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Thaddeus Stevens

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All free governments are managed by the combined wisdom and folly of the people.
--
James A. Garfield, as quoted in Many Thoughts of Many Minds : A Treasury of Quotations from the Literature of Every Land and Every Age (1896) edited by Louis Klopsch, p. 116

 
Thaddeus Stevens

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"You have a strange way about you, Dr. Grumman. You ever spend any time among the witches?"
"Yes," said Grumman. "And among academicians, and among spirits. I found folly everywhere, but there were grains of wisdom in every stream of it. No doubt there was much more wisdom that I failed to recognize. Life is hard, Mr. Scoresby, but we cling to it all the same."
"And this journey we're on? Is that folly or wisdom?"
"The greatest wisdom I know."
"Tell me again what your purpose is. You're going to find the bearer of this subtle knife, and what then?"
"Tell him what his task is."
"And that's a task that includes protecting Lyra," the aeronaut reminded him.
"It will protect all of us."

 
Philip Pullman
 

We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace. We know that oppressive governments support terror, while free governments fight the terrorists in their midst. We know that free peoples embrace progress and life, instead of becoming the recruits for murderous ideologies.

 
George W. Bush
 

It is not enough to prove something, one has also to seduce or elevate people to it. That is why the man of knowledge should learn how to speak his wisdom: and often in such a way that it sounds like folly!

 
Friedrich Nietzsche
 

If there is any one principle dearer and more sacred than all others in free governments, it is that which asserts the exclusive right of a free people to form and adopt their own fundamental law, and to manage and regulate their own internal affairs and domestic institutions.

 
Stephen Douglas
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