Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Quotation of the Day

Is from David Henderson, blogging at EconLog:
"I would love to have politicians who are effective at protecting and increasing our freedom. But sometimes the best we can do is get politicians who are ineffective at reducing our freedom."

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Quotation of the Day

"Hell! there ain’t no rules around here! We are tryin’ to accomplish somep’n!"
 - Purportedly said by Thomas Edison to Martin AndrĂ© Rosanoff circa 1903, first reported in the September 1932 issue of Harper's Magazine.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Quotation of the Day

Edgar Mitchell, 6th man on the moon, describing his experience of seeing the Earth from the Moon:
"You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch'."

Friday, 11 November 2016

Quotation of the Day

Is from Tim Harford (AKA The Undercover Economist), blogging at timharford.com:
"...even when the myth is delightful and the truth is dull, the truth still matters."

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Quotation of the Day

Is from Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part VII, Section II, Chapter III, 'Of those Systems which make Virtue consist in Benevolence':
"Those actions which aimed at the happiness of a great community, as they demonstrated a more enlarged benevolence than those which aimed only at that of a smaller system, so were they, likewise, proportionally the more virtuous. The most virtuous of all affections, therefore, was that which embraced as its object the happiness of all intelligent beings. The least virtuous, on the contrary, of those to which the character of virtue could in any respect belong, was that which aimed no further than at the happiness of an individual, such as a son, a brother, a friend.

In directing all our actions to promote the greatest possible good, in submitting all inferior affections to the desire of the general happiness of mankind, in regarding one's self but as one of the many, whose prosperity was to be pursued no further than it was consistent with, or conducive to that of the whole, consisted the perfection of virtue."

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Quotation of the Day

Is from Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part VII, Section II, Chapter I, 'Of those Systems which make Virtue consist in Propriety':

"The principle of suicide, the principle which would teach us, upon some occasions, to consider that violent action as an object of applause and approbation, seems to be altogether a refinement of philosophy. Nature, in her sound and healthful state, seems never to prompt us to suicide. There is, indeed, a species of melancholy (a disease to which human nature, among its other calamities, is unhappily subject) which seems to be accompanied with, what one may call, an irresistible appetite for self-destruction. In circumstances often of the highest external prosperity, and sometimes too, in spite even of the most serious and deeply impressed sentiments of religion, this disease has frequently been known to drive its wretched victims to this fatal extremity. The unfortunate persons who perish in this miserable manner, are the proper objects, not of censure, but of commiseration. To attempt to punish them, when they are beyond the reach of all human punishment, is not more absurd than it is unjust. That punishment can fall only on their surviving friends and relations, who are always perfectly innocent, and to whom the loss of their friend, in this disgraceful manner, must always be alone a very heavy calamity."

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Quotation of the Day

Is from Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part VII, Section II, Chapter I, 'Of those Systems which make Virtue consist in Propriety':
"Men of letters, though, after their death, they are frequently more talked of than the greatest princes or statesmen of their times, are generally, during their life, so obscure and insignificant that their adventures are seldom recorded by co-temporary historians. Those of after-ages, in order to satisfy the public curiosity, and having no authentic documents either to support or to contradict their narratives, seem frequently to have fashioned them according to their own fancy; and almost always with a great mixture of the marvellous."

Friday, 4 November 2016

Quotation of the Day

"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong." - Voltaire

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Quotation of the Day

If from Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part VII, Section II, Chapter I, 'Of those Systems which make Virtue consist in Propriety':
"Those philosophers [the stoics] endeavoured, at the same time, to show, that the greatest misfortunes to which human life was liable, might be supported more easily than was commonly imagined. They endeavoured to point out the comforts which a man might still enjoy when reduced to poverty, when driven into banishment, when exposed to the injustice of popular clamour, when labouring under blindness, under deafness, in the extremity of old age, upon the approach of death. They pointed out, too, the considerations which might contribute to support his constancy under the agonies of pain and even of torture, in sickness, in sorrow for the loss of children, for the death of friends and relations, etc. The few fragments which have come down to us of what the ancient philosophers had written upon these subjects, form, perhaps, one of the most instructive, as well as one of the most interesting remains of antiquity. The spirit and manhood of their doctrines make a wonderful contrast with the desponding, plaintive, and whining tone of some modern systems."

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Quotation of the Day

Is from Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part VI, Section III, 'Of Self Command':
"Men of merit considerably above the common level, sometimes under-rate as well as over-rate themselves. Such characters, though not very dignified, are often, in private society, far from being disagreeable. His companions all feel themselves much at their ease in the society of a man so perfectly modest and unassuming. If those companions, however, have not both more discernment and more generosity than ordinary, though they may have some kindness for him, they have seldom much respect; and the warmth of their kindness is very seldom sufficient to compensate the coldness of their respect. Men of no more than ordinary discernment never rate any person higher than he appears to rate himself. He seems doubtful himself, they say, whether he is perfectly fit for such a situation or such an office; and immediately give the preference to some impudent blockhead who entertains no doubt about his own qualifications. Though they should have discernment, yet, if they want generosity, they never fail to take advantage of his simplicity, and to assume over him an impertinent superiority which they are by no means entitled to. His good-nature may enable him to bear this for some time; but he grows weary at last, and frequently when it is too late, and when that rank, which he ought to have assumed, is lost irrecoverably, and usurped, in consequence of his own backwardness, by some of his more forward, though much less meritorious companions."