Joseph Sobran Quotations

Joseph Sobran

A belief in moral absolutes should always make us more, not less, critical of both sides in any conflict. This doesn't mean that both sides are equally wrong; it means that since we all fall short of moral perfection, even the side whose cause is truly righteous may commit terrible acts of violence in defense of that cause -- and, worse, may feel quite justified in committing them. That is the difference between being righteous and being self-righteous. Moral standards are absolute; but human fidelity to them is always relative.

Altering the Constitution has become the daily business of the Federal Government which the document is supposed to guide and limit. Both Congress and the judiciary assume, and exercise, countless powers they aren't entitled to.

Freedom is coming to mean little more than the right to ask permission.

If you want government to intervene domestically, you're a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you're a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you're a moderate. If you don't want government to intervene anywhere, you're an extremist.

In one century we went from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to offering remedial English in college.

Let's put it this way: you don't hear the word usurpation in Congress for the same reason you don't hear the word fornication in Las Vegas. When a vice becomes popular and profitable, it loses its proper name.

Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money.

The advocates of the sexual revolution avoid facing its results as resolutely as tobacco companies evade the connection between smoking and cancer. And Hollywood now glamorizes free love in the same way it used to glamorize cigarettes: no illegitimacy, disease, disgust, heartbreak, shame, dishonor, or damnation attends it.

The essence of the state is its legal monopoly of force. But force is subhuman; in words I quote incessantly, Simone Weil defined it as "that which turns a person into a thing -- either corpse or slave." It may sometimes be a necessary evil, in self-defense or defense of the innocent, but nobody can have by right what the state claims: an exclusive privilege of using it.

The ever-annoying Margaret Carlson of Time magazine expresses her hope that "like most of us, [George W.] Bush may well have a more nuanced position" on abortion than simple opposition to it. The tony word nuanced, applied to abortion, means, of course, "not really against it in principle, or for that matter in practice." Miss Carlson, by the way, calls one end of the spectrum "pro-choicers" and the other "the extremists." How's that for delicate nuance?

The hypocrite recognizes the honest man as his deadly enemy.

The most fundamental purpose of government is defense, not empire.

The old taboos were observed in large part to shield the young from premature knowledge, as well as to respect the sensibilities of ladies and gentlemen...But the current taboo against showing abortion is hardly designed to protect children; just the opposite. It serves to protect the abortionist.