Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"There is nothing a man can less afford to leave at home than his conscience or his good habits; for it is not to be denied that travel is, in its immediate circumstances, unfavorable to habits of self-discipline, regulation of thought, sobriety of conduct, and dignity of character. Indeed, one of the great lessons of travel is the discovery how much our virtues owe to the support of constant occupation, to the influence of public opinion, and to the force of habit; a discovery very dangerous, if it proceed from an actual yielding to temptations resisted at home, and not from a consciousness of increased power put forth in withstanding them." - Richardson Pack or Packe

"Short, isolated sentences were the mode in which ancient wisdom delighted to convey its precepts for the regulation of human conduct." - William Warburton

"If all Earth history is compressed into one “day”, the sea is mixed two thousand times in every “minute” of it, distributing warmth and energy evenly round our water-cooled and air-conditioned planet. Every eighteen “seconds” on this collapsed time scale, the world’s rivers dump enough dissolved salts into the sea to double its concentration, but this nevertheless remains around a resolute and reasonable 3 per cent. It is vital that this should be so, because few living cells can survive a salinity which exceeds, even for just a few seconds, a value of 6 per cent. Half the living matter in the world is still found in the sea, and that fact alone seems to make the chemical regulation not only necessary, but possible." - Lyall Watson

"Taste and elegance, though they are reckoned only among the small and secondary morals, yet are of no mean importance in the regulation of life. A moral taste is not of force to turn vice into virtue; but it recommends virtue with something like the blandishments of pleasure." - Edmund Burke

"I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. The reason I am is because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending. The question is, "How do you hold down government spending?" Government spending now amounts to close to 40% of national income not counting indirect spending through regulation and the like. If you include that, you get up to roughly half. The real danger we face is that number will creep up and up and up. The only effective way I think to hold it down, is to hold down the amount of income the government has. The way to do that is to cut taxes." - Milton Friedman, fully John Milton Friedman

" In the real world, there are only two ways to deal with corporate misbehavior: One is through government regulation and the other is by taking them to court. What has happened over 20 years of free-market proselytizing is that we have dangerously weakened both forms of restraint, first through the craze for "deregulation" and second through endless rounds of "tort reform," all of which have the effect of cutting off citizens' access to the courts. By legally bribing politicians with campaign contributions, the corporations have bought themselves immunity from lawsuits on many levels." - Molly Ivins, fully Mary Tyler "Molly" Ivins

"The millions of laws which exist for the regulation of humanity appear upon investigation to be divided into three principal categories: protection of property, protection of persons, protection of government. And by analyzing each of these three categories, we arrive at the same logical and necessary conclusion: the uselessness and hurtfulness of law." - Peter Kropotkin, fully Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin

"The main uniform effect of calamities upon the political and social structure of society is an expansion of governmental regulation, regimentation, and control of social relationships and a decrease in the regulation and management of social relationships by individuals and private groups. The expansion of governmental control and regulation assumes a variety of forms, embracing socialistic or communistic totalitarianism, fascist totalitarianism, monarchial autocracy, and theocracy. Now it is effected by a revolutionary regime, now by a counterrevolutionary regime; now by a military dictatorship, now by a dictatorship, now by a dictatorial bureaucracy. From both the quantitative and the qualitative point of view, such an expansion of governmental control means a decrease of freedom, a curtailment of the autonomy of individuals and private groups in the regulation and management of their individual behavior and their social relationships, the decline of constitutional and democratic institutions." - Pitirim A. Sorokin, fully Pitirim Alexandrovich (Alexander) Sorokin

"Bolshevism is a theory, the chief tenet of which is the dictatorship of the proletariat. Leaving out of consideration for the moment the story of murder and devastation that has marched with their theory into practice, we must set down the theory itself as abhorrent to a world that loves democracy. We shall progress by the use of the machinery of democracy, or we shall not progress. There is no group on earth fit to dictate to the rest of the world. It is this central idea of Bolshevism that makes the whole of it outcast in the minds of sane men." - Samuel Gompers

"Surely such a union of indomitable resolution in the achievement of a given purpose, with patience and moderation in the policy pursued, and with kindly charity and consideration and friendliness to those of opposite belief, marks the very spirit in which we of to-day should approach the pressing problems of the present. These problems have to do .with securing a more just and generally wide spread welfare, so that there may be a more substantial measure of equality in moral and physical well-being among the people [...]." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"The man who loves other countries as much as his own stands on a level with the man who loves other women as much as he loves his own wife." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"O Heavenly Father, convert my religion from a name to a principle! Bring all my thoughts and movements into an habitual reference to Thee!" - Thomas Chalmers

"For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." - Thomas Jefferson

"Necessity, as well as patriotism and confidence, will make us all eager to receive treasury notes, if founded on specific taxes. Congress may borrow of the public, and without interest, all the money they may want, to the amount of a competent circulation, by merely issuing their own promissory notes, of proper denominations for the larger purposes of circulation, but not for the small. Leave that door open for the entrance of metallic money." - Thomas Jefferson

"Article 34 - The Security Council may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute, in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security." - United Nations NULL

"Gradually it became clear that it is a fundamental error to try to give the sexual act a psychological interpretation, to attribute to it a psychic meaning as if it were a neurotic symptom. But this is what the psychoanalysts did. On the contrary: any idea occurring in the course of the sexual act only has the effect of hindering one's absorption in the excitation. Furthermore, such psychological interpretations of genitality constitute a denial of genitality as a biological function. By composing it of non-genital excitations, one denies the existence of genitality. The function of the orgasm, however, had revealed the qualitative difference between genitality and pregenitality. Only the genital apparatus can provide orgasm and can discharge sexual energy completely. Pregenitality, on the other hand, can only increase vegetative tensions. One readily sees the deep rift which formed here in psychoanalytic concepts." - Wilhelm Reich

"Thought is not made in a vacuum, nor created out of likeness. It requires travel and shipping and the coming and going of strangers to impregnate a civilization. That is why thought has flourished in cities which lie along the paths of communication. Nineveh, Athens, Alexandria, Rome, Venice, the Hansa towns, London, Paris -- they have made ideas out of the movement and contact of many people. Men are jostled into thought. Left alone they spin the same thread from the same dream. A community which is self-contained and homogeneous and secluded is intellectually deaf, dumb, and blind. It can cultivate robust virtue and simple dogmatism, but it will not invent or throw out a profusion of ideas." - Walter Lippmann

"Reason and freedom are incompatible with weakness." - Vauvenargues, Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues NULL

"The changing styles are the expression of a restless search for something which shall commend itself to our aesthetic sense; but as each innovation is subject to the selective action of the norm of conspicuous waste, the range within which innovation can take place is somewhat restricted. The innovation must not only be more beautiful, or perhaps oftener less offensive, than that which it displaces, but it must also come up to the accepted standard of expensiveness." - Thorstein Veblen, fully Thorstein Bunde Veblen, born Torsten Bunde Veblen

"The real or supposed rights of man are of two kinds, active and passive; the right in certain cases to do as we list; and the right we possess to the forbearance or assistance of other men." - William Godwin

"The thief's wife does not always laugh." -