Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Who Said It?

Have you ever heard that quotation that goes "Whoever is not a socialist at age 20 doesn't have a heart, but anybody who is still at age 30 doesn't have a brain."? There are lots of variants around. Sometimes the top age is 40, sometimes it's "Democrat" and "Republican" instead of "socialist", sometimes it's "communist". Sometimes it's attributed to Churchill, sometimes to Clemenceau, sometimes to Bismarck, but what's the real deal? I decided to take a look on Google and this is what I came up with.

Apparently the original quote is due to a Frenchman, Francois Guisot who apparently wrote
Not to be a Republican at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head.
A "Republican" in that quote of course refers to the Republicans of the French Revolution, the revolutionaries who were opposed to the "Monarchists".

A good page of quotes similar to the above and attributed to various people can be found here. More discussion can be found here, here, here, and here.

The fact that this quote is so often quoted and so widely attributed is testament to the strength with which its truth seems to resonate in the human mind (or is that heart?).

Among these links is another quote from Churchill that I liked:
Liberalism is not Socialism, and never will be. There is a great gulf fixed. It is not a gulf of method, it is a gulf of principle.... Socialism seeks to pull down wealth. Liberalism seeks to raise up poverty. Socialism would destroy private interests; Liberalism would preserve private interests in the only way in which they can be safely and justly preserved, namely by reconciling them with public right. Socialism would kill enterprise; Liberalism would rescue enterprise from the trammels of privilege and preference.... Socialism exalts the rule; Liberalism exalts the man. Socialism attacks capital; Liberalism attacks monopoly.
This reconfirms what I posted the other day, that I am a "liberal" but not a "leftist".


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