Quotes Paraphrased

Joe Sobran paraphrases (from The Reluctant Anarchist):

Simone Weil on Force as subhuman

that which turns a person into a thing,
either corpse or slave

Hans-Hermann Hoppe

No constitution could restrain the state. Once its monopoly of force was granted legitimacy, constitutional limits became mere fictions it could disregard; nobody could have the legal standing to enforce those limits. The state itself would decide, by force, what the constitution “meant,” steadily ruling in its own favor and increasing its own power.

R.J. Rummel (of the University of Hawaii)

calculates that in the twentieth century alone, states murdered about 162,000,000 of their own subjects. This figure doesn’t include the tens of millions of foreigners they killed in war.

So many of the most famous quotes in English are actually misquotes: Water, water everywhere/ nor any drop to drink. Even my example I quote from memory, not transcribing from a reliable edition of Coleridge: I too could get it wrong. I lack ready access to my library: so I quote often times from memory. Sometimes I find an occasion to check; often I don’t. But: I’m still scholar enough to know the different between a confirmed quote and an unconfirmed quote. I’d rather repeat an important (or felicitous) idea wrong in a detail than leave it out for fastidiousness.

If you hold yourself before your children let it be as a warning, not as an example.

Were I to check that, I’d start looking in Man and Superman:
Tanner’s aphorisms? the Preface?

Is man a planetary disease?

Loren Eisley, repeated by Ian McHarg

You can say anything you want in Act I so long as you make it clear by Act III that you didn’t mean it.

Jules Feiffer
on freedom of speech on Broadway

If you haven’t read the novel, every word of every sentence, from page one till the last word of the last sentence of the last page, then you haven’t read the novel.

Lionel Trilling

pk adds: … And if you’ve misread it, then you also haven’t read it.

The more important a word the more difficult it is to define.

Odgen, Richards
… others, pk …

pk paraphrases bk’s paraphrase of Lysander Spooner, the source having been before neither of us at the time. On another occasion I’ll verify and relocate it.

A jury’s role in a free society is to try both the facts of an individual case and also the law itself.

I’ll upgrade the following couple of paraphrases to quotes once I find sources to confirm or correct:

People in Ohio are wasting their money sending missionaries to China. They should try sending them to Alabama, to Mississippi: where the lychings are.

Mark Twain

I’d originally had the Twain quote on three freedoms here, but since it’s also cited elsewhere at Knatz.com, in both modules and quote anthologies, I subtitute this one.

The voice of truth
can be shouted over, shouted down,
but never altogether silenced.
It just keeps plugging along.


If the Catholic Church wished to become Christian it would first have to:

  1. Give up all its property
  2. Deprofessionalize its priesthood.
Ivan Illich

Lowell Thomas on the threshold of knowledge that man should cross before he goes interferring with everything:

We should endeavor to know one thing thoroughly: at least one thing.

The point is of course that there’s isn’t any one thing that human knowledge is comprehensive on. It’s like telling Chuchulain to stop the tide.
Since Thomas wrote that science has in fact sequenced the DNA of some terribly simple organism, a bacterium perhaps. But still: do we understand it?

Please help me remember who said this one:

Every good American is an anarchist at heart.

Tom Wolfe? Bonfire of the Vaniites? Henry Miller? Help me upgrade it to a quote with a proper citation. It’s American literature for sure. (I’m pretty sure it was Miller: one of the Tropics novels, or The Air Conditioned Nightmare.)

If anyone’s to get stepped on, it’ll be you,
If anyone’s to do the stomping, it’ll be me.


pk is not unaware of the irony, but answers anyway: It is better to be martyred that to martyr,
To be burned than to do the burning.

I have neither Brecht’s German before me nor a translation, so I translate myself: loosely.

Samuel Beckett writes of someone’s student thesis: till I can look it up to confirm, I paraphrase: Of course his thesis was of no use to anyone, except eventually humanity.
2011 07 08 I recently searched the text for Die Dreigroschen Oper and absolutely couldn’t find it. My old wife couldn’t remind me either, and she used to sing it!

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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