Wednesday, August 7, 2013

“An open mind, like an open mouth, should close on something”

George Weigel shares some quotations he collected but thus far has not used elsewhere:
  • Getting the conversation started properly: “How doth truth prosper in thy parts?” (an old Quaker greeting).
  • The evils of French revolutionary weights and measures:“If God had wanted us to use the metric system, he’d have given us 10 apostles” (an angry worker, struggling with metric tools).
  • Rarely an argument lost: “He can persuade most people of most things, and above all he can persuade himself of almost anything” (W.E. Forster on William Gladstone).
  • The limits of openness: “An open mind, like an open mouth, should close on something” (G.K. Chesterton [of course]).
  • Social ineptness: “Bore. A person who talks when you wish him to listen” (Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary).
  • Good government: “When Dr. Johnson defined patriotism as the last refuge of a scoundrel, he was unconscious of the then undeveloped capabilities and uses of the word ‘Reform’” (Senator Roscoe Conkling).
  • A culture without reality contact: “We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men” (George Orwell).
  • The earthen vessel of the Church: “No merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight” (Hillaire Belloc on Catholicism).
  • Our task: “The Gospel must be preached by men. The angels have other duties” (plaque found in an old church). [more]