Saturday, February 25, 2012

Who Said it IX?

Time for another round of America’s least favorite quiz game – Who said it? This is the ninth edition. The usual rules apply. I pick a quote from my library, with which I have the closest relationship since Joanie Loves Chachi (which by the way, I have never seen – if you have, more’s the pity) and you try and guess who wrote/said it. Answers are below, which is a pain in the arse, but makes it harder to cheat (a little, anyway).

1.         Washington understood this art very well, and we say of him, if he was not the greatest President, he was the best actor of presidency we ever had. His address to the states when he left the army, his solemn leave taken of Congress when he reigned his commission, his Farewell Address to the people when he resigned the presidency: these were all in a strain of Shakespearian and Garrickal excellence in dramatical exhibitions.

a. John Adams  b. Thomas Jefferson  c. John Wilkes Booth  d. Abraham Lincoln

2.         Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from any body. Accordingly, it is a fact, as far as I am informed, that England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices.

a. John Adams b. Thomas Jefferson c. Andrew Jackson  d. Abraham Lincoln

3.         Let us suppose that the great empire of China, with all its myriads of inhabitants, was suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake, and let us consider how a man of humanity in Europe, who had no sort of connection with that part of the world, would react upon receiving intelligence of this dreadful calamity. He would, I imagine, first of all express very strongly his sorrow for the misfortune of that unhappy people, he would make many melancholy reflections upon the precariousness of human life, and the vanity of all the labours of man, which could thus be annihilated in a moment. He would, too, perhaps, if he was a man of speculation, enter into many reasonings concerning the effects which this disaster might produce upon the commerce of Europe, and the trade and business of the world in general. And when all this fine philosophy was over, when all these humane sentiments had been once fairly expressed, he would pursue his business or his pleasure, take his repose or his diversion, with the same ease and tranquility as if no such accident had happened. The most frivolous disaster which could befall himself would occasion a more real disturbance. If he was to lose his little finger tomorrow, he would not sleep to-night; but provided he never saw them, he would snore with the most profound security over the ruin of a hundred million of his brethren.

a. Winston Churchill b. Thomas Jefferson c. John Locke  d. Adam Smith

4.         It cannot be repeated too often that nothing is more fertile in prodigies than the art of being free; but there is nothing more arduous than the apprenticeship of liberty. Such is not the case with despotic institutions: despotism often promises to make amends for a thousand previous ills; it supports the right, it protects the oppressed, and it maintains public order. The nation is lulled by the temporary prosperity which accrues to it, until it is roused to a sense of its own misery. Liberty, on the contrary, is generally established in the midst of agitation, it is perfected by civil discord, and its benefits cannot be appreciated until it is already old.

a. Thomas Jefferson b. Alexis de Tocqueville c. Adam Smith d. Friedrich Hayek

5.         And do not suppose that this is the end.
                        This is only the beginning of the reckoning.
            This is only the first sip –
                        the first foretaste of a bitter cup
                                    which will be proffered to us year by year –
            Unless –
                        By a supreme recovery of our moral heath and martial vigour,
                                    we arise again and take our stand for freedom,
                                                as in the olden time.

a. Jeremiah (the prophet, not the bullfrog) b. Winston Churchill c. Teddy Roosevelt d. Gandalf (J. R. R. Tolkien)

6.         Oh, God, my grandfather, my grandmother, god of the hills, god of the valleys, holy God. I make to you my offering with all my soul. Be patient with me in what I am doing, my true God and [blessed] virgin. It is needful that you give me fine, beautiful, all I am going to sow here where I have my work, my cornfield. Watch it for me, guard it for me, let nothing happen to it from the time I sow until I harvest it.

a. Isaiah   b. Revelations  c. Prayer bin Laden was writing when shot by Navy Seals d.  Mayan Indian corn ritual

7.         The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated. That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.

a. Words of Tecumseh after victory in what is called The battle of the Thames over the trial of American prisoners including future Vice President, Richard Johnson.
b. Words of Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson as prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trial of Nazi war criminals.
c. Words of Ayatollah Khomenei at international show trial of American hostages before they were summarily released upon Reagan’s inauguration.
d. Words of Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Talks at end of WWI.

8.         Whatever the meaning assigned to the term complete, the following requirement for a complete theory seems to be a necessary one: every element of the physical reality must have a counterpart in the physical theory.

a. Aristotle b. Francis Bacon c. Isaac Newton d. Einstein

9.         The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.

a. Confucius   b. Plato quoting Socrates  c. Bertrand Russell  d. Jack Benny

10.       What is certain is that both of us have given our common enemies-who are legion-a good laugh. Unfortunately, you have so deliberately put me on trial, and in such an ugly tone of voice, that I can no longer remain silent without losing face. Thus, I shall answer you, without anger, but unsparingly (for the first time since I have known you). Your combination of dreary conceit and vulnerability always discouraged people from telling you unvarnished truths. The result is that you have become the victim of a dismal self-importance, which hides your inner problems, and which you, I think, would call Mediterranean moderation. Sooner or later, someone would have told you this. It might just as well be me. But have no fear. . . .

a. Jean-Paul Sartre essay addressing Albert Camus.
b. Winston Churchill letter to Charles DeGaulle.
c. Jennifer Aniston letter to Brad Pitt.
d. Barbara Bush to Hillary Clinton.

1.         Washington understood this art very well. . . .”

a. Of course that is John Adams, who rarely had a good thing to say about Washington or anyone else he felt might compete with him for honors. Of course, most Americans do think that Washington was either the best or second best president. My favorite Adams quote about Washington is: "The history of our Revolution will be one continued lie from one end to the other. The essence of the whole will be that Dr. Franklin's electrical rod smote the earth and out sprang General Washington. That Franklin electrified him with his rod - and thenceforward these two conducted all the policies, negotiations, legislatures, and war." What a baby he could be.

2.         “Society may give us exclusive rights. . . .”
So, this guy was against the whole idea of patents and copyrights, which leads, as he himself admits up front, to people inventing useful things. Lots of things about he believed would surprise you. He is always one of my favorite subjects in these posts – b. Thomas Jefferson. He was against having a navy for a while. He was very much against an independent judiciary and tried to destroy it. He was against people deciding for themselves what products they should get to produce or sell. He was against Haiti being a free country like the United States. But, I will spare you my usual TJ rant here. I actually can't find where I got this quote from in my library, but it is one of the legion of Jefferson books I have.

3.         Let us suppose that the great empire of China. . . .”

It was definitely some stuffy sounding Englishman. In this case, it was - d. Adam Smith, who I learned later in life was a lot more interesting than when presented simplistically and boringly in high school. Of course, he was just one more of the great scientists and philosophers (like, e.g., Einstein and Darwin) who was an intellectual descendent of David Hume. In Smith’s case, it was more direct, as Hume was a mentor to him. Quote taken from The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

4.         It cannot be repeated too often that nothing is more fertile in prodigies than the art of being free. . . .”

In other words, despotism is easy but ultimately not a lot of fun; liberty is hard and worth the effort. I’ll buy that. That was written by – b. the Frenchman de Tocqueville, in his classic Democracy in America, of which I own at least three copies (I can only find two today, but that is situation normal around here), which is so filled with pithy & profound pearls of wisdom that it is impossible to remember even a fraction of them. But, if you want a great quote on liberty, it’s a first rate place to look. Just try not to get overwhelmed by them.

5.         And do not suppose that this is the end."

It does sounds like something Gandalf might say or, really any of the choices, but it was – b. Churchill, who made this statement in a debate in Parliament in 1938 between the disaster of Munich and the worse disaster of Poland, quite a while before being put back in power when he was just a prophet crying in the desert. Reading Winnie is endlessly fulfilling. This quote was found in William Manchester's The Last Lion.

6.         Oh, God, my grandfather, my grandmother, god of the hills, god of the valleys. . . .”

Sounds like some biblical thing going on here, but bin Laden was actually . . . no, just kidding. It is, in fact – d. a Mayan Indian ritual I found in my old copy of Maya, The Riddle and Rediscovery of a Lost Civilization, by Charles Gallencamp, a classic in anthropology/archaeology first published the year of my birth, 1959. Mine is the third revised edition from 1985, but that is the latest one and still being published. You can get a used one for a penny on Amazon.

7.         “The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated. . . .”

That would be - b. Jackson at the Nuremburg trial. The others do sound pretty good, but Tecumseh was killed at the battle of Thames, probably by Johnson, who did become VP later on. There was no show trial of the American hostages in Iran, who were released when Reagan took office. Wilson was at the Paris Peace Talks, where he and the other victors basically screwed the pooch, but made no such remarks, of course. Quote found in Justice at Nuremburg.

8.           "Whatever the meaning assigned to the term complete. . . ."

That would be – d. Einstein, in a paper he wrote with others on whether quantum mechanics could be considered complete (the answer is – no, by the way). But, the other three would seem like possibilities to me if I didn’t know the answer. Einstein always struggled with other physicists who were comfortable believing that – god played dice with the universe, as he famously put it, but he could never win his philosophical battle. Quote found in a great little book on physics - The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav.

9.         "The secret of happiness is this. . . ."

No, not Jack Benny, although I bet some guessed that. It was – c. Bertrand Russell, from his 1930 The Conquest of Happiness. I enjoy reading Russell, but he got no closer to the secret than any other philosopher. There is a secret though, and you will never guess it. I will reveal it in a future post.

10.       "What is certain is that both of us have given our common enemies-who are legion-a good laugh. . . ."

It would be more fun if it was Barbara Bush or Jennifer Aniston, but the answer is – a. Sartre to Camus, which essay is found in a wonderful collection of Sartre Essays entitled Situations. It was combative and made for a good quote, but my favorite essay, and the reason I bought and read the book, was the first one in it – The Prisoner of Venice, about the great Venician artist, Tintoretto (not my favorite artist though, but certainly considered great by art critics and historians). Sartre really knew his art and this book might have been the one that first excited me about Rennaisance and similar art, about which, at least for a little while, I surprised myself by getting to know well enough to name an artist simply by looking at paintings in a museum. Too some degree, anyway. Not so much these days, I'd wager. How long does knowledge about things like art last if you don’t use it for something? I don’t know, but I doubt I could tell a Ribera from a Caravaggio anymore.

Th-th-th-th-at’s all, folks.


  1. Fun, fun, fun!! We really are hopeless nerds. I got a few wrong this time,,, which means a) you are getting more clever, or b) I am getting more forgetful and confused as I age.
    PICK B.

  2. I'm going with B too.

  3. My worst performance yet- only 5 right. I'll havre to do better on the next one you post.

  4. First you have to learn to spell "have".


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About Me

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .