Peace and Justice Quotations

Click the portrait for biographical information;
click the name for a source of the quotation (and an interesting Web site).

Seth Meyers -- SNL

[About Pres. Obama saying "I screwed up" because he appointed two people with tax problems:] "That's your screw-up? I don't know if you remember, but the last guy broke the world."

Seth Meyers, Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update," 7 Feb 2009   [ posted 8 Feb 2009 ]

Stephen T. Colbert

[About calling Obama's policies "socialist":] "Clearly the McCain campaign is targeting its most important voter: Joe the McCarthy."

Stephen T. Colbert, DFA, 28 Oct 2008   [ posted 4 Jun 2008 ]

Stephen T. Colbert

"Al Qaeda is losing? But they're our key ally in never having to explain what our government is doing!"

Stephen T. Colbert, DFA, 3 Jun 2008   [ posted 4 Jun 2008 ]

Joan Baez

"You may not know it, but at the far end of despair, there is a white clearing where one is almost happy. ... Action is the antidote to despair."

Joan Baez   [ posted 17 Nov 2007 ]

Jimmy Carter

"Ever since I've been three years old I've been saying we worship the Prince of Peace. We don't worship the prince of pre-emptive war."

Jimmy Carter, 25 Mar 2007   [ posted 25 Mar 2007 ]

David Letterman

"Earlier in the week, President Bush quietly sneaked into Iraq. Well, here's an idea — why don't we quietly sneak out of Iraq?"

David Letterman, 15 Jun 2006   [ posted 16 Jun 2006 ]

Bertrand Russell

"The view that criminals are 'wicked' and 'deserve' punishment is not one which a rational morality can support. ... Obviously, ... we cannot allow people to kill each other whenever they feel an impulse to do so. ... We should treat the criminal as we treat a man suffering from plague. Each is a public danger, each must have his liberty curtailed until he has ceased to be a danger. But the man suffering from plague is an object of sympathy and commiseration, whereas the criminal is an object of execration. This is quite irrational. And it is because of this difference of attitude that our prisons are so much less successful in curing criminal tendencies than our hospitals are in curing disease."

Bertrand Russell [ posted 19 Feb 2006 ]

John F. Kennedy

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."

John F. Kennedy [ posted 28 Dec 2005 ]

H. Havelock Ellis

"There is nothing that war has ever achieved that we could not better achieve without it."

H. Havelock Ellis [ posted 26 May 2005 ]

Marian Wright Edelman

"If you don't like the way to the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time."

Marian Wright Edelman [ posted 9 Feb 2005 ]

Omar Bradley

"The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we do about peace, more about killing than we do about living."

Gen. Omar Bradley [ posted Jan 2005 ]

Amy Poehler, SNL

"President Bush nominated Condoleeza Rice as his new Secretary of State, saying she would be 'America's face to the world' ... while Cheney will remain the finger."

Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" [ posted 21 Nov 2004 ]

Cree Indian of Canada

"Only when the last tree is cut; only when the last river is polluted; only when the last fish is caught: Only then will they realize that you cannot eat money."

Cree Indian Prophecy [ posted 19 Sep 2004 ]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and purity of its heart."

Ralph Waldo Emerson [ posted 11 Sep 2004 ]

Lester "War is as outmoded as cannibalism, chattel slavery, blood-feuds, and dueling, an insult to God and humanity. ..."
Muriel Lester   [ posted 24 Aug 2004 ]

Nietzsche "He who fights against monsters should see to it that he does not become a monster in the process. And when you stare persistently into an abyss, the abyss also stares into you."
Friedrich Nietzsche   [ posted 15 July 2004 ]

Tutu "In forgiving, people are not asked to forget. On the contrary, it is important to remember, so that we should not let such atrocities happen again. Forgiveness does not mean condoning what has been done. It means taking what happened seriously and not minimizing it; drawing out the sting in the memory that threatens to poison our entire existence. It involves trying to understand the perpetrators and so have empathy, to try to stand in their shoes and appreciate the sort of pressures and influences that might have conditioned them. Forgiving means abandoning your right to pay back the perpetrator in his own coin, but it is a loss that liberates the victim."
Desmond Tutu   [ posted 11 June 2004 ]

Dayan "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies."
Moshe Dayan   [ posted 19 May 2004 ]

Carson Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.
From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions.
The great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe, Mothers' Day 1870   [ posted 07 May 2004 ]


"The 'control of nature' is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man."

Rachel Carson   [ posted 22 Apr 2004 ]


"We will be a better country when each religious group can trust its members to obey the dictates of their own religious faith without assistance from the legal structure of their country."

Margaret Mead   [ posted 18 Apr 2004 ]

Mohandas Gandhi

"In this age of wonders no one will say that a thing or idea is worthless because it is new. To say it is impossible because it is difficult, is again not in consonance with the spirit of this age. Things undreamt of are daily being seen, the impossible is ever becoming possible. We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence."

M.K. Gandhi   [ posted 24 Mar 2004 ]

Michael Powell

"Classless, crass and deplorable ... Our nation's children, parents and citizens deserve better."

Retired(!) FCC Chair Michael Powell regarding Janet Jackson's on-air partial nudity; and Progressive Portal regarding Michael Powell's tenure as FCC Chair   [ posted 17 Feb 2004 ]

Anne Lamott

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don't give up."

Anne Lamott   [ posted 14 Feb 2004 ]

Hannah Arendt

"When evil is allowed to compete with good, evil has an emotional populist appeal that wins out unless good men and women stand as a vanguard against abuse."

Hannah Arendt   [ posted 6 Feb 2004 ]

Joan Baez

"If it's natural to kill, how come men have to go into training to learn how?"

Joan Baez   [ posted 3 Feb 2004 ]

Maya Angelou

"You may write me down in history / With your bitter, twisted lies, / You may trod me in the very dirt / But still, like dust, I'll rise. ... Just like moons and like suns, / With the certainty of tides, / Just like hopes springing high, / Still I'll rise."

Maya Angelou   [ posted 28 Jan 2004 ]

Amy Goodman

"Making dissent commonplace in this country makes this country a healthier, safer place."

Amy Goodman, Berkeley, 18 Jan 2004  [ posted 24 Jan 2004 ] photo

Lily Tomlin

"Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hardworking, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them."

Lily Tomlin  [ posted 20 Jan 2004 ]

M.L. King

"In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as 'right-to-work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'works.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining. ... We demand this fraud be stopped."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   [ posted 17 Jan 2004 ]

Lin Yutang

"Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence."

Lin Yutang   [ posted 13 Jan 2004 ]


"Money is human happiness in the abstract: He, then, who is no longer capable of enjoying human happiness in the concrete devotes his heart entirely to money."

Arthur Schopenhauer   [ posted 27 Dec 2003 ]


"Not to believe in the possibility of permanent peace is to disbelieve the godliness of human nature. Methods hitherto adopted have failed because rock-bottom sincerity on the part of those who have striven has been lacking."

Mohandas K. Gandhi   [ posted 2 Dec 2003 ]

Chapter 4 of Gandhi's Nonviolence: In His Own Words, available from


"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual."

Thomas Jefferson


"President Bush is asking Congress for 80 billion dollars to re-build Iraq. And when you make out that check, remember there are two L's in Halliburton."

David Letterman   [ posted 15 Oct 2003 ]

Mohandas Gandhi

"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

Mohandas K. Gandhi   [ posted 15 Sep 2003 ]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war."

Ralph Waldo Emerson [ posted 4 Sep 2003 ]

dorothy thompson

"It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives."

Dorothy Thompson  [ posted 29 Aug 2003 ]

Ralph Bunche

"There are no warlike people, just warlike leaders."

Ralph Bunche, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient (1950)   [ posted 26 Aug 2003 ]

Margaret Mead

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead   [ posted 20 Aug 2003 ]

R. Buckminster Fuller

"Either man is obsolete or war is. War is the ultimate tool of politics. Political leaders look out only for their own side. Politicians are always realistically maneuvering for the next election. They are obsolete as fundamental problem-solvers."

R. Buckminster Fuller  [ posted 23 Jul 2003 ]

Jeannette Rankin

"You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake."

Jeannette Rankin, first woman Member of Congress   [ posted 21 Jul 2003 ]

M.L. King Jr.

"One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.   [ posted 17 Jul 2003 ]


"Women have been trained to speak softly and carry a lipstick. Those days are over."

Bella Abzug   [ posted 1 Jul 2003 ]

Thos. Jefferson

"War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying, losses."

Thomas Jefferson   [ posted 30 Jun 2003 ]

Marcus Garvey

"Chance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people. Action, self-reliance, the vision of self and the future have been the only means by which the oppressed have seen and realized the light of their own freedom."

Marcus Garvey   [ posted 26 Jun 2003 ]


"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."

Jimi Hendrix (shown), after William Gladstone   [ posted 24 Jun 2003 ]

Dorothy Thompson

"Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict — alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence."

Dorothy Thompson   [ posted 21 Jun 2003 ]


"The power to dream / to rule, to wrestle the world from fools:
We can turn the world around ... The people have the power."

Patti Smith  [ posted 18 Jun 2003 ]

Click here for larger image (73K)
.Photo © 2003 Progressive Portal


"Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon and left one unexpended effort which might have saved the world."

Jane Addams  [ posted 11 Jun 2003 ]

Amelia Earhart

"Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace."

Amelia Earhart   [ posted 6 Jun 2003 ]

William Ewart Gladstone

"National injustice is the surest road to national downfall."

William Ewart Gladstone, 1878   [ posted 2 Jun 2003 ]

Eleanor Roosevelt

"In the long run there is no more liberating, no more exhilarating experience than to determine one's position, state it bravely, and then act boldly."

Eleanor Roosevelt  [ posted 1 Jun 2003 ]


"Don't be a marshmallow. Walk the street with us into history. Get off the sidewalk. Stop being vegetables. Work for justice."

Dolores Huerte  [ posted 31 May 2003 ]


"Hatred ever kills, love never dies -- such is the vast difference between the two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality, for it increases hatred."

Mohandas K. Gandhi  [ posted 29 May 2003 ]

M.L. King

"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964  [ posted 28 May 2003 ]

Julia Butterfly Hill

"Through life's trials and hardships we arise beautiful and free."

Julia Butterfly Hill, 1999  [ posted 27 May 2003 ]


"Our level of consciousness and our spiritual beliefs are evidenced in how we treat each other and our environment, and the extent to which we feel responsible for the well-being and sustainability of our planet."

Alanis Morissette, 2003  [ posted 26 May 2003 ]


"We have it in our power to begin the world over again."

Thomas Paine, in Common Sense, 1776  [ posted 23 May 200 ]


"Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice."

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 1967  [ posted 22 May 2003 ]


"No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots."

Barbara Ehrenreich, 1991  [ posted 21 May 2003 ]


"Resistance to tyrany is man's highest ideal."

Emma Goldman, 1917  [ posted 19 May 2003 ]


"Rise like Lions after slumber  /  In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew  /  Which in sleep had fallen on you --
Ye are many — they are few."

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 18??  [ posted 16 May 2003 ]

Samuel Johnson "No government power can be abused long. Mankind will not bear it. ... There is a remedy in human nature against tyranny, that will keep us safe under every form of government."

Samuel Johnson, circa 1772  [ posted 15 May 2003 ]
Emerson "When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and purity of its heart."

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1824  [ posted 13 May 2003 ]

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