An alliance is like a chain. It is not made stronger by adding weak links to it. A great power like the United States gains no advantage and it loses prestige by offering, indeed peddling, its alliances to all and sundry. An alliance should be hard diplomatic currency, valuable and hard to get, and not inflationary paper from the mimeograph machine in the State Department.
Many a time I have wanted to stop talking and find out what I really believed.
We are all captives of the picture in our head -- our belief that the world we have experienced is the world that really exists.
The simple opposition between the people and big business has disappeared because the people themselves have become so deeply involved in big business.
Between ourselves and our real natures we interpose that wax figure of idealizations and selections which we call our character.
Our conscience is not the vessel of eternal verities. It grows with our social life, and a new social condition means a radical change in conscience.
Almost always tradition is nothing but a record and a machine-made imitation of the habits that our ancestors created. The average conservative is a slave to the most incidental and trivial part of his forefathers glory -- to the archaic formula which happened to express their genius or the eighteenth-century contrivance by which for a time it was served.
The first principle of a civilized state is that the power is legitimate only when it is under contract.
The best servants of the people, like the best valets, must whisper unpleasant truths in the master's ear. It is the court fool, not the foolish courtier, whom the king can least afford to lose.
Corrupt, stupid grasping functionaries will make at least as big a muddle of socialism as stupid, selfish and acquisitive employers can make of capitalism.
Let a human being throw the energies of his soul into the making of something, and the instinct of workmanship will take care of his honesty.
Culture is the name for what people are interested in, their thoughts, their models, the books they read and the speeches they hear, their table-talk, gossip, controversies, historical sense and scientific training, the values they appreciate, the quality of life they admire. All communities have a culture. It is the climate of their civilization.
This is one of the paradoxes of the democratic movement -- that it loves a crowd and fears the individuals who compose it -- that the religion of humanity should have no faith in human beings.
Unless democracy is to commit suicide by consenting to its own destruction, it will have to find some formidable answer to those who come to it saying: ''I demand from you in the name of your principles the rights which I shall deny to you later in the name of my principles.''
What we call a democratic society might be defined for certain purposes as one in which the majority is always prepared to put down a revolutionary minority.