“Penance, by deliberation after evil, gradually teaches one to deliberate before evil.” (1939)
“Who can feast without fasting, who can enjoy kingship without servitude, and leisure without sacrifice?” (1928)
“We have forgotten the ends. We are the middle, and media are rapidly becoming our sole concern through choice with some, through habit with many more, and as a result through necessity with most of us.
“This, I conceive as the tragedy of our present culture: that media are no longer in the middle but are the very, only, stuff of ourselves, and the ends can take care of themselves!”
—from the essay “The Sense of Origins” (1930)
“We Americans are the world’s best obeyers when it comes to obeying money and machinery. We stand in line, jump to attention, get out of bed, go to work, sit at table or generally obey any mechanical contrivance which immediately dictates to us, and not a person. But what power to place in the hand of the man who sets all this machinery in motion!” —from the essay “Obedience” (1936)
“Today in America the old Christian idea of sin is fast disappearing. There remains (and is encouraged) a vast sense of social guilt. The only sin is treason to society (the state).” (1961)