Quote of the Week - Archive

31 December 2022 - 7 March 2023

Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?

L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

3 March 2022 - 31 December 2022

. . . absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans.

John Jay, Federalist Papers No.4


I selected this quote shortly after Putin's army invaded Ukraine in February 2022

3 January 2022 - 2 March 2022

There is no liberty, then, without laws, or where any man is above the laws.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Letters from the Mountain, Letter 8, vol 3, pp.841-2

6 September 2021 - 3 January 2022

Inside us, there is no original evil, nothing to fear, no reason for regret. Our bodies contain everything. Let the world rise gently from them.

George A. Romero & Daniel Kraus, The Living Dead

11 August 2021 - 6 September 2021

The whole thing is quite helpless, so it's no good worrying about tomorrow. It probably won't come.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

15 June 2021 - 11 August 2021

But even with respect to the most insignificant things in life, none of us constitutes a material whole, identical for everyone, which a person has only to go to look up as though we were a book of specifications or a last testament; our social personality is a creation of the minds of others.

Marcel Proust (2002), In Search of Lost Time: The Way by Swanns, Translated by Lydia Davis, London, Penguin, Page 22

8 June - 15 June 2021

For here is the man, and here is the case, that will provide an answer to this question: will a court of Senators convict a guilty man if he is rich?

Against Verres, Cicero

19 November - 15 November 2020

‘“We has them where we wants them,” he announced cheerily.’

[ John Brown's assessment of the situation at Harpers Ferry as his men are surrounded and defeated ]

The Good Lord Bird, James McBride

12 November - 18 November 2020

It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness, and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass.

The Two Towers, J.R.R.Tolkien

5 November - 11 November 2020

“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

V for Vendetta

15 October - 21 October 2020

“Ignorance was the enemy. Lies and superstition, misinformation, disinformation. Sometimes, no information at all. Ignorance killed billions of people. Ignorance caused the Zombie War.”

Max Brooks, World War Z

9 October - 15 October 2020

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.”

Charles Schultz

2 October - 8 October 2020

...honesty is not particularly virtuous when there is no one with the ability or ambition to corrupt it.

Cicero, Against Verres

17 September - 23 September 2020

“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.

"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R.Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, London, Allen & Unwin, 1954

10 September - 16 September 2020

“I have always been particularly touched by the proverb about the purpose of life being to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Curtis Sittenfeld, Rodham, London, Doubleday, 2020

3 September - 9 September 2020

“Anyway, if you stop tellin’ people it’s all sorted out after they’re dead, they might try sorting it all out while they’re alive.”

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen, Good Omens, London, Victor Gollancz, 1990

27 August - 2 September 2020

Listen: We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different.

Kurt Vonnegut, Timequake, London, Jonathan Cape, 1997, page 191.

20 August - 26 August 2020

If anyone had a right to believe that this democracy did not work, and could not work, it was those Americans. Our ancestors. They were on the receiving end of a democracy that had fallen short all their lives. They knew how far the daily reality of America strayed from the myth. And yet, instead of giving up, they joined together and said somehow, some way, we are going to make this work. We are going to bring those words, in our founding documents, to life.

President Barack Obama, Democratic National Convention 2020

13 August - 19 August 2020

The rich have become richer, and the poor have become poorer; and the vessel of the State is driven between the Scylla and Charybdis of anarchy and despotism.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry

6 August - 12 August 2020

Donald has, in some sense, always been institutionalized...

Mary L.Trump, Too Much and Never Enough, page 16


In her book, Mary Trump, Donald Trump's niece, characterises her uncle as a man who has never stood on his own. Protected by his father and his family's fortune, Donald Trump has essentially been institutionalised to protect him from his own inevitable failures. Mary Trump trades on her own status as a clinical psychologist to make draw this metaphor. She argues that in the White House, as president, Trump entered the institution of government which has essentially played the role of his father and family since 2016: to shield him and cover up his failings.

30 July - 5 August 2020

It has been urged, in different shapes, that a Constitution of the kind proposed by the convention cannot operate without the aid of a military force to execute its laws. This, however, like most other things that have been alleged on that side, rests on mere general assertion, unsupported by any precise or intelligible designation of the reasons upon which it is founded. As far as I have been able to divine the latent meaning of the objectors, it seems to originate in a presupposition that the people will be disinclined to the exercise of federal authority in any matter of an internal nature. Waiving any exception that might be taken to the inaccuracy or inexplicitness of the distinction between internal and external, let us inquire what ground there is to presuppose that disinclination in the people. Unless we presume at the same time that the powers of the general government will be worse administered than those of the State government, there seems to be no room for the presumption of ill-will, disaffection, or opposition in the people. I believe it may be laid down as a general rule that their confidence in and obedience to a government will commonly be proportioned to the goodness or badness of its administration.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper No.27


I chose this quote in response to the same situation as the previous week's: of the Trump administration using federal force against protesters. I liked the suggestion at the end that civil disobedience may be the sign of a poor government.

23 July - 29 July 2020

The citizens of America have too much discernment to be argued into anarchy. And I am much mistaken, if experience has not wrought a deep and solemn conviction in the public mind, that great energy of government is essential to the welfare and prosperity of the community.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper No.26


This quote was selected after I read a newspaper article about Federal police being sent in to Portland, Oregon, in an attempt by the Trump administration to quell demonstrations in the city. Trump had called protesters ‘anarchists’. Meanwhile, the administration had failed to control the spread of COVID-19, with over 140,000 deaths recorded in that week.