Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Freedom of Press is limited to those who own one - H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Quote Mining

Reason has a cool thread on Obama’s new threads.  He’s apparently put a new rug in the oval office that has five quotes.  Here they are:

“The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long, But it Bends Towards Justice,” Martin Luther King Jr.

“Government of the People, By the People, For the People,” President Abraham Lincoln

“No Problem of Human Destiny is Beyond Human Beings,” President John F. Kennedy

“The Welfare of Each of Us is Dependent Fundamentally Upon the Welfare of All of Us,” President Theodore Roosevelt

Fairly blah, as you would expect from our President.  I’m not fond of the last one.  So the question becomes: what quotes would you put in the Oval Office?  The Reason commenters are going with humor—I particularly like this one:

“That rug really tied the room together, did it not?”

Which works on so many levels, given that Obama is doing to the Constitution what Jackie Treehorn’s thugs did to the rug.  We can go with humor, but I’ll take a serious spin on my quotes.  There was a fantastic article a couple of weeks ago from the incomparable Jonah Lehrer on the corrupting effects of power.  Essentially, we tend to give power to good people.  But power tends to make them into bad people.

Mr. Keltner compares the feeling of power to brain damage, noting that people with lots of authority tend to behave like neurological patients with a damaged orbito-frontal lobe, a brain area that’s crucial for empathy and decision-making. Even the most virtuous people can be undone by the corner office.

So I would want quotes that would remind me of the dangers of power.  Things like:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” - H. L. Mencken

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” - P. J. O’Rourke

“A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.” - Robert A. Heinlein

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” - Thomas Jefferson

“Four-fifths of all our troubles would disappear, if we would only sit down and keep still.” - Calvin Coolidge

Actually, I would take five quotes from any of those men in lieu of what Obama chose.  Apologies to Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, Penn Jillette, Barry Goldwater, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

Anyway, have at it.  Funny quotes, ironic quotes, inspiring ones.  Go nuts.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 09/01/10 at 08:50 AM in Fun and Humor  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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