portrait of Daniel Patrick Moynihan

All archives
Previous Issue (28 March 2003) | Current month | Next Issue (30 March 2003)

Quotes of the Day for 29 March 2003 – Pat Moynihan

Daniel Patrick Moynihan died in a Washington City hospital on Wednesday of this week. I'm not completely convinced that there are no honest, intelligent, and decent politicians, but the number is small, and now that number is one less. Moynihan was a Harvard professor, served two Democrat presidents (Kennedy and Johnson) and two Republicans (Nixon and Ford), and served four terms in the US Senate. He wrote or edited nineteen books, wags quipped that this was more than many senators had read. He was a committed liberal who defied orthodox liberal doctrine, preferring to gather and analyze the facts before writing his speeches. His analysis of events was often well ahead of anyone else, and he had no hesitation to express it in phrases worth quoting.

Van's signature

You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.

The quotes:

Somehow liberals have been unable to acquire from life what conservatives seem to be endowed with at birth: namely, a healthy skepticism of the powers of government agencies to do good.

The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare.

The institution of the family is decisive in determining not only if a person has the capacity to love another individual but in the larger social sense whether he is capable of loving his fellow men collectively. The whole of society rests on this foundation for stability, understanding, and social peace.

A commonplace of political rhetoric has it that the quality of a civilization may be measured by how it cares for its elderly. Just as surely, the future of a society may be forecast by how it cares for its young.

[Government] cannot provide values to persons who have none, or who have lost those they had. It cannot provide inner peace. It can provide outlets for moral energies, but it cannot create those energies.

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.
     - All from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 1927 - 2003

Do you see an error on this page? A typo, a character that is messed up, a misattribution? Please let us know!