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74 of 6,095 quotations related to Liberalism

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Barzun, Jacques
The editorial, the placard, and the elementary school have been [Liberalism's] instruments, instead of the scepter, the cross, the pilgrimage, the pageant, and the churchhouse.

1980 - from Critical Questions
Bierce, Ambrose
Conservative: a statesman who is enamoured of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

1906 - from The Devil's Dictionary
Bork, Robert
Classical liberalism has been so thoroughly defeated by modern liberalism's statism and its coercive homogenization of cultural life that even its name has been appropriated. "Liberal" once referred to a political tradition that honored individual liberty and a cultural ethos that allowed for the best that is known and thought to emerge from the free exchange of ideas. That kind of liberalism is today judged to be a marginal counterculture, especially in elite circles. Thus classical liberals - now known as conservatives - face an uphill battle in their struggle to preserve what is best in our inheritance.

Dec. 8, 1999 - from a review of Betrayal of Liberalism, Kramer and Kimball, editors, published in the Wall Street Journal
Brimelow, Peter
The modern definition of 'racist' is someone who is winning an argument with a liberal.

Feb. 1, 1993 - from an essay in National Review
Brownson, Orestes Augustus
He who has read Aristotle's Politics has read the history of American democracy, and the unanswerable refutation of all democratic theories and tendencies of modern liberals.

Bruyère, Jean de la
Liberality consists less in giving a great deal than in gifts well-timed.

Buckley, William F.
Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.

Liberals... are generous with other peoples' money, except when it comes to questions of national survival when they prefer to be generous with other people's freedom and security.

Burnham, James
The judgements that liberals render on public issues, domestic and foreign, are as predictable as the salivation of Pavlovian dogs.

1964 - from Suicide of the West
The most important practical consequence of the guilt encysted in the liberal ideology and psyche is this: that the liberal, and the group, nation or civilization infected by liberal doctrine and values, are morally disarmed before those whom the liberal regards as less well off than himself.

1964 - from Suicide of the West



Modern liberalism, for most liberals, is not a consciously understood set of rational beliefs but a bundle of unexamined prejudices and conjoined sentiments. The basic ideas and beliefs seem more satisfactory when they are not made fully explicit, when they merely lurk rather obscurely in the background, coloring the rhetoric and adding a certain emotive glow.

1964 - from Suicide of the West
Chapin, Edwin Hubbel
Neutral men are the devil's allies.

Chesterton, Gilbert K.
The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.

Apr. 19, 1924 - from a column in the Illustrated London News
Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.

1905 - from Heretics
Chrétien, Jean  
 I have never been doctrinaire on issues. That is one of the great things about being a Liberal; you can base your decisions on the circumstances without having to worry about your established public image.

1985 - from Straight from the Heart
Churchill, Charles
The danger chiefly lies in acting well, no crime's so great as daring to excel.

from Epistle to William Hogarth
Coolidge, Calvin
Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong.

Jan. 7, 1914 - from a speech delivered to the Massachusetts Senate when he became its president
It is not the name of the action, but the result of the action, which is the chief concern.

Mar. 4, 1925 - from his Inaugural Address
Those who disregard the rules of society are not exhibiting a superior intelligence, are not promoting freedom and independence, are not following the path of civilization, but are displaying the traits of ignorance, of servitude, of savagery, and treading the way that leads back to the jungle.

Mar. 4, 1925 - from his Inaugural Address
Crombie, David  
Canadians live with liberal rhetoric, but we conduct our lives as social conservatives.

1982 - quoted in Radical Tories, by Charles Taylor



D'Souza, Dinesh
In the 1950s, it might have taken courage to articulate Marxist views. Today, rebellion is defined in a different way.

Jan. 1995 - from "Forbidden Thoughts", a discussion published in American Enterprise by the American Enterprise Institute
... the liberal's operating impulse seems to begin with indignation, a sense of passion, a sense of outrage. A lot of sentences begin, "I' m shocked and appalled." Whereas the conservative's operating impulse seems to be cynicism, kind of a chuckle or a horse laugh.

Jan. 1995 - from "Forbidden Thoughts", a discussion published in American Enterprise by the American Enterprise Institute
... the conservative view of the world, because it expects less of human nature, is less indignant, and thus less susceptible to the kind of manic enforcement of taboos that we are beginning to see in American intellectual life and on campus. If you think that human nature is perfectible, you are much more upset if you see deviation.

Jan. 1995 - from "Forbidden Thoughts", a discussion published in American Enterprise by the American Enterprise Institute
Diefenbaker, John George  
My friends, you say, 'Give 'em hell, John!' I never do that. I tell the truth and it sounds like hell. It simply sounds that way to the Grits.

Mar. 13, 1963 - speech in Moncton, New Brunswick
[The Liberals] Never in Canadian history has there been a government so prone to be prone.

Jan. 20, 1966 - Hansard, Canadian Parliament
Frum, David  
... it is social liberals, not social conservatives, who nowadays fine, blacklist, and even threaten to jail businessmen, broadcasters and mayors who dissent from their dogmas...

May 27, 2000 - from "The race to define defines politics", published in the National Post
As the Dead Sea Scrolls remind us, the impulse to declare that the End Is Nigh has been driving men to grow beards and retreat into the desert for millennia. One of the strange tendencies of modern life, however, has been the institutionalization of scaremongering, the willingness of the mass media and government to lend plausibility to wild surmises about the future.

Mar. 2000 - from How We Got Here: Life Since the Seventies for Better or Worse, Random House
This [Canadian] Liberal government seems to be obsessed by the fear that unless carefully watched, somebody somewhere in Canada might start making money. Even now, after a decade of redistributing ourselves into poverty, this government's policies seem to be premised on the assumption that it is better for all of us to fail together than for any of us to succeed. ... the consequences of confiscation ought by now to be clear to us all: recession, devaluation, falling standards of living, the deterioration of public and private services, backwardness, stagnation and immiseration.

Oct. 21, 2000 - from "No more excuses from the Grits", published in the National Post
Historically, the Democrats have been the party of national particularism. A century and a half ago, Democratic particularism took the form of sectionalism: championing the interests of some states against the interest of the whole country. From the 1930's until the 1970's, the Democratic party flourished by using the power of government to favor some economic classes over others. Today, that same tradition of particularism takes the form of 'diversity': championing the particular interests of single women and favored ethnic groups. The more intensely ethnic groups resent one another, the worse the mistrust between women and men, the better the Democrats do.

Feb. 09, 1997 - from a collection of essays published under the title "On the Future of Conservatism" by Commentary magazine
Gairdner, William D.  
For the [modern liberal], Man is naturally good and is ultimately perfectible by human means and reason alone, with no particular help needed from God, transcendent moral standards, or, for that matter the next-door neighbour. Human failings and ignorance are ultimately said to be rooted not in the individual but in badly flawed human societies. That is why "progressive" regimes are needed to engineer human perfection.

Sep. 01, 1997 - from "Conservatism in a Nutshell", published on The Canadian Conservative Forum



[Statistics Canada no longer collects statistics on marriages and divorces] It can only be a political statement that the natural family is not an important organization. ... The philosophy of modern liberalism has penetrated so deeply into the public consciousness that it means nothing to Statistics Canada to throw out a statistic like this. To the government we are all individuals, and they are not interested in the institutions we form.

Jul. 22, 1996 - quoted in "In the eyes of God, but not of Ottawa", by Michael Jenkinson, published in Alberta Report
Gingrich, Newt
Civilization cannot survive with twelve-year-olds having babies, fifteen-year-olds shooting one another, seventeen-year-olds dying of AIDS, and eighteen-year-olds graduating with diplomas they cannot read.

Sep. 01, 1994 - from an article in Commentary Magazine
We're prepared to place our trust in the people to reshape the government. Our liberal friends place their trust in the government to reshape the people.

1998 - from a campaign rally speech
Grant, R.W.
... the doctrine of self-sacrifice is no longer in the ivory tower - it has entered the political arena, and the philosophical 'thou ought' has finally become the legislated 'thou must.' What was previously only a 'moral obligation' has now become a 'duty.' Every tyranny in history has been based on some variation of the altruist theme. Under Stalin and Lenin it was the duty of the individual to serve the Proletariat. Under Hitler it was the Fatherland. Under Mussolini it was The State. The altruist ideal of service to some 'greater good' is the cornerstone of tyranny.

1999 - from The Incredible Bread Machine, published by Fox and Wilkes
Horowitz, David
... please stop referring to leftists... whose agendas are a socialist and even fascist utopia (redistribution by racial preferences) as "liberals." These are not liberals. They are leftists. The only thing they are liberal about is hard drugs and sex. In every other respect, they want to control your lives. Their traditions are of the left, their ideas are of the left, their agendas are of the left. You can’t really complain about the double standards for the past, if you continue to apply those double standards to the present.

Jun. 6, 2001 - from "Matters of Treason: Reply to Roger Clegg", published in FrontPageMagazine.com
Inge, William Ralph
There are two kinds of fools: one says, "This is old, therefore it is good"; the other says, "This is new, therefore it is better."

Kirk, Russell
[The conservative] thinks of political policies as intended to preserve order, justice, and freedom. The ideologue, on the contrary, thinks of politics as a revolutionary instrument for transforming society and even transforming human nature. In his march toward Utopia, the ideologue is merciless.

1993 - from The Politics of Prudence
Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.... The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression.... He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence
The liberal mentality seems bent upon annihilation of the convictions and circumstances that have made possible a liberal democratic society.

Sep. 21, 1989 - from his essay "Malcom Muggeridge's Scourging of Liberalism"
Lippmann, Walter
The tendency of the casual mind is to pick out or stumble upon a sample which supports or defies its prejudices, and then to make it the representative of a whole class.




Machiavelli, Nicollo
A wise prince must devise ways by which his citizens are always and in all circumstances dependent on him and his authority; and then they will always be faithful to him.

MacPherson, C.B.  
We are supposed to have a rwo-or three -party system in Canada, yet one party has been in office, with only two intervals, ever since 1896, and continuously since 1935. This has led one observer to speak of Canada as a one-party state, and to attribute the phenomenon to the skill of the Liberal party in representing the lowest common denominator of political opinion in a country with an unusual dispersion of racial, religious, and sectional interests. The one party, it is said, has been so successful at this that it is now widely considered to be the only party able to form a government; consequently, the greater the threat that it may lose an election, the more voters rally to it from protest parties.

1952 - from Democracy In Alberta: Social Credit and the Party System
... in the very near future our problem will be not to get people to work but to find something for them to do, not to make the most efficient use of scarce means but to start repairing the scarcity of human values that have been submerged in the struggle against material scarcity.

1972 - from The Real World of Democracy
Margolis, Eric  
The Liberals are the party of big government. Under their patron saint, Pierre Trudeau, the federal government went from consuming 30% of national income to 53%. When government devours more than half of a nation's economic output, government no longer serves taxpayers, taxpayers serve government. Other countries call this socialism. In Canada, it's termed 'justice and compassion.'

Nov. 26, 2000 - from "Does Canada Need its Bloated Federal Government?"
Martin, Paul  
For years governments have been promising more than they can deliver, and delivering more than they can afford.

Feb. 22, 1994 - from his budget speech, quoted in the Globe and Mail and in Famous Lasting Words by John Robert Columbo
McDonald, Kenneth  
... In his sixteen years of office Pierre Elliot Trudeau made himself a nuisance by inserting the tentacles of government where they had no place to be: in the lives of private citizens. The man who declared that there was no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation set about making its presence felt in every room in the house.

1995 - from His Pride, Our Fall
Medved, Michael
[There are] two repulsive tendencies in contemporary liberalism. The first is the 'Do Something Disease' - the impulse to offer some immediate, showy response to any perceived problem; no matter how ineffectual the gesture, we can all feel better that the problem's been addressed. The second involves the instant resort to governmental expansion - new regulation, legislation and bureaucracy - as the only appropriate response to every difficulty.

Morton, William L.  
Finally there is what I would call the end of philosophic individualism, or the extinction of the true liberal. The radical survives, and the socialist, but the liberal who was an individualist, a nationalist, and an internationalist -- who was also, be it acknowledged, at his best a humanitarian, and a man of generous instincts and magnanimous mind -- that kind of liberal is gone with the top hat and the frock coat. The world is the poorer for his going, and it behoves conservatives to remember that they are in fact his residuary legatees, and that the liberal spirit now finds almost its sole dwelling place in conservative minds.

1982 - quoted in Radical Tories, by Charles Taylor
Moynihan, Daniel Patrick
Somehow Liberals have been unable to acquire from birth what Conservatives seem to be endowed with at birth: namely, a healthy skepticism of the powers of government to do good.

Feb. 15, 1969 - from an essay in the New York Post
Newman, Peter C.  
Conservatives usually prefer twin beds, which may contribute to the fact that Canada has more Liberals.

quoted in Columbo's New Canadian Quotations by John Robert Columbo



Nixon, Richard Milhouse
In assembling a staff, the conservative leader faces a greater problem than does the liberal. In general, liberals want more government and hunger to be the ones running it. Conservatives want less government and want no part of it. Liberals want to run other people's lives. Conservatives want to be left alone to run their own lives.... Liberals flock to government; conservatives have to be enticed and persuaded.

from Leaders
Player, Willis
A liberal is a person whose interests aren't at stake, at the moment.

Rothbard, Murray
It is easy to be conspicuously compassionate if others are being forced to pay the cost.

Scruton, Roger
When a party is based on ideology, it believes that it has a right to power and that if the people don’t agree with it, they are mistaken and ought to be corrected. Social democrats have accepted the ideological program of socialism, while also acknowledging the right of the people to reject it: an uneasy position, as history has shown, and one of the causes for the new kind of social democracy, which tries to distance itself as far as possible from the socialist idea.

Aug. 1998 - from "Christian Democracy and the Czech Republic", published in The New Presence
Social democrats are no longer explicitly socialist, but they retain the socialist conviction that people should be looked after by the state. This means that many decisions affecting people’s lives should be taken by others. It is the state that decides on pensions, welfare, health-care, housing and so on. The result is that political order is gradually voided of individual accountability. Individual voters and individual bureaucrats are equally without responsibility for big decisions. All responsibility resides in the state - that bodiless abstraction which can, in the last analysis, be neither praised nor blamed.

Aug. 1998 - from "Christian Democracy and the Czech Republic", published in The New Presence
Fascism: An amalgam of disparate conceptions.

1982 - from A Dictionary of Political Thought
The autonomous individual is the product of practices which designate him as social. The individual man is the man who recognises that he is no mere individual ... Individual freedom is the great social artifact which, in trying to represent itself as nature alone, generates the myth of liberalism.

1984 - from The Meaning of Conservatism
Sobran, Joseph
What we call liberalism nowadays isn't so much an idea as an attitude, an attitude of repudiation. You always have to be ready, willing and eager to take the next step away from the settled beliefs of the West. That's what it means to be 'progressive' -- on socialism, sex, abortion, whatever. Soon it will be pedophilia. Right now, liberal opinion on that subject is about where it was on homosexuality thirty years ago. First we are told we have to take a diagnostic rather than a moralistic view: it's a condition more to be pitied than censured. Once this attitude is established, the condition soon becomes a matter of right. And so, by increments, old traditions are discredited. They are 'medieval', and anything medieval is barbarous. (Medieval culture is the only culture liberalism doesn't regard with tolerant relativism.) ... Having [once] renounced revelation, liberalism is now in the process of renouncing nature itself. It refuses to admit that even homosexuality is in any sense unnatural; but then, as you may have noticed, the word 'unnatural' has fallen out of the liberal lexicon.

1996 - from his column "How to be a liberal"
You can almost define a liberal as one who demands that others reach his conclusions from their premises.

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander
The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party, and of course in the United Nations.

Jun. 8, 1978 - from his speech "The Exhausted West", delivered at commencement at Harvard University



A loss of courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days...Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.

Jun. 8, 1978 - from his speech "The Exhausted West", delivered at commencement at Harvard University
Sowell, Thomas
Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what has worked with what sounded good. In area after area - crime, education, housing, race relations - the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them.

The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.

... the [contemporary liberal] standard for smartness is not achievement but glib rhetoric, smug airs and presumptuous proposals.

Feb. 8, 2001 - from "Wise versus smart II", Creators Syndicate Inc.
Steinbeck, John
I have named the destroyers of nations: comfort, plenty, and security - out of which grow a bored and slothful cynicism, in which rebellion against the world as it is, and myself as I am, are submerged in listless self-satisfaction.

1966 - from American and Americans
Szasz, Thomas Stephen
Punishment is now unfashionable... because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.

Thomas, Cal
If the government had not been so insistent in tearing down the moral code that used to protect us in this country, perhaps more people might be able to judge right from wrong for themselves.

There are political points to be made by pitting us against each other. People have access to federal resources if they are part of a victim class. Their political clout is increased if they can join groups and petition politicians for a redress of their grievances, promising votes to the candidate or party that offers the most goodies.

Jul. 17, 1998 - from "One Nation? Indivisible?", published in Jewish World Review
Trudeau, Pierre Elliot  
The philosophy of the Liberal Party is very simple – say anything, think anything, or better still, do not think at all, but put us in power because it is we who can govern you best.

Unknown
Our problems are mostly behind us. Now we have to fight the solutions.




Widdecombe, Ann
Today the only thing which is not tolerated is intolerance.

1998 - from the introduction to the Inner Temple Year Book
Wilson, James Q.
There aren't any liberals left in New York. They've all been mugged by now.

Young, Whitney M.
Liberalism seems to be related to the distance people are from the problem.

Zeller, Richard
There was a time that ... honorable people could disagree honorably; now, any challenge to the campus sacred cows (feminism, affirmative action, and multiculturalism) is denounced as evil.

Sep. 28, 2000 - quoted by Larry Elder in "The politically incorrect professor", published by Creators Syndicate Inc.