James BuchananJames Buchanan, (1791-1868) -- also known as "The Sage of Wheatland"; "Buck", 15th US President (1857-61)

James Buchanan Quote

“What is right and what is practicable are two different things.”

James BuchananJames Buchanan
~ James Buchanan

Ratings and Comments

Ben, Orem, UT

NO! Dead wrong.

  • Reply
Anon    8/20/09

The excuse that paves the way for for "necessity" justifying any means to reach an end even if the means are wrong.

Mike, Norwalk

All right ;-) an Obamunist mantra

Waffler, Smith

It is right to have intelligent conversations but is it always practicable? Obviously not with Republicans concerning health care, obviously not when it concerned discussing slavery with the southern states. Absolute "right" has little to do with human or politcal affairs. As Clinton use to say "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good or the better". The statistics say that 40% of Medicare expenditures that any person ever receives are spent on that person (you and I eventually) in the last year of our lives. Intelligence says that we need to get a grasp on that fact and discuss, but try to discuss with Republicans. This country and its politics has alwasy been based on compromise. If one cannot handle the idea of tentativeness and wants absolutism and what is "right" one would prefer living in some type of dictatorial state.

J Carlton, Calgary

A Presidential "excuse". What is right, is always right...how can it not be practicable?

cal, lewisville, tx

Eating oatmeal is "the right thing to do!" Grabbing a quick sausage-egg bisquit at McDonald's is the "practical thing to do!" You be the judge. No wonder congress is so fat, but they are practical.

Waffler, Smith

J I think you miss the nuance. Why am I not surprised. As Lincoln said "we must first know the right". Different folk see one way as right and others see another way. I think we should beware of those who absolutely know what is right at least if they know it all of the time.

Elaine Trefren, Stuart, Florida

We ought to be asking ourselves what is CONSTITUTIONAL in this country. Our constitution precludes many of the behaviors we see in European countries, even democratic ones, regarding health care. In this case, what the current administration wants is not constitutional and is therefore, the province of the states.

J Carlton, Calgary

Waff, I base my observation on what is moral. That leaves no room for compromise. None. And Lincoln is never part of any moral equation. The man was a bought and paid for Banker's pawn.

Zachary, Washington, DC

This quote essentially negates itself! While railing against Absolutism Buchanan leaves no room for other possibilities. A wiser man would have said, "What is right and what is practicable are USUALLY two different things.", or something to that effect.

E Archer, NYC

A cop out and an excuse for doing what is wrong. When Integrity is valued above Graft, then we might actually be able to trust these politicians, but I am not holding my breath...

Waffler, Smith

What Buchanan was referring to was slavery. He was the guy just before Lincoln. It was right to end slavery (so thought some) but it was not practiable (in other words not easy) it took the War of Northern aggression as some would call it. So while I am generally in favor of compromise and the politics of the possible sometimes yes one must put their foot down for absolute RIGHT. God give us the wisdom to know when that is as he gave it to Lincoln to know it.

J Carlton, Calgary

Waff, you make a good point, you really do. But I still understand Lincoln's motives and they had nothing to do with abolishing slavery. That doesn't stop the schools from teaching that the Civil War was about emancipation though. And this example really only helps demonstrate the folly of believing in state education.

Waffler, Smith

Thanks J. Lincoln and his Republican Party were fundamentally abolitionists. His speech about a house divided could not stand was a basic principal with him and his party and a divided house was what existed from 1787 until his time. While his agenda and the Republicans and abolitionists to end slavery was kept on the back burner because they did not know exactly how or when it could be done, was still out there. The South hated this back burner agenda and forced it to the fore with their secession. Lincoln played the game of choosing between right and what is practicable or possible very well, starting out with ending secession and finishing by ending slavery. My understanding is that we do not have a "state" in these United States. We have a public who establishes and supports "public schools" at the elementary, Jr and Sr, High, College and Universtiy levels. A state school in my parlance would be one run by a dictator or a political party. A church school with narrow teaching dictated by a particular belief system is more prone to being dictatorial than are the public schools in all 50 states, and county community colleges etcetera. It is great discussing these things with you J and am glad we all have thick enough skins to laugh at ourselves, our errors and our different understandings. Hopefully this exercise is all to our betterment.

warren, olathe

The civil war was about slavery. Lincoln was about saving the union. It happened to work out to be the same thing in the end. I get so tired of hearing it was about states rights crap. It was about the states right to allow slavery. That is why the civil war started in Kansas in the 1850's. People were being hunted down and killed to stop them from voting Kansas in as a free state. That would and did upset the balance in favor of the free states. The south saw the writing on the wall and panicked. Slavery was coming to an end one way or another and the south chose to have it through blood shed.

J Carlton, Calgary

The civil war was about central power under the thumbs of the International bankers of the day. And if you check, you'll find nothing has changed. Lincoln offered the Cotton States the opportunity to keep their slaves if only they would rejoin the Union...so much for integrity from Honest Abe. Not to mention that Lincoln only promised emancipation for slaves of the south...he mentioned nothing about northern slaves. And you should do some homework on how the south ended up firing the first shot at Fort Sumpter. They were pushed into doing so by a Lincoln ordered act of aggression, just so he could say they fired first...and if you look, you'll find that nothing has changed with that policy either. In the end...the bankers win everytime, they still do.

J Carlton, Calgary

Actually Warren and Waff, do some homework on the Rothschild's, ...its a different approach that will bring you back to the civil war from a different direction altogether.

J Carlton, Calgary

A good start guys...http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/slavery.htm

Waffler, Smith

Thanks Warren for bringing in some great fresh light and clarity on the Civil War thing. You are absolutely on target. Nice to hear from you.

Howard, Bangkok

Maybe some research on Hegelian Dialectics is in order. Then you can understand what the war between the states was all about. Hegelian Dialectics? The bottom line is the Hegelian dialectic sets up the scene for state intervention, confiscation, and redistribution in the United States. Communitarian development plans are functioning in every corner of the the world, and there is no legal avenue to withdraw from them. The Hegelian dialectic cannot be a conspiracy theory, because it is well-documented, and the concept of Conspiracy Theories is a cruel joke. We've all been duped by global elitists who plan to exercise complete totalitarian control over the people and property of every nation.

O. Delusional Liberal

Unfortunately, this is true. We should, however, constantly strive to change that.

Baellee, federal way

Can anyone say 'devil-worshipper'?

JRP, Panama City

Yes, but you can't hear me online.


Get a Quote-a-Day!

Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box daily.