“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
— President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address (January 17, 1961)
“The basic concept underlying the Eighth Amendment is nothing less than the dignity of man. While the State has the power to punish, the Amendment stands to assure that this power be exercised within the limits of civilized standards. … The Court [has] recognized … that the words of the Amendment are not precise, and that their scope is not static. The Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”
Trop vs. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86, 100-01 (1958) (Earl Warren, C.J.)
“A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the State with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated by it as enemies.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience (1849)
There are men who struggle for a day and they are good.
There are men who struggle for a year and they are better.
There are men who struggle many years, and they are better still.
But there are those who struggle all their lives:
These are the indispensable ones.
— Bertolt Brecht, In Praise of the Fighters (1931)
“I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all.”
— Alexis de Tocqueville (1840)
“Some folks are born made to wave the flag, ooh, they’re red, white and blue, but when the band plays ‘Hail to the Chief,’ ooh, they point the cannon at you.”
— John Fogerty, Fortunate Son (September 1969)
“We tend to relate things to the words we know.”
“We have oligarchs; we just don’t call them oligarchs.”
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest -tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
— Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus (1883).
“What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.”
Charles E. Wilson — upon being questioned about his large stockholdings in General Motors by the Senate Armed Services Committee during the confirmation hearing regarding his nomination by President Eisenhower for the position of Secretary of Defense. (January 1953)
“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave their last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
— Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address (November 19, 1863)
“Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act, falls the Shadow.”
— T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men (1925)