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“Two-third of the quotes on the Internet are bogus” (Mark Twain or possibly Lenin)
There are a lot of bogus quotes on line, only some of them described as such. I have tried to limited my collection to things the person they were attributed didn’t say, or didn’t say first, but should have.
“If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.”
This is one that can be identified as bogus on internal evidence. Churchill was born in 1874, elected to parliament as a conservative in 1900, switched to the liberal party in 1904 and back to the conservatives in 1924, so was a liberal well after 35. That version of the quote — there are others — probably originated in America, where liberal/conservative was a more natural pairing of opposites than in Churchill’s Britain, where both liberals and conservatives were opposed by Labor.
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My preferred version of the line is:
If my son is not a socialist before he is twenty I will disinherit him. If he is a socialist after thirty I will disinherit him.
That makes more sense for Churchill but he didn’t say it either.
The original version is apparently by French premier and historian Francois Guizot (1787-1874):
Not to be a republican at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head.” (I haven’t been able to find the French original).
A still earlier comment along similar rhetorical lines attributed by Thomas Jefferson to John Adams:
A boy of 15 who is not a democrat is good for nothing, and he is no better who is a democrat at 20.
Lady Astor, would you sleep with me for a million pounds?
Perhaps I would.
Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.
If I were married to you, I’d put poison in your coffee.
If I were married to you, I’d drink it
Shaw to Churchill:
Enclosed find two tickets to my new play. Bring a friend — if you have one.
Churchill to Shaw:
“Cannot attend first night. Will attend second night — if there is one.
There is no evidence that any of the three exchanges occurred.
Si non e vero, e ben trovato.
A final quote of unknown origin sometimes attributed to Churchill:
In England, everything is permitted except what is forbidden.
In Germany, everything is forbidden except what is permitted.
In France, everything is allowed, even what is prohibited.
In the USSR, everything is prohibited, even what is permitted.
It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.
If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.
The second is by Blaise Pascal
Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.
Twain used a version of that in the 1890s but Ben Wade said it first. Asked his opinion on heaven and hell:
I think, from all I can learn, that heaven has the better climate, but hell has the better company.
John Maynard Keynes:
The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent
Responding to someone who accused him of inconsistency:
When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?
Both good lines but there is no evidence that he ever said either.
He fought a private war with George III, was at various points in his life an outlaw, a prisoner in the Tower, a member of parliament and Lord Mayor of London. Both the city of Wilkes-Barre and Lincoln’s assassin were named after him. He is arguably responsible for the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Here are two quotes attributed to him. It is possible that the first is real — I am bending my rules a little to get it in — but the second is believed to be by Samuel Foote.
When told by a constituent that he would rather vote for the devil, Wilkes responded:
Naturally. And if your friend decides against standing, can I count on your vote?
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, to Wilkes:
Sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox.
"That depends, my lord, on whether I embrace your lordship's principles or your mistress."
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