Unquotable:Voltaire

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“In every author let us distinguish the man from his works, because if we don't do that we'll all just want to kill him.”

Voltaire
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Voltaire (real name: Francois-Marie Arouet ) b. 1694, d. 1778) was one of France's most erudite and intelligent fops. A writer, philosopher, and sanitary napkin manufacturer, Voltaire's legacy will always be remembered, whatever it might have been (even if it was because he spread herpes).

Always a source of witty and utterly misattributed quotes, Voltaire wrote his first play in 1717 while in prison for criticizing the French government's abusive and reactionary policies on how ripe the country's brie should be when eaten. After an incident in which he insulted the infamous Chevalier de Rohan in 1726 for being "straight," Voltaire was forced to move to England — where, like any true Frenchman, he whined about the shitty food for nearly three years. (During this time, the number of quotes produced by Voltaire regarding shitty food nearly quadrupled.) Returning to France in 1730, he lasted for nearly four more years before being told to leave again in 1734, this time for "having a really messed-up attitude," and yet again in 1749, for being a "wanker."

Voltaire was generally critical of religious intolerance and persecution, a capital crime in 18th-Century France. Nevertheless, after the death of Louis XV, he was allowed to return to Paris in 1778 at the age of 83 in order to contest a parking ticket. Found guilty of parallel parking (another capital crime in 18th-Century France), Voltaire was sentenced to death by old age, and was executed three days later.

edit Some Famous Quotes by Voltaire

edit Voltaire on Humanity

  • "Better is the enemy of good, so good had better watch its back. Better is also the enemy of insurance salesmen and tax preparers. To be honest, better can be a real pain in the ass sometimes."
  • "Tolerance is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us admit that to ourselves, so that you can just apologize to me and quit being such a dipshit."
  • "Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers, because the questions are usually much more laughable."
  • "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. I tried bolt-cutters for a while, but I kept straining my biceps, so I went back to the hacksaw. And why do they keep chaining themselves up like that, anyway? Is that some weird sexual thing?"
  • "Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in eternal awareness, or pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity, and man, am I stoned or what?"

edit Voltaire on Government

  • "Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has my vote!"
  • "To hold a pen is to be at war. So, when the enemy troops start charging at me, I usually hide the pen in my ass-crack."
  • "I said that an ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination, but I never thought Jimbo Wales and his army of idiots would actually take me seriously."
  • "The public is a ferocious beast; one must either chain it or flee from it in terror. Another alternative is to eat it, of course."

edit Voltaire on Religion

  • "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent hallucinogenic drugs."
  • "All men are born with a nose, ten fingers, a spleen, several feet of large and small intestines, an addiction to cheap porn, halitosis..."
  • "God is always on the side of the big battalions, because if He weren't, then I wouldn't have said this."
  • "When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion — although for some reason, these Islamic extremists refuse to take personal checks."
  • "To believe in God is impossible, unless of course you have the evidence on videotape."
  • "What then do you call your soul? What idea have you of it? You cannot of yourselves, without revelation, admit the existence within you of anything, except for this stupid obsession you seem to have with Britney Spears."
  • "Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than my terrifyingly gigantic penis!"

edit Voltaire on Art and Literature

  • "It is not sufficient to see and to know the beauty of a work. We must be able to jerk off to it."
  • "Satire lies about literary men while they live, and eulogies lie about them when they die, whereas people on the internet just lie about them whenever the fuck they want."
  • "I know many books which have bored their readers, but I know of none which has done real evil. On the other hand, they're talking about doing a printed version of Wikipedia pretty soon."
  • "Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung, and usually not particularly well, and they can never seem to get the recording levels right either."

edit Voltaire on Humor

  • "God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. To be honest, though, He's not all that funny to begin with."
  • "We have a natural right to make use of our pens as we have of our tongues, at our peril, risk and hazard. Of course, anyone who would stick a pen into a perfectly good ham sandwich and then eat the sandwich is basically begging for peritonitis anyway."
  • "I have never made but one prayer, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it! Man, that God is such an awesome dude! I thought about praying for them to disappear, too, but I had a date with a Portuguese supermodel that night, so I kinda got distracted."
  • "When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, and neither of them laughs, that is two Mormons trying to tell jokes to each other."

edit Voltaire on Chance, Fortune, and Fate

  • "Chance is simply a word devoid of sense. Nothing can exist without a cause, except of course for internet lunatics."
  • "Everything is for the best in this best of all possible menages a trois."
  • "I cannot dream that this watch exists and has no watchmaker! But that's what it says on the back of the watch, so I obviously don't know jack-shit about how they make watches."
  • "It is said that the present is pregnant with the future, that is the present was raped by Preggobear.
  • "One must believe in fortune.....how else do you explain the success of those you hate?"

edit Voltaire on Getting Up In The Morning

  • "Everything's fine today; that is our illusion. The reality, of course, is that everything totally sucks."
  • "Let us read and let us dance - two amusements that will never do us any good, unless we have a huge amount of money already."
  • "What most persons consider as virtue, after the age of 40 is simply a loss of energy. Then again, if you've got a chance for some back-door action and don't go for it, I don't care how old you are, you're just a pathetic dweeb."
  • "God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of peeing, pooping, farting, belching, and smelling like dead rats."

edit Voltaire on France

  • "History is only the register of crimes and misfortunes, but once you get out of France, it isn't so bad."
  • "Do well in life, and you will have no need to become a Paris street mime."
  • "The ancient Romans built their greatest masterpieces of architecture for wild beasts to fight in. Likewise, the French built their greatest masterpieces of architecture for Germans to drive past on their way through Belgium."
  • "Our country is that spot to which our heart is bound. Actually, I'm just kidding — that's our sternum. Our country is just a heap of dirt, to be perfectly honest."
  • "Whoever serves his country well has no need of intelligent military strategy. Actually, that's something Donald Rumsfeld told me, I'm just repeating what he said."
  • "It's lamentable that to be a good patriot, one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind. Then again, it's pretty hard not to hate the Swiss, either way."

edit Voltaire on Pride

  • "We are rarely proud when we are alone. I mean, half the time we're just masturbating, anyway. Not much to be proud of there."
  • "I advise you to go on living, solely to enrage those who are paying your salary. It will also enrage me, but I said I would try to be impartial, so..."
  • "He who fights and runs away lives to run away again."
  • "This self-love is the instrument of our preservation; it resembles the provision for the perpetuity of mankind: it is necessary, it is dear to us, it gives us pleasure, and we must do it at least once a day, twice if we can manage."
  • "He who thinks himself wise is a great fool. He who actually is wise is also a great fool, just better at concealing it from others.."

edit Voltaire on People

  • "Think for yourselves, and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. Or at least just let them do it, even if they don't enjoy it all that much."
  • "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say how wrong you were when you said it."
  • "The opportunity for doing mischief is found a hundred times a day, and of doing good once in a year, so I guess you can hardly blame these people for behaving like that."
  • "How inexpressible is the meanness of being a hypocrite! How horrible it is, to be a mischievous and malignant hypocrite. How disgusting is the nasty, rotten hypocrite. Damn, I sure do hate hypocrites... Of course, I would never actually say anything bad about them."

edit Voltaire on Success

  • "Business is the salt of life, but ask yourself, is it iodized salt? That helps prevent goiters, you know."
  • "He shines in the second rank, who is eclipsed in the first, but seems dull in the third rank, unless he started out in the first rank and was demoted, or was promoted too quickly from the fourth rank, or else... on second thought, screw it."
  • "Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders a man happy. Wait a minute, did I really just say that? I must be totally wasted!"
  • "Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law, and behind her stands the guy the man hired to make it look like an accident."

edit Voltaire on Wickedness

  • "To the wicked, everything serves as pretext. Actually, for most of those people, everything just serves, period."
  • "Love has features which pierce all hearts; that's why he carries plenty of bandages with him, which he sells at enormously inflated prices to the people he's just stabbed. It's quite similar to Microsoft's business model, come to think of it."
  • "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all killers are punished, unless of course they do it in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. By the way, it is also forbidden to have sex with farm animals."
  • "The multitude of books is making us ignorant. Also, they take up too much space in the den. Let's burn 'em!"

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