Curtis Dahlgren
"The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time" - and then some!
By Curtis Dahlgren
July 18, 2010

"Man exploits man. Under Communism, it's just the opposite." — Russian saying

THAT HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF IS NOT JUST A CLICHE. For students of history, it's a regular nightmare. There was a 100-year span of time between the 1860s hippies in Russia and our own 1960s hippies. While the latter thought they had come up with a bright "new" idea, their whole "revolution" was a mirror-image of Russian nihilism.

Both movements came out of academe. Both used an unsuccessful war to stir up discontent among the young. Both movements used the same "uniform": long hair among the males and short hair for females, plus quirky fashions such as grannie glasses.

Both movements sold "free love" over traditional family values (the term "free love" was published at least as early as 1910 by the Encyclopaedia Britannica in the article, "Nihilism"). The leaders of both movements also hid their true motivations.

I plan to fully quote the Britannica article, but before getting to the dry cold facts of what the Nihilists did, we need to more fully understand their underlying motives. Raw Power, of course, was their objective — only not just power for the sake of power. The leaders of the Nihilists — the pioneers of the Bolshevik movement — had evil motivations (even while preaching "reform" and "social justice" to their well-intentioned lay-followers).

Under today's professional public relations experts, politicians still exploit the same-old, same-old foibles of human nature. The Nihilists and Bolsheviks favorite boogey-man was "the rich man" — anyone making more money than AVERAGE.

A friend lent me a book entitled "The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time (In Two Lines or Less)" edited by John M. Shanahan, 1999. SO — as an introduction to the upcoming series on Russian Nihilism, here are some of the Most Brilliant Thoughts bearing on the subjects of envy, government power, and the History of the World:

- "Ambition drove many men to become false; to have one thought in the breast, another ready on the tongue." — Gaius Sollustius Crispus (86-34 BC)

- "Nothing is more despicable than a professional talker who uses his words as a quack uses his remedies." — Fenelon (1651-1715)

- "There is not a passion so strongly rooted in the human heart as envy." — Richard Sheridan (1751-1816)

- "Education makes people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave." — Baron Henry Peter Brouham (1775-1868)

[Note: America's Founders were well-educated, and Olde English thinkers and writers of the 1700s and before had a great influence on early America. The colonists who came here, for one thing, were very very tired of Europe's wars and totalitarian governments. The Founding Families hoped that a well-educated America would prosper for a very long time.]

- "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." — Abraham Lincoln

- "Envy slays itself by its own arrows." — anonymous

- "To know your ruling passion, examine your castles in the air." — Archbishop Richard Whately (1787-1863)

- "Pride is generally censured and decried, but mainly by those who have nothing to be proud of." — Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

- "The worst form of tyranny the world has ever known: the tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts." — Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

- "It is horrible to see everything that one detested in the past coming back wearing the colors of the future." — Jean Rostand (1894-1977)

- "[The] example of the monkey: The higher it climbs, the more you see of its behind." — St. Bonaventure (1217-1274)

- "Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power." — George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

- "Nothing doth more hurt in a state than [when] cunning men pass for wise." — Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

- "No government can be long secure without a formidable opposition." — Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

- "Scoundrels are always sociable." — Schopenhauer

- "We hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." — Aesop (550 BC)

- "There is a demand for men today who can make wrong appear right." — Publius Terentius Aferl (190-159 BC)

- "The formula 'two and two makes five' is not without its attractions." — Dostoevsky (1821-1881)

- "The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools." — Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

- "The best of prophets of the future is the past." — Lord Byron (1788-1824)

[and finally] -

- "The enemies of the future are always the nicest people." — Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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