Sun. Dec 5th, 2021

Winston Churchill, in full  Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (born November 30, 1874, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England—died January 24, 1965, London), British statesman, orator, and author who as prime minister (1940–45, 1951–55) rallied the British people during World War II and led his country from the brink of defeat to victory.

Churchill on Politics and Government

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

“A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”

“Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.”

 “A sheep in sheep’s clothing.” (On Clement Atlee)

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time.”

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.”

“We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

“Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Churchill on Attitude

“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.”

“I am easily satisfied with the very best.”

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

“Personally, I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”

“I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod.”

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

“For myself I am an optimist—it does not seem to be much use to be anything else.”

“We (The British) have not journeyed across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.”

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”

“I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

On Americans

“We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”

On History

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

“History is written by the victors.”

Insults

“A lady came up to me one day and said ‘Sir! You are drunk,’ to which I replied ‘I am drunk today madam, and tomorrow I shall be sober but you will still be ugly.”

Winston Churchill: “Nancy, if I were your husband I’d drink it.”

Lady Astor: “Winston, if I were your wife I’d put poison in your coffee.”

On the Truth

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

Churchill’s Definitions

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

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

Advice

“In those days he was wiser than he is now—he used frequently to take my advice.”
“When you get a thing the way you want it, leave it alone.”

On War

“If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

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

“A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, then asks you not to kill him.”

“Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.”

With Fondness

“He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”
“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

On Speaking

“A joke is a very serious thing.”

“Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”

“There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.”

“Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.”

“From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.”

“Everyone is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.”

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time—a tremendous whack.”

“In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.”

“Don’t interrupt me while I’m interrupting.”

“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.” (On the ill-informed)

“I have never developed indigestion from eating my words.”

“We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.”

 

 

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