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The John Findley Green Lecture Series Quotes from past Lectures

1937
"In the economic field new problems have arisen through the concentration of wealth and corporate control, and the difficulty of equating the tremendous power and diversity of production with the vast unsatisfied surging of demand has resulted in the most spectacular and disturbing breakdown of the industrial machine in modern times. Yet these developments cannot obscure the triumph of the much-criticized economic system in reaching new heights of productive capacity and making possible standards of living unthought of in earlier days...After all, if millions have been unemployed, millions have been aided to maintain a measure of decent comfort which before the industrial era would have been regarded as fabled luxury."

Oscar D. Skelton, undersecretary for foreign affairs for the Dominion of Canada

1939
"The policy of excessive protectionism is like a habit-forming drug. Nations once indulging in it go on from excess to excess; and the appetite increases. But the end of unrestrained indulgence is disaster. Economic nationalism and protectionism spell disaster for the world as well as for the nation...Men will fight before they starve. Uneconomic trade barriers forge the thunderbolts of war."

Frances B. Sayre, former high commissioner to the Philippines

1940
"It is, you see, upon the elemental and universal fact of conflict that the legislative way of life is built; it is inescapable conflict which makes legislation necessary and which alone renders tolerable its imperfections...The legislature...is a body collective made necessary by unavoidable conflict and rendered possible by a certain state of mind...which holds competition (in ideas, between ideals, and among persons) to be itself a standard and fruitful form of cooperation."

T.V. Smith, member of Congress and professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago

1941
"The men who ruled democratic Europe before the second World War...never understood that peace is not a negative state maintaining itself automatically in the absence of war. The work of maintaining peace is hard, positive work. Even without criminals like Hitler and adventurers like Mussolini, there is always danger of war in the world because the instincts of war are not yet completely destroyed. That is why peace is not merely an absence of hostilities -- as the Baldwins and the Neville Chamberlains thought of it -- but it is the continuous creation of international solidarities."

Count Carlo Sforza, former Italian ambassador to China, to Turkey and to France, and subsequently Italian minister of foreign affairs

1946
"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent."

Winston Churchill

1949
"For years the conviction has been growing upon me that the most fruitful source of our personal and national well-being lies buried deep in two fundamental institutions which, under the Divinely ordained scheme of things, mold our lives and destinies. First in point of time, and foremost in degree and power of influence, is the home...Next to the home as a teacher of correct human relations stands the church."

J.C. Penney, merchant

1950
"We have always known that the judicial process does not at all times and in all places conform absolutely and in all respects to our ideal of it...But the striving for the ideal, I repeat, goes far to realize the ideal. It is the approximation to our ideal of it which is significant, not the fallings short, which we seek continually to control and to reduce to a minimum."

Roscoe Pound, dean emeritus of Harvard Law School

1953
"The non-communist world can meet communism only if it develops the courage to bring forth its deepest spiritual values which alone contain the true universal. The falsehoods and perfect stupidities of communism become apparent only when a man comes face to face with the deepest the mind has known and the spirit has been in history."

Charles H. Malik, ambassador of Lebanon

1954
"Today crude and sinister men are trying to destroy this concept [freedom of thought], and to shake the very foundations of our freedom based on the due process of law. Witch hunters are on the loose again, often cloaked with immunity, and armed with subpoenas and the cruel whiplash of unevaluated gossip...In making this fight [against communism], we should be sure that we do not fall into the trap of adopting the totalitarian tactics of the communists themselves."

Harry S. Truman, former U.S. president

1954
"If the dire prophecies of the President's report on higher education, which surmised that the days of the independent college are numbered, comes true, it would be a catastrophe that will spell doom for free enterprise and of our nation as a free democracy. Nothing will remain but the socialist state, if the independent colleges lose their independence by seeking and obtaining federal aid."

Dr. Guy E. Snavely, former executive secretary of the Association of American Colleges

1958
"To believe that there is no truth is to believe that it is true that there is no truth. This is to believe what one does not believe, and I am not convinced that anyone can do that. Though for us absolute truth, or the whole truth about anything, is never achieved, progress toward it can be real."

Dr. Edward McCrady, vice chancellor and president of the University of the South

1960
"I would say that if we are in the end to win over the rest of the world to our way of thinking...we must first endeavor to build up our own community into a microcosm of what the world itself could be like if humanity as a whole determined once for all to devote itself to the moral values of our own philosophy of freedom under the law."

The Rt. Hon. the Viscount Hailsham, Q.C., Lord Privy Seal, London, England

1962
"On that same day on which I set to work on this lecture, Colonel John Glenn circled our planet three times in five hours. Is there any connection between the astronaut and the Africans [their recent political upheaval]? The obvious connection is, of course, that now the planet earth, the habitation of man, must be seen and treated as a whole, and Political Freedom, no longer the exclusive possession of a peculiar people, is a global proposition. And the thesis that I shall advance tonight is that your business and my business and the principal business of the United States is the promotion of constitutional governments throughout the world, thereby establishing Political Freedom as the way of life for the human race."

Henry R. Luce, editor in chief of Time, Life magazines

1962
"It hardly needs saying that the attitude of diplomaship, as I have called it, is altogether different from the attitude of the men I was talking about a few minutes ago, the ones who are doing the A-one jobs, the ones who will build vital, progressive industry and a greater nation...The figures show that the single most reliable predictive indicator of a college graduate's success in the Bell System is his rank in his graduating class."

Frederick R. Kappel, chairman of the board of American Telephone and Telegraph

1963
"Today we face a clear choice. Do we believe, as President de Gaulle seems to believe, that states are forever condemned to remain in the jungle, to remain, in the words of Raymond Aron, 'a cold beast, never to trust another state'...Or do we believe in the possibility of change, of gradually changing men's minds and their behavior?...Whatever the present difficulties, we must continue to build up a European Community and an equal partnership between that Community and the United States of America."

M. Max Kohnstamm, vice-president of Action Committee for the United States of Europe, Brussels, Belgium

1964
"We are in the middle of a cultural revolution due to the discovery that technology can improve rapidly by the intelligent use of research in pure science...We are in the midst of an explosion, which, from the nature of things, cannot last indefinitely, but which is increasing man's knowledge of nature and his power over it, at a frightening and increasing rate, since it still is following a compound interest law...There will soon be a flattening out of the curve of expansion, unless, indeed, there is a catastrophic fall."

Sir George Paget Thomson, Nobel Prize-winning physicist for work in electrons and past president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Cambridge, England

1965
"I believe it is absolutely necessary to create a European political authority, along the same lines as the Economic Commission of Brussels, to consider questions of foreign policy...If we create the European political authority, then we will have the machinery to discuss and to elaborate a common European defense and foreign policy...I believe this step is absolutely necessary because Europe cannot discuss with you as long as it has no unity."

Andre Philip, former minister of finance in France and lnternational trade expert

1965
"The interests of business and the interests of society have never been more closely joined. The hot and dangerous core of the challenge to the free world lies in the disparity between the material well-being of most Americans and the lacks of almost two-thirds of the rest of the human race. It falls largely to business as the fundamental American institution of the Twentieth Century to sustain a rate of economic growth sufficient to take care of the wants or our own population and, while doing so, to innovate rapidly enough to support government programs for defense, for essential foreign aid and development. We must invest heavily overseas to contribute to their necessary agricultural and industrial development."

Joseph C. Wilson, president of Xerox Corporation

1966
"The Iron Curtain traversing Europe from the Baltic to the Adriatic Sea is rusting and the bamboo curtain stretching from the Himalayas to Mt. Diamond on the east coast of Korea has the appearance of decay after 20 years of wind and rain. The eyes and ears of the world are turning from the Iron Curtain toward the bamboo curtain because peace has suffered a critical wound in Asia; and because a great surgical operation has been started on this wound."

Kim Jong Pil, chairman, Democratic Republican Party of Korea

1967
"It is my belief that we stand today upon the threshold of a new era in our relations with the peoples of Europe -- A period of new engagement. And I believe that this new period, if we do not lose our wits or our nerve or our patience, can see the replacement of the Iron Curtain with the Open Door."

Hubert Humphrey, U.S. vice president

1968
"One might look at the United States today and say that from New York on the Atlantic to San Francisco on the Pacific, little iron curtains have fallen between parent and child, between black men and white men, between students and university officials, between partisans whose chief argument against contrary opinion is to question the motives of those who hold it."

Dr. Franc L. McCluer, former president of Westminster College, president emeritus of Lindenwood College

1968
[After traveling to several countries] I was left with one overmastering impression. Nearly everyone was worried about our world and what was happening to it. Nearly everyone was uncertain about the future. There was more...uneasiness in the air than I could remember. And it was an uneasiness that I understood, that I couldn't precisely define but without question shared...We are behaving as though we were in a state of siege."

The Rt. Hon. the Lord (C.P.) Snow, author, scientist, teacher

1971
"We are coming to realize that in fact the human race is coming face to face with problems concerning its environment which can no longer be ignored. For centuries there has been a small dark cloud on the distant horizon giving warning that a time might come when an expanding population consuming ever greater resources could turn this planet into a wilderness. In our generation that cloud has grown very much larger and darker and is moving towards us at a rapidly accelerating pace."

The Rt. Hon. the Lord Harlech, former British ambassador to the United States and television executive in Britain

1972
"We should make our leaders...and our candidates...and our friends talk and think about making the necessary reforms in our electoral system and mechanism. No issue is more timely and important; indeed, no issue is more urgent."

The Hon. Robert H. Finch, counselor to the president, former lieutenant governor of California and Health, Education and Welfare secretary

1972
"I suggest...that the United States take this great opportunity to lead, to lead the environmental restoration of our planet, to preserve what is green and wild and free."

General Avraham Yoffe, Nature Reserves Authority director and Israeli Army general

1974
"Today we face a different kind of adversary, not a tyrant but a condition and the ominous prospects to which it gives rise. The condition is economic crisis, and the prospects -- unless immediate and drastic corrective measures are taken -- are for economic depression, political breakdown, and perhaps war."

J. William Fulbright, U.S. senator and foreign relations committee chairman

1976
"We are truly sorry we were responsible for instances which are now subject to...criticism...In mitigation, I truly believe the mistakes to have been errors of mind and not of the heart. But I think it is time to permit the FBI to get on with its vital work, lest its credibility and effectiveness as an essential peace-keeper and guardian of liberties be permanently damaged."

Clarence M. Kelley, F.B.I. director

1977
"This is not a time for cold wars, iron curtains or gun-boat diplomacy. This is a time for cooperation. Our world today is a family of nations. If one fails, the others will suffer."

Ardeshir Zahedi, Iranian ambassador to the United States

1977
"Today, a shadow hangs heavy over the future of Europe. This time it is the threat of Communist parliamentary takeover in some Western European nations that shrouds the fate of democracy."

Gerald R. Ford, former U.S. president

1980
"We have not yet fashioned a defensive mechanism to the cartel approach of the OPEC nations. It is time to assess the validity of a government-approved purchasing cartel, to be operated by the oil companies with an assured fair allocation basis. This will enable us to fight fire with fire, and should lead to a stabilization of supplies at predictable prices."

Griffin B. Bell, former U.S. attorney general

1980
"Even President Carter now seems to know that his own three years of appeasement has left us militarily and diplomatically impotent. You are all aware of the increasing relative inferiority of the United States...And if we didn't know it a year ago, we know it now, because no one can deny the attack on our embassy was an attack on our sovereignty and an act of war to which we were not able to respond with sufficient strength to even have our captives released without paying blackmail. And it will probably turn out with the United States apologizing to Iran for having declared war on us."

Clare Boothe Luce, former member of Congress and ambassador to Italy

1982
"If the west is successfully to resist Soviet expansion it must surmount a further challenge to its wisdom. This is to understand better the changing basis of power in international affairs and the new conditions which govern its effectiveness. Today, power usually derives as much from the quality of our relationship with others, that is to say, the depth of our co-operation with them and the warmth of understanding between leaders, as from the possession of economic or military strength."

The Rt. Hon. Edward Heath, former prime minister of Great Britain

1983
"I have great respect for many in the nuclear freeze movement. I know they are sincerely motivated, and they too want peace, but I greatly differ with their belief that by freezing ourselves into a position of nuclear inferiority we would preserve peace. But I hear one argument that frightens me, because this argument would destroy our ability to deter war as surely as any unilateral disarmament. And that is the argument that in the end the United States and the Soviet Union both pose a threat, and the same kind of threat to the peace and freedom of our world."

Caspar W. Weinberger, secretary of defense

1983
"The struggle with what the Soviet Union represents is...a conflict deeply rooted in ideas. This conflict is as old as recorded history. The threat posed by the Soviet Union is the lineal descendant of the same threat Western civilizations have faced for better than 2000 years; it is the threat posed by despotism against the more or less steadily developing concept that the highest good of the State is to protect and to foster the creative capabilities and the liberties of the individual."

William J. Casey, C.I.A. director

1986
"If we do not turn our back on the world, but remain engaged; if we resist the insular temptations of isolationism and protectionism; if we remain confident of our values, true to our ideals and resist paralyzing self-doubt...we can begin to build that world of harmony and, let me add, prosperity that we dreamed of when we fought the Second World War so many years ago."

George Bush, U.S. vice president

1987
"Political language is a rhetorical language, not as a result of some accidental flaw but in essence. What gives it its weakness is also what makes possible its greatness, for in the last analysis we have no better instrument for interpreting ourselves as political animals. Therefore only a deontology of a just regard and respect, accepted by all the parties in the political game, can keep this language from the perversion made possible by its very functioning...I myself believe first that such a good rhetoric is possible; second, that a good rhetoric is what makes greatness prevail over fragility in political discourse. This is exactly what Sir Winston forcefully demonstrated in action in a time of suffering and glory."

Paul Ricoeur, professor emeritus, University of Chicago

1987
"There is a widespread disquiet about the effect of Western civilization...First, I believe that many of these problems have arisen because the West has lost its soul...Secondly, I believe that this has happened because it has rejected the one essential belief which marked it for centuries, namely that man, by his very nature, has to be obedient to an authority over and above himself. Thirdly, that the rejection of such authority leads not to freedom but to tyranny -- a tyranny which springs not, as in past centuries, from a fundamentalist approach to truth, but from the bestowal of absolute authority on the expression of what individuals or a group believe to be self-evident truths but which, in fact, only reflect contemporary fashions.

The Rt. Rev. and Rt. Hon. Graham Leonard, Bishop of London

1990
"What neither liberals nor conservatives could have predicted, even six months ago, was how quickly change, once begun, would sweep the Soviet Empire...Whatever its size and achievement in technical science and military production, the Soviet Union is a nation in relative and perhaps absolute decline...At this watershed moment, the United States faces a new role. No longer the unchallenged leader of an alliance confronting the "iron curtain," we are called upon to become an active and exemplary partner in a "common house" joining the Old World and the New."

Claiborne Pell, U.S. senator and foreign relations committee chairman

1992
"In the final analysis, it depends on you. Just like Noah, how many animals and plants we have left when we finally do have world stability will depend on individuals."

Peter H. Raven, Missouri Botanical Garden director

1992
"If the United States and the Soviet Union had been capable of understanding their responsibility and sensibly correlating their national interests and strivings with the rights and interests of other states and peoples, the planet today would be a much more suitable and favorable place for human life. In the major centers of world politics the choice, it would seem, has today been made in favor of peace, cooperation, interaction, and overall security...this is a turning point on a historic and worldwide scale and signifies the incipient substitution of one paradigm of civilization by another."

Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union

1993
"So as we in this nation struggle with the challenges brought on by our prosperity and rapid advancement, our new friends on the other side of the former iron curtain struggle with a different set of challenges. It is not only material deprivation and economic backwardness...It is also a struggle of the soul, a struggle of a people...trying to express themselves democratically when they do not have the experience to do so and do not have the history to understand what democracy really means...Bridging the great divide will not be easy; it will not be quick. But, it will be the primary challenge of the future."

Robert Strauss, former U.S. ambassador to Russia

1996
"When Soviet power broke down, so did the control it exercised, however fitfully and irresponsibly, over rogue states like Syria, Iraq and Gadaffi's Libya. They have in effect been released to commit whatever mischief they wish without bothering to check with their arms supplier and bank manager... The Soviet collapse has also aggravated the single most awesome threat of modern times: the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These weapons - and the ability to develop and deliver them - are today acquired by middle-income countries with modest populations such as Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria - acquired sometimes from other powers like China and North Korea, but most ominously from former Soviet arsenals, or unemployed scientists, or from organized criminal rings, all via a growing international black market."

The Rt.Hon. the Baroness Thatcher

2002

"We are a land and a people acclimated to difficulty and attuned to grand purpose ... If we summon the will to stand firmly for freedom and strive boldly to spread our democratic principles, we can, once again, liberate millions of men and women from the grip of tyranny."

Congressman Tom DeLay, House Majority Whip, U.S. Representative, Texas

2003

"Self-reliance, community, democracy - the sequence that allows you to engage in the pursuit of justice. Which is truly the pursuit of happiness."

Ralph Nader, Consumer advocate and former Presidential candidate

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

Winston S. Churchill