Top 25 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Quotes

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“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“In 1914, there were two countries in the world that required you to have a passport if you wanted to enter – Czarist Russia and the Ottomans. Anywhere else, you could come and go as you pleased.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“Citizen participation is a device whereby public officials induce nonpublic individuals to act in a way the officials desire.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“If we haven’t become the Liberty Party of an undoubted future, let us take this fact: the great totalitarian regimes have died. The Soviet Union broke up along ethnic lines, as we always thought it would. The Chinese – am I wrong? – are becoming a commercial civilization.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“The liberal left can be as rigid and destructive as any force in American life.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“The richest inheritance any child can have is a stable, loving, disciplined family life.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“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.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“If you don’t have 30 years to devote to social policy, don’t get involved.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“We used to play marbles for keeps. If you lost, you lost. It is the same way with politics, but not everybody knows this.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“I was in charge of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So I had some of the most brilliant mathematical statistical minds in the country, who would put together the modern technology, if you like, of understanding the economy and tracking it and trying to influence it.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“I was more in opposition within my own party, and for a long while, I was part of the opposition. I had – Scoop Jackson was my candidate in ’76. I made no bones about that.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“We must not let ourselves be seen as rushing around the world looking for arguments… Nor should we let ourselves be seen as ignoring allies, disillusioning friends, thinking only of ourselves in the most narrow terms. That is not how we survived the 20th century. Nor will it serve in the 21st.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“I did not have a lot of spare time after I was about eleven because in my youth, young people used to try to find ways of making money after school. From about age eleven on, I either shined shoes or did something such.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“It’s always been a subtext of our secular optimism that you solve the economic problem, and all other things sort of take care of themselves. Well, we seem to be doing well on the economic side – we are doing very well – and the other things are not solving – they’re compounding.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“We have to ask if it is once again the summer of 1914. Small acts of terror in the Middle East, in South Asia, could lead to cataclysm as they did in Sarajevo.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“The principle of not negotiating with terrorists is the only thing we can hold on to.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“The steady expansion of welfare programs can be taken as a measure of the steady disintegration of the Negro family structure over the past generation in the United States.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“The Democrats have prevailed because, at heart, we have embodied a great idea, which is that an elected government can be the instrument of the common purpose of a free people; that government can embrace great causes and do great things.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“The great corporations of this country were not founded by ordinary people. They were founded by people with extraordinary intelligence, ambition, and aggressiveness.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“In my view – which could be wrong, but it is my field – there is no better formula for social instability than to divide a society between two ascribed characteristics that are seen as opposite.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“The principal challenge of the next phase of the Negro revolution is to make certain that equality of results will now follow. If we do not, there will be no social peace in the United States for generations.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“I come from a part of the world – raised in a part of the world where you’re born a Democrat, baptized a Democrat.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“Welfare became a term of opprobrium – a contentious, often vindictive area of political conflict in which liberals and conservatives clashed and children were lost sight of.”

― Daniel Patrick Moynihan
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