"(According to Machiavelli) Simplicity and consistency – what most of us would call political morality – are not possible for a Prince, because his acts invariably change the context in which subsequent acts must take place. He continually creates his own reality. That is the nature of power. By necessity, in order to adjust to the changes created by his own acts, he must dissemble, shift, appear to be virtuous when he is not. The delayed, two-pronged wit in Machiavelli was produced by his dynamic notion of reality, in which one exercise of power always sets the ground for the next."

— “Great Books”, David Denby

"

At the time of the execution of the King and Queen, their portraits hung on the walls of our Senate chamber (and everyone, including Mrs. Bingham, remarked how much she resembled Marie Antoinette). After the beheadings, various Republicans—including Freneau—wanted the portraits taken down. Jefferson’s view of the portraits is unknown but he did delight in the executions.

“After all,” he said to me, “was ever such a prize won with so little blood?” I said that from all accounts the prize had cost a good deal of blood.

"

— “Burr” – Gore Vidal

"Interjecting a brief homily on the art of politics, (Long) declared: “What the politician had better do is stay a politician. That is law number one with him – the law of self-preservation.”"

— “Huey Long”, T. Harry Williams

"

Long: “They say they don’t like my methods. Well, I don’t like them either. I really don’t like to have to do things the way I do. I’d much rather get up before the legislature and say, ‘Now this is a good law and it’s for the benefit of the people, and I’d like you to vote for it in the interest of the public welfare.’ Only I know that laws ain’t made that way. You’ve got to fight fire with fire.

I’d rather violate every one of the damn conventions and see my bills passed, than sit back in my office, all nice and proper, and watch ‘em die.

Everything I did, I’ve had to do with one hand, because I’ve had to fight with the other.”

"

— “Huey Long”, T. Harry Williams

"They were too deeply entangled in their own past, caught in the web they had spun themselves, according to the laws of their own twisted ethics and twisted logic; they were all guilty, although not of those deeds of which they accused themselves. There was no way back for them. Their exit from the stage happened strictly according to the rules of their strange game. The public expected no swan-songs of them. They had to act according to the text-book, and their part was the howling of wolves in the night… ."

— “Darkness At Noon” - Arthur Koestler

"

‘Show us not the aim without the way.
For ends and means on earth are so entangled
That changing one, you change the other too;
Each different path brings other ends in view.’

FERDINAND LASSALLE: Franz von Sickingen

"

— “Darkness At Noon” - Arthur Koestler

"‘My point is this,’ he said; ‘one may not regard the world as a sort of metaphysical brothel for emotions. That is the first commandment for us. Sympathy, conscience, disgust, despair, repentance, and atonement are for us repellent debauchery. To sit down and let oneself be hypnotized by one’s own navel, to turn up one’s eyes and humbly offer the back of one’s neck to Gletkin’s revolver – that is an easy solution. The greatest temptation for the like of us is: to renounce violence, to repent, to make peace with oneself. Most great revolutionaries fell before this temptation, from Spartacus to Danton and Dostoyevsky; they are the classical form of betrayal of the cause. The temptations of God were always more dangerous for mankind than those of Satan. As long as chaos dominates the world, God is an anachronism; and every compromise with one’s own conscience is perfidy. When the accursed inner voice speaks to you, hold your hands over your ears… .’"

— “Darkness At Noon” - Arthur Koestler

"‘A page Satanas!’ repeated Ivanov and poured himself out another glass. ‘In old days, temptation was of carnal nature. Now it takes the form of pure reason. The values change. I would like to write a Passion play in which God and the Devil dispute for the soul of Saint Rubashov. After a life of sin, he has turned to God – to a God with the double chin of industrial liberalism and the charity of the Salvation Army soups. Satan, on the contrary, is thin, ascetic, and a fanatical devotee of logic. He reads Machiavelli, Ignatius of Loyola, Marx, and Hegel; he is cold and unmerciful to mankind, out of a kind of mathematical mercifulness. He is damned always to do that which is most repugnant to him: to become a slaughterer, in order to abolish slaughtering, to sacrifice lambs so that no more lambs may be slaughtered, to whip people with knouts so that they may learn not to let themselves be whipped, to strip himself of every scruple in the name of a higher scrupulousness, and to challenge the hatred of mankind because of his love for it – an abstract and geometric love. A page Satanas! Comrade Rubashov prefers to become a martyr. The columnists of the liberal Press, who hated him during his lifetime, will sanctify him after his death. He has discovered a conscience, and a conscience renders one as unfit for the revolution as a double chin. Conscience eats through the brain like a cancer, until the whole of the grey matter is devoured. Satan is beaten and withdraws – but don’t imagine that he grinds his teeth and spits fire in his fury. He shrugs his shoulders; he is thin and ascetic; he has seen many weaken and creep out of his ranks with pompous pretexts… .’"

— “Darkness At Noon” - Arthur Koestler

"‘Nobody can rule guiltlessly.’ SAINT-JUST"

— “Darkness At Noon” - Arthur Koestler

"

I happen to like Stanislas/Constantine. When dealing with an incensed young Bosnian who accused him of being a government stooge, he responds with some gravity by saying:

“Yes. For the sake of my country, and perhaps a little for the sake of my soul, I have given up the deep peace of being in opposition.”

This is one of the more profoundly mature, and also among the most tragic, of the signals that (Rebecca) West’s ear was attuned to pick up.

"

“Arguably: Selected Essays” - Christopher Hitchens

'The Deep Peace of Being In Opposition' - yes I think this describes it well. 

"

“Jesus Christ,” he exclaimed, “you work for Stark and you call somebody a son-of-a-bitch.”

I just looked at him. I’d been over all that ground before. I had been over it a thousand times with a thousand people. Hotel lobbies and dinner tables and club cars and street corners and bedrooms and filling stations. Sometimes they didn’t say it just exactly that way and sometimes they didn’t say it at all, but it was there. Oh, I’d fixed them, all right. I knew how to roll with that punch and give it right back in the gut. I ought to have known, I’d had plenty of practice.

But you get tired. In a way it is too easy, and so it isn’t fun anymore. And then you get so you don’t get mad anymore, it has happened so often. But those aren’t the reasons. It is just that those people who say that to you – or don’t say it – aren’t right and they aren’t wrong. If it were absolutely either way, you wouldn’t have to think about it, you could just shut your eyes and let them have it in the gut. But the trouble is, they are half right and half wrong, and in the end that is what paralyses you. Trying to sort out the one from the other. You can’t explain it to them, for there isn’t ever time and there is always that look on their faces. So you get to a point in the end where you don’t even let them have it in the gut. You just look at them, and it is like a dream or something remembered from a long time back or like they weren’t there at all.

"

— “All the King’s Men” – Robert Penn Warren 

"

“Yeah, and he wanted the one last damned thing you can’t inherit. And you know what it is?” He started at Adam’s face.

“What?” Adam said, after a long pause.

“Goodness. Yeah, just plain, simple goodness. Well you can’t inherit that from anybody. You gotta make it, Doc. If you want it. And you got to make it out of badness. Badness. And you know why, Doc?” He raised his bulk up in the broken-down wreck of an overstuffed chair he was in, and leaned forward, his hands on his knees, his elbows cocked out, his head out-thrust and the hair coming down to his eyes, and stared into Adam’s face. “Out of badness,” he repeated. “And you know why? Because there isn’t anything else to make it out of.”

"

— “All the King’s Men” – Robert Penn Warren 

"Pindar prays: “With God’s help may I still love what is beautiful and strive for what is attainable.”"

“The Greek Way” - Edith Hamilton

One for the political idealists to take on board.

"If one can demonstrate that there was such a plan (to remove the President of Cypress), and that Kissinger knew about it in advance, then it follows logically and naturally that he was not ostensibly looking for a crisis – as he self-pityingly asks us to believe – but for a solution. The fact that he got a crisis, which was also a hideous calamity for Cyprus and the region, does not change the equation or under the syllogism. It is attributable to the other observable fact that the scheme to remove Makarios, on which the ‘solution’ depended, was in practice a failure. But those who willed the means and wished the ends are not absolved from guilt by the refusal of reality to match their schemes."

“The Trial of Henry Kissinger” – Christopher Hitchens

I found this to be an interesting quote, given that the last sentence in particular could be equally used to condemn Hitchen’s position on the Iraq War…