The best of Churchill

The Wit and Wisdom of  WINSTON  CHURCHILL


“If the present tries to sit in judgment of the past, it will lose the future.”


“Expert knowledge, however indispensable, is no substitute for a generous and comprehending outlook upon a human story with all its sadness – with all its unquenchable hope.”


“The farther backwards you look, the farther forward you can see.”

”When you leave off dreaming, the universe ceases to exist.”


“I get my exercise being a pallbearer for those of my friends who believe in regular running and calisthenics.”


“When heads of state become gangsters, something has to be done.”


“Humanity, not legality, must be our guide.”


“The young sow wild oats, the old grow sage.”


“We shall forego our luxuries but not our pleasures.”


“There is one cardinal rule: never despair.”

“Our future is in our hands. Our lives are what we choose to make them.”


“Though always prepared for martyrdom, I should prefer that it be postponed.”


“Eating my words has never given me indigestion.”


“I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”


“The final tribute is our own conscience.”

“The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield  to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions.”


“The more man’s choice is free, the more likely it is to be wise and fruitful not only to the chosen to the community in which he dwells.”


“Only facts can tell the tale and the public ought to have them.”


“One ought to be just before one is generous.”


“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.”


“The more knowledge we possess of the opposite point of view, the less puzzling it is to know what to do.”


“What is the use of Parliament if it is not the place where true facts can be brought before the people.”


“Official jargon can be used to destroy any kind of human contact or even thought itself.”


“In my behalf, you can not deal with the most serious things in the world unless you also understand the most amusing.”


“A fanatic is one who won’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”


Do not hesitate to be blunt – this is done better by manner and attitude than by actual words which can be reported.”


“It is not open to the cool bystander to set himself up as an impartial judge of events which would never have occurred had he outstretched a helping hand in time.”


The flame of Christian ethics is still our best guide….only on this basis can we reconcile the rights of the individual with the demands of society.”


“If you travel the earth you will find it largely divided into two classes of  people     people who say “I wonder why such and such isn’t done?”  and people who say

“I wonder who will prevent me from doing that thing?”


“If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle or as it were, fondle them- peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on their shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so that if you do not know what is in them, at least you know where they are. Let them be your friends, let them at any rate, be your acquaintances.”


“Foolish perhaps but I play for high stakes and, given an audience, there is no act too daring or too noble.”


“There are two ways to get cooperation in human action.  You get cooperation by controls or you get it by comprehension.”


“The only path to safety is to liberate the energies and genius of the nation and let them have their full fruition.”


“When notes of life ring false, men should correct them by referring to the tuning fork of death.”


“Youth is for freedom and reform, maturity for judicious compromise and old age is for  stability and repose.”


“Smoking cigars is like falling in love. First you are attracted to its shape; you stay with it for it’s flavor; and you must always remember, never, never let the flame go out.”


“Civilization is a state of society where moral force begins to escape from the tyranny of physical force.”


On civil servants: “No longer servants. No longer civil.”


“We are firm as a rock against aggression but the door is always open to friendship.”


“The only difference between our outlook and the Socialist outlook is the ladder and the queue. We are for the ladder. Let all try their best to climb. They are for the queue.”


“We must beware of trying to build a society in which no one counts for anything except a politician or an official, or a society where enterprise gains no rewards and thrift no privileges.”


“Our conservative principles are well known. We stand for the free and flexible working of the supply and demand. We stand for compassion and aid for those who, whether through age, illness or misfortune, cannot keep pace with the march of society.”


On command:  “Laugh a little and teach your men to laugh – get good humor under fire –  war is a game that’s played with a smile. If you can’t smile, grin. If you can’t grin, keep out of the way until you can.”


“No one is compelled to serve great causes unless he feels fit for it; but nothing is more certain than you can not take the lead in great causes as a half-timer.” 


“All I can say is that I have taken more out of alcohol than it has taken out of me.”


“There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies and that is fighting without them.”


“There are no people in the world who are so slow to develop hostile feelings towards a foreign country as Americans are and there are no people who, once estranged,  are more difficult to win back.”


“Dogs look up to you, cats look down on you. Give me a pig.  He looks you in the eye and treats you as an equal.”


“Art is to beauty what honor is to honesty.”


“One cannot leap a chasm in two jumps.”


“Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the reverence and delight which are their due.”


“Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”


“It is hard, if not impossible, to snub a beautiful woman; they remain beautiful and the rebuke recoils.”


“Breakfast should be in bed alone.”


“In finance everything that is agreeable is unsound and everything that is sound is disagreeable.”


“The vice of capitalism is that ii stands for the unequal sharing of blessings whereas the virtue of socialism is that it stands for the equal sharing of misery.”


“Is it better to have equality for the price of poverty or well being at the price of inequality?”


“There is no surer method of economizing and saving money than in the reduction of the number of officials.”


“We shall return to a system which provides incentive for effort, enterprise, self-denial, initiative and good housekeeping. We cannot uphold the principle that the rewards of society must be equal for those who try and those who shirk, for those who succeed and for those who fail.”


“He who ascends to the mountaintops shall find the loftiest peaks most wrapped with clouds and snow.”


“Let it not be thought that the age of chivalry belongs to the past.”


“Never surrender ourselves to servitude and shame whatever the cost may be.”


“There is only one answer to defeat and that is victory.”


“Defeat is one thing; disgrace is another.”


“If you destroy a free market, you create a black market.”


Germans:  “The Hun is always at your throat or at your feet.”

                 “An immense responsibility rests upon the German people for this subservience to the barbaric idea of autocracy. This is the gravamen against them in  history – that  in spite of all their brains and courage, they worship power and let themselves be led by the nose.”


“A little knowledge of history is a quiver full of arrows in a debate.”


“Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”


“The most important thing about education is appetite.”


“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps then end of the beginning.”


“My idea of a good dinner is first to have good food, then to discuss good food, and after this good food has been elaborately discussed, to discuss a good topic – with myself as the chief conversationalist.”


“The air is an extremely dangerous mistress. Once under her spell, most lovers are faithful to the end, which is not always old age.”


I am proud but I am also awestruck at your decision to include me. I do hope you are right . I feel we are both running a considerable risk and that I do not deserve it. But I shall have no misgiving if you have none.”    1953 Nobel Prize in Literature



“The nose of the bulldog has been slanted back so that it can breathe without letting go.”


“It has been a grand journey – well worth making once.”   His last recorded statement.


“Sharpen your weapons and limit your frontiers.” – Roman maxim


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *