Humorous Serial Comma Examples – Are They Genuine or Apocryphal?

Ayn Rand? R. M. Bevensee? Merle Haggard? Question for Quote Investigator: Consider the following list of four items: octopus, pineapple, pencil, and kangaroo. The final comma is referred to as a serial comma, and some style manuals argue that it should be omitted. This comma is also called an Oxford or Harvard comma. The omission …

Most of the Evil in This World Is Done by People with Good Intentions

T. S. Eliot? Ayn Rand? Reinhold Niebuhr? Isabel Paterson? Krister Stendahl? C. S. Lewis? June Bingham? Paul Simon? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: Tyrannical systems are often created by people who believe that they have the highest and noblest intentions. Totalitarian countries, theocratic dictatorships, and abusive cults are typically founded and promoted by those who are …

Keep Your Eyes On the Stars, But Your Feet On the Ground

Theodore Roosevelt? Oscar Wilde? William Allen Harper? Ayn Rand? Casey Kasem? Dear Quote Investigator: High aspirations should be combined with a practical spirit to achieve greatness. This notion can be expressed with the following adage: Keep your eyes on the stars, but your feet on the ground. This statement has been attributed to U.S. President …

Never Attribute to Malice That Which Is Adequately Explained by Stupidity

Robert Heinlein? Napoleon Bonaparte? Ayn Rand? David Hume? Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? Robert J. Hanlon? Arthur Cushman McGiffert? William James Laidlay? Ernst Haeckel? Thomas F. Woodlock? Nick Diamos? Dear Quote Investigator: It is easy to impute hostility to the actions of others when a situation is actually unclear. A popular insightful adage attempts to constrain …

I Would Never Die for My Beliefs Because I Might Be Wrong

Bertrand Russell? Ayn Rand? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: Recently, while reading my Facebook feed I saw a graphic from a major media organization (The Economist) that displayed a picture of the influential philosopher Bertrand Russell coupled with the following quotation: I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong. Are these really …

You Can Avoid Reality, But You Cannot Avoid the Consequences of Avoiding Reality

Ayn Rand? Henry F. Cope? Josiah Stamp? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: Here are two versions of an expression attributed to the influential and controversial novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand: You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality. …

The Question Isn’t Who Is Going to Let Me, It’s Who Is Going to Stop Me

Ayn Rand? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: The Newsfeed section of the Time magazine website recently wrote about a successful fashion retailer which was selling a shirt called an “Unstoppable Muscle Tee” that displayed a quotation attributed to a top-selling author and controversial philosopher: “The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is …