Favorite Quotations – Bon Mots

“If you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police.”

Prof. Clay Christensen, Harvard Business School (1952-2020),
on Religious Freedom

“If the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted. With the law books filled with a great assortment of crimes, a prosecutor stands a fair chance of finding at least a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone. In such a case, it is not a question of discovering the commission of a crime and then looking for the man who has committed it, it is a question of picking the man and then searching the law books, or putting investigators to work, to pin some offense on him. Its in this realm … that the greatest danger of abuse of prosecuting power lies.”

Attorney General of the United States Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954)
The United States Department of Justice

“The United States wins its point whenever justice is done its citizens in the courts.”

Solicitor General Frederick William Lehman (1853 – 1931)

“Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will
have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival.
There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory,
because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

Winston S. Churchill

“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

Winston S. Churchill,
address to the boys at Harrow School, October 29, 1941

“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”

James Baldwin (1924-1987),
The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction (St. Martin’s Press), p. 89.

“Truth once seen cannot be unseen.”

Steve Brown, Key Life Network, http://www.keylife.org

“You’re not OK.  And I’m not OK.  But it’s OK.”

Steve Brown, Key Life Network, http://www.keylife.org

“The cheapest car anyone can ever own is always the car they presently own.”

Larry Burkett (1939-2003), Creating a Successful Christian Marriage.

“I drive a car till it turns to dust, then I sweep up the dust and ride on the dust.”

Larry Burkett (1939-2003)

“Behavior runs in deep channels that were cut during early childhood, and it is very difficult to alter them. In order to change a deeply ingrained pattern, you have to build a sturdy dam, dig another canal and reroute the river in the new direction. That effort is rarely successful over the long haul.”

Dr. James Dobson, “Making Marriage Last”

“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”

Plutarch (c. 46 A.D.-127 A.D.), Greek historian, biographer, and essayist

“Before the camps, I regarded the existence of nationality as something that shouldn’t be noticed – nationality did not really exist, only humanity. But in the camps, one learns: if you belong to a successful nation, you are protected and you survive. If you are part of universal humanity, too bad for you.”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Two Hundred Years Together (2002)

“[G]overnment is not the solution to our problem;
government is the problem.”

President Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address; January 20, 1981

“All lost! but by the graves
Where martyred heroes rest,
He wins the most who honor saves —
Success is not the test.”

Abram Joseph Ryan, “Sentinel Songs”

“I began to appreciate that authentic truth is never simple and that any version of truth handed down from on high — whether by presidents, prime ministers, or archbishops — is inherently suspect. The powerful, I came to see, reveal truth only to the extent that it suits them.”

Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War (Metropolitan Books), p. 3.

“Immigration without assimilation is an invasion.”

Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana,
Real Clear Politics

“Speed kills.” (In the context of the practice of law.)

Lawrence J. Straw, Esquire
(1947 (?) – December 21, 2001)
Straw & Gilmartin, P.C., Santa Monica, California former Deputy General Counsel, Office of Economic Opportunity (1973), former General Counsel, The Conservative Caucus candidate for Republican nomination for Attorney General of California, counsel to Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

“Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

George Orwell (1903-1950)

“In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Said to be erroneously attributed to George Orwell (1903-1950)

“If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.”

Jay Leno,

“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

Emma Goldman, anarchist (1869-1940)

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who
cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.”

Joseph Stalin (1878-1953)
(Attribution of this quotation to Stalin has been questioned.)

“War is the health of the state. Only when the State is at war does the modern society function with that unity of sentiment, simple uncritical patriotic devotion, cooperation of services, which have always been the ideal of the State lover.”

Randolph Bourne, The State

“The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

Vladimir Illyich Lenin (1870-1924)

“I gave George an unlimited budget and he exceeded it.”

Washington Redskins president Edward Bennett Williams
commenting about Redskins Head Coach George Allen.

“You get more of what you INspect than what you EXpect.”


“An accusation raises the defenses, but a question pricks the conscience.”


“God never does His part until
we are in the process of doing our part.”


“That is an argument that would appeal only to a lawyer.”


“It seems logical that a person’s morality would be determined by his theology; but more often a person’s theology is determined by his morality.”


“It is a mistake to judge another through the lens of the gift that God gave you.”


“When we disagree about doctrine, it is more likely that both of us are wrong, than either of us is right.”


WESTMORELAND: O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING: What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.

This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother;
be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

William Shakespeare,
St. Crispen’s Day Speech (1599) (emphasis added)

“Behind every great fortune there is a crime.”


“But a law held unconstitutional in an American court is by no means so wholly a nullity, as the Attorney General quite persuasively advised President Roosevelt in 1937.  The Supreme Court had held the District of Columbia minimum wage law unconstitutional in 1923, in the Adkins case; but in 1937, in sustaining a similar Washington law in the West Coast Hotel Co. case, the Court formally overruled Adkins….  The Attorney General advised that the 1923 ruling had simply “suspend[ed]” enforcement, and that the act was valid and enforceable after the 1937 decision, explaining:  “The decisions are practically in accord in holding that the courts have no power to repeal or abolish a statute, and that notwithstanding a decision holding it unconstitutional a statute continues to remain on the statute books.”  39 Ops.Atty.Gen. 22 (1937).”

Gerald Gunth, Constitutional Law
(Foundation Press: 12th edt. 1991) at 28.

Charles Halloran (William Frawley): “All right, you go back and tell them that the New York State Supreme Court rules there’s no Santa Claus. It’s all over the papers. The kids read it and they don’t hang up their stockings. Now what happens to all the toys that are supposed to be in those stockings? Nobody buys them. The toy manufacturers are going to like that; so they have to lay off a lot of their employees, union employees. Now you got the CIO and the AF of L against ya and they’re going to adore ya for it and they’re going to say it with votes. Oh, and the department stores are going to love ya too and the Christmas card makers and the candy companies. Ho ho, Henry, you’re going to be an awful popular fella. And what about the Salvation Army? Why, they got a Santy Claus on every corner, and they’re taking a fortune. But you go ahead Henry, you do it your way. You go on back in there and tell them that you rule there is no Santy Claus. Go on. But if you do, remember this: you can count on getting just two votes, your own and that district attorney’s out there.”

Judge Henry X. Harper (Gene Lockhart): [shaking his head No] “The DA’s a Republican.”

Miracle on 34th Street (movie: 1947)

“Sunshine go away today
I don’t feel much like dancin’
Some man’s gone, he’s tried to run my life
He don’t know what he’s askin’
When he tells me I better get in line
I can’t hear what he’s sayin’
When I grow up, I’m gonna make it mine
These ain’t dues I been payin’

Well how much does it cost?
I’ll buy it
The time is all we’ve lost
I’ll try it
And he can’t even run his own life
I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine, sunshine”

Jonathan Edwards, “Sunshine Go Away Today”