Curtis Dahlgren
From heavy thinkers to Lite drinkers, to Convention speakers
By Curtis Dahlgren
September 11, 2012

"The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it . . . A State that dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes — will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished . . . All good things which exist are the fruits of originality." — John Stuart Mill (1806-73)

"We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent . . " — T. Jefferson (original draft of the Declaration of Independence)


"Glittering generalities[?!] They are blazing ubitquities [universal, everywhere]." He also said:

"When Nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it."


"The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience, be in any manner, nor on any PRETEXT, infringed."

James Madison (original draft of the 1st Amendment)

"Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil. . . The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse . . . The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion . . . And having looked to government for bread, on the very first scarcity they will turn and bite the hand that fed them." — Edmund Burke (1729-97)

"The only speciman [quote] of Burke is, all he wrote . . . The most fluent talkers are not always the justest thinkers." — Wm Hazlitt (1778-1830)

"The humblest citizen of all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error." — Wm. Jennings Bryan, 1896 Democrat convention, Chicago [you can fight City Hall]

"Great men are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force, that thoughts rule the world." — Ralph Waldo Emerson (Phi Beta Kappa address; July 18, 1876)

"Who overcomes by force hath overcome but half his foe." — John Milton (1608-74)

"The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: a nation is not governed which is perpetually to be conquered [and] Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny." — Burke

"[The Republicans] want y'all back in chains." — Joe Biden

"If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door [saying "You didn't make that; you didn't build that house]." — Emerson (paraphrased)

"The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons." — Emerson (exact quote)

"A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience . . . The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men." — Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94)

"What a tangled web we weave,

When first we practise to deceive!"

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

"Chains are worse than bayonets." — Douglas Jerrold (1803-57)

"If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not even crucify Him. They would ask Him to dinner, and hear what He had to say, and make fun of Him." — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

"Though by whim, envy, or resentment led, they damn those authors whom they never read." — Charles Churchill (1731-1764)

P.S. I seem to be partial to writers from the 18th and 19th centuries, eh? I don't know why; maybe civilization has been going backward since the dawn of the 20th century. Just one more by Theodore Roosevelt:

"There can be no fifty-fifty Americans [hyphenated Americans]. There is room here for only 100 per cent Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing else." [Republican convention, Saratoga]

PPS: I'm writing this on the 11th anniversary of September 11, 2001, so here's a pithy quote:

"There is one creed: 'neath no world-terror's wing

Apples forget to grow on apple-trees."

G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

That brings us back to the Laws of Nature and Nature's God, and what goes around comes around. But — oh — just one more thing:

So live, that when thy summons come to join

The innumerable caravan, which moves

To that mysterious realm, where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go not, like a quarry-slave at night,

Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

And one more thing (from my daily prayer book — for September 11):

[Father, shine through our eyes, speak with our lips, grip with our hands, throb with our hearts, and may we help bring the world back to Thee. AMEN.]

Post-PS: Please note that I wrote and posted this column before hearing the terrible news out of the Middle East. However, if you reread this column, you get the feeling that I suspected something was "up." I suggest that we all pray for our enemies, and/or the President. And don't forget Governor Romney.

© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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