I have always admired those individuals who can say so much with so few words. It is an art form that Is all too often lost on those in the science, technology, engineering, math and even legal professions. Here are some “artful” quotes that are wonderfully crafted and have relevance to today’s America.
Winston Churchill was one of the world’s great word masters. Among his many quotes is one that has great relevance today “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings: the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Is America is doomed to repeat the many failed experiments of socialist tyranny? Is there yet another battle for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness being thrust upon us?
Teddy Roosevelt is famous for “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” I often think that President Trump would have been better served with fewer words. I understand his need to tweet, but his too many words were and are a distraction. How many Americans understand the miracles of “warp speed” vaccines or the phenomenal peace breaking out in the mid-east.
There is the quote which is variably attributed to P.T. Barnum, Abraham Lincoln and Ben Franklin ““You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” The aphrodisiac of political power all too often hides this cautionary truth from the world of politics and business.
Thomas Jefferson must have been the Nostradamus of his time with his quote that “There is no justification for taking away an individual’s freedom in the guise of public safety.” Masks up, everyone? Remember the six foot distancing!!! But then he doubled down with this quote “When the people are afraid of the government, that’s tyranny. But when the government is afraid of the people, that’s liberty.” The 2020 election has certainly brought both of these quotes to the fore.
We couldn’t celebrate the economy of words without reference to Ben Franklin. “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” Of course, Ben was a bit of a scamp so “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria”. Maybe our leaders are spending too much time with poor quality wine, bad beer and dirty water!!?
George Washington doesn’t have a lot of zinger quotes, but much of what he said about people is right on target. “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” The wisdom of the ages for all of us. A wisdom to often forgotten in the heat of the moment.
Finally, from the Bible, there is the great quote that celebrates the Christmas season. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Add music to these words, and you have elements of the glorious Handel’s Messiah. (Although I wear a mask, I still sing – and so should you.)
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.