Quote of the Day: Humphrey Bogart

One of Bogart’s best lines was delivered outside of a movie

Is democracy so feeble that it can be undermined by a look or a line?

–Humphrey Bogart, protesting the investigation by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) into communist sympathies in Hollywood

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

8 thoughts on “Quote of the Day: Humphrey Bogart”

  1. HUAC and McCarthy always had more faith in Communism than did the people they were going after. Their heirs today have more faith in Sharia and jihad than most of the rest of us will ever have.

    1. Not just sharia and jihad — consider their widespread belief in the current president’s ability to travel backwards through time.

      But this is true for totalitarians (ahem) in general — think of the people whose marriages are put in mortal danger by allowing same-sex unions, or those whose faith is under attack from the teaching of evolution or a single wish of “Happy Holidays”.

      1. Considering that many of these same people also believe that Obama has visited Mars on a mission for the CIA, can you really say that time travel is really a lunacy too far? By the way, I wasn’t making a joke. It’s apparently a “birther” style subculture complete with eyewitness testimony, FOIA lawsuits and (needless to say) accusations of a massive coverup. Involving the CIA. It’s apparently just like Bengazi! only worse.

  2. Whether for feebleness or for any other reason, when democracy vanished from among us, none marked the moment of its passing. More likely it was never here at all. I suspect that monarchy did not disappear, but evolved, so that today the king is not an individual but a faction.

  3. This is a great quote. Lots of bad policy is a direct result of irrational fear. People fear ideologies, terrorists, leaders of faraway countries, cultural changes, different races, immigrants, members of different religions and the irreligious, and people who do things for pleasure that they find immoral.

    The reality is we have very little to really fear. We are a wealthy society and levels of violence are way down. And we have liberalized our morality and nothing has come crashing down.

    Libertarianism doesn’t really work in toto, but in general, free people actually make very good decisions. Policymakers need to let people make them and not fear the consequences so much.

    1. More precisely, individuals make good choices regarding their own affairs; some forms libertarianism err in supposing that corporations make good choices regarding everyone affected by their actions.

      1. Yeah, that’s a large part of it. Also, some self-interested decisions are bad for society.

        But arguments based on “OMG, society is going to collapse unless we severely restrict people’s choices” are unlikely to be accurate given how wealthy and secure we actually are.

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