Daniel Patrick Moynihan Quotes

Daniel Patrick “Pat” Moynihan, 1927 – 2003

Born: 16 March 1927, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Died: 26 March 2003, Washington City

The Moynihan family moved to New York City when he was six where he attended public and parochial schools, shined shoes, and graduated from high school in Harlem. He attended City College of New York for a year before enlisting in the Navy’s V-12 officer training program at Tufts University where he graduated with a B.A. in 1944. He served in the Navy until 1947, then earned his M.A. and Ph.D., also at Tufts. Moynihan served two Democrat presidents (Kennedy and Johnson) and two Republicans (Nixon and Ford), was US ambassador to India and the United Nations, served four terms in the US Senate, and in between government positions taught at Harvard, MIT, and Wesleyan universities. He wrote or edited nineteen books, George F. Will quipped that this was “more books than most senators have read”. He was a committed liberal who defied orthodox liberal doctrine, frequently challenging the position of his own party. His analysis of events was often well ahead of anyone else, and he had no hesitation to express it in phrases worth quoting. I’m not completely convinced that there are no honest, intelligent, and decent politicians, but the number is small, and Moynihan was one of them.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan quotes:

A case can be made … that secrecy is for losers. For people who don’t realize how important information really is. The Soviet Union realized this too late. Openness is now a singular, and singularly American, advantage. We put it in peril by poking along in a mode of an age now past. It is time to dismantle government secrecy, this most pervasive of Cold War-era regulations. It is time to begin building the supports for the era of openness that is already upon us.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan – Secrecy (1998)

A commonplace of political rhetoric has it that the quality of a civilization may be measured by how it cares for its elderly. Just as surely, the future of a society may be forecast by how it cares for its young.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan – Family and Nation (1986)

A party of the working class cannot be dominated by former editors of the Harvard Crimson.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan – on Carter administration

Am I embarrassed to speak for a less than perfect democracy? Not one bit. Find me a better one. Do I suppose there are societies which are free of sin? No, I don’t. Do I think ours is, on balance, incomparably the most hopeful set of human relations the world has? Yes, I do.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

At the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of the Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan – The Negro Family: The Case for National Action (1965)

Citizen participation is a device whereby public officials induce nonpublic individuals to act in a way the officials desire.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Government cannot provide values to persons who have none, or who have lost those they had. It cannot provide inner peace. It can provide outlets for moral energies, but it cannot create those energies.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

I don’t think there’s any point in being Irish if you don’t know that the world is going to break your heart eventually. I guess that we thought he had a little more time.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan – On hearing of the death of John Kennedy (22 November 1963)

I have no doubt that there will continue to be bumps, some serious crises indeed in our relationship with China…. Neither membership in the WTO nor normalized trade relations with the United States will magically impose the rule of law on China or institute deep-seeded respect for human rights. But it certainly has potential to advance those purposes.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

If the newspapers of a country are filled with good news, the jails of that country will be filled with good people.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

If we get into the mind-set where the good becomes the enemy of the best, we will get nothing.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

If you don’t have thirty years to devote to social policy, don’t get involved.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan

No one is innocent after the experience of governing. But not everyone is guilty.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan – The Politics of a Guaranteed Income (1973)

Pandaemonium was inhabited by creatures quite convinved that the great Satan had their best interests at heart. Poor little devils.
    Daniel Patrick Moynihan – Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics (1994)

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