Robert A. Heinlein

 

heinlein

  • Certainly the game is rigged, but don’t let that stop you…if you don’t play, you can’t win.
  • Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.
  • You live and learn. Or you don’t live long.
  • A motion to adjourn is always in order.
  • All men are created unequal. 
  • It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier.
  • Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
  • Never frighten a little man. He’ll kill you.
  • Never try to outstubborn a cat.
  • Tilting at windmills hurts you more than the windmills. (Law Enforcement variation when confronted by a gentleman who, in anger, punched a wall: “The wall won, huh?” –JR)
  • Waking a person unnecessarily should not be considered a capital crime. For a first offense, that is.
  • “Go to hell!” or other insult direct is all the answer a snoopy question rates.
  • Anything free is worth what you pay for it.
  • Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.
  • Never appeal to a man’s “better nature.” He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.
  • You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once.
  • “Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay – and claims a halo for his dishonesty.” — John Joseph Bonforte,”Double Star.”
  • “The most expensive thing in the world is a second-best military establishment, good but not good enough to win.” — The Happy Days Ahead, Expanded Universe
  • “Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surely curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”
  • “There are two ways of forming an opinion. One is the scientific method; the other, the scholastic. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all-important, and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything, and facts are junked when they do not fit theory.”
  • “Nothing of value is free. Even the breath of life is purchased at birth only through gasping effort and pain. . . . The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion . . . and the price demanded for the most precious of all things in life is life itself — ultimate cost for perfect value.” — Jean V. Dubois, Starship Troopers
  • “Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws–always for the other fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of the trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up. Because not one of those people said: ‘Please pass this so I won’t be able to do something I know I should stop.’ Nyet, tovarishchee, was always something they hated to see their neighbors doing. Stop them ‘for their own good’–not because the speaker claimed to be harmed by it.” — Manuel Davis O’Kelley, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
  • “Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion [that violence never settles anything] is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.” — Jean V. Dubois, Starship Troopers
  • A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.
  • An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
  • Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat.
  • By cultivating the beautiful we scatter the seeds of heavenly flowers, as by doing good we cultivate those that belong to humanity.
  • Don’t ever become a pessimist… a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events.
  • Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.
  • For me, politeness is a sine qua non of civilization.
  • I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
  • I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
  • I don’t see how an article of clothing can be indecent. A person, yes.
  • I never learned from a man who agreed with me.
  • It’s an indulgence to sit in a room and discuss your beliefs as if they were a juicy piece of gossip.
  • “Love” is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own… Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy.
  • May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.
  • Never insult anyone by accident.
  • Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
  • Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it’s supposed to do.
  • No statement should be believed because it is made by an authority.
  • Of all the strange “crimes” that human beings have legislated of nothing, “blasphemy” is the most amazing – with “obscenity” and “indecent exposure” fighting it out for the second and third place.
  • One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.
  • One man’s “magic” is another man’s engineering. “Supernatural” is a null word.
  • One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.
  • Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
  • Sex without love is merely healthy exercise.
  • Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other “sins” are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is not sinful – just stupid).
  • The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning while those other subjects merely require scholarship.
  • The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive.
  • Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn’t there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.
  • There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. the only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick.
  • They didn’t want it good, they wanted it Wednesday.
  • To be matter-of-fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy – and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful.
  • When a place gets crowded enough to require ID’s, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.
  • When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives.
  • Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Yield to temptation. It may not pass your way again.
  • Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.
  • It’s amazing how much “mature wisdom” resembles being too tired.
  • Sex should be friendly. Otherwise stick to mechanical toys; it’s more sanitary.
  • Avoid making irrevocable decisions when tired or hungry.
  • Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.
  • Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow if tomorrow might improve the odds.
  • To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods.
  • The greatest productive force is human selfishness.
  • Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.
  • Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.
  • Man can be chained, but he cannot be domesticated.
  • The three-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages, and mathematics. Equipped with these three you can learn anything you want to learn. But if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots.
  • …brainpower is the scarcest commodity and the only one of real value.
  • In a society in which it is a moral offense to be different from your neighbor your only escape is never to let them find out.
  • No intelligent man has any respect for an unjust law.
  • There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
  • A monarch’s neck should always have a noose around it — it keeps him upright.
  • The hardest part of gaining any new idea is sweeping out the false idea occupying that niche.
  • The supreme irony of life is that no one gets out of it alive.
  • Courage is the complement of fear. A man who is fearless cannot be courageous. (He is also a fool.)

 

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