I recently reminded a young friend of mine that when he pops quotes of others on his Facebook page he really ought to attribute them to their author rather than just borrow them. To acknowledge sources of information is basic, but sometimes good information comes through the grapevine misattributed.
Tonight a quote was shared with me:
"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything that you have."
The person sharing the quote had been told it was from Thomas Jefferson.
Remembering my admonition to my young friend, I decided to check the attribution; it didn't sound like Thomas Jefferson's language to me and the quote was memorable enough that I might drop it somewhere some day, like on my blog, and wouldn't want to be wrong about its origin.
I quickly googled my way right into numerous discussions of the various people this quote had been misattributed to, not only Thomas Jefferson, but Davy Crockett, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.
Who said these words? It was President Gerald Ford addressing a joint session of Congress on August 12, 1974. who said "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything that you have."
And he had said something very similar many years before as a representative to the U.S. Congress that is quoted in Stories and Gems of Wisdom by and About Politicians 1960 P.193 (source wikiquote).
When I read that Thomas Jefferson did communicate to Edward Carrington, Paris 27 May 1788,
"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground." That made linguistic sense to me.
And when I read that in 1965 Ronald Reagan did say " Government is like a baby, an alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other." Well, I could believe this too.
If you "google" these quotes I've shared they will come up in multiple valid sources.
The moral of the story is check quotes out when someone tells you "so and so said..."
But then the moral is also, wow, these guys were kind of on the same page, weren't they?
What page is our government on now?