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Memorable Quotes

Inspiring Quotes

Personal collection of quotes from various sources…

Norman Finkelstein — I’ll Burn That Bridge When I Get To It

The following wonderful collection of memorable quotes from classics can be found in Norman Finkelstein’s book I’ll Burn That Bridge When I Get To It on p.382:

“What is their hatred but a proof that I am speaking the truth?” — Socrates.

“That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time” — Mill.

“Faith attached to ideas half-understood is the main source of fanaticism” — Rousseau.

Twice two is four is not life but the beginning of death” — Dostoyevksy.

“An unjust law is no law at all” — St.Augustine.

“Upon the most exalted throne in the world it is still our own bottom that we sit on” — Montaigne.

“One can make this generalization about men: they are ungrateful, fickle, liars, and deceivers, they shun danger and are greedy for profit” — Machiavelli.

“Compulsory physical exercise does no harm to the body, but compulsory learning never sticks to the mind” — Plato.

“Sapere aude! Have the courage to think for yourself!” — Kant.

“The tyrant is very ready to make war, for this keeps his subjects occupied and in continued need of a leader” — Aristotle.

“It is the inferior artist only, who is ever perfectly satisfied with his own performances” — A.Smith.

“There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness, and truth” — Tolstoy.

The following quotes can be found in Part II on Academic Freedom:

“A consensus might currently exist on the evil of violent genocide and the inhumanity of chattel slavery, but no such consensus exists on the evil of capitalism, which arguably causes millions to perish each year from hunger and preventable diseases.” — Norman Finkelstein (p.408).

“Subtle and refined danger is always more to be apprehended, than a public and obvious one.” — John Dewey (p.439).

“In a democracy it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged.” — Bertrand Russel (p.448).

John Stuart MillOn Liberty

Prove me wrong!

“Complete liberty of contradicting and disproving our opinion, is the very condition which justifies us in assuming its truth…; and on no other terms can a being with human faculties have any rational assurance of being right. The beliefs which we have most warrant for, have no safeguard to rest on but a standing invitation to the whole world to prove them unfounded.” — John Stuart Mill.

You can’t prefer your belief to that of your adversaries if you refuse even to give them a hearing.

“He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. The rational position for him would be suspension of judgment, and unless he contents himself with that, he is either led by authority, or adopts, like the generality of the world, the side which he feels most inclination.” — John Stuart Mill.

Bertrand Russel

“No […] ethic can be either justified or condemned on solid grounds until it has been examined from all the points of view […]. Reformers and reactionaries alike are in the habit of considering one or at most two [out] of the [many] aspects of [a] problem. […] and yet it is quite impossible to say that either of these is more important than the other, and we can have no assurance a piori that a system which is good from [one] point of view would also be good from [another] point view, or vice versa.” — Betrand Russel in the introduction to Marriage and Morals.

“Undoubtably patriotism, so-called, is the gravest danger to which civilisation is at present exposed, and anything that increases its virulence is more to be dreaded than plague, pestilence, and famine.” — Betrand Russel in Chapter 15 ‘The Family and The State’ of Marriage and Morals.

“Weak men protect cruel men. Good men are the victims of both.” — Betrand Russel in Against the Crime of Silence, p.51.

“Moral purpose can not be seperated from the concern for truth.” — Betrand Russel in Against the Crime of Silence, p.51.

Philip Short — MAO: The Man Who made China


“Communists are orderly people: they like to put history in boxes (a habit unfortunately shared by some acadmics)”


“Thirty years passed like a day and left us with this lesson: the people have been like monkey, fishing for the moon in a pond and not realizing there is nothing there…”

Norman Finkelstein — Gaza - An inquest into its martyrdom


“If the evil is in the detail, it can only be confronted and disposed of in methodical parsing of logic and evidence.”


“In order to convincingly demonstrate the Report’s bias, there’s no alternative except to sift through its findings piecemeal fashion. It is to be hoped that by the time readers complete this chapter, they will be persuaded that if this writer has reached a harsh conclusion, it springs neither from malice nor prejudice but was arrived at only after scrupulously parsing the evidence.”

Noam Chomsky

“Among the many reasons for regarding the fabled American exceptionalism with some skepticism is that the doctrine appears to be close to a historical universal, including the worst monsters: Hitler, Stalin, the conquistadors; it is hard to find an exception. Aggression and terror are almost invariably portrayed as self-defense and dedication to inspiring visions.” — in Noam Chomsky’s book Hopes and Prospects.

“…The principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal that sentenced Nazi war criminals to hanging for such crimes as supporting aggression and preemptive war — the main charge against Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop, whose position in the Nazi regime corresponded to that of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, also strong supporters of aggression and preemptive war (more accurately, in their case, preventive war, a doctrine that does not even have the limited liegitimacy of preemptive war). The tribunal defined aggression clearly enough: “invasion by its armed forces” of one state “of the territory of another state.” The invasion of Iraq is is a textbook example, if words have meaning; we need not tarry on the pretexts, thoroughly exploided even before the aggression was launched, and decisively shortly after.” — in Noam Chomsky’s book Hopes and Prospects on p.131.

“International law cannot be enforced against powerful states, except by their own populations.” — in Noam Chomsky’s book Hopes and Prospects on p.156.

“Personally I’m in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions in the society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism we can’t have democracy be definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level - there’s a little bargaining, a little give and take, but the line of authority is perfectly straightforward. Just as I’m opposed to political fascism, I’m opposed to economic fascism. I think that until major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it’s pointless to talk about democracy.” — Noam Chomsky, Business Today, May 1973, pp. 13-15.

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