Sir Winston Churchill — Tom Brigs — 14 April 2014

winstonTom is a soli­citor in Belper as well as a very know­ledge­able and obsessed devotee of Sir Winston Spencer Churchill.  He rates Sir Winston on a par with Albert Einstein as the most mem­or­able “good” men of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury.  His talk was so far ran­ging and cap­tiv­at­ing that for this short report, I will con­cen­trate on his poetic use of the English lan­guage and list some of his famous quo­ta­tions.

  • Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and life of the world may move for­ward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fall, then the whole world, includ­ing the United States, includ­ing all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sin­is­ter, and per­haps more pro­trac­ted, by the lights of per­ver­ted sci­ence.
    Let us there­fore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thou­sand years, men will still say, “
    This was their finest hour!”
  • We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
  • There is no such thing as a good tax.
  • Some see private enter­prise as a pred­at­ory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.
  • The inher­ent vice of cap­it­al­ism is the unequal shar­ing of bless­ings; the inher­ent virtue of social­ism is the equal shar­ing of miser­ies.
  • We con­tend that for a nation to tax itself into prosper­ity is like a man stand­ing in a bucket and trying to lift him­self up by the handle.
  • An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last.
  • The prob­lems of vic­tory are more agree­able than the prob­lems of defeat, but they are no less dif­fi­cult.
  • From now on, ending a sen­tence with a pre­pos­i­tion is some­thing up with which I shall not put.
  • A fan­atic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the sub­ject.
  • Nancy Astor: “Sir, if you were my hus­band, I would give you poison.”
    Churchill: “If I were your hus­band I would take it.”
  • A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
  • Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if noth­ing had happened.
  • If you are going to go through hell, keep going.
  • It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quo­ta­tions.
  • If you have ten thou­sand reg­u­la­tions, you des­troy all respect for the law.
  • You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else.
  • History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
  • Writing a book is an adven­ture. To begin with, it is a toy and an amuse­ment; then it becomes a mis­tress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be recon­ciled to your ser­vitude, you kill the mon­ster, and fling him out to the public.
  • The farther back­ward you can look, the farther for­ward you are likely to see.
  • A sheep in sheep’s cloth­ing. (On Clement Atlee)
  • A modest man, who has much to be modest about. (On Clement Atlee)
  • I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is pre­pared for the ordeal of meet­ing me is another matter.
  • The truth is incon­tro­vert­ible, malice may attack it, ignor­ance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.
  • A pess­im­ist sees the dif­fi­culty in every oppor­tun­ity; an optim­ist sees the oppor­tun­ity in every dif­fi­culty.
  • To improve is to change; to be per­fect is to change often.
  • Politics is the abil­ity to fore­tell what is going to happen tomor­row, next week, next month and next year. And to have the abil­ity after­wards to explain why it didn’t happen.
  • Socialism is a philo­sophy of fail­ure, the creed of ignor­ance, and the gospel of envy.
  • Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.
  • Success con­sists of going from fail­ure to fail­ure without loss of enthu­si­asm.
  • The best argu­ment against demo­cracy is a five-minute con­ver­sa­tion with the aver­age voter.
  • It has been said that demo­cracy is the worst form of gov­ern­ment except all the others that have been tried.