Scalping a man is a hell of a poor way to cure him of dandruff.
There were many, many times thereafter that Don regretted having enlisted -- but so has every man who ever volunteered for military service.
Mother had the social restraint of an ambassador.
As it says in Bible, God fights on side of heaviest artillery.
We learned not to waste ammo even on warriors except in self-protection.
Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil.
Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.
Fulfillment in life is loving a good woman and killing a bad man.
Democracy is a poor system; the only thing that can be said for it is that it's eight times as good as any other method.
Each man is his own prisoner, in solitary confinement for life.
It is impossible for a man to love his wife whole heartedly without loving all women somewhat. I suppose that the converse must be true of women.
May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.
On the steps of the Federal Building we ran into Carmencita Ibanez, a classmate of ours and one of the nice things about being a member of a race with two sexes.
A friend who offers help without asking for explanations is a treasure beyond price.
Sex without love is merely healthy exercise.
Marriage is a psychological condition, not a civil contract and a license. Once a marriage is dead, it is dead, and it begins to stink faster than a dead fish.
Who is more real? Homer or Ulysses? Shakespeare or Hamlet? Burroughs or Tarzan?
Once a month, some women act like men act all the time.
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.
Take care of the cojones and the frijoles will take care of themselves. Try to have getaway money -- but don't be fanatic about it.
Ale mám na mysli případ, kdy byly smeteny čtyři úrovně velení v šesti minutách -- jako kdyby si velitel čety protřel oči a zjistil, že velí brigádě. Slyšeli jste o tom?
Democracy is four wolves and a sheep voting on dinner.
Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.
No woman ever ages beyond eighteen in her heart.
Are you trying to tell all of us we have a bad signal-to-noise ratio?
Property is not the natural and obvious and inevitable concept that most people think it is.
The basic of all morality is duty, a concept with the same relation to group that self-interest has to individual.
From my point of view, a great deal of openly expressed piety is insufferable conceit.
Every general prohibition creates its bootleggers.
With eternity to draw on there could be no reason for hurrying -- 'hurry' was not a concept in Martian.
Reason is poor propaganda when opposed by the yammering, unceasing lies of shrewd and evil and self-serving men.
A managed democracy is a wonderful thing... for the managers... and its greatest strength is a 'free press' when 'free' is defined as 'responsible' and the managers define what is 'irresponsible'.
Whether the authorities be invaders or merely local tyrants, the effect of such gun control laws is to place the individual at the mercy of the state, unable to resist.
Some things, the more you understand the more you loathe them.
Get a shot off fast. This upsets him long enough to let you make your second shot perfect.
Spacemen die if they stay in one place.
Geniuses and supergeniuses always make their own rules about sex as on everything else; they do not accept the monkey customs of their lessers.
I know why we laugh. We laugh because it hurts, and it's the only thing to make it stop hurting.
A prude is a person who thinks that his own rules of propriety are natural laws.
There was one field in which man was unsurpassed; he showed unlimited ingenuity in devising bigger and more efficient ways to kill off, enslave, harass, and in all ways make an unbearable nuisance of himself to himself.
The meek shall inherit the earth -- a 6 foot plot above them.
The coldest depth of Hell is reserved for people who abandon kittens.
The police of a state should never be stronger or better armed than the citizenry. An armed citizenry, willing to fight, is the foundation of civil freedom. That's a personal evaluation, of course.
Once a man gets a reputation as a liar, he might as well be struck dumb, for people do not listen to the wind.
Thinking doesn't pay. Just makes you discontented with what you see around you.
Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.
It's amazing how much 'mature wisdom' resembles being too tired.
Democracy is a poor system of government at best; the only thing that can honestly be said in its favor is that it is eight times as good as any other method the human race has ever tried.
Selfishness is the bedrock on which all moral behavior starts and it can be immoral only when it conflicts with a higher moral imperative.
The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.
Everybody else specializes. Daddy knows everything, and he puts the pieces together.
Tilting at windmills hurts you more than the windmills.
Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.
Never appeal to a man's 'better nature.' He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.
In a mature society, 'civil servant' is semantically equal to 'civil master'.
Freedom is a hard habit to break.
There are only five things really worth drawing; four of them are pretty girls and the fifth is cats.
The most expensive thing in the world is a second-best military establishment, good but not good enough to win.
Money is the sincerest of all flattery. Women love to be flattered. So do men.
How is a sincere criminal, trying hard, going to get ahead in his profession if his victim fails to cooperate?
Money problems can always be solved by a man not frightened by them.
They didn't want it good, they wanted it Wednesday.
Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense.
When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.
Learning isn't a means to an end; it is an end in itself.
Take sides! Always take sides! You will sometimes be wrong -- but the man who refuses to take sides must always be wrong.
A family reunion is an effective form of birth control.
Never tease an old dog; he might have one bite left.
Allie, what do the Stars tell me to do? You know I don't understand the scientific part.
Gratitude is a euphemism for resentment.
A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.
There is no such thing as luck; there is only adequate or inadequate preparation to cope with a statistical universe.
The moral difference between a soldier and a civilian is that the soldier accepts personal responsibility for the safety of the body politic of which he is a member. The civilian does not.
Being privileged to work hard for long hours at something you think is worth doing is the best kind of play.
I think perhaps of all the things a police state can do to its citizens, distorting history is possibly the most pernicious.
Sex, whatever else it is, is an athletic skill. The more you practice, the more you can, the more you want to, the more you enjoy it, the less it tires you.
A critic is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to judge the work of creative men. There is logic in this; he is unbiased, he hates all creative people equally.
Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Certain types of loudmouthism should be a capital offense among decent people.
A "critic" is a man who creates nothing.
The trouble with conspiracies is that they rot internally.
Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet you can't win.
Minimize your therbligs until it becomes automatic; this doubles your effective lifetime -- and thereby gives time to enjoy butterflies and kittens and rainbows.
Darling, a true lady takes off her dignity with her clothes and does her whorish best. At other times you can be as modest and dignified as your persona requires.
I am only an egg.
Please don't invent a debt that does not exist, or next you will be trying to feel gratitude -- and that is the treacherous first step toward complete moral degradation.
There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
Small change can often be found under seat cushions.
My old man says when it's time to be counted, the important thing is to be man enough to stand up.
A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.
One man's 'magic' is another man's engineering. 'Supernatural' is a null word.
The nice thing about citing god as an authority is that you can prove anything you set out to prove.
Citizenship is an attitude, a state of mind, an emotional conviction that the whole is greater than the part. and that the part should be humbly proud to sacrifice itself that the whole may live.
Its very variety, subtlety, and utterly irrational, idiomatic complexity makes it possible to say things in English which simply cannot be said in any other language.
I have never been able to see how a thirty-year old moron can vote more wisely than a fifteen-year old genius.
The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning while those other subjects merely require scholarship.
Patriotism is not sentimental nonsense. Nor something dreamed up by demagogues. Patriotism is as necessary a part of man's evolutionary equipment as are his eyes, as useful to the race as eyes are to the individual.
The greatest fallacy of democracy is that everyone's opinion is worth the same.
Remember this: once the human race is established on more than one planet and especially, in more than one solar system, there is no way now imaginable to kill off the human race.
Every law that was ever written opened up a new way to graft.
Peace is an extension of war by political means. Plenty of elbow-room is pleasanter -- and much safer.
The Colorado River was at a record low and the towers in Lake Mead stood high out of the water. But the Angelenos committed communal suicide by watering lawns as usual.
Customs, morals -- is there a difference?
Anybody can see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl she used to be.
A generation which ignores history has no past -- and no future.
Self awareness is not just a bunch of amino acids bumping together.
A zest for living must include a willingness to die.
The world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better... with hands... with tools... with horse sense and science and engineering.
Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group
without being willing to pay; and claims a halo for his dishonesty.
I don't gamble, if you will concede that poker is a game of skill.
There is no such thing as 'social gambling.' Either you are there to cut the other bloke's heart out and eat it -- or you're a sucker. If you don't like this choice -- don't gamble.
Don't ever become a pessimist a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events.
Men rarely if ever dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.
It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.
It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.
The greatest productive force is human selfishness.
It's an indulgence to sit in a room and discuss your beliefs as if they were a juicy piece of gossip.
Secrecy begets tyranny.
Never cast pearls before swine.
It is almost impossible to shake of one's earliest training. Duke, can you get it through your skull that had you been brought up by Martians, you would have the same attitude toward eating and being eaten as Mike has.
Widows are far better than brides. They don't tell, they won't yell, they don't swell, they rarely smell, and they're grateful as hell.
When he kisses you he isn't doing anything else. You're his whole universe, and the moment is eternal because he doesn't have any plans and isn't going anywhere. Just kissing you ... it's overwhelming.
Autobiography is usually honest but it is never truthful.
Cats have no sense of humor, they have terribly inflated egos, and they are very touchy.
'Private,' he said firmly. 'Family matter. Go have a drink.'
'A death in yours, if you insist.'
Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes.
Abstract knowledge is always useful, sooner or later.
Obscurity is the refuge of incompetence.
Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly.
In the twentieth century, nowhere on Earth was sex so vigorously suppressed as in America -- -and nowhere else was there such a deep interest in it.
Never crowd youngsters about their private affairs -- sex especially.
Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so.
Anything which is physically possible can always be made financially possible; money is a bugaboo of small minds.
The average bloke ... hates and fears all freedom, not only for others but for himself, and stamps it out wherever possible.
We each have a moral obligation to conserve and preserve beauty in this world; there is none to waste.
No intelligent man has any respect for an unjust law.
You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.
Brainpower is the scarcest commodity and the only one of real value.
A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.
Once upon a time there was a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith.
I do know that the slickest way to lie is to tell the right amount of truth -- then shut up.
Faith strikes me as intellectual laziness.
Faith strikes me as intellectual laziness, but I don't argue with it -- especially as I am rarely in a position to prove that it is mistaken. Negative proof is usually impossible.
Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.
Yield to temptation. It may not pass your way again.
One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.
A touchstone to determine the actual worth of an "intellectual" -- find out how he feels about astrology.
A pacifist male is a contradiction in terms. Most self-described "pacifists" are not pacific; they simply assume false colors. When the wind changes, they hoist the Jolly Roger.
One man's theology is another man's belly laugh.
If you've got the truth you can demonstrate it. Talking doesn't prove it.
First you must learn to control your self. The rest follows. Blessed is he who knows himself and commands himself, for the world is his and love and happiness and peace walk with him wherever he goes.
You can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.
I'm always suspicious of disinterested interest.
Man is what he is, a wild animal with the will to survive, and so far the ability, against all competition.
A fake fortuneteller can be tolerated. But an authentic soothsayer should be shot on sight. Cassandra did not get half the kicking around she deserved.
Don't explain computers to laymen. Simpler to explain sex to a virgin.
A community where everyone is a ruthless murderer, with handy access to death-dealing devices, is a very polite community.
A committee is the only known form of life with a hundred bellies and no brain.
When you read about chemistry and physics, you want to do them too.
To get anywhere, or even to live a long time, a man has to guess, and guess right, over and over again, without enough data for a logical answer.
Yes, sir, there are things to see and do on the French Riviera without spending money.
There will always be survivors.
Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors... and miss.
Anything free is worth what you pay for it.
His older self had taught his younger self a language which the older self knew because the younger self, after being taught, grew up to be the older self and was, therefore, capable of teaching.
Sin is cruelty and injustice, all else is peccadillo. Oh, a sense of sin comes from violating the customs of your tribe. But breaking custom is not sin even when it feels so; sin is wronging another person.
Death is the lot of us all, and the only way that the human race has ever conquered death is by treating it with contempt. By living every golden minute as if one had all Eternity.
Once you get to earth orbit, you're halfway to anywhere in the solar system.
I have spent too much of my life opening doors for cats--I once calculated that, since the dawn of civilization, nine hundred and seventy-eight man-centuries have been used up that way. I could show you figures.
Physicians had gone to their graves calling Pasteur a liar, a fool, or worse--without examining evidence which their "common sense" told them was impossible.
Circumstances can force your hand. So think ahead!
The whole principle (censorship) is wrong; it's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't eat steak.
My old man claimed that the more complicated the law the more opportunity for scoundrels.
I don't see how an article of clothing can be indecent. A person, yes.
Of all the creatures on this planet none is more dangerous than a human being.
You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.
The golden sunshine of Italy congealed into tears. Here's to alcoholic brotherhood ... much more suited to the frail human soul, if any, than any other sort.
It is impossible for anyone to be responsible for another person's behavior. The most you or any leader can do is to encourage each one to be responsible for himself.
Another ingredient in a happy marriage: Budget the luxuries first!
Drop dead-but first get permit.
Men are expendable; women and children are not. A tribe or a nation can lose a high percentage of its men and still pick up the pieces and go on ... as long as the women and children are saved.
His claim to Mars is lawyers' hogwash; as a lawyer myself I need not respect it.
Random chance was not a sufficient explanation of the Universe -- -in fact, random chance was not sufficient to explain random chance; the pot could not hold itself.
It's up to the artist to use language that can be understood, not hide it in some private code... obscurity is usually the refuge of incompetence.
It's up to the artist to use language that can be understood, not hide it in some private code. Most of these jokers don't even want to use language you and I know or can learn ... they would rather sneer at us and be smug, because we 'fail' to see what they are driving at. If indeed they are driving at anything -- obscurity is usually the refuge of incompetence.
Never try to teach a pig to sing. You waste your time and you annoy the pig.
Revolutions are not won by enlisting the masses. Revolution is a science for the few who are competent to practice it. It depends on correct organisation and above all, on communications.
The slickest way in the world to lie is to tell the right amount of truth at the right time-and then shut up.
Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.
Never insult anyone by accident.
Customs tell a man who he is, where he belongs, what he must do. Better illogical customs than none; men cannot live together without them.
Customs tell a man who he is, where he belongs, what he must do. Better illogical customs than none; men cannot live together without them. From an anthropologist's view, 'justice' is a search for workable customs.
If men were the automatons that behaviorists claim they are, the behaviorist psychologists could not have invented the amazing nonsense called 'behaviorist psychology.'
The best things in history are accomplished by people who get tired of being shoved around.
Gratitude: An imaginary emotion that rewards an imaginary behavior, altruism. Both imaginaries are false faces for selfishness, which is a real and honest emotion.
Seems to be a deep instinct in human beings for making everything compulsory that isn't forbidden.
The first principle of freedom is the right to go to hell in your own handbasket.
Decency is not news. It is buried in the obituaries, but it is a force stronger than crime.
Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.
I counted to ten slowly, using binary notation.
I was not offended, my love. An insult is like a drink; it affects one only if accepted. And pride is too heavy baggage for my journey.
His was not a small mind bothered by logic and consistency.
It is possible that the percentage of honest and competent whores is higher than that of plumbers and much higher than that of lawyers. And enormously higher than that of professors.
Magic is not science, it is a collection of ways to do things ways that work but often we don't know why.
An armed society is a polite society.
An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
How we behave toward cats here below determines our status in heaven.
Teaching causes people to go into situations from which they cannot escape, except by thinking. Do not handicap children by making their lives easy.
Government! Three fourths parasitic and the other fourth Stupid fumbling.
Government! Three-fourths parasitic and the rest stupid fumbling -- oh, Harshaw concluded that man, a social animal, could not avoid government, any more than an individual could escape bondage to his bowels. But simply because an evil was inescapable was no reason to term it "good." He wished that government would wander off and get lost! (96).
Woman and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.
I was there to see beautiful naked women. So was everybody else. It's a common failing.
Anything free costs twice as much in the long run or turns out worthless.
All normal human beings have soi-disant mixed-up glands. The race is divided into two parts: those who know this and those who do not.
To permit irresponsible authority is to sell disaster.
Cast me into a dungeon, burn me at the stake, crown me king of kings, I can 'pursue happiness' as long as my brain lives -- but neither gods nor saints, wise men nor subtle drugs, can ensure that I will catch it.
Library science was the foundation of all sciences.
Sex should be friendly. Otherwise stick to mechanical toys; it's more sanitary.
Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. Nor is this a source of dismay; a lost cause can be as spiritually satisfying as a victory.
I've never understood how God could expect His creatures to pick the one true religion by faith-it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe.
From the strictest humanitarian viewpoint, any attempt to stop the processes by which over crowded cities purge themselves is not a kindness.
Never try to outstubborn a cat.
Support for the arts -- merde! A government-supported artist is an incompetent whore!
Damnit! Nationalism should stop at the stratosphere!
Decency is not news; it is buried in the obituaries -- but it is a force stronger than crime.
Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.
Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.
If you do not believe that a man will commit murder for one can of tomatoes, then you have never been hungry.
The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed.
There ought not to be anything in the whole universe that man can't poke his nose into-that's the way we're built and I assume that there's some reason for that.
I never do anything I don't want to do. Nor does anyone, but in my case I am always aware of it.
Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.
Never own more than you can carry in both hands at a dead run.
Come Judgment Day, we may find that Mumbo Jumbo the God of the Congo was the Big Boss all along.
The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately, creatively, and without self-delusion -- in the long run, these are the only people who count.
The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
Christ was crucified for preaching without a police permit.
In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.
Have you ever noticed how much they look like orchids? lovely!
But, do you know, once you get used to it's rather cute. I mean, if a girl looks alright to start with, she still looks alright with her head smooth.
All human behavior, all human motivations, all man's hopes and fears, were heavily colored and largely controlled by mankind's tragic and oddly beautiful pattern of reproduction.
He's as weird as snake's suspenders but sweet as a stolen kiss, too.
There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.
Wisdom includes not getting angry unnecessarily. The Law ignores trifles and the wise man does, too.
Does history record any case in which the majority was right?
But when they began handing out doctorates for comparative folk dancing and advanced fly-fishing, I became too stink in' proud to use the title. I won't touch watered whiskey and I take no pride in watered-down degrees.
Unless you intend to kill him immediately thereafter, never kick a man in the balls. Not even symbolically. Or perhaps especially not symbolically.
He ate what was set before him.
An invention is something that was "impossible" up to then that's why governments grant patents.
Men are not potatoes!
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.
It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier.
The most important lesson in the writing trade is that any manuscript is improved if you cut away the fat.
In a society in which it is a moral offense to be different from your neighbor your only escape is to never let them find out.
'Is this Paradise?'
'I can guarantee you that it isn't,' Jubal assured him. 'My taxes are due this week.'
Anyone who can worship a trinity and insist that his religion is a monotheism can believe anything.
In Wilson's scale of evaluations breakfast rated just after life itself and ahead of the chance of immortality.
I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much ... because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting.
I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much... because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting" ... "But that's not all people laugh at." "Isn't it? Perhaps I don't grok all its fullness yet. But find me something that really makes you laugh sweetheart... a joke, or anything else- but something that gave you a a real belly laugh, not a smile. Then we'll see if there isn't a wrongness wasn't there." He thought. "I grok when apes learn to laugh, they'll be people.
The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.
At one time kings were anointed by Deity, so the problem was to see to it that Deity chose the right candidate. In this age the myth is "the will of the people" ... but the problem changes only superficially.
To be matter-of-fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy -- and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful.
Long human words (the longer the better) were easy, unmistakable, and rarely changed their meanings ... but short words were slippery, unpredictable, changing their meanings without any pattern.
What a wonderful world it is that has girls in it!
You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.
Always tell her she is beautiful, especially if she is not.
When it don't rain, the roof don't leak; when it rains, I can't fix it nohow.
Everybody lies about sex.
Democracy's worst fault is that its leaders are likely to reflect the faults and virtues of their constituents.
My vocal cords lived their own life, wild and free.
To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods.
Faith is intellectual laziness.
Formal courtesy between husband and wife is even more important than it is between strangers.
If I had a Boy Scout I could make a fire by rubbing his hind legs together.
Death isn't funny." "Then why are there so many jokes about death? Jill, with us -- us humans -- death is so sad that we must laugh at it.
It seems to me that the secret of true happiness in life is to know what you are and then be content to be that, in style, head up and proud, and not yearn to be something else.
Roman matrons used to say to their sons: 'Come back with your shield or on it.'
The commonest weakness of our race is our ability to rationalize our most selfish purposes.
Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.