Some of my favorite quotes...

I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

Armistice Day has become Veterans' Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans' Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans' Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don't want to throw away any sacred things.

What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.

And all music is.

Kurt Vonnegut
Breakfast of Champions (1973)

Below are some of my favorite excerpts from Declarations of Independence: Cross-examining American Ideology (1990), by Howard Zinn. This is a sort of philosophical companion to his masterpiece A People's History of the United States(1980).

There is still another kind of historical bias that can mislead us, and that is the tendency of the culture to emphasize historical trivia, to learn facts for their own sake. The result of this is to encourage a flat, valueless interest in past facts that have no great significance in the betterment of the human condition, but that are simply “interesting”. The interest served, however, is that of diverting us from the truly important uses of history, thus making history, literally, a diversion.

Japanese writer Oda Makoto describes that August 14 in Osaka, where he lived. He was a boy. He went out into the streets and found, in the midst of the corpses, American leaflets written in Japanese, which had been dropped with the bombs: “Your government has surrendered; the war is over.”

“Law and order” ... is a phrase that has appeal for most citizens, who, unless they themselves have a powerful grievance against authority, are afraid of disorder. In the 1960s, a student at Harvard Law School addressed parents and alumni with these words:
The streets of our country are in turmoil. The universities are filled with students rebelling and rioting. Communists are seeking to destroy our country. Russia is threatening us with her might. And the republic is in danger. Yes! danger from within and without. We need law and order! Without law and order our nation cannot survive.
There was prolonged applause. When the applause died down, the student quietly told his listeners: “These words were spoken in 1932 by Adolf Hitler.”

He, I know—for the question had been discussed among us long before the Time Machine was made—thought but cheerlessly of the Advancement of Mankind, and saw in the growing pile of civilization only a foolish heaping that must inevitably fall back upon and destroy its makers in the end. If that is so, it remains for us to live as though it were not so.

H. G. Wells
The Time Machine (1895)

We are at home in our games because it is the only place we know just what we are supposed to do.

Albert Camus
As quoted in Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes (p. 90)

Probability theory is nothing but common sense reduced to calculation.

Pierre Simon Laplace
Théorie Analytique des Probabilités (1812)

A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.

Paul Erdös

I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

Stephen F. Roberts
origin of “the quote” (1995)

You may not see it when it's sticking to your skin
But we're better off for all that we let in.

Emily Saliers
All that we let in (2004)