It Can't Happen Here Quotes

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It Can't Happen Here It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
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“Every man is a king so long as he has someone to look down on.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“He loved the people just as much as he feared and detested persons.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“The Senator was vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his "ideas" almost idiotic, while his celebrated piety was that of a traveling salesman for church furniture, and his yet more celebrated humor the sly cynicism of a country store.
Certainly there was nothing exhilarating in the actual words of his speeches, nor anything convincing in his philosophy. His political platforms were only wings of a windmill.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“It isn't what you earn but how spend it that fixes your class.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“More and more, as I think about history,” he pondered, “I am convinced that everything that is worth while in the world has been accomplished by the free, inquiring, critical spirit, and that the preservation of this spirit is more important than any social system whatsoever. But the men of ritual and the men of barbarism are capable of shutting up the men of science and of silencing them forever.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“So much in a revolution is nothing but waiting.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“Why are you so afraid of the word ‘Fascism,’ Doremus? Just a word—just a word! And might not be so bad, with all the lazy bums we got panhandling relief nowadays, and living on my income tax and yours—not so worse to have a real Strong Man, like Hitler or Mussolini—like Napoleon or Bismarck in the good old days—and have ‘em really run the country and make it efficient and prosperous again. ‘Nother words, have a doctor who won’t take any back-chat, but really boss the patient and make him get well whether he likes it or not!”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“realized that this country has gone so flabby that any gang daring enough and unscrupulous enough, and smart enough not to seem illegal, can grab hold of the entire government and have all the power and applause and salutes, all the money and palaces and willin’ women they want.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“Why, America’s the only free nation on earth. Besides! Country’s too big for a revolution. No, no! Couldn’t happen here!”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“NOW is a fact that cannot be dodged.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“A country that tolerates evil means- evil manners, standards of ethics-for a generation, will be so poisoned that it never will have any good end.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“The Senator was vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his "ideas" almost idiotic, while his celebrated piety was that of a traveling salesman for church furniture, and his yet more celebrated humor the sly cynicism of a country store. Certainly there was nothing exhilarating in the actual words of his speeches, nor anything convincing in his philosophy. His political platforms were only wings of a windmill.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“Remember our war hysteria, when we called sauerkraut ‘Liberty cabbage’ and somebody actually proposed calling German measles ‘Liberty measles’?”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“The tyranny of this dictatorship isn’t primarily the fault of Big Business, nor of the demagogues who do their dirty work. It’s the fault of Doremus Jessup! Of all the conscientious, respectable, lazy-minded Doremus Jessups, who have let the demogogues wriggle in, without fierce enough protest.” 14”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“If I ever hear that 'can't make an omelet' phrase again, I'll start doing a little murder myself! It's used to justify every atrocity under every despotism, Fascist or Nazi, or Communist or American labor war. Omelet! Eggs! By God, sir, men's souls and blood are not eggshells for tyrants to break!”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“Call me a socialist or any blame thing you want to, as long as you grab hold of the other end of the cross-cut saw with me and help slash the big logs of Poverty and Intolerance to pieces.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“The conspicuous fault of the Jeffersonian Party, like the personal fault of Senator Trowbridge, was that it represented integrity and reason, in a year when the electorate hungered for frisky emotions, for the peppery sensations associated, usually, not with monetary systems and taxation rates but with baptism by immersion in the creek, young love under the elms, straight whisky, angelic orchestras heard soaring down from the full moon, fear of death when an automobile teeters above a canyon, thirst in a desert and quenching it with spring water—all the primitive sensations which they thought they found in the screaming of Buzz Windrip.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“The author says one character's definition of a classic is any book he'd heard of before he was thirty.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“Under a tyranny, most friends are a liability. One quarter of them turn “reasonable” and become your enemies, one quarter are afraid to stop and speak, and one quarter are killed and you die with them. But the blessed final quarter keep you alive.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“Day on day he waited. So much of a revolution for so many people
is nothing but waiting. That is one reason why tourists rarely see
anything but contentment in a crushed population. Waiting, and its
brother death, seem so contented.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“I’m a middle-class intellectual. I’d never call myself any such a damn silly thing, but since you Reds coined it, I’ll have to accept it. That’s my class, and that’s what I’m interested in. The proletarians are probably noble fellows, but I certainly do not think that the interests of the middle-class intellectuals and the proletarians are the same. They want bread. We want—well, all right, say it, we want cake!”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“Nonsense! Nonsense!” snorted Tasbrough. “That couldn’t happen here in America, not possibly! We’re a country of freemen.” “The answer to that,” suggested Doremus Jessup, “if Mr. Falck will forgive me, is ‘the hell it can’t!’ Why, there’s no country in the world that can get more hysterical—yes, or more obsequious!—than America. Look how Huey Long became absolute monarch over Louisiana, and how the Right Honorable Mr. Senator Berzelius Windrip owns his State. Listen to Bishop Prang and Father Coughlin on the radio—divine oracles, to millions. Remember how casually most Americans have accepted Tammany grafting and Chicago gangs and the crookedness of so many of President Harding’s appointees? Could Hitler’s bunch, or Windrip’s, be worse? Remember the Kuklux Klan? Remember our war hysteria, when we called sauerkraut ‘Liberty cabbage’ and somebody actually proposed calling German measles ‘Liberty measles’? And wartime censorship of honest papers? Bad as Russia! Remember our kissing the—well, the feet of Billy Sunday, the million-dollar evangelist, and of Aimée McPherson, who swam from the Pacific Ocean clear into the Arizona desert and got away with it? Remember Voliva and Mother Eddy?. . .Remember our Red scares and our Catholic scares, when all well-informed people knew that the O.G.P.U. were hiding out in Oskaloosa, and the Republicans campaigning against Al Smith told the Carolina mountaineers that if Al won the Pope would illegitimatize their children? Remember Tom Heflin and Tom Dixon? Remember when the hick legislators in certain states, in obedience to William Jennings Bryan, who learned his biology from his pious old grandma, set up shop as scientific experts and made the whole world laugh itself sick by forbidding the teaching of evolution?. . .Remember the Kentucky night-riders? Remember how trainloads of people have gone to enjoy lynchings? Not happen here? Prohibition—shooting down people just because they might be transporting liquor—no, that couldn’t happen in America! Why, where in all history has there ever been a people so ripe for a dictatorship as ours! We’re ready to start on a Children’s Crusade—only of adults—right now, and the Right Reverend Abbots Windrip and Prang are all ready to lead it!” “Well, what if they are?”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“There were two things, they told Doremus, that distinguished this prairie Demosthenes. He was an actor of genius. There was no more overwhelming actor on the stage, in the motion pictures, nor even in the pulpit. He would whirl arms, bang tables, glare from mad eyes, vomit Biblical wrath from a gaping mouth; but he would also coo like a nursing mother, beseech like an aching lover, and in between tricks would coldly and almost contemptuously jab his crowds with figures and facts - figures and facts that were inescapable even when, as often happened, they were entirely incorrect.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“Cure the evils of Democracy by the evils of Fascism! Funny therapeutics. I’ve heard of their curing syphilis by giving the patient malaria, but I’ve never heard of their curing malaria by giving the patient syphilis!”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“Author sees the "congested idealism" of the generally discontent as reservoir that will support centralized power even while disagreeing with many specific provisions.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“and they'll all be convinced that, even if our Buzzy maybe has got a few faults, he's on the side of the plain people, and against all the tight old political machines, and they'll rouse the country for him as the Great Liberator (and meanwhile Big Business will just wink and sit tight!) and then, by God, this crook—oh, I don't know whether he's more of a crook or an hysterical religious fanatic—along with Sarason and Haik and Prang and Macgoblin—these five men will be able to set up a régime that'll remind you of Henry Morgan the pirate capturing a merchant ship.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“You've been telling us about how to secure peace, but come on, now, General—just among us Rotarians and Rotary Anns—'fess up! With your great experience, don't you honest, cross-your-heart, think that perhaps—just maybe—when a country has gone money-mad, like all our labor unions and workmen, with their propaganda to hoist income taxes, so that the thrifty and industrious have to pay for the shiftless ne'er-do-weels, then maybe, to save their lazy souls and get some iron into them, a war might be a good thing? Come on, now, tell your real middle name, Mong General!”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“Said Doremus, “Hm. Yes, I agree it’s a serious time. With all the discontent there is in the country to wash him into office, Senator Windrip has got an excellent chance to be elected President, next November, and if he is, probably his gang of buzzards will get us into some war, just to grease their insane vanity and show the world that we’re the huskiest nation going. And then I, the Liberal and you, the Plutocrat, the bogus Tory, will be led out and shot at 3 A.M. Serious? Huh!”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“He was afraid that the world struggle today was not of Communism against Fascism, but of tolerance against the bigotry that was preached equally by Communism and Fascism.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here
“I know the Press only too well. Almost all editors hide away in spider-dens, men without thought of Family or Public Interest or the humble delights of jaunts out-of-doors, plotting how they can put over their lies, and advance their own positions and fill their greedy pocketbooks by calumniating Statesmen who have given their all for the common good and who are vulnerable because they stand out in the fierce Light that beats around the Throne. Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip.”
Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here

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