Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Liberty and Libraries: Playing with Quotations

Have you ever accidentally changed a word in a quotation and still found it meaningful? I can not reconstruct why, but on Saturday I started thinking about "life, libraries, and the pursuit of happiness." It sounded so good, I suspected that I had actually heard it before, and I had. I searched the Internet and found the phrase has been used many times.

I then wondered whether "library" or libraries" could be substituted for "liberty" in other quotations and still make some sense. So I gathered "liberty" quotations and tried the word switch on them. Many did not make any sense, but a few did. Here are the ones that I liked. Some of the best are near the end.

"No man's life, library, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." Judge Gideon J. Tucker

"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public library." John Adams

"The love of libraries is the love of others." William Hazlitt

"What more felicity can fall to creature, than to enjoy delight with libraries." Edmund Spenser

"Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your library." Frank Herbert

"He that would make his own library secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression." Thomas Paine

"I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me libraries, or give me death." Patrick Henry

"The basis of a democratic state is libraries." Aristotle

"Civilization begins with order, grows with libraries, and dies with chaos." Will Durant

"The advance of libraries is the path to both a safer and better world." George W. Bush

"America will never run... And we will always be grateful that libraries have found such brave defenders." George W. Bush

"Education is a better safeguard of libraries than a standing army." Edward Everett

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of libraries is no vice!" Barry Goldwater

Of course, none of the figures named really made these statements. I wish they or someone else had.

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