Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Harold Laski, fully Harold Joseph Laski

British Marxist, Political Theorist, Economist, Author and Lecturer, Chairman of the Labor Party

"The faith we have to build is a faith in the values of this world, not in the values of another."

"The surest way to bring about destruction of a civilization is to allow the abyss to widen between the values men praise and the values they permit to operate."

"A moral obligation is no less compelling because it may end in failure."

"The number of substitutes for fine and clean thinking the world provides positively gnaws at one's vitals. "

"The business of a university is... teaching the student how facts are converted into the truth."

"Much of what has been achieved by the art of education in the nineteenth century has been frustrated by the art of propaganda in the twentieth."

"A people without reliable news is, sooner or later, a people without the basis of freedom."

"A second-class mind dealing with third-class material is hardly a necessity of life."

"Every State is known by the rights it maintains."

"Every theory of social action is ultimately a philosophy of history. It attempts, as best it may, to read in the experience of mankind the lessons which would justify its own special urgency."

"Civilization means, above all, an unwillingness to inflict unnecessary pain... those of us who heedlessly accept the commands of authority cannot yet claim to be civilized men."

"As scandal is the second breath of life my name is down for an early copy."

"No citizen enjoys genuine freedom of religious conviction until the state is indifferent to every form of religious outlook from Atheism to Zoroastrianism."

"If it weren't for the law, I would steal books; if it weren't for my purse, I would buy them."

"It is impossible to make peace with the Roman Catholic Church. It is one of the permanent enemies of all that is decent in human spirit."

"Sir, the fact that the book is in a public library brings no comfort. Books are the one element in which I am personally and nakedly acquisitive. If it weren't for the law I would steal them. If it weren't for my purse I would buy them."

"The only real security for social well-being is the free exercise of men’s minds."

"It was like watching someone organize her own immortality. Every phrase and gesture was studied. Now and again, when she said something a little out of the ordinary, she wrote it down herself in a notebook. [Of sitting next to Virginia Woolf at lunch]"