The test of a good critic is whether he knows when and how to believe on insufficient evidence.

Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and gain applause which he cannot keep.

But it is an easy thing for men to be deceived by the specious name of liberty; and, for want of judgment to distinguish, mistake that for their private inheritance and birthright which is the right of the public only.

The law is more easily understood by few than many words. For all words are subject to ambiguity, and therefore multiplication of words in the body of the law is multiplication of ambiguity. Besides, it seems to imply (by too much diligence) that whosoever can evade the words is without the compass of the law.

The question is not, whether a man be a free agent, that is to say, whether he can write or forbear, speak or be silent, according to his will; but whether the will to write, and the will to forbear, come upon him according to his will, or according to anything else in his own power. I acknowledge this liberty, that I can do if I will; but to say, I can will if I will, I take to be an absurd speech.

That these are our grievances which we have thus laid before his majesty, with that freedom of language and sentiment which becomes a free people claiming their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.

I detest pornography. I utterly loathe writing that seeks to work on the passions and to exploit them, instead of releasing them in a healthy form : laughter … The utterly sick and subhuman reduction of ‘thought’ to nothingness: to something that appears to be sensual but is not even that.

We have forgotten that Vietnam, and Iraq resent being invaded and know the ground better than we do.

To think that between a Hamburger and a Humburger, she would—invariably, with icy precision—plump for the former.

When we remember our former selves, there is always that little figure with its long shadow stopping like an uncertain belated visitor on a lighted threshold at the far end of some impeccably narrowing corridor.

Mr. President, for the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization there's no doubt in my mind that it was personal leadership that made this historic development possible.

The dissident does not operate in the realm of genuine power at all. He is not seeking power. He has no desire for office and does not gather votes. He does not attempt to charm the public, he offers nothing and promises nothing. He can offer, if anything, only his own skin -- and he offers it solely because he has no other way of affirming the truth he stands for. His actions simply articulate his dignity as a citizen, regardless of the cost.

Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.

I sense that novel of my dreams is in the Remington SL3 - although it writes much faster than I can spell.

Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.