Quotes for Conservatives

Wit, Wisdom, and Insight from Conservatives throughout History


By Garry Apgar

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This unique, up-to-date assemblage of quotes drawn from history’s rich conservative heritage is the ideal gift and resource for students, speechmakers, politicians, and anyone interested in great ideas and abiding truths.

The conservative tradition in America dates back to the nation’s Founding. In a time when conservatives find themselves under constant attack by self-righteous liberals, QUOTES FOR CONSERVATIVES celebrates enduring expressions of proven principles and core values.

Quotes for Conservatives includes quotations from eminent figures ranging from George Washington and Edmund Burke to Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Rush Limbaugh. The book covers all the vital topics that concern conservatives: the deep state, immigration, taxes, capitalism, political correctness, religion, and much more. Garry Apgar has gathered all the wit, wisdom, and insight of these quotes into one classic collection illustrated with 22 lively line drawings.

Quotes for Conservatives is the perfect present for any proud right-thinking, freedom-loving conservative in your life.


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Quotes for Conservatives is not so much a collection of quotations as it is a collection of ideas. Just as words are building blocks of sentences, memorable sentences, skillfully constructed—the very definition of a good quote—serve as powerful tools in the formulation and communication of ideas. And of course, ideas, sharply opposed to one another, lie at the heart of our seemingly endless political and cultural wrangling in the Age of Trump.

Quotes for Conservatives contains nearly 300 entries grouped under 92 headings focused on topics and individuals of enduring or intense current interest in the realms of history, morals and commerce as well as politics and culture. Subject headings like “Atheism,” “Business,” “Fake News,” “Hollywood,” “Patriotism” and “Virtue Signaling,” and sections devoted to major public figures like Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, the Clintons and Donald Trump.

Quotes for Conservatives is unique in other ways.

Standard dictionaries of quotations cover the waterfront, going back to the Bible and ancient Greece and Rome. Virtually every item in Quotes for Conservatives is thoroughly modern. Many never before collected in print or online, others never accurately cited or sourced. The vast majority of the “quotees” are American, and roughly sixty per cent of the quotes—153 out of 272—have been gleaned from words spoken, written or diffused electronically over the last twenty years.

They all have something wise or insightful, often witty, to say about what Charles Krauthammer called Things That Matter. For example, the Second Amendment, which according to Rush Limbaugh exists “in case the government fails to follow the first one.” Or Charlton Heston’s remark that “Political correctness is tyranny with manners.”

Although conservatives comprise the core “target” audience of Quotes for Conservatives, anyone—liberals and progressives included—who cares about Things That Matter should find joy within these pages. (And a chuckle or two from the twenty-two cartoons that accompany the quotes.)

Rush Limbaugh, Charles Krauthammer and Ronald Reagan, together, have the lion’s share of entries in Quotes for Conservatives. But not every voice comes from the right. Among the exceptions are Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, President John F. Kennedy, and 2016 Hillary supporter Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic. “One thing is certain in business,” Branson says, “You and everyone around you will make mistakes.” Even further afield is Edward Snowden, the ex-CIA employee and alleged Russian spy, who in 2014 declared: “There’s definitely a deep state. Trust me, I’ve been there.”

As political and cultural discord rages unabated across the fruited plain, long-held beliefs and assumptions are being put to the test, left and right. Careful consideration of the ideas conveyed in Quotes for Conservatives can help clarify and ameliorate some of the contentious issues that divide us as a nation. Whether you like or loathe the persons quoted in this book, this much is certain: a good quotation makes you think… and sometimes makes you re-think what you think you already know. That is not a bad thing.

Garry Apgar


America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.

John Updike (1932–2009), novelist, critic (“How to Love America and Leave It at the Same Time,” New Yorker, August 19, 1972)

America is not a place. It is a dream.

Clotaire Rapaille (1941– ), French marketing consultant (quoted in Jack Hitt, “Does the Smell of Coffee Brewing Remind You of Your Mother?,” New York Times, May 7, 2000)

America is the only country ever founded on an idea. The only country that is not founded on race or even common history. It’s founded on an idea and the idea is liberty.

Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018), opinion writer. “The Wisdom of Charles Krauthammer,” posted one day after his death, June 22, 2018, on FoxNews.com.


I am not speaking in a selfish spirit when I say that our whole duty, for the present, at any rate, is summed up in the motto: “America first.” Let us think of America before we think of Europe, in order that America may be fit to be Europe’s friend when the day of tested friendship comes.

Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924), Princeton University president, president of the United States (remarks at Associated Press headquarters, New York, April 20, 1915, after World War I had begun, but before America joined the fight in 1917)

When we say we will put America first, we mean also that our Judeo-Christian values are going to be preserved, and our Western heritage is going to be handed down to future generations, not dumped onto some landfill called multiculturalism.

Patrick J. Buchanan (1938– ), advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, opinion writer (speech in Concord, New Hampshire, December 10, 1991, during Buchanan’s unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 1992)


President Obama was asked about American exceptionalism. His answer? “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Interesting response. Because if everyone is exceptional, no one is.

Charles Krauthammer (1950–2018), opinion writer (“Decline Is a Choice,” lecture at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, New York, October 5, 2009)

America is not exceptional because it has long attempted to be a force for good in the world, it attempts to be a force for good because it is exceptional.

Peggy Noonan (1950– ), speechwriter for President Reagan, opinion writer (“Vladimir Putin Takes Exception,” Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2013)


It is the object only of war that makes it honourable. And if there was ever a just war since the world began, it is this which America is now engaged in.

Thomas Paine (1737–1809), English-born patriot, polemicist (The American Crisis, no. 5, March 21, 1778)

The American Revolution was utterly lacking in the messianic, bloody-minded idealism of the French. It rearranged the constitutional furniture. Its revolutionary leaders died in their own beds. What kind of revolution was that?

Charles Krauthammer (1950–2018), opinion writer (“A Failed Revolution,” Washington Post, July 14, 1989)

The American Revolution was a political, not a social, revolution; it was about emancipating individuals for the pursuit of happiness, not about the state allocating wealth and opportunity. Hence our exceptional Constitution, which says not what government must do for Americans but what it cannot do to them.

George F. Will (1941– ), opinion writer (“A Congress That Reasserts Its Power,” Washington Post, January 16, 2011)


I have heard an atheist defined as a man who has no invisible means of support.

John Buchan (1875–1940), Scottish-born novelist (speech at the annual dinner of London’s Company of City Solicitors, February 21, 1935)

No man knows enough about the conditions of existence to know for certain that there is no God.

Michael Novak (1933–2017), Catholic philosopher, ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (“The Truth About Religious Freedom,” First Things, March 2006)

Atheists are free to choose. What they’re not free to do is attack the very culture/religion that guarantees them that freedom.

Michael Walsh (1949– ), critic, author, screenwriter (interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez, “Hush Now and Listen for the Better Angels,” National Review Online, December 20, 2018)


Birthright citizenship provides a powerful magnet for people to violate our immigration laws and undermines the plenary power over naturalization that the Constitution explicitly gives to Congress.

John Eastman (1960– ), constitutional law professor, Chapman University, and senior fellow, Claremont Institute (“Birthright Citizenship Is Not Actually in the Constitution,” New York Times, December 22, 2015)

Children born in the United States should be deemed Americans only if their parents are U.S. persons—that is, either U.S. citizens or lawful-permanent-resident aliens.

Andrew McCarthy (1962– ), former assistant United States attorney, contributing editor, National Review (“The 14th Amendment Does Not Mandate Birthright Citizenship,” National Review Online, November 3, 2018)


The simple truth is that we’ve lost control of our own borders, and no nation can do that and survive.

Ronald Reagan (1911–2004), actor, governor of California, president of the United States (White House press conference, June 14, 1984)

A nation WITHOUT BORDERS is not a nation at all. We must have a wall. The rule of law matters.

Donald Trump (1946– ), real estate developer, television personality, president of the United States (on Twitter, @realDonaldTrump, July 28, 2015)

There is no “immigration crisis”—other, that is, than the crisis of our too-porous borders.

Roger Kimball (1953– ), editor, author, publisher, The New Criterion (“The Trump Resistance™ Has Lost Its Mind!,” USA.Spectator.co.uk, June 20, 2018)


There is… no surer method of economising and saving money than in the reduction of the number of officials.

Winston Churchill (1874–1965), British statesman (in the House of Commons, April 24, 1928)

The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it’s good-bye to the Bill of Rights.

H. L. Mencken (1880–1956), journalist, editor (“A Time to Be Wary,” Baltimore Evening Sun, March 13, 1933)

A government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.

Ronald Reagan (1911–2004), actor, governor of California, president of the United States (“A Time for Choosing,” nationally televised address in support of Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign, October 27, 1964)


Business was originated to produce happiness, not to pile up millions.

B. C. Forbes (1880–1954), Scottish-born journalist, founder of Forbes magazine (“The Pursuit of Happiness,” editorial in Forbes, September 15, 1917)

The chief business of the American people is business.

Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933), Massachusetts governor, vice president, and president of the United States (Speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Washington, D.C., January 17, 1925)


On Sale
Mar 24, 2020
Page Count
128 pages
Center Street

Garry Apgar

About the Author

Garry Apgar is an art historian and former cartoonist and journalist. He lives in Connecticut.

Learn more about this author