But we in this country have a right to think of the welfare of America first … The time has come when those of us who believe in an independent American destiny must band together and organize for strength. We have been led toward war by a minority of our people. This minority has power. It has influence. It has a loud voice. But it does not represent the American people.
Modern war with all its consequences is too tragic and too devastating to be approached from anything but a purely American standpoint. We should never enter a war unless it is absolutely essential to the future welfare of our nation.
The improvement of our way of life is more important than the spreading of it. If we make it satisfactory enough, it will spread automatically. If we do not, no strength of arms can permanently impose it.
What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don’t like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don’t expect freedom to survive very long.
We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.
When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things bought and sold are legislators.
Compassion is the use of public funds to buy votes.
We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.
Among the innumerable mortifications which waylay human arrogance
on every side may well be reckoned our ignorance of the most common
objects and effects, a defect of which we become more sensible by
every attempt to supply it. Vulgar and inactive minds confound
familiarity with knowledge and conceive themselves informed of the
whole nature of things when they are shown their form or told their
use; but the speculatist, who is not content with superficial views,
harasses himself with fruitless curiosity, and still, as he inquires
more, perceives only that he knows less.
The strength or weakness of a society depends more on the level of its spiritual life than on its level of industrialization. Neither a market economy nor even general abundance constitutes the crowning achievement of human life. If a nation’s spiritual energies have been exhausted, it will not be saved from collapse by the most perfect government structure or by any industrial development. A tree with a rotten core cannot stand.