Albert Einstein

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." V for Vendetta


A Man In Black wrote:

And, on the subject of Jefferson.

"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."

I'm not that smart: please spell it out for me.


Beckett wrote:

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” - Hermann Goering

"Do not interfere with an army that is returning home. When you surround as army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard." Sun Tzu

"Treat the captives well, and care for them. This is called Winning a battle and becoming stronger." Sun Tzu

"Focus on the basics! Make a decision, and do it!"

"Build your enemies a golden bridge to retreat across." Sun Tzu

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from a prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Hope for the best, prepare for the worst." English proverb attributed to many people

"The more power you posses, the more you need limits." Marvel Comic (X-Men?)

"He whose generals are able, and not interfered with by the sovereign, will be victorious." Sun Tzu

"When the army engages in protracted campaigns the resources of the state will not suffice." Sun Tzu

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." -Abraham Lincoln

"No matter what political reasons are given for war, the underlying reason is always economic." -A. J. P. Taylor

"I find your lack of faith desturbing." a non-b+$@$y Vader.

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." -Albert Einstein

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." V for...

:)


Azazyll wrote:

To suggest that the law is static is quite wrong, the whole purpose was to form a more perfect union, not something that's perfect when we started. We designed a system of government that would contemplate a change and progress.

- Justice John Paul Stevens

If we don't view the law though the lens of human rights then what does it mean?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Something I remind myself every time I sit down to grade papers:

"It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."

- Machiavelli

And a few more from good old Nick

"Men should be either treated generously or destroyed, because they take revenge for slight injuries - for heavy ones they cannot."

"It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles."

"Men rise from one ambition to another: first, they seek to secure themselves against attack, and then they attack others."

"One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived."

"Politics have no relation to morals."

"The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love."

"The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous."

"The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it."

"The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not."

"The wise man does at once what the fool does finally."


Azazyll wrote:

The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.

- Saint Gregory the Great

3

Should the state force love in its absence?

Sovereign Court

A Man In Black wrote:
deusvult wrote:

My favorite Heinlein quote:

"An armed society is a polite society."

It always clearly illustrated his worldview to me. The only reason he saw to be polite to someone was to avoid being murdered.

Well, I only included the often quoted part of the line.

It does go on: "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life".

So yes a cynical way to look at such a sentiment is that one should only be polite so as to not be murdered.

Another way to look at the quote is that people who would be prone to NOT being polite have cause to do so anyway, lest they be called to task for transgressions.

But either way of looking at it, good manners are on prominent display :)


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Bitter Thorn wrote:
Azazyll wrote:

To suggest that the law is static is quite wrong, the whole purpose was to form a more perfect union, not something that's perfect when we started. We designed a system of government that would contemplate a change and progress.

- Justice John Paul Stevens

If we don't view the law though the lens of human rights then what does it mean?

That laws and governments that do not change either strangle their citizens or are overthrown by them.

Or to quote the inestimable Dylan: The times they are a changin'

And I too love Robert Heinlein. In moderation. I firmly believe in human rights, as long as they come with equal responsibilities. Rights are made by men, they are not natural. But I would rather live where they are valued as precious treasures than where they are scorned as trash. Freedom is something one rarely appreciates until it is lacking.

Speaking of which, we should really include some Vaclev Havel here, but I can't find my copy of "Power of the Powerless."


Azazyll wrote:

Something I remind myself every time I sit down to grade papers:

"It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."

- Machiavelli

And a few more from good old Nick

"Men should be either treated generously or destroyed, because they take revenge for slight injuries - for heavy ones they cannot."

"It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles."

"Men rise from one ambition to another: first, they seek to secure themselves against attack, and then they attack others."

"One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived."

"Politics have no relation to morals."

"The distinction between children and adults, while probably useful for some purposes, is at bottom a specious one, I feel. There are only individual egos, crazy for love."

"The fact is that a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous."

"The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it."

"The one who adapts his policy to the times prospers, and likewise that the one whose policy clashes with the demands of the times does not."

"The wise man does at once what the fool does finally."

Will we wait for doom, or will we resist!?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Azazyll wrote:

The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.

- Saint Gregory the Great

3

Should the state force love in its absence?

No, the state is not a person, and is incapable of love. But it should make sure that everyone else can stand to live with each other, or it's not doing it's job.

Most great quotes from religious figures have more to do with the personal than the public realm

Sovereign Court

"The reason the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices it on a daily basis."
- possibly apocryphal, attributed to a WWII German General

"It's not difficult to understand why somebody might pick up an AK-47 against us. Maybe we killed his father in the first Gulf War, maybe in this Gulf War, maybe he's just a dick."
- Soldier of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment in western Iraq. Quoted in the Asia Times, Oct. 24


deusvult wrote:

"The reason the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices it on a daily basis."

- possibly apocryphal, attributed to a WWII German General

"It's not difficult to understand why somebody might pick up an AK-47 against us. Maybe we killed his father in the first Gulf War, maybe in this Gulf War, maybe he's just a dick."
- Soldier of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment in western Iraq. Quoted in the Asia Times, Oct. 24

Sardonic ;)


Azazyll wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Azazyll wrote:

The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.

- Saint Gregory the Great

3

Should the state force love in its absence?

No, the state is not a person, and is incapable of love. But it should make sure that everyone else can stand to live with each other, or it's not doing it's job.

Most great quotes from religious figures have more to do with the personal than the public realm

I'm not overly concerned with religious figures; is the state doing its job to protect one from the other?

Beyond that why should I care?


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“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
― Mike Tyson


If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.  ~Mark Twain


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"You know how I define the economic and social classes in this country? The upper class keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class pays all of the taxes, does all of the work. The poor are there... just to scare the s#@@ out of the middle class. Keep 'em showing up at those jobs." -- George Carlin


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Azazyll wrote:
Bitter Thorn wrote:
Azazyll wrote:

The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist.

- Saint Gregory the Great

3

Should the state force love in its absence?

No, the state is not a person, and is incapable of love. But it should make sure that everyone else can stand to live with each other, or it's not doing it's job.

Most great quotes from religious figures have more to do with the personal than the public realm

I'm not overly concerned with religious figures; is the state doing its job to protect one from the other?

Beyond that why should I care?

Because you're responding to a statement that has nothing to do with what you're asking of it. If you are wish to engage with a text, you have an intellectual responsibility of at least attempting to engage with it in it's proper context before attempting to apply it beyond that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being

- Socrates


I have found that Machiavellis fear vs love quote is rarely examined critically and instead used as an excuse for large scale douchebaggery.


".. the true role of infantry was not to expend itself upon heroic physical effort, not to wither away under merciless machine-gun fire, not to impale itself on hostile bayonets, nor to tear itself to pieces in hostile entanglements—(I am thinking of Pozières and Stormy Trench and Bullecourt, and other bloody fields)—but on the contrary, to advance under the maximum possible protection of the maximum possible array of mechanical resources, in the form of guns, machine-guns, tanks, mortars and aeroplanes; to advance with as little impediment as possible; to be relieved as far as possible of the obligation to fight their way forward; to march, resolutely, regardless of the din and tumult of battle, to the appointed goal; and there to hold and defend the territory gained; and to gather in the form of prisoners, guns and stores, the fruits of victory.".

Australian General Sir John Monash GCMG, KCB, VD

The best allied general of World War I


"There will be no Dunkirk here. If we have to get out we will fight our way out. There will be no surrender and no retreat" Australian General Les Morshead, Hero of Tobruk

Morshead was told that he had to hold for 8 Weeks against Rommel - it stretched out to 8 months grinding Rommels advance to a halt. When his attention was drawn to a British propaganda article entitled "Tobruk can take it!"

Morshead commented: "we're not here to take it, we're here to give it."


America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.

Georges Clemenceau


Above all I am not concerned with Poetry,
My subject is War, and the pity of War.
The Poetry is in the pity.

Wilfred Owen -Poems, Preface


Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

Wilfred Owen -Dulce Et Decorum Est


Shadowborn wrote:
"You know how I define the economic and social classes in this country? The upper class keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes. The middle class pays all of the taxes, does all of the work. The poor are there... just to scare the s+$! out of the middle class. Keep 'em showing up at those jobs." -- George Carlin

TBH You could fill an entire thread just of Carlin quotes, e.g.

"The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done. "


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John Adams, in A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America (1787-88) wrote:
The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1781-82) wrote:

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.
Thomas Jefferson, Statute for Religious Freedom (1779) wrote:
To suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Correa de Serra (April 11, 1820) wrote:
The priests of the different religious sects dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight, and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subdivision of the duperies on which they live.
James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, addressed to the Virginia General Assemby (June 20, 1785) wrote:

What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient allies.

Experience witnesseth that eccelsiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.
Andrew Jackson, in a statement refusing to proclaim a national day of fasting and prayer (1832) wrote:
I could not do otherwise without transcending the limits prescribed by the Constitution for the President and without feeling that I might in some degree disturb the security which religion nowadays enjoys in this country in its complete separation from the political concerns of the General Government.


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Thomas Paine, Dissertations on First Principles of Government (July 7, 1795) wrote:
An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.


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"In America fundamentalist Christians believe the world was created 6,000 years ago - in England people drink in bars that are older than that." - Steve Aylett


"One golfer a year is hit by lightning. This may be the only evidence we have of God's existence." - Steve Aylett

Liberty's Edge

Freehold DM wrote:
I have found that Machiavellis fear vs love quote is rarely examined critically and instead used as an excuse for large scale douchebaggery.

Machiavelli is one of the more misunderstood writers from the Renaissance, frankly. The Prince was basically advice for a douchebag he didn't think much of and wished were dead. The Republic was Niccolo's actual thoughts on how a society should be governed.


I hereby accuse Bitter Thorn of premature historical quotation ejaculation!

I hope you take a more unrushed approach to Mrs. Thorn.


"Fairy tales do not tell children dragons exist. Children already know dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed."

- G. K. Chesterton

The entire Gettysburg Address.

- A. Lincoln

"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy."

- Francis Pharcellus Church

"The Value of myth is that it takes all the things you know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by the veil of familiarity."

- C. S. Lewis

The Exchange

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Benjamin Franklin. (He neglected to indicate what hangovers are proof of.)

If a writer does not entertain his readers, all he is producing is paper dirty on one side. I must always bear in mind that my prospective reader could spend his recreation money on beer rather than on my stories; I have to be aware every minute that I am competing for beer money - and that the customer does not have to buy. --Robert A. Heinlein.

I often re-read that one before GMing a session of Pathfinder.


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Freehold DM wrote:
I have found that Machiavellis fear vs love quote is rarely examined critically and instead used as an excuse for large scale douchebaggery.

Fair enough; doesn't mean it's not an important and insightful quote.

"...et carthago delenda est."

- Cato the Elder

One Machiavelli could appreciate.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Bitter Thorn wrote:
I'm not that smart: please spell it out for me.

It's a thing he said that I agree with.


"Fool me once...shame on...shame on you, you fool me, cant get fooled again."

George Walker Bush


1 person marked this as a favorite.

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

Carl Sagan


"I never said most of the things I said."
--Yogi Berra


Lincoln Hills wrote:
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Benjamin Franklin. (He neglected to indicate what hangovers are proof of.)

This is a common misquote. The quote was actually about wine.

"Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy."

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Other than everything I've ever posted, my favorite quote remains:

"I am the best, most super kick-ass president ever, and don't none of you m!*@*&#!&&*@s ever forget it."

Ben Franklin

I'm pretty sure it's even printed on the $100 bill.


"Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice. Without the possibility of choice and the exercise of choice a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing."
-- Archibald MacLeish

"Religion has a distinct advantage over science in that it is not required to make logical sense or even be consistent." -- Me


Freehold DM wrote:
I have found that Machiavellis fear vs love quote is rarely examined critically and instead used as an excuse for large scale douchebaggery.

The problem is that most people read the part about feared being better than loved and stop reading. They don't notice that he then goes to say that it's better to be both, and people shouldn't fear YOU, but should fear breaking the rules or attacking you. Important difference there.


It's also very interesting that two observations I made about The Prince never get taken into account:

Machiavelli's advice, if followed, results in a very PREDICTABLE style of governance. It's not what we would call good governance, and certainly not kind, but predictability is the root of rule of law.

Second, Machiavelli grows absolutely lyrical about the style of government that existed in France, where the parliament even had the power to even countermand the king in certain circumstances. He spells it out clearly - a parliament to represent the people as highest authority is the best possible government. He is well aware that the politics of the Italian states does not look like that, however, and gives his advice based on the current political map there.

So, no, Machiavelli did not deserve his reputation. Read it if you doubt me.


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Philip II of Macedonia: You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.

Spartan Reply: If


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Douglas Adams

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."

"If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat."

"All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others."

"My absolute favorite piece of information is the fact that young sloths are so inept that they frequently grab their own arms and legs instead of tree limbs, and fall out of trees."

"There are some oddities in the perspective with which we see the world. The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be, but we have done various things over intellectual history to slowly correct some of our misapprehensions."

The Exchange

(While out on the campaign trail, Congressman Abraham Lincoln was accused of being 'two-faced' by a disgruntled voter. His reply:)

"Madam, if I had two faces... would I be wearing this one?"

Also, somebody was throwing around Sun Tzu quotes. I didn't realize written material qualified, or I'd have submitted my very favorite snipped from his 'Art of War':

Fifty victories out of a hundred battles fought is not the greatest triumph. One hundred victories out of a hundred battles fought is not the greatest triumph. The greatest triumph is one without battles.

Liberty's Edge

I may be drunk, but in the morning, I'll be sober and you will still be ugly. - Winston Churchill


For the Machiavelli quote no one has remembered one of the later bits in the same chapter.

Above all, one must avoid being hated, for hatred can overcome fear.


All warfare is based on deception.
Sun Tzu
In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good.
Sun Tzu
Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.
Sun Tzu
Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.
Sun Tzu
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
Albert Einstein

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