On the Courage to Speak Truth


” ‘There is no right to strike against the public safety by any body, any time, any where’…I felt at the time that the speeches I made and the statements I issued had a clearness of thought and revealed a power I had not before been able to express, which confirmed my belief that, when a duty comes to us, with it a power comes to enable us to perform it. I was not thinking so much of the Governorship, which I already had, as of the grave danger to the country if the voters did not decide correctly. My faith that the people would respond to the truth was justified.

“The requirements of the situation as it developed seem clear and plain now, and easy to decide, but as they arose they were very complicated and involved in many immaterial issues. The right thing to do never requires any subterfuges, it is always simple and direct. That is the reason that intrigue usually falls of its own weight”Calvin Coolidge, The Autobiography, pp.132, 133.

“Fear is not only contagious, but reaches our representatives. It affects the neighbors and has its reaction on the officeholders…Something is the matter with the country, and they will all feel an irresistible temptation to try to provide a remedy. That would be fine if they had any such power. But only the people themselves have the power to work out of their difficulties, which they can best do without legislative interference.

“The trouble is that efforts will be made to save a situation by legislation when no legislation can save it…When the country needs the courage and confidence that relief from high taxes would give, increasing appropriations only add to the discouragement. What a refreshing spectacle it would be if a little band of officeholders would announce they were ready to risk defeat by resisting these unsound proposals! The whole country would rally to their support” — December 26, 1930

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