Daniel Patrick Moynihan

American politician (1927-2003)

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (March 16, 1927March 26, 2003) was an American politician and diplomat. A member of the Democratic Party, he represented New York in the United States Senate from 1977 until 2001 after serving as an adviser to President Richard Nixon, and as the United States' ambassador to India and to the United Nations.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1999

Quotes edit

  • 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 men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future -- that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, disorder -- most particularly the furious, unrestrained lashing out at the whole social structure -- that is not only to be expected; it is very near to inevitable. And it is richly deserved.
    • follow-up in America magazine to The Negro Family: The Case for National Action (Moynihan of the Moynihan Report, Thomas Meehan, NYT 31 Jul 1966)
  • [T]he nature of the new world system was not so different from the old. It was for the moment more stable, but a reasonable forecast would be that Africa in particular had a century of border wars ahead of it. On the other hand, such was the power of the anticolonial idea that great powers from outside a region had relatively little influence unless they were prepared to use force. China altogether backed Fretilin in Timor, and lost. In Spanish Sahara, Russia just as completely backed Algeria, and its front, known as Polisario, and lost. In both instances the United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with not inconsiderable success.
    • A Dangerous Place, Little Brown, p. 247 (1980)
  • The institution of the family is decisive in determining not only if a person has the capacity to love another individual but in the larger social sense whether he is capable of loving his fellow men collectively. The whole of society rests on this foundation for stability, understanding and social peace.
    • Family and Nation, ch. 1 (1986)
  • 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.
    • Family and Nation, ch. 3 (1986)
  • 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.
    • Secrecy, ch. 8 (1998)
  • The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.
    • 'Memorandum dated March 2003' in Steven Weisman ed., "Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary"

Attributed edit

  • Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
    • Variant: Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.
      • Quoted in Robert Sobel's review of Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies edited by Mark C. Carnes.
    • Variant: You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.
      • Quoted in Michael Pence's line from 2020 Vice Presential debate against Democrat Vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris
    • Variant: You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.
      • Quoted in Timothy J. Penny, [1], National Review September 4, 2003.
    • Variant: You’re entitled to your own opinions. You’re not entitled to your own facts.
    • However, proceedings of a Senate Intelligence Committee in 1980 attribute the identical quote to James R. Schlesinger (at p. 110), possibly made during the course of 1973 Congressional testimony.
    • Also see Bernard Baruch, who said "Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts." in the January 6, 1950 issue of the Deming (New Mexico) Headlight
    • See also this Barry Popik blog for some etymological research into this quote and its variants.
  • Political society wants things simple. Political scientists know them to be complex... One could argue that, in part, the leftist impulse is so conspicuous among the educated and well-to-do precisely because they are exposed to more information, and are accordingly forced to choose between living with the strains of complexity, or lapsing into simplism.
    • "The Schism in Black America" Public Interest (27), 1972.
  • 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.
    • November 22, 1963; upon receiving news that President John F. Kennedy had died. (See A Thousand Days)
  • What is not discussed, will not be advanced.
    • Quoted by Ralph Nader in a September 22, 2011 televised interview by CNN, in reference to issues and politics.

External links edit

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