Thursday, December 9, 2010


"Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere."

-G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


"No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

-James Madison (4th President of the United States and critical member of the Constitutional Convention)


"China is a sleeping giant. Let it sleep, for when it awakes, it will shake the world."

-Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

Quote #131: God's aid and the rise of America

"I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God Governs the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"

- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Speech to the Constitutional Convention, 1787, quoted in The Essential Wisdom of the Founding Fathers, edited by Carol Kelly-Grange (Fall River Press:  2009), pg. 33.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quote #130: on the link between faith and works

"In one thing we agree that he who feareth God, and worketh righteousness shall be accepted of him and his Faith cannot be wrong whose life is in the right."

- Abigail Adams (1744-1818), American founder, Letter to Catherine Adams, April 15, 1818, quoted in The Founders on Religion:  A Book of Quotations, edited by James H. Hutson (Princeton:  2005), pg. 90.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quote #129: the problem with the religious right

"Adherents of the new religious right reject the separation of politics and religion, but they bring no spiritual insights to politics."

- Christopher Lasch (1931-1994), American historian and social critic.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quote #128: on the need for religion in society

"The principle of liberty and equality, if coupled with mere selfishness, will make men only devils, each trying to be independent that he may fight only for his own interest. And here is the need of religion and its power, to bring in the principle of benevolence and love to men."

- John Randolph of Roanoke (1733-1833), Congressman and leader of the National Republicans Party.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quote #127: on democracy

"As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy."

- Abraham Lincoln (1808-1865), lawyer, politician, and first Republican president of the United States.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quote #126: on the sanctity of private property

"So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property, that it will not authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community."

- Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780), Commentary on the Laws of England.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quote #125: on fighting for justice

"Power never concedes anything without a demand. It never has and it never will." 

- Frederick Douglass (1808-1895), former slave, African-American civil rights activist, abolitionist and American political philosopher.

Quote #124: on justice

"The precepts of the law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, and to give every man his due. The study of law consists of two branches, law public and law private. The former relates to the welfare of the Roman State; the latter to the advantage of the individual citizen. Of private law then we may say that it is of threefold origin, being collected from the precepts of nature, from those of the law of nations, or from those of the civil law of Rome."

- Justinian (483-565), emperor of Rome, in his Institutes of Roman Law.

Quote #123: on virtue

"The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American writer and philosopher.

Quote #122: on ideas

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

- Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC), ancient Greek philosopher and tutor to Alexander the Great.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mother Teresa on abortion

"I always say one thing: If a mother can kill her own child, then what is left of the West to be destroyed? It is difficult to explain , but it is just that."

Mother Teresa

Monday, September 6, 2010


"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

-C. S. Lewis

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quote CXIX

"The truth is this: the march of Providence is so slow and our desires are so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long and that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us hope."

-General Robert E. Lee
(pictured as a young lieutenant in 1831)

Friday, September 3, 2010


"A citizen can hardly distinguish between a tax and a fine, except that a fine is generally much lighter."

-G. K. Chesterton

Friday, June 25, 2010

Quote No. CXVII

"When you need to shoot, shoot, don't talk."

-Tuco Ramirez
(The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quote #116: on persuasion

"If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. But do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see"

- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American writer.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Quote #115: De Profundis by Christina Rossetti

Oh why is heaven built so far,
Oh why is earth set so remote?
I cannot reach the nearest star
That hangs afloat.

I would not care to reach the moon,
On round monotonous of change;
Yet even she repeats her tune
Beyond my range.

I never watch the scatter'd fire
Of stars or sun's far-trailing train,
But all my heart is one desire,
And all in vain:

For I am bound with fleshly bands,
Joy, beauty, lie beyond my scope;
I strain my heart, I stretch my hands,
And catch at hope.

Quote #114: on excessive taxation

"Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery." -- Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States.

Quote #113: on the nature of education

“Education is not the piling on of learning, information, data, facts, skills, or abilities - that's training or instruction - but is rather making visible what is hidden as a seed” -- St. Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England and martyr.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Why do we quote?

A good question.  What is it about quotations that captivate those of us who like them?  I have books of quotations -- by the Founding Fathers, by Abraham Lincoln, by various theological authors, etc.  Why?  What is it about the words of others that is so appealing?  Partly it is authority -- the use of words by notable authors to support my own contentions.  It allows me to speak without using my own voice.  But that, I think, isn't the main reason.  The main reason is joy in the phrasing and wisdom of others.  What I like about quotations is the ability to reference a particularly well-put point or insight, and to share that literary or verbal excellence with others.  That to me is why quotations are so interesting.

As Lincoln once quipped, "For those who like that kind of thing, it's the kind of thing they like." 

Quote #112: don't act in a hurry

"Here is a very wise rule:  never act in a hurry, and always be ready to alter your preconceived ideas.  And here is another principle that goes with it; don't be too ready to accept the first story that is told you, or hand on to others the rumours you hear, and the secrets entrusted to you.  Find out some wise counsellor to advise you, a man of enlightened conscience, and be prepared to go by his better judgement, instead of trusting your own calculations.  Believe me, a holy life gives a man the wisdom that reflects God's will, and a wide range of experience.  The humbler he is, the more submissive in God's service, the more wise and calm will be his judgements on every question."  - The Imitation of Christ, Bk. 1, Ch. 4, Para. 2 (Ronald Knox translation).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Worshipping the Intellect

"There seems to be an inverse corrolary between those who worship the intellect and those who use it. [Sam] Harris, like so many atheists, is a devout worshipper of the intellect."

Mark P. Shea, Catholic blogger

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quote CX

"There are no good laws but such as repeal other laws."

President Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), our last Independent executive, who martyred his presidency in order that he not be guilty of destroying our Constitution or have a part in the post-bellum alienization of the American South.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quote #109: on love

From one of the great English poets of the Romantic period:

"All thoughts, all passions, all delights
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame."
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834).

On Intellectuals

“Scratch an intellectual and you find a would-be aristocrat who loathes the sight, the sound, and the smell of common folk.”

Eric Hoffer

On Appetite

"The ideal is for us not to control our appetites at all, but to allow them full rein in the wake of an uncontrolled appetite for God.

It is important to take seriously the implication of our beatitude that there really is an appetite for God, and for his righteousness. We too easily speak and think as if righteousness resulted chiefly from the curbing of our appetites, as if our appetites were only for sin. But strictly speaking we have no appetite for sin. What we experience as an appetite for sin is a sick appetite which has mistaken its object. In moments of despondency we may perhaps look around and think that we should be much happier if we gave up trying to be good, if we could enjoy all the vices of the world around us. But that is only a fantasy. The desire for goodness is really a much more robust desire than any alleged desire for evil. . . ."

Father Simon Tugwell, O.P.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quote #106

“Because of our traditions we have kept our balance for many, many years … Because of our traditions, everyone of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do.” -- from Fiddler on the Roof.

Quote CV

"True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions."

-Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 B.C.-43 B.C.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Quote CIV

"A little philosophy inclineth a man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion."

-Sir Francis Bacon

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Quote No. 103

Affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction that is not matured and ripened by it and made fit for God by that affliction."

-John Donne (1572-1631)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quote #102

"The wise determine from the gravity of the case; the irritable, from sensibility to oppression; the high minded, from disdain and indignation at abusive power in unworthy hands."

-- Edmund Burke (1729-1797), English statesman and member of Parliament, generally acknowledged founder of modern conservatism.

The 100 quote milestone!

Thanks to Jakeman for getting us across the 100 quote milestone. Great work by all the contributors here at Culby's Daily Quotebook! Quote-on!

Quote No. 101

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."

-Samuel Adams (1722-1803)

Quote Number 100

Bringin' it back...

"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether; more to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them your servant is warned, and in jeeping them there is great reward."

Psalm 19:7-11 (New King James Version)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Well, are we going to make it to 100 quotes?

I was going to post the 100th quote this afternoon, but I thought I would leave it up to this blog's founder, Jakeman, to do the honors if he would like.  So, Jakeman, will you post a quote to get us across the 100th quote mark, or should I do the honors?

Quote #99: law and ideology

"It is admittedly somewhat ironic that legal certainty increases precisely in virtue of an element that, although moderating the ideal demands on legal theory, is the most susceptible to ideological distortions." - Jurgen Habermas, Between Facts and Norms (transl. by William Rehg, MIT Press: 1998), pg. 221.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Quote #98: on living in the end times

"Although the early church say the end of the world as imminent, why should we reenter that frame of mind, now that we know that the world was not about to end? Well, the New Testament invites us to see eternity as continually intersecting -- literally, cutting across -- time. This is a synchronic, not a diachronic, faith. We are created now, at every now. Christ comes now; the Incarnation is now. The great judgment is now. 'The accomplishment of everything impends' (1 Peter 4.7). Christ brought his reign with him. It is both present and to come."
--Garry Wills, The Rosary (Viking: 2005), pg. 20.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Danger to Liberty

"There is something so far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the militia that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes of rhetoricians; as a disingenuous artifice to instill prejudices at any price; or as the serious."

- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 29

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Advantage of being Armed

"Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of."
- James Madison, Federalist No. 46

Quote #95: on the powers of government

"A government ought to contain in itself every power requisite to the full accomplishment of the objects committed to its care, and to the complete execution of the trusts for which it is responsible, free from every other control but a regard to the public good and to the sense of the people."
- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 31 (January 1, 1788).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Unalienable Rights

"The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals... [It] establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of."

- Albert Gallatin, letter to Alexander Addison, 1789

Friday, January 1, 2010

Quote #93: on the purpose of government

"Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit. In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign as in a state of nature, where the weaker individual is not secured against the violence of the stronger; and as, in the latter state, even the individuals are prompted, by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government which may protect the weak as well as themselves; so, in the former state, will the more powerful factions or parties be gradually induced, by a like motive to wish for a government which will protect all parties, the weaker as well as the more powerful."
- Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), American founding father.

To Guard Liberty

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined."

- Patrick Henry, Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1778

St. Augustine (by Sandro Botticelli)

St. Ignatius Loyola (by Francisco Zurbaran)

Benjamin Rush (by Charles Willson Peale)

Patrick Henry at the Virginia House of Burgesses (by Henry Rothermel)

Edmund Burke (by Sir Joshua Reynolds)

Samuel Adams (by John Singleton Copley)

Alexander Hamilton (by John Trumbull)