Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes, appointed by Theodore Roosevelt, served for 30 years, from 1902 until 1935. One of his most well known legal decisions was in the Schenck v. United States case which set certain limitations on the Freedom of Speech, stating that "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic." is not protected speech.


Speech Relevance

In 'Encroaching Control':
Don't forsake the other issues that I have mentioned but as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Strike for the jugular. Reduce taxes and spending. Keep government poor, and remain free."
There is no evidence Oliver Wendell Holmes ever said this. The book They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, & Misleading Attributions specifically states that "Keep government poor and remain free." is "misattributed." Holmes did use the expression "strike the jugular" once, in a speech in 1899.

What Holmes did say was:
One has to try to strike the jugular and let the rest go.
The point Holmes is making is that one must ignore distractions, focus on one main point and put it across effectively. It has nothing to do with taxes. Reagan used the "Keep government poor and remain free." portion as late as 1982 at a Fund-raising dinner in Texas. There is no evidence Reagan knew the quote was incorrect. If only transcripts of audio had been available, it is possible the ending quotation marks were simply misplaced. That Reagan was saying to maintain focus on getting tax cuts to force a reduction in spending. However, the prepared edition of Encroaching Control puts the quotation marks in the same place.

In 'A City Upon a Hill':
Every dictator who ever lived has justified the enslavement of his people on the theory of what was good for the majority. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes reminded us that, "catchwords can obscure truth for countless years." We're not a warlike people nor is our history filled with tales of aggressive adventures and imperialism, which might come as a shock to some of the placard painters in our modern demonstrations.
This is a completely misattributed quote. It is not from Oliver Wendell Holmes, it came from Wendell Willkie (1940 Republican candidate for U.S. President) and the actual quote is: "A good catchword can obscure analysis for fifty years."


Source Links

Oliver Wendell Holmes (WikiQuote)