"The people of this country are too tolerant. There's no other country in the world where they'd allow it... After all we built up this country and then we allow a lot of foreigners, the scum of Europe, the offscourings of Polish ghettos to come and run it for us."
"Perhaps you can tell me why in this country nobody ever does anything. Nobody ever writes any music or starts any revolutions or falls in love. All anybody ever does is to get drunk and tell smutty stories."
"Isn't it curious how completely ignorant we all are of the most important part of our bodily mechanism. It is really criminal. Yet there is no nation in the world that doesnt surround sex with fantastic walls. Of course ours are sillier than any--but not much."
"Through dinner she felt a gradual icy coldness stealing through her like novocaine. She had made up her mind. It seemed as if she had set the photograph of herself in her own place, forever frozen into a single gesture."
"I never understood exactly why people get engaged--The only time I ever did the most disastrous things happened--but I feel that there's a great deal to be said for immediate matrimony always. If I once got started I'd probably have to become a mormon to cover my confusion. What I mean is that if he and she are crazy about each other it is sheer tempting God to stay apart, come what may. And if people arent crazy about each other being engaged wont help them."
"Still, I'm much happier here, really in it than I've been for an age. People don't hate much at the front; there's no one to hate, except the poor devils across the way, whom they [the French soldiers] know to be as miserable as themselves. They don't talk hypocritical bosh about the beauty and manliness of war: they feel in their souls that if they weren't cowards they would have ended the thing long ago--by going home, where they want to be. And lastly and best, they don't jabber about atrocities--of course, everyone commits them--though about one story in a million that reaches our blessed Benighted States is true."
"How damned ridiculous it all is! The long generations toiling--skimping, lashing themselves screwing higher and higher the tension of their minds, polishing brighter and brighter the mirror of intelligence to end in this--My God what a time--All the cant and hypocrisy, all the damnable survivals, all the vestiges of old truths now putrid and false infect the air, choke you worse than German gas--The ministers from their damn smug pulpits, the business men--the heroics about war--my country right or wrong--oh infinities of them! Oh the tragic farce of the world."
"There's something wonderfully exciting about the quiet sing song of an aeroplane overhead with all the guns in creation lighting out at it, and searchlights feeling their way across the sky like antennae, and the earth shaking snort of the bombs and the whimper of shrapnel pieces when they come down to patter on the roof."
"The American people is out to get the kaiser. We are bending every nerve and every energy towards that end; anybody who gets in the way of the great machine the energy and devotion of a hundred million patriots is building towards the stainless purpose of saving civilization from the Huns will be mashed like a fly. I'm surprised that a collegebred man like you hasn't more sense. Don't monkey with the buzzsaw."
"By the way--about Bolshevism: one has to remember that all that is published in the press is propaganda, that the Bolsheviki are the moderate social-revolutionaries, a political party, and the Soviets are a system of government based on the idea of "pure democracy" (Mso called in the textbooks on gov't) that every man shall take direct part in the government of the country--which is arrived at by industrial representation through the heirarchy of soviets, and that much the same system would be in vogue in America--(geographical instead of industrial units) if Hamilton and the rest had taken the New England town-meeting as the unit of government instead of importing Montesquieu's ideas. It's silly to idealize things in Russia, but it is criminal to condemn them unheard."
"It has been the struggle between privileged men who have managed to get hold of the levers of power and the people in general with their vague and changing aspirations for equality, for justice, for some kind of gentler brotherhood and peace, which has kept that balance of forces we call our system of government in equilibrium."
"Our presidents have been getting to be synthetic monsters, the work of a hundred ghost- writers and press agents so that it is getting harder and harder to discover the line between the man and the institution."
"Every generation rewrites the past. In easy times history is more or less of an ornamental art, but in times of danger we are driven to the written record by a pressing need to find answers to the riddles of today.... In times of change and danger when there is a quicksand of fear under men's reasoning, a sense of continuity with generations gone before can stretch like a lifeline across the scary present and get us past that idiot delusion of the exceptional Now that blocks good thinking."
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