Daniel Patrick Moynihan Quotations

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

From the wild Irish slums of the 19th century eastern seaboard, to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations about the future -- that community asks for and gets chaos.

Liberalism faltered when it turned out it could not cope with truth.

Somehow liberals have been unable to acquire from life what conservatives seem to be endowed with at birth: namely, a healthy skepticism of the powers of government agencies to do good.

There is no nation so poor that it cannot afford free speech, but there are few elites which will put up with the bother of it.

The single most exciting thing you encounter in government is competence, because it's so rare.

We allow for our own shortcomings as a nation, sins, arrogance, failings. But we assert we are no less bound by moral obligation. And finally, ...reason and careful moral reflection ... teach us that there are times when the first and most important reply to evil is to stop it.

We are committed, as the Constitution states, to "the Law of Nations," but that law as properly understood. Many have come to think that international law prohibits the use of force. To the contrary, like domestic law, it legitimates the use of force to uphold law in a manner that is itself proportional and lawful.

We are each entitled to our own opinion, but no one is entitled to his own facts.