Our Daily Bleg: More Quotation Authors Uncovered

Five weeks ago, I invited readers to submit quotations for which they wanted me to try to trace the origins, using The Yale Book of Quotations and more recent research by me. Dozens responded via comments or e-mails. I am responding as best I can, a couple per week.

Authors Uncovered

75 ThumbnailHere are more quote authors Shapiro’s tracked down recently.

Ryan asks:

Sorry if this is vague, but there’s this quote that goes something like “You get the democracy you deserve” or “In a democracy you get the government you deserve.” I’ve heard that quite a few times and I realized recently I didn’t actually know where it came from.

The Yale Book of Quotations
has the following quote under Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) from Lettres et Opuscules Inédits, vol. 1, no. 53 (1851) (Letter of 15 August, 1811):

Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite. (Every country has the government it deserves.)

Ari asks who said the following:

In the long run, we’re all dead.

The YBQ has this under John Maynard Keynes, from “A Tract on Monetary Reform,” Chapter 3 (1923):

But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.

Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?


I'd like to know who said "Journalists are nothing more than people who write on the back of ads."


I would love to know who the first person was to say, "blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." I have seen it twice: in the forward to a book about eccentric scientists and painted on a wall in Queenstown, New Zealand.


I have a button I found somewhere with the following exceedingly cynical slogan:

Nation of Sheep
Owned by Pigs
Ruled by Wolves

The origin of many of these idioms will remain obscure. but the associations they spark are fascinating.


no good deed goes unpunished.

I've heard it but never found who first said it.


I believed I could do anything I could think of. So the challenge was to keep thinking – to get where I wanted to be and then to think of somewhere else to go.