Sagacious Quotations Endure The Ages

By  //  March 24, 2013

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Wise Voices From The Past

BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA — Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Mark Twain, Will Rogers, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy, all great men and thought-leaders of their times and in their own right. In fact, they most certainly would have been highly sought today as pundits and “talking heads” had the media in the eighteenth, nineteenth and most of the twentieth century had the technological capabilities and demand for minute-to-minute, 24/7 commentary through multiple venues and vehicles like we have now.

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will never live down her rash and irrational statement about the details of the healthcare reform bill.

Perspicacious quotations, which used to be inspirational, thought-provoking, and sometimes humorous seem to have now evolved into the fifteen second “sound-bite.” We look to our leaders for wisdom, but, perhaps having keen mental perception and understanding, which is the definition of perspicacious, has alluded the very individuals to whom we look for direction and guidance.

With a focus on a fair and balanced approach, two relatively recent outrageous quotations by contemporary leaders come immediately to mind.

In remarks at the 2010 Legislative Conference for the National Association of Counties, which was before the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in March of 2010, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.” 

Mitt Romney’s comments relating to the 47 percent of Americans who pay no taxes, rely on government subsidies and staunchly support Obama played a significant role in sounding the death knell for his campaign.

In remarks that were made at a private fund-raiser and caught on smart-phone video, Mitt Romney declared that he would focus on unaligned voters and not on the 47 percent of the population that supported Obama and who are dependent on government and believe they are entitled to healthcare, food and housing subsidies. “My job is not to worry about those people,” Romney said. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The disconcerting fact about these two quotations is that, despite their dire impact on the reputation and credibility of the sources (Pelosi will never live down her rash and irrational statement and Romney’s campaign was fatally crippled by his), there unfortunately is a modicum of truth to both statements.

That having been said about our contemporaries, please allow me to share with you some profound, compelling, and at times humorous and a bit outrageous thoughts originating from perhaps a simpler time, but that have endured over the years and are still relevant, at least from my perspective, to our present political and economic quagmire.

Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and third President of the U.S.

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. Thomas Jefferson

Winston Churchill, British Statesman

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. Winston Churchill

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery. — Winston Churchill

P.J. O’Rourke, journalist and political satirist.

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free!P. J. O’Rourke

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. — P.J. O’Rourke

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. — Mark Twain

Mark Twain, American author and humorist.

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself. — Mark Twain

No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. — Mark Twain

There is no distinctly Native American criminal class, save Congress. — Mark Twain

George Bernard Shaw, socialist author and economist.

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.George Bernard Shaw

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.Frederic Bastiat, Frencheconomist (1801-1850)

Ronald Reagan, Repulbican icon and 40th President of the U.S.

Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. — Ronald Reagan

The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.— Ronald Reagan

Talk is cheap, except when Congress does it. — Anonymous

I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.Will Rogers

Will Rogers, humorist and social commentator of the 1920s and 30s.

Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do — Will Rogers

The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets. — Will Rogers

Taxpayers are sending congressmen on expensive trips abroad. It might be worth it except they keep coming back. — Will Rogers

Adrian Rogers, Southern Baptist pastor and conservative author.

The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. — Adrian Rogers

When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work, because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation! — Adrian Rogers

Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the U.S.

There are always going to be people who want to be president, and some days I’d like to give it to them. – Bill Clinton

The best social program is a good job — Bill Clinton

Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the U.S.

It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours.Harry S. Truman

If you can’t convince them, confuse them — Harry S. Truman

And lastly, my personal favorite and sage advice to the executive and legislative branches of our government in Washington D.C. and the state capitals across the country:

John Kennedy, Democratic icon and 35th President of the U.S.

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future. — John F. Kennedy