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philip wylie Quotes

Philip Wylie Quotes



    • But we [Americans] are as other men, exactly. Of one blood, one species, one brain, one figure, one fundamental set of collective instincts, one solitary body of information, one everything. Superiority and inferiority are individual, not racial or national.
    • Common man has at long last got himself so far out of gear with nature and his environment that he is beginning to see the shape of extinction, whether he recognizes it as such or not.
    • Ignorance is not bliss -- it is oblivion. Determined ignorance is the hastiest kind of oblivion.
    • Few men, indeed, are so mad that they do not know when they are doing wrong. But so avid is their pursuit of goods that wrongdoing has become an element of all they do. To protest that fact is idle. Our politics, our business-little and big, our professions, our labor, are smitten in every facet with a corruption occasioned by reckless determination to make not just a reasonable profit but all the profit that can be wrung from every enterprise. Our commonest man, emulating his superiors, forges ahead with a brick on the safety valve of his conscience. Think over your morning paper in that light.
    • The church has stood, a rock colossus of bigotry, in the path of ten thousand proposed reforms. Sane efforts to legalize birth control information, the manufacture of proper birth control appliances, appliances for the inhibition of the spread of venereal disease, public instruction in sex hygiene, free clinics for the treatment of venereal disease, the inspection and treatment of prostitutes, controlled prostitution itself, the publication of psychological and physical sex information, aid for unwed mothers-myriad attempts by sane men acting sanely on real problems-have been fought down by church-frightened legislatures and church-dominated courts.
    • Absolute dominion of a powerful people by a minority always produces national aggression.
    • There are in America from fifteen to twenty million religious fundamentalists who are dedicated to doctrines incompatible with democracy in that they insist on their prerogatives as first principles. An even larger group feebly follows the trail of fire breathed by those fundamentalists. They are the most dangerous minority we have because they categorically eschew the reasoned judgments of the majority. Democracy properly allows them the right to worship as they choose. It should never have conceded them the right to establish schools. Education is not a function of any church--or even of a city--or a state; it is a function of all mankind.
    • The blame for Armageddon lies on man. And the millennium will come only when the average man exhibits a scientific integrity about all he is and does--instead of half of it. Many a psychological Archimedes has put signposts on the hard road man must follow if he is to avoid self-destruction and come into his own. A few very great modern scientists have added to the lore. Indications of what man may expect of himself are everywhere at hand. But most men must first be persuaded that the task lies ahead and not behind--that we are infants still, with loaded guns for toys.
    • 'Why worry about race? In a century, we'll all be tea-colored!' Tallahssee, Florida Unitarian Church 1958 (Church was burned a week later.)
    • 'God,' the saying might also read, 'must hate the common people because he made them so common.'
    • Both constructs of the aphorism hold true. But, because it is an American convention to adore common people without restriction, I elect here to criticize them, as a lesson. A society which cannot criticize its masses is hamstrung-as ours is. For it is our American common people, and not the highly educated ones, who have chucked overboard the critical method and thereby cut loose the ship of state from its sounding machinery, its rudder, its glass, and its keel, leaving the whole business to drift where the blather of common men blows it.
    • Love of liberty is laudable and logically the chief political end of man, so long as it is hitched to responsibleness. Eighteenth century man, politically educated and understanding the major implications of what was going on in his environment, made a fairly responsible voter. Today, common man insists on his right to vote and insists, equally, on the right not to have to know what he is voting about. This folly is pitching all common men rapidly toward the rocks. The current war is a mere reef we are now grating over. What lies beyond may be the greater disaster.
    • There is no liberty for a man under any discipline except that which is self-imposed. The imposition of disciplines by the state is called fascism, or tyranny, by common man; and he hates it. By the same token, any nation which subscribes to liberty and then attempts to maintain a majority who have no discipline of themselves, is destined soon to be without freedom. Anarchy exists nowhere in nature. An ascetism, which is to say, a discipline, is imposed upon every living object by its environment and its instincts.
    • American liberty has been tentatively saved for the last few decades not by the self-discipline of its citizens but by their instincts, which have not yet been blunted quite enough to prevent the people from realizing imminent dangers at the eleventh hour. Twice, now, we have turned at the last moment and armed ourselves to prevent the discipline of ruthlessness-the next most powerful discipline to responsible liberty-from overthrowing us. This second time, we came within months, and perhaps even weeks, as a body of common men, of a position from which not even our instincts could have extricated us. It is not yet utterly certain that we have escaped, but the presumption is that we shall.
    • Our Protestant churches, and, even more especially, the Catholic Church, devote an incredible portion of their political energy-perhaps most of it-to interference with the sex mores of the great non-Protestant and non-Catholic minority. Such religious enterprises are therefore essentially fascistic and in no way democratic. But it is a fact that no law which runs counter to the exact letter of medieval Catholic dogma can be passed in any of our states, and if a sensible law infringes on the archaic attitudes of Protestantism, it cannot be offered in a state legislature.
    • Never pet a burning dog.
    • Never eat yellow snow.
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