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Quote Author Cited
The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions. Leonardo da Vinci
The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion. Edmund Burke
It takes some serious mental gymnastics to think of the Confederacy only as a romantic lost cause. Alexandra Petri
Selective memory has always been the problem. An insistence on seeing some people and movements as the sum only of their brightest and most glorious moments, and others as unmitigated villains, makes for a vision of history that is tragically incomplete. Alexandra Petri
The Right said, "If we only annex the West Bank, we'll be safe and sound." The Left said, "If we only hand over the West Bank, we'll have peace". The Right said, "Our dead died because of the Left's delusions", while the Left said, "Our dead died because of the Right's fantasies." Rather than face a tragic reality imposed on us from without, we chose to create a simplistic narrative of Right against Left. Ari Shavit
A grand bargain [with Russia] will not be achieved in a sweeping package that comes together at a single point in time. While attractive to contemplate, such a sudden strategic outcome is a chimera. Our best hope is in saying we will confront where we must but cooperate where we can. James G. Stavridis
... it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence rather than the unknown effects of extra-terrestrial intelligence. Richard P. Feynman
Rationalization may be defined as self-deception by reasoning. Karen Horney
Imagination … which is ever wandering beyond the bounds of truth, joined to self-love and that self-confidence we are so apt to indulge, prompt us to draw conclusions that are not immediately derived from facts ... Antoine Lavoisier
Humans naturally think more highly of themselves and their communities than their evidence can justify, but deny that they are biased in this way. This sincere confidence helps people to convince others to think highly of them, and to convince their group of their strong attachment to it. If you force yourself to face facts squarely you may gain better insight into yourself and human nature, and perhaps even signal a certain rare ability to achieve this result. But you may less convince others of your other abilities, and to convince your group of your loyalty Robin Hanson
Religion is the most malevolent of all mind viruses. Arthur C. Clarkee
Every false prophet comes in odd moments to believe in the truth of his false doctrine James Connolly
I cannot comprehend how any man can want anything but the truth. Marcus Aurelius
Majorities … are often mistaken. That is why the silencing of minorities is necessarily dangerous. Criticism and dissent are the indispensable antidote to major delusions. Alan Barth
Peace upon any other basis than national independence, peace purchased at the cost of any part of our national integrity, is fit only for slaves, and even when purchased at such a price it is a delusion, for it cannot last. William E. Borah
Credulity without enquiry is a sure way to deceive oneself. Aulus Cornelius Celsus
Man has such a predilection for systems and abstract deductions that he is ready to distort truth intentionally, he is ready to deny the evidence of his senses only to justify his logic. Fyodor Dostoevsky
If Senator McCarthy believed those things when he said them about the Senate Committee then there is pretty solid ground to say that he ought to be expelled from the Senate for moral incapacity. If he put those things in there honestly believing them to be true, then he has evidently suffered gigantic mental delusions, and it may be argued with much force, that he should be expelled from the Senate for mental difficulty. Samuel J. Ervin Jr.
Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. Richard P. Feynman
The capacity of this body for self delusion appears to this Senator to be unlimited. Slade Gorton
Many people would rather have fine words and false hopes than the truth which is unacceptable. Edward Grey; Viscount Fallodon
He who cannot dance puts the blame on the floor. Hindu Proverb
An ideology is a complex of ideas or notions which represents itself to the thinker as an absolute truth for the interpretation of the world and his situation within it; it leads the thinker to accomplish an act of self-deception for the purpose of justification, obfuscation and evasion in some sense or other Karl Jaspers
Though written constitutions may be violated in moments of passion or delusion, yet they furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally and recall the people. They fix, too, for the people the principles of their political creed. Thomas Jefferson
Become reality driven. Don’t kid yourself or others. Gary Johnson
Of all the delusions that existed, Posthumous Fame was the greatest. James Mackintosh
Wishful thinking is no substitute for reality. Alan Keyes
It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth …I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it. Patrick Henry
Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Patrick Henry
Marijuana is used largely in the form of cigarettes, which cause delusions and produce insanity and often lead to atrocities that only a drugsoaked mind could conceive. Marijuana is a sinister drug that has only recently become available and popular among the younger element Hamilton Fish
The history of Western science confirms the aphorism that the great menace to progress is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge. Daniel J. Boorstin
Illusion is the dust the devil throws in the eyes of the foolish Minna Antrim
There is hardly a form of insanity or delusion that has not been induced by some sort of religious belief. Joseph Lewis
Britain and America won the last world war. We will win the next world war. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
He suffers from delusions of adequacy. Walter Kerr
Found your opinions on facts, not prejudices. We know too many things that are not true Charles Kettering
Chemically induced hallucinations, delusions and raptures may be frightening or wonderfully gratifying; in either case they are in the nature of confidence tricks played on one's own nervous system. Arthur Koestler
We should not be upset that others hide the truth from us, when we hide it so often from ourselves Francois de La Rochefoucauld
I say to America, Europe, and the West: It is in your interests to change your relations and policies regarding the Arab and Islamic nation and the Palestinian cause. Because we are winning, it is in your interests to deal with the victors, not the losers. Khaled Mashal
Tomorrow, our nation will sit on the throne of the world Khaled Mashal
There is an unbroken chain of opposition to the introduction of economic freedom and to the capitalist autonomy of the economic sphere. ...In every case the opposition could only be overcome--peacefully or by force--because of the promise of capitalism to establish equality. ...That this promise was an illusion we all know Peter Drucker
We have a never sated appetite for self deception. Michael Crichton
Each community has a curious and distorted image of itself which is always flattering. Carl Henry Eckart
We think in myths; we live in myths David W. Blight
We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam. Chuck Hagel
The ruler should endeavor to keep all the subjects pleased with him. The ruler should not let himself be so deluded by the praise he gets from any who approach him as to believe that all the subjects are pleased with him. Mohammed Al-Ghazali Al-Saqqa
Every man is his own greatest dupe. William R. Alger
It is impossible to say precisely when the conviction became general in the South that we were to be beaten. I cannot even decide at what time I myself began to think the cause a hopeless one, and I have never yet found one of my fellow-Confederates, though I have questioned many of them, who could tell me with any degree of certainty the history of his change from confidence to despondency. We schooled ourselves from the first to think that we should ultimately win, and the habit of thinking so was too strong to be easily broken by adverse happenings. Having undertaken to make good our declaration of independence, we refused to admit, even to ourselves, the possibility of failure. It was a part of our soldierly and patriotic duty to believe that ultimate success was to be ours George Cary Eggleston
I regard it as a foregone conclusion that we shall ultimately whip the Yankees. We are bound to believe that, anyhow; but the war is going to be a long and terrible one, first. We've only just begun it, and very few of us will see the end. All I ask of fate is that I may be killed leading a cavalry charge J. E. B. Stuart
No President has ever done more for human rights than I have. George W. Bush
Vision without execution is hallucination. Stephen Case
Partisanship shapes the reality that people choose to see. David Brooks
History is the most dangerous substance that the chemistry of the intellect has created…. I makes men dream, intoxicates them, breeds false memories in them, aggravates their responses, takes up their ancient grievances, torments them in their sleep, carries them into the delirium of grandeur or else of persecution, and turns nations bitter, intolerable, and vain. Paul Valery
Yesterday a crowd of women assembled on the public square and marching thence down Main, sacked several shoe, grocery and other stores. Their pretense was bread; but their motive really was license. Few of them have really felt want. The President went down amongst them and said a few words to them telling them that the course they were pursuing was the one most likely to bring scarcity of food on the city. . . . It was a real women’s riot, but as yet there is really little cause for one—there is scarcity, but little want. Josiah Gorgas
Since the battle of Manassas an apathy seems to have rested upon our people. We . . . have considered one Southerner as a match for five Yankees. We have thought that the Yankees would always take to their heels after a few rounds. But while these reverses have proved to us that our foes are not such cowards as we have heretofore taken them for, it has also disclosed the very disagreeable fact that our forces are not the invincible heroes which we thought them to be. Thomas Jewett Goree
The CIA’s intelligence was in many cases simply Bill Casey’s ideology. George P. Shultz
America needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs America…. Pakistan is the pivot of the world, the frontier upon which the future of the world revolves Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Such confidence we possessed to actually believe that our dreams could overcome science…. Business underestimated science. Hugo Eckener
The Optimism Bias: This is why our warnings on cigarette packages go unheeded. Yes smoking kills 6 million people per year. Smokers believe that it will kill the other guy. Morgan Freeman
There is a tendency to overestimate the positive things in our lives and underestimate the possibility of negative things Tali Sharot
The CIA’s intelligence was in many cases simply Bill Casey’s ideology. George P. Shultz
Of the hundred million of the population of Greater France, almost sixty are not of European origin. If they are to be kept in permanent French allegiance their loyalty must be secured. The French flatter themselves that they are peculiarly successful in winning the affections of those over whom they rule. So be it, though it is probable they entertain a good many illusions in this respect. Archibald Cary Coolidge
Prejudices were deeply rooted; the people really believed themselves to be the richest of the world, even though they lived in destitution. They took the potentialities of the country for actual wealth. Toribio Esquivel Obregon
People who believe themselves to be the incarnation of good have a distorted view of the world. Tzvetan Todorov
I believe in the honest feeling of the working people and in their unshakable loyalty to me. Therefore I forgive them. Nicholas II
The majority of men prefer delusion to truth. It soothes. It is easy to grasp. Above all, it fits more snugly than the truth into a universe of false appearances—of complex and irrational phenomena, defectively grasped. H. L. Mencken
In all of history, we have found just one cure for error—a partial antidote against making and repeating grand, foolish mistakes, a remedy against self-deception. That antidote is criticism. David Brin
Most blacks are happy, except those who have had other ideas pushed into their ears. Pieter Willem Botha
It is one of the dangerous self-deceptions of our society to pretend that mechanisms of control do not really exist, and to maintain, without qualification, that we are an economically "free" people. Robert Heilbroner
Posing as a savior and a restorer of the Byzantine Empire, he let his people in their madness believe that he would soon lead them to Saint Sophia. Auguste Gauvain
I have been brought up amongst the Irish people. I was reared in a laborers cottage here in Ireland. I have not lived soley amongst the intellectuals—whever I wanted to know what the Irish people wanted, I had only to examine my own heart and it told me straight away what the Irish people wanted. Eamon de Valera
Random forays into the history of political language with undue regard for the detail of historical context all too often end up as exercises in self confirmation. Simon Schama
We must face the facts as we find them, not as we may wish them. Edward Mandell House
President Roosevelt’s expectation that Chiang Kai-shek would fight the Japanese is an alluring fiction from the world of make-believe. Chiang intends to hoard the American military aid largely with the idea of post-war military action. They are static assets to be conserved for assistance in fighting against … fellow countrymen for economic and political supremacy. John Magruder
At Washington I found the extraordinary significance if China in American minds. [It] accorded China almost equal fighting power with the British Empire and rated the Chinese [Nationalist] armies as a factor to be mentioned in the same breath and the armies of Russia. I told the President how much I felt American opinion overestimated the China would make to the general war. He differed strongly. Winston Churchill
Glorious News. Lincoln and Seward Assassinated! Andy Johnson Inaugurated President. John C. Henley
… a world without certainty can be richer, in all senses of the word, than a world with false convictions. Adam Davidson
From what mad optimism we descended. The Newspapers had done their job so well that everyone began to imagine that our army had only to show itself to put the entire German army to rout. Andre Gide
If one Confederate soldier can kill 90 Yankees, how many Yankees can 10 Confederate soldiers kill? L. Johnson
Hope is a tease designed to prevent us from accepting reality. Julian Fellowes
Geese are but Geese tho' we may think 'em Swans; and Truth will be Truth tho' it sometimes prove mortifying and distasteful. Benjamin Franklin
Political activity is a type of moral activity. It does not claim to settle every problem or to make every sad heart glad, but it can help some way in nearly everything and, where it is strong, it can prevent the vast cruelties and deceits of ideological rule. Bernard Crick
For people at the bottom who are really doing badly — those in the bottom 10th or 15th percentile — they think their work falls in the 60th or 55th percentile, so, above average. People at the bottom still think they're outperforming other people. David Dunning
This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. Donald Trump
For those things which were done either by our fathers or ancestors, and in which we ourselves had no share, I can scarcely call our own. Ovid
The only reason the stock market is doing so well is because of me. I've always been very good with money. Donald Trump
A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. Ronald Reagan
The nationalist does not go on the principle of simply ganging up with the strongest side. On the contrary, having picked his side, he persuades himself that it is the strongest, and is able to stick to his belief even when the facts are overwhelmingly against him. George Orwell
As soon as fear, hatred, jealousy and power worship are involved, the sense of reality becomes unhinged. And ... the sense of right and wrong becomes unhinged also. There is no crime, absolutely none, that cannot be condoned when ‘our’ side commits it. Even if one does not deny that the crime has happened, even if one knows that it is exactly the same crime as one has condemned in some other case, even if one admits in an intellectual sense that it is unjustified — still one cannot feel that it is wrong. Loyalty is involved, and so pity ceases to function. George Orwell
The majority falls prey to the delusion—popular in some circles—that ordinary people are too careless and stupid to own guns, and we would be far better off leaving all weapons in the hands of professionals on the government payroll. But the simple truth—born of experience—is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people. Alex Kozinski