War remains the decisive human failure.

The conspicuously wealthy turn up urging the character-building value of privation for the poor.

Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

In economics the majority is always wrong.

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

Change comes not from men and women changing their minds but from the change from one generation to the next.

A bad book is the worse that it cannot repent. It has not been the devil's policy to keep the masses of mankind in ignorance; but finding that they will read, he is doing all in his power to poison their books.

The salary of the chief executive of a large corporation is not a market award for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself.

Economics is a subject profoundly conducive to cliche, resonant with boredom. On few topics is an American audience so practiced in turning off its ears and minds. And none can say that the response is ill advised.

Power is not something that can be assumed or discarded at will like underwear.

All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door.

A person buying ordinary products in a supermarket is in touch with his deepest emotions.

There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.

Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.

You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too.

There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is what makes its pursuit so interesting.

There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose.

More die in the United States of too much food than of too little.

We have escapist fiction, so why not escapist biography?

Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain. Anything that is disagreeable must surely have beneficial economic effects.

The enemy of the conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of events.

People who are in a fortunate position always attribute virtue to what makes them so happy.

The commencement speech is not, I think, a wholly satisfactory manifestation of our culture.

In the United States, though power corrupts, the expectation of power paralyzes.

Money differs from an automobile or mistress in being equally important to those who have it and those who do not.

The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled.

Meetings are a great trap. Soon you find yourself trying to get agreement and then the people who disagree come to think they have a right to be persuaded. However, they are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.

Few people at the beginning of the ninteenth century needed an adman to tell them what they wanted.

Of all classes the rich are the most noticed and the least studied.

The Metropolis should have been aborted long before it became New York, London or Tokyo.

Modesty is a vastly overrated virtue.

It would be foolish to suggest that government is a good custodian of aesthetic goals. But, there is no alternative to the state.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.

Liberalism is, I think, resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are so painfully aware of the alternative.

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.

By all but the pathologically romantic, it is now recognized that this is not the age of the small man.

There's a certain part of the contented majority who love anybody who is worth a billion dollars.

In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.

The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had much.

Washington is a place where people praise courage and act on elaborate personal cost-benefit calculations.

If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.

Wealth, in even the most improbable cases, manages to convey the aspect of intelligence.

In any great organization it is far, far safer to be wrong with the majority than to be right alone.

In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.

Wealth is not without its advantages and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive.

There is something wonderful in seeing a wrong-headed majority assailed by truth.