Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Napoleon sayings

On Nature
To absorb, to emit, to form new combinations---this is life.
The law, that is what makes men stay honest. Morality for the upper classes, the gollows for the rabbles.
I was born and made for work. I have recognised the limits of my eyesight and of my legs, but never the limits of my working power.
Different subjects and different affairs are arranged in my head as in a cupboard. When I wish to interrupt one train of thought, I shut that drawer and open another. Do I wish to sleep, I simply close all the drawers and then I am - asleep.
I have a taste for founding, not for owning.
Imagination rules the world.
Europe is a molehill. All great empires and revolutions have been on the Orient; six hundred millions live there.
I have come to realize that men are not born to be free.
My motto has always been: A career open to all talents, without distinctions of birth.
Democracy, if it is reasonable, limits itself to giving everyone an equal opportunity to compete and to obtain.
Man is entitled by birthright to a share of the earth's produce sufficient to fill the needs of his existence.
Has a man the right to kill himself? Yes, if his death harms no one and if life is an evil to him.
When is life an evil? When it offers a man nothing but suffering and pain.
On the Art of Ruling      (Top)Ture politics is merely the calculus of combinations and of chances.
The policies of all powers are inherent in their geography.
In political administration, no problem is ever simple. It can never be reduced to the question whether a certain measure is good or not.
Passions change, politics are immutable.
Great men are never cruel without necessity.
Bloodletting is among the ingredients of political medicine.
In war as in politics, no evil, even if it is permissible under the rules, is excusable unless it is absolutely necessary. Everything beyond that is a crime.
If fifty thousand men were to die for the good of the State, I certainly would weep for them, but political necessity comes before everything else.
Do not talk to me of goodness, of abstract justice, of nature law. Necessity is the highest law, public welfare is the highest justice.
Governments keep their promises only when they are forced or when it is to their advantage to do so.
A true master of politics is able to calculate, down to the smallest fration, the advantages to which he may put his very faults.
They think I am stern, even hardhearted. So much the better-this makes it unnecessary for me to justify my reputation. My firmness is taken for callousness. I shall not complain, since this notion is responsible for the good order that is prevailing, so that there is nothing that needs to be repressed. I am not moved by the tears of a duchess, but the sufferings of the people touch me.
Remember that a man, a true man, never hates. His rages and his bad moods never last beyond the present moment-like electric shocks. A man made for public life and authority never takes account of personalities; he only takes account of things, of their weight and their conseqences.
The strong are good, only the weak are wicked.
Forces is the law of animals, men are ruled by conviction.
A magistrate is not a father; he must be just and severe. Only tyrants are fathers.
There is no strength without justice.
When it is said of a ruler that he is a good king, his reign is a failure.
Without doubt the first duty of a ruler is to do what the people wants. But what the people wants is almost never the same as what the people says. Its will and needs ought to be found not so much in the people's mouth as in the ruler's heart.
Men who have changed the world never achieved their success by winning the chief citizens to their side, but always by stirring the masses. The first method is that of a schemer and leads only to mediocre results; the other method is the path of genius and changes the face of the world.
The greatest immorality is to take on a job one does not know.
It would be a joke if the conduct of the victor had to be justified to the vanquished.
A legislator must know how to take advantage of even the defects of those he wants to govern.
The art consists in making others work rather than in wearing oneself out.
To negotiate is not to do as one likes.
It is an ambassador's duty to stand up for his nation's foreign policy in any era and under any government whatsoever.
Ambassadors are, in the full meaning of the term, titled spies.
International incidents must not be allowed to shape foreign policy, foreign policy must shape the incidents.
Friendship is only a word, I care for nobody.
I would kiss a man's arse if I needed him.
Napoleon's knack of getting to the bottom of a problem at once was outstanding. He always asked two questoins: 1. Is that accurate? 2. Is it useful?
Metterich comes close to being a statesman: he lies very well.
On Talleyrand: One may say that this man is immorality personified. I have never known a being more profoundly immoral.
On Fouche: Fouche needed intrigue like food. He intrigued always, everywhere, every way, with everybody. One never came across anything without being sure that he had a hand in it. His only occupation was to run after something; he had the mania of wanting to be everything. Always in everybody's shoes.
So you think the police foresees and knows everything. The police invents more than it discovers.
Good and decent people must be protected and persuaded by gentle means, but the rabble must be led by terror.
Several slaves carrying heavy crates crossed our path. Mrs. Balcombe told them angrily to make room, when Napoleon intervened by saying: Respect for the burden, Madam.
Since the people eats every day, it should be allowed to work every day.
Every begar shall be arrested. But to arrest a beggar merely in order to put him in jail would be barbarous and absurd. He should be arrested for the sole purpose of teaching him how to earn a living by his work.
On Leadership      (Top)Military science consists in first calculating all the possibilities accurately and then in making an almost mathematically exact allowance for accident. It is on this point that one must make no mistakes; a decimal more or less may alter everything. Now, this apportioning of knowledge and accident can take place only in the head of a genius, for without it there can be no creation- and surely the greatest improvisation of the human mind is that which gives existance to the nonexistance. Accident thus always remains a mystery to mediocre minds and becomes reality for superior men.
War consists of nothing but accidents and that a commander, though he must always adjust himself to general principles, should never overlook anything that might enable him to exploit these accidents. The vulgar would call this luck, but in fact it is the characteristic of genius.
On Julius Caesar: Caesar's priciples were the same as Alexander's and Hannibal's: to keep his forces united; to be vulnerable at no point, to strike speedily at critical points; to rely on moral factors, such as his reputation and the fear he inspired, as well as political means in order to insure the loyalty of his allies and the submissiveness of the conquered nations; to make use of every possible opportunity of increasing his chances of victory on the battlefield and, in order to accomplish this, to unite all his troops. He was a man whose genius and boldness were equally great.
On Frederick the Great: Everything proves that Frederick could not have withstood France, Austria, and Russia throughout a campaign if these powers had cooperated in good faith, nor could he have conducted two campaigns against Austria and Russia if the Russian cabinet had allowed its armies to occupy winter quarters in the theater of operations. Thus the miraculous element in the Seven Years War evaporates.
The battle of Leuthen is a masterpiece of operations, maneuvers and resolution. By itself,it would be enough to immortalize Frederick and to place him among the greatest generals.
What distinguishes Frederick most is not the cleverness of his moves but his boldness.

On Judgement of Men      (Top)The great majority of men attend to what is necessary only when they feel a need for it - the precise time when it is too late.
Men take only their needs into consideration - never their abilities.
If you wish to study men, learn how far their patience can stretch.
Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self-interest.
I start out by believing the worst.
I defy anyone to trick me. Men would have to be exceptional rascals to be as bad as I assume them to be.
When Napoleon was put out that he considered mankind most perfidious, he answered: I am not paid for finding it better.
Machiavelli is right: one always must live with one's friends with the idea that they may turn into one's enemies. He should have said, with everyone.
Be successful! I judge men only by the results of their actions.
All being said, I like only those people who are useful to me, and only so long as they useful.
I always have loved to analyze, and if I ever fell seriously in love I would take my love apart piece by piece.
Men of genius are meteors destined to be consumed in lighting up their century.
The greater one is, the less will he must have. He depends on events and circumstances.
He who fears to lose his reputation is sure to lose it.
When asked why, in 1797, he stopped at Leoben instead of marching on to Vienna, Napoleon replied: because I was playing at Twenty-One, and I held at twenty.
Another error: you are told "the face is the mirror of the soul." The truth is that men are very difficult to know and that to avoid mistakes, they must be judged only by their actions and, by the action of the present moment, and only for that moment.

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