Government is, at least for the moment, a reality. Thus, regardless of one’s political philosophy, a certain amount of realism is required to understand how to deal with this fact of life.

Realism when viewing government power can take the form of both pragmatism and cynicism. We believe that both have their place in the world — understanding that the world is the way that it is while also acknowledging that some of the worst actors in the world are using the levers of power combined with a genuine and widespread concern for the common welfare of men to amass power for its own sake.

In its purest form, the role of government is imperialism. How the government acts abroad is how it will soon act at home. It is unbound by many of the strictures that restrain it at home. We can easily see what the state has planned for us when we look at what it is doing abroad.

Political science is a very grim topic as many of these quotes will attest. But we believe, despite their sometimes unpleasant nature, that they will help you to gain a better understanding of both how the government works but also how you feel about it.


Quotes About Expansion of State Power

Edward R. Murrow

“Anyone who isn’t confused doesn’t really understand the situation.”

– Edward R. Murrow

Edward R. Murrow on Realism Quotes

Edward R. Murrow’s quote encapsulates the complex nature of understanding. In asserting that confusion is intertwined with comprehension, he highlights the depth of nuanced situations. Those who claim clarity might oversimplify or overlook intricacies. Murrow suggests that genuine understanding involves grappling with confusion, acknowledging uncertainty, and embracing complexity. This quote serves as a reminder to approach matters with humility, recognizing that true comprehension often arises from navigating through confusion and uncertainty. It underscores the value of critical thinking and the willingness to delve deeper into the layers of complexity inherent in any situation.

Ronald Reagan

“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. A government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth.”

– Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan on Realism Quotes

Ronald Reagan’s quote poignantly captures the inherent tendency of governments to expand rather than contract. Through vivid imagery, he likens government bureaus to entities resistant to change, emphasizing their enduring presence. Reagan implies that once established, bureaucracies possess remarkable longevity, often outlasting the intentions of those who created them. This astute observation reflects the challenges of governmental reform and the perpetual struggle to limit the scope and influence of bureaucracy. It serves as a cautionary reminder of the ever-present need for vigilant oversight and the constant battle to maintain balance between governmental authority and individual liberty.

Ronald Reagan

“Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”

– Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan on Realism Quotes

Ronald Reagan’s analogy humorously yet incisively portrays the nature of government. Likening it to a baby, he draws attention to its insatiable appetite for resources and its lack of accountability. The imagery of an “alimentary canal” underscores its consumption-driven behavior, while highlighting the absence of responsibility at the other end. Reagan’s quote satirizes the tendency of government to prioritize its own needs over those of its citizens, while also pointing out the lack of accountability in decision-making processes. It serves as a witty critique, inviting reflection on the role and limitations of government in society.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

“We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.”

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower on Realism Quotes

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s quote succinctly warns against the perilous pursuit of absolute security. By emphasizing the futility of seeking an unattainable goal, he underscores the potential consequences of such endeavors. Eisenhower suggests that relentless efforts to achieve absolute security can lead to financial ruin, draining resources without guaranteeing safety. His words caution against sacrificing essential freedoms and resources in a misguided quest for total protection. Instead, Eisenhower advocates for a balanced approach, recognizing that security is not absolute and must be weighed against other societal needs to prevent detrimental outcomes.

Alfred Adler

“Our modern states are preparing for war without even knowing the future enemy.”

– Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler on Realism Quotes

Alfred Adler’s quote encapsulates the paradoxical nature of modern statehood, particularly in its approach to defense and conflict. By asserting that contemporary nations ready themselves for war without a clear understanding of who or what the future adversary might be, Adler highlights the inherent uncertainty and unpredictability of geopolitical dynamics. This observation underscores the challenges faced by governments in maintaining security in an ever-evolving global landscape. It prompts reflection on the implications of military preparedness in the absence of a defined threat, urging policymakers to adopt strategies that prioritize diplomacy, cooperation, and proactive measures to mitigate potential conflicts.

James Madison

“The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.”

– James Madison

James Madison on Realism Quotes

James Madison’s quote illuminates the double-edged nature of governmental powers in addressing external threats. He asserts that the tools employed to safeguard against foreign dangers often become tools of oppression within domestic contexts. Madison suggests that measures enacted in the name of national security can erode individual liberties and foster authoritarian tendencies. This astute observation serves as a cautionary reminder of the delicate balance between safeguarding the state and protecting the rights of its citizens. It underscores the importance of vigilance in upholding democratic principles and ensuring that measures taken to defend against external threats do not compromise fundamental freedoms within society.

Frank Chodorov

“The State acquires power… and because of its insatiable lust for power it is incapable of giving up any of it. The State never abdicates.”

– Frank Chodorov

Frank Chodorov on Realism Quotes

Frank Chodorov’s quote succinctly captures the relentless nature of state power. He argues that once the state gains authority, it becomes consumed by a desire to accumulate more power, unable to relinquish any portion of it. Chodorov suggests that the state’s appetite for control is insatiable, leading it to perpetually seek expansion and dominance. This observation serves as a stark warning against the encroachment of governmental authority on individual freedoms. It underscores the importance of maintaining checks and balances to prevent the unchecked growth of state power and preserve the liberties of the citizenry.

Henry Kissinger

“What political leaders decide, intelligence services tend to seek to justify.”

– Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger on Realism Quotes

Frank Chodorov’s quote succinctly captures the relentless nature of state power. He argues that once the state gains authority, it becomes consumed by a desire to accumulate more power, unable to relinquish any portion of it. Chodorov suggests that the state’s appetite for control is insatiable, leading it to perpetually seek expansion and dominance. This observation serves as a stark warning against the encroachment of governmental authority on individual freedoms. It underscores the importance of maintaining checks and balances to prevent the unchecked growth of state power and preserve the liberties of the citizenry.


Quotes About Imperialism and Its Dangers

Major Ralph Peters

“The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault.”

– Major Ralph Peters

Major Ralph Peters on Realism Quotes

Major Ralph Peters’ quote illuminates the intersection of military power, economic interests, and cultural influence in U.S. foreign policy. He suggests that beyond traditional defense roles, the U.S. armed forces serve to safeguard economic interests and facilitate cultural expansion globally. Peters implies that maintaining global stability is not solely about security but also about preserving favorable conditions for economic activities and promoting American cultural dominance. This perspective sheds light on the multifaceted nature of U.S. military engagements and underscores the interconnectedness of military, economic, and cultural dimensions in shaping international relations.

Noam Chomsky

“Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.”

– Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky on Realism Quotes

Noam Chomsky’s quote confronts the root causes of terrorism and proposes a straightforward solution. By urging nations to cease their involvement in actions that contribute to terrorism, he highlights the role of foreign policy decisions and military interventions in exacerbating conflicts. Chomsky challenges the prevailing narrative focused solely on counterterrorism measures, advocating instead for introspection and accountability in addressing systemic issues. This quote prompts reflection on the cyclical nature of violence and the imperative of adopting a more holistic approach to combating terrorism by addressing its underlying grievances. It underscores the importance of addressing root causes to achieve lasting peace and security.

George Orwell

“When the white man turns tyrant, it is his own freedom that he destroys.”

– George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant

George Orwell on Realism Quotes

George Orwell’s quote, extracted from “Shooting an Elephant,” exposes the paradoxical nature of oppression. By illustrating the self-destructive consequences of tyranny, Orwell suggests that the oppressor ultimately undermines their own freedom. He implies that in the pursuit of dominance and control, the tyrant forfeits the very principles of liberty they claim to defend. This insight resonates with broader themes of power dynamics and the human capacity for moral compromise. Orwell’s words serve as a poignant reminder of the inherent contradictions within systems of oppression, highlighting the inevitable erosion of freedom when wielded unjustly by those in power.

Jeff Grubb

“When all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.”

– Jeff Grubb

Jeff Grubb on Realism Quotes

Jeff Grubb’s quote succinctly captures the concept of cognitive bias and the limitations of perspective. By likening a singular tool, the hammer, to a narrow point of view or approach, he suggests that individuals tend to apply familiar solutions to diverse problems. This analogy underscores the importance of maintaining an open mind and considering alternative strategies when faced with complex challenges. Grubb’s quote serves as a reminder to avoid the trap of over-reliance on a single method or mindset, encouraging flexibility and creativity in problem-solving to effectively address the nuances of different situations.

Marquis de Sade

“Let not your zeal to share your principles entice you beyond your borders.”

– Marquis de Sade

Marquis de Sade on Realism Quotes

Marquis de Sade’s quote cautions against the dangers of zealousness and overreach in advocating for one’s principles. He advises against allowing enthusiasm for sharing personal beliefs to lead one into territories where they may not be welcomed or understood. This admonition suggests the importance of prudence and respect for boundaries in engaging with others. De Sade implies that while sharing principles is valuable, it should be done with sensitivity to context and with a recognition of differing perspectives. This quote serves as a reminder to temper passion with discernment and to approach discussions with humility and consideration for others’ viewpoints.

H.L. Mencken

“The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.”

– H.L. Mencken

H.L. Mencken on Realism Quotes

H.L. Mencken’s quote incisively exposes the often hidden motivations behind altruistic gestures. By suggesting that the desire to save humanity can mask a deeper aspiration for control, he challenges the sincerity of some benevolent intentions. Mencken implies that individuals or institutions may cloak ambitions for power and influence under the guise of humanitarianism. This insight prompts reflection on the complex interplay between altruism and ambition, underscoring the importance of scrutinizing motives behind seemingly noble endeavors. It serves as a cautionary reminder to remain vigilant against the potential manipulation of noble ideals for self-serving agendas.

Kenneth Goff

“This manual of the Communist Party should be in the hands of every loyal American, that they may be alerted to the fact that it is not always by armies and guns that a nation is conquered.”

– Kenneth Goff

Kenneth Goff on Realism Quotes

Kenneth Goff’s quote underscores the subtle yet potent influence of ideological warfare in shaping societies. By advocating for widespread awareness of the Communist Party’s manual among loyal Americans, he highlights the insidious nature of ideological infiltration. Goff suggests that the conquest of a nation can occur not only through military force but also through the dissemination of radical ideas. This quote serves as a call to vigilance, urging citizens to recognize and resist ideological threats to national security. It prompts reflection on the importance of defending against ideological subversion to preserve the values and principles of a free society.

Napoléon Bonaparte

“It would be a joke if the conduct of the victor had to be justified to the vanquished.”

– Napoléon Bonaparte

Napoléon Bonaparte on Realism Quotes

Napoleon Bonaparte’s quote encapsulates the uncompromising nature of victory in conflicts. He asserts that the victor, having secured triumph, should not be obligated to justify their actions to the defeated. This statement reflects a pragmatic view of power dynamics, wherein the outcome of a conflict speaks for itself. Napoleon’s words suggest a certain inevitability and finality to the consequences of war. However, they also hint at the potential lack of empathy or consideration for the plight of the defeated, underscoring the harsh realities of military conquest and the disparity in fortunes between victor and vanquished.

General Thomas S. Power

“Putting aside all the fancy words and academic doubletalk, the basic reason for having a military is to do two jobs –to kill people and to destroy.”

– General Thomas S. Power

General Thomas S. Power on Realism Quotes

General Thomas S. Power’s quote strips away any veneer of idealism or pretense surrounding the military’s purpose. He bluntly asserts that at its core, the military exists for two fundamental tasks: killing people and destroying. This stark declaration encapsulates the brutal reality of armed conflict and the grim necessities that soldiers face in the execution of their duties. Power’s words serve as a reminder of the harshness and pragmatism inherent in warfare, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging these realities when discussing military strategy and policy.

W.E.B. DuBois

“What do nations care about the cost of war, if by spending a few hundred millions in steel and gunpowder they can gain a thousand millions in diamonds and cocoa?”

– W.E.B. DuBois

W.E.B. DuBois on Realism Quotes

W.E.B. Du Bois’ quote exposes the economic motivations often driving nations into conflict. He highlights the skewed priorities of governments, emphasizing that the potential gains in resources like diamonds and cocoa often outweigh the costs of war. This perspective underscores the exploitation of resources in colonized regions and the pursuit of profit at the expense of human lives. Du Bois’ words challenge the morality of such calculations, shedding light on the intersection of imperialism, capitalism, and militarism. They prompt reflection on the enduring legacy of colonialism and the ongoing struggles for justice and equality in a globalized world.

John Quincy Adams

“America… goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.”

– John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams on Realism Quotes

John Quincy Adams’ quote encapsulates a foundational principle of American foreign policy: non-interventionism. He articulates the idea that America does not seek out conflicts or enemies to conquer, but rather advocates for freedom and independence globally. This perspective emphasizes goodwill toward all nations and reflects a belief in self-determination and sovereignty. Adams’ words serve as a reminder of the idealistic aspirations upon which the United States was founded, urging diplomacy and cooperation over militaristic ventures. However, interpretations of this quote have varied over time, sparking debates about America’s role in global affairs and the application of these principles in practice.

Winston Churchill

“Americans can be absolutely relied on to do the right thing…after they’ve tried everything else.”

– Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill on Realism Quotes

Winston Churchill’s quote humorously captures a common perception of American decision-making processes. He suggests that Americans, while ultimately capable of making the correct choice, often exhaust numerous alternatives before arriving at it. This observation reflects the notion of trial and error inherent in problem-solving and the tendency to explore multiple avenues before settling on the most effective one. Churchill’s wry wit acknowledges the resilience and adaptability of the American spirit, while also poking fun at the sometimes circuitous routes taken to reach a resolution. Ultimately, the quote highlights the perseverance and determination synonymous with American ingenuity.