Brian Moore is working on a series of “Horrible Quotes” from beloved figures. His first two:
- “There is an organized propaganda against the League of Nations and against the treaty proceeding from exactly the same sources that the organized propaganda proceeded from which threatened this country here and there with disloyalty, and I want to say, I cannot say too often, any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready.” – Woodrow Wilson
- “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t inquire too closely into the case of the tenth. The most vicious cowboy has more moral principle than the average Indian.” – Theodore Roosevelt
It shouldn’t be difficult to find dozens, if not hundreds of these things. Our social mores have changed tremendously on all manner of issues within my memory — going back 35 years or so — much less 100 or 150 years. Things that were once perfectly normal views have become repugnant since.
UPDATE: Matt Yglesias wonders why Wilson was beloved, given that he wasn’t a very good guy even by the standards of his day and wasn’t a very good president. It’s an interesting point. But, as Matt acknowledges, Wilson remains highly regarded: “Gene Healy pointed out to me that of 13 surveys of scholars asking them to rank presidents, Wilson enters the top ten in 11 surveys, and is number 11 in the other two.”