Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Protest

"Such negative terms as “Protestant” and “Reformation” are unhappy designations for a movement that in essence was not protest but affirmation, not reform but conservation, not reaction, but propulsion. Its best name is “evangelical.”" - Abdel Ross Mentz

"A love that has no silence has no depth. “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” There are people whose love we instinctively distrust because they are always telling us about it. And perhaps it is simply because God is love, in all the glorious fullness of that word, that we have to be still if we would know him." - George Herbert Morrison

"After 10 years of delegations, peace activism and non-violent protest, Chicago-based Voices in the Wilderness (VitW) was silenced on August 12, when a federal judge ordered the group to pay a $20,000 civil penalty for delivering medical supplies to Iraq without a permit." - Erin Polgreen

"The case for vegetarianism is at its strongest when we see it as a moral protest against our use of animals as mere things to be exploited for our convenience in whatever way makes them most cheaply available to us." - Peter Singer

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." -

"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other. Originality is deliberate and forced, and partakes of the nature of a protest." - Eric Hoffer

"Missing from [history] are the countless small actions of unknown people that led up to those great moments. When we understand this, we can see that the tiniest acts of protest in which we engage may become the invisible roots of social change." - Howard Zinn

"It is in the nature of a man as he grows older... to protest against change, particularly change for the better." - John Steinbeck, fully John Ernst Steinbeck

"The foundation of irreligious criticism is this: man makes religion; religion does not make man. Religion is, in fact, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet gained himself or has lost himself again... The wretchedness of religion is at once an express of and a protest against real wretchedness. Religion is the sigh of the opposed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." - Karl Marx

"Death is a great preacher of deathlessness. The protest of the soul against death, its reversion, its revulsion, is a high instinct of life. Dissatisfaction in his world who satisfieth the desire of every living thing has a grip on the future. As far as this goes, he has the least assurance of immortality who can be best satisfied with eating and drinking and “things”’ he has the surest hope of ongoings and far distances who does not live by brad alone, whose eye is looking over the shoulder of things, whose ear hears mighty waters rolling ever more, who has “hopes naught can satisfy below.” The limits of which death makes us aware, make us aware of life’s limitlessness. The wing cage knows it was meant for an ampler ether and diviner air." - Maltbie Babcock, fully Maltbie Davenport Babcock

"Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism - The right to criticize. The right to hold unpopular beliefs. The right to protest. The right of independent thought. The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood nor should he be in danger of losing his reputation or livelihood merely because he happens to know someone who holds unpopular beliefs. Who of us does not? Otherwise none of us could call our souls our own. Otherwise thought control would have set in. The American people are sick and tired of being afraid to speak their minds lest they be politically smeared as Communists or Fascists by their opponents. Freedom of speech is not what is used to be in America. It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others. The American people are sick and tired of seeing innocent people smeared and guilty people whitewashed." - Margaret Chase Smith

"Who can protest and does not, is an accomplice in the act." - Talmud or The Talmud NULL

"Gossip … has caused infinitely more sorrow in life than murder. It is drunkenness of the tongue; it is assassination of reputations. It runs the cowardly gamut from mere ignorant, impertinent intrusion into the lives of others to malicious slander ... He who listens to this crime of respectability without protest is as evil as he who speaks. One strong, manly voice of protest, of appeal to justice, of calling halt in the name of charity—could fumigate a room from gossip as a clear, sharp winter wind kills a pestilence." - William George Jordan

"I see the clouds part slowly, and I hear a cry of protest against the bigot. The restraining hand of tolerance is laid upon the inquisitor, and the humanist utters a message of peace to the persecuted. Instead of the cry, "Burn the heretic!" men study the human soul with sympathy, and there enters into their hearts a new reverence for that which is unseen." - Helen Keller. aka Helen Adams Keller

"Our tradition is one of protest and revolt, and it is stultifying to celebrate the rebels of the past while we silence the rebels of the present." - Henry Steele Commager

"Not satisfied with great principles, they were avaricious of great achievements. They subdued forests, organized emigration, marched westward under the star of empire. They achieved Louisburg and Concord and Lexington, and Paul Revere's ride and the Charter Oak and Bennington and Gaspee Point, and Harvard and Yale and Bowdoin and Dartmouth. They preserved the union, annihilated slavery, crushed repudiation, made the promises of the nation equal to gold. They have spoken the word of protest and pleading in behalf of the Chinaman and the Indian and the African, in behalf of a reformed civil service, and of honest elections. And where has there been a battle for God and humanity that they and their sons have not been in it?" - Herman Lincoln Wayland

"There is the past and its continuing horrors: violence, war, prejudices against those who are different, outrageous monopolization of the good earth's wealth by a few, political power in the hands of liars and murderers, the building of prisons instead of schools, the poisoning of the press and the entire culture by money. It is easy to become discouraged observing this, especially since this is what the press and television insist that we look at, and nothing more. But there is also the bubbling of change under the surface of obedience: the growing revulsion against endless wars, the insistence of women all over the world that they will no longer tolerate abuse and subordination… There is civil disobedience against the military machine, protest against police brutality directed especially at people of color." - Howard Zinn

"Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death." - Neil Postman

"Today, we must look to the city of Las Vegas, Nevada as a metaphor of our national character and aspiration, its symbol a thirty-foot high cardboard picture of a slot machine and a chorus girl. For Las Vegas is a city entirely devoted to the idea of entertainment, and as such proclaims the spirit of a culture in which all public discourse increasingly takes the form of entertainment. Our politics, our religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice." - Neil Postman

"I must protest that I would never seek foreign conflicts just to go over domestic difficulties; that would be frivolous. I was speaking of conflicts that we could not avoid, even though we do not seek them." - Otto von Bismarck, Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg

"Animal Liberation has a lot of handicaps. First and most obvious is the fact that members of the exploited group cannot themselves make an organized protest against the treatment they receive (though they can and do protest to the best of their abilities individually). We have to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. You can appreciate how serious this handicap is by asking yourself how long blacks would have had to wait for equal rights if they had not been able to stand up for themselves and demand it. The less able a group is to stand up and organize against oppression, the more easily it is oppressed. " - Peter Singer

"To protest about bullfighting in Spain, the eating of dogs in South Korea, or the slaughter of baby seals in Canada, while continuing to eat eggs from hens who have spent their lives crammed into cages, or veal from calves who have been deprived of their mothers, their proper diet, and the freedom to lie down with their legs extended, is like denouncing apartheid in South Africa while asking your neighbors not to sell their houses to blacks. " - Peter Singer

"I stand ready to negotiate, but I want no part of laws: I acknowledge none; I protest against every order with which some authority may feel pleased on the basis of some alleged necessity to over-rule my free will. Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of government." - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

"Once again, modern theologians will protest that the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac should not be taken as literal fact. And, once again, the appropriate response is twofold. First, many many people, even to this day, do take the whole of their scripture to be literal fact, and they have a great deal of political power over the rest of us, especially in the United States and in the Islamic world. Second, if not as literal fact, how should we take the story? As an allegory? Then an allegory for what? Surely morals could one derive from this appalling story? Remember, all I am trying to establish for the moment is that we do not, as a matter of fact, derive our morals from scripture. Or, if we do, we pick and choose among the scriptures for the nice bits and reject the nasty. But then we must have some independent criterion for deciding which are the moral bits: a criterion which, wherever it comes from, cannot come from scripture itself and is presumably available to all of us whether we are religious or not." - Richard Dawkins

"Such rebellion is too deep and too constant to express itself in picketing, marching, sitting-in or freaking out; it is the serious, unresting protest of serious people. It is 24-hours-a-day rebellion, not intermittent, showy, status-seeking public uproar. It is rebellion as a way of life." - Robertson Davies

"The Perils of Worship - The life without reverence is barren and insensitive. And worship is the proper expression of reverence. The Sermon on the Mount leads to adoration, thanksgiving, and prayer as truly as it leads to acts of service. But there are perils in worship. Some of the worship that goes on in our churches is merely lip service, talk takes the place of activity. True worship is the expression of the reverence of a human personality for his Lord and Creator. Reverence makes us eager to serve and obey. But false worship and lip service can be worse then open defiance. The story is told of Mark Twain's encounter with a man who managed to combine the appearances of piety with a predatory career in business. "Before I die," said the hypocrite, "I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb to the top of Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud." "I have a better idea," answered Mark Twain. "Why don't you stay right at home in Boston and keep them?" After the warmth of the worship that says, "Lord, Lord," there is a chill in the words, "Do what I say." But if we do not meet the chill, the warmth is not the warmth of life. Bishop Gore ended his book, The Sermon on the Mount, by saying: "Many will come to him in that day with a record of their orthodoxy and of their observances, of their brilliant successes in his professed service; but he will protest unto them, 'I never knew you.' He 'knows' no man in whom he cannot recognize his own likeness." (The Sermon on the Mount by Charles Gore, p. 188. John Murray Ltd., London) His own likeness? If we understand the Sermon on the Mount, we will never claim that. But if it sinks in, it does begin to remake us." - Roger L. Shinn, fully Roger Lincoln Shinn

"I mean by a picture a beautiful romantic dream of something that never was, never will be – in a light better than any light that ever shone – in a land no one can define or remember, only desire – and the forms divinely beautiful." - Edward Burne-Jones, fully Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1st Baronet

"To show your true ability is always, in a sense, to surpass the limits of your ability, to go a little beyond them: to dare, to seek, to invent; it is at such a moment that new talents are revealed, discovered, and realized." - Simone de Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir

"I don't feel like me unless I have my hair shaved. So even when I'm an old lady, I'm going to have it." - Sinéad O’Connor, fully Sinéad Marie Bernadette O'Connor

"But in the case of man, hard as it is for him to learn how to submit to rule, it seems far harder to know how to rule over men, and hardest of all, with this rule of ours, which leads them by the divine law, and to God, for its risk is, in the eyes of a thoughtful man, proportionate to its height and dignity. For, first of all, he must, like silver or gold, though in general circulation in all kinds of seasons and affairs, never ring false or alloyed, or give token of any inferior matter, needing further refinement in the fire; or else, the wider his rule, the greater evil he will be. Since the injury which extends to many is greater than that which is confined to a single individual… nothing is so easy as to become evil, even without any one to lead us on to it; while the attainment of virtue is rare and difficult, even where there is much to attract and encourage us." - Gregory Nazianzen, aka Saint Gregory of Nazianzus or Gregory the Theologian

"Moreover, I believe that the natural resources must be used for the benefit of all our people, and not monopolized for the benefit of the few... there are many people who will go with us in conserving the resources only if they are to be allowed to exploit them for their benefit. That is one of the fundamental reasons why the special interests should be driven out of politics. Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us, and training them into a better race to inhabit the land and pass it on. Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation. Let me add that the health and vitality of our people are at least as well worth conserving as their forests, waters, lands, and minerals, and in this great work the national government must bear a most important part." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"The Distrustful man is one who, having sent his slave to market, will send another to ascertain what price he gave." - Theophrastus NULL

"It is not merely our own desire but the desire of Christ in His Spirit that drives us to grow in love. Those who seldom or never feel in their hearts the desire for the love of God and other men, and who do not thirst for the pure waters of desire which are poured out in us by the strong, living God, are usually those who have drunk from other rivers or have dug for themselves broken cisterns." - Thomas Merton

"The inner self is precisely that self which cannot be tricked or manipulated by anyone, even by the devil. [The inner self] is like a very shy wild animal that never appears at all whenever an alien presence is at hand, and comes out only when all is perfectly peaceful, in silence, when he is untroubled and alone. He cannot be lured by anyone or anything, because he responds to no lure except that of the divine freedom." - Thomas Merton

"Antipater, now undisputed heir, had called down on his head the utter loathing of the nation, for everyone knew that all the slanders directed against his brothers had originated with him." - Josephus, fully Titus Flavius Josephus, aka Joseph ben Matthias or Matityahu NULL

"Say, did you read what this writer just dug up in George Washington's diary? I was so ashamed I sat up all night reading it." - Will Rogers, fully William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers

"The manna of popular liberty must be gathered each day, or it is rotten. The living sap of to-day outgrows the dead rind of yesterday. The hand intrusted with power becomes, either from human depravity or esprit de corps, the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continual oversight can a Democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot; only by unintermitted agitation can a people be kept sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in material prosperity." - Wendell Phillips

"A farmer, as one of his farmer correspondents once wrote to Liberty Hyde Bailey, is a dispenser of the 'Mysteries of God.' The husband, unlike the manager or the would-be objective scientist, belongs inherently to the complexity and the mystery that is to be husbanded, and so the husbanding mind is both careful and humble." - Wendell Berry

"My grandfather returned to what he called ‘studying.’ He sat looking down at his lap, his left hand idle on the chair arm, his right scratching his head, his white hair gleaming in the lamplight. I knew that when he was studying he was thinking, but I did not know what about. Now I have aged into knowledge of what he thought about. He thought of his strength and endurance when he was young, his merriment and joy, and how his life’s burdens had then grown upon him. He thought of that arc of country that centered upon Port William as he first had known it in the years just after the Civil War, and as it had changed, and as it had become; and how all that time, which would have seemed almost forever when he was a boy, now seemed hardly anytime at all. He thought of the people he remembered, now dead, and of those who had come and gone before his knowledge, and of those who would come after, and of his own place in that long procession." - Wendell Berry

"In our attitude towards the war, which under the new government of Lvov and Co. unquestionably remains on Russia’s part a predatory imperialist war owing to the capitalist nature of that government, not the slightest concession to “revolutionary defensism” is permissible." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"There exists, at the bottom of all abasement and misfortune, a last extreme which rebels and joins battle with the forces of law and respectability in a desperate struggle, waged partly by cunning and partly by violence, at once sick and ferocious, in which it attacks the prevailing social order with the pin-pricks of vice and the hammer-blows of crime." - Victor Hugo

"As a professor in two fields, neurology and psychiatry, I am fully aware of the extent to which man is subject to biological, psychological and sociological conditions. But in addition to being a professor in two fields I am a survivor of four camps - concentration camps, that is - and as such I also bear witness to the unexpected extent to which man is capable of defying and braving even the worst conditions conceivable." - Viktor Frankl, fully Viktor Emil Frankl

"In between stimulus and response there is a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response in our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor Frankl, fully Viktor Emil Frankl

"I journey to the east, where I have been told, there are men who have taught death some manners." - Tom Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins

"If you need to visualize the soul, think of it as a cross between a wolf howl, a photon, and a dribble of dark molasses. But what it really is, as near as I can tell, is a packet of information. It's a program, a piece of hyperspatial software designed explicitly to interface with the Mystery. Not a mystery, mind you, the Mystery. The one that can never be solved. To one degree or another, everybody is connected to the Mystery, and everybody secretly yearns to expand the connection. That requires expanding the soul. These things can enlarge the soul: laughter, danger, imagination, meditation, wild nature, passion, compassion, psychedelics, beauty, iconoclasm, and driving around in the rain with the top down. These things can diminish it: fear, bitterness, blandness, trendiness, egotism, violence, corruption, ignorance, grasping, shining, and eating ketchup on cottage cheese. Data in our psychic program is often nonlinear, nonhierarchical, archaic, alive, and teeming with paradox. Simply booting up is a challenge, if not for no other reason than that most of us find acknowledging the unknowable and monitoring its intrusions upon the familiar and mundane more than a little embarrassing. But say you've inflated your soul to the size of a beach ball and it's soaking into the Mystery like wine into a mattress. What have you accomplished? Well, long term, you may have prepared yourself for a successful metamorphosis, an almost inconceivable transformation to be precipitated by your death or by some great worldwide eschatological whoopjamboreehoo. You may have. No one can say for sure. More immediately, by waxing soulful you will have granted yourself the possibility of ecstatic participation in what the ancients considered a divinely animated universe. And on a day to day basis, folks, it doesn't get any better than that." - Tom Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins

"BENEDICK: I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none. BEATRICE: A dear happiness to women: they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. Much Ado about Nothing, Act I, Scene 6" -

"Dark night, that from the eye his function takes, the ear more quick of apprehension makes; wherein it doth impair the seeing sense it pays the hearing double recompense. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act iii, Scene 2" -

"When you have broken the reality into concepts you never can reconstruct it in its wholeness." - William James

"The best protection any woman can have . . . is courage." - Elizabeth Cady Stanton