"American influence in the world is certainly considerable, but the United States does not control, directly or indirectly, the politics and economics of other societies, as empires have always done, save for a few special cases that turn out to be the exceptions that prove the rule."
"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."Michael Mandelbaum on John F. Kennedy
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress but I repeat myself."Michael Mandelbaum on Mark Twain
"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."Michael Mandelbaum on Plato
"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand."Michael Mandelbaum on Milton Friedman
"It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."Michael Mandelbaum on Joseph Stalin
"If architecture is, as is sometimes said, music set in concrete, then football and basketball may be said to be creativity embodied in team sports."
"The great thing about baseball is the causality is easy to determine and it always falls on the shoulders of one person. So there is absolute responsibility. That's why baseball is psychologically the cruelest sport and why it really requires psychological resources to play baseball - because you have to learn to live with failure."
"In my experience, it's not just that serious books get a hearing on comedy shows. But serious books get a serious hearing, as well as a funny one, on comedy shows."
"Words matter, especially words defining complicated political arrangements, because they shape perceptions of the events of the past, attitudes toward policies being carried out in the present, and expectations about desirable directions for the future."
"After all, the past is our only real guide to the future, and historical analogies are instruments for distilling and organizing the past and converting it to a map by which we can navigate."