Conservatism, Power, Individual & Political Bias | Virgil / George Eliot / M. Twain / Erich Fromm / George Orwell / H. James / Evelyn Waugh

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bankers Trust, Manhattan, N.Y. 1960 

“The authoritarian character worships the past. What has been, will eternally be. 
To wish or to work for something that has not yet been before is crime or madness. 
The miracle of creation—and creation is always a miracle—is outside of his range 
of emotional experience.”

Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom, 1941

“Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals.” 

Mark Twain, 1835-1910

“Expect poison from the standing water.” 

William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1790-93

“All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, 
comes invariably from people who are not fighting. Political designed to make lies sound truthful and murder 
respectable, and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind. 
War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed 
classes think they are going to profit from it. Nationalism is power 
hunger tempered by self-deception. War is peace. Freedom is 
slavery. Ignorance is strength. (On the manipulation of language 
for political ends.) ” 

George Orwell, Facing Unpleasant Facts, 1937-39

“Evil is nourished and grows by concealment.” 

Virgil, 70 -19 BC

“The frightened individual seeks for somebody or something 
to tie his self to; he cannot bear to be his own individual self 
any longer, and he tries frantically to get rid of it and to feel 
security again by the elimination of this burden: the self.” 

Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom, 1941

“The new high-class lively evening paper which was 
expected to meet a want felt in circles increasingly 
conscious that Conservatism must be made amusing, 
and unconvinced when assured by those of another 
political colour that it was already amusing enough.” 

Henry James, The Lesson of the Master, 1888

“Before you take anything away you must 
have something better to put in its place.” 

 Arthur Schopenhauer, 1788-1860

“[Dagley] had also taken too much in the shape of muddy political talk, 
a stimulant dangerously disturbing to his farming conservatism, which 
consisted in holding that whatever is, is bad, and any change is likely 
to be worse.” 

George Eliot, Middlemarch, 1871-72 

“Liberty is the hardest test that one can inflict on a people.” 

 Paul Valéry, 1871-1945

“Power does not alter a man's character. It merely reveals it.” 

Carlos Fuentes, Terra Nostra, 1975

“For a few days after getting into the water the toad 
concentrates on building up his strength by eating small 
insects. Presently he has swollen to his normal size again, 
and then he goes through a phase of intense sexiness.”

George Orwell, Facing Unpleasant Facts, 1937-39

“The word power has a twofold meaning. One is the possession of 
power over somebody, the ability to dominate him; the other 
meaning is the possession of power to do something, to be able, to 
be potent. The latter meaning has nothing to do with domination; 
it expresses mastery in the sense of ability.” 

Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom, 1941

“A forced kindness deserves no thanks”

 Thomas Fuller, 1608-61

“As far as the mass of the people go, the extraordinary swings 
of opinion which occur nowadays, the emotions which can be 
turned on and off like a tap, are the result of newspaper and radio 

“Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a 
question of which side one takes and what approach one follows. 
And the more one is conscious of one's political bias, the more 
chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one's 
aesthetic and intellectual integrity.” 

George Orwell, Facing Unpleasant Facts, 1937-39

“Destructiveness is the outcome of unlived life.” 

Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom, 1941

“To understand all is to forgive all.” 

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred & 
Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder, 1945

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