Stout Wisdom

Welcome to one of the best sources of wisdom on the web! We invite you to browse through our library of Stout Wisdom. Some are salty. Some sweet. Elegant or earthy. Poetic. Majestic. We don’t do crude or cruel. But, all are stout.

Jonah Goldberg

…conservatism is inherently skeptical of new ideas, not because it is opposed to new ideas, but because as a simple matter of math, most new ideas are bad ideas. Every child is a new idea-spewing machine, and most of those ideas are going to be garbage. As a small child, I thought I could take a piece of heating coal I found on the street, put it on the stove, and then press down really hard on it with a fork to turn it into a diamond. That would’ve been a great idea if it worked. But most new ideas don’t work, so they aren’t great, as the man who thought he could win the Iditarod with a team of cats and basset hounds quickly learned.

Jonah Goldberg

“Measure twice, cut once” is the boring, grown-up way to do carpentry. The exciting way to do carpentry is to get drunk on peach schnapps and high on airplane glue, cover yourself in baby oil—especially your hands so they’re super slippery—and then let the chainsaw guide you.

Peggy Noonan

…maybe the 25th Amendment figuratively kicked in, informally, almost spontaneously, quietly. I am guessing a network of souls are quietly doing their jobs, establishing protocols of safety, wordlessly nodding as they keep their hand on the tiller. They’ve taken the keys from the drunk, so quietly he doesn’t even know. I’m imagining a mix of people—deputy secretaries and assistants to assistants and generals and some elected officials….This week the Supreme Court blandly refused to fast-track his latest election appeal. They did it quietly, without comment.

Dan Jenkins

Laughter is the only thing that’ll cut trouble down to a size where you can talk to it.

Chamath Palihapitiya

We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perfection because we get rewarded in these short term signals: Hearts, likes, thumbs up. We conflate that with value, and we conflate it with truth, and instead, what it really is is fake, brittle popularity that’s short term and leaves you even more vacant and empty before you did it.

W. F. Strong

“Fixin’ to” is the national verb of Texas. Certainly you find it in use in other states, but it is particularly pervasive in Texas. For many of us it is the default verb for anything to do with the near future. If you told me I couldn’t use fixin’ to, like many Texans,  I would be grammatically paralyzed for a while. I have no back up at this position. I have no other verb sitting on the on the bench ready to go in. Fixin’ to has it all – it can run, pass, stall for time and run out the clock.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Legacy. What is a Legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.

J.A. Shapira

Purchasing a bottle of brandy is akin to any other brown spirit or fine wine; some are wonderful, and others resemble moonshine or hooch that can only be found in the bowels of a Texas State prison.

The Lord of the Rings

The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was, is lost.

Yuval Levin

Too often nowadays, they [elected officials]…don’t understand their jobs in the context of the distinct forms and functions our system assigns them, but in terms of the roles they play in the culture-war theater of our politics, where the goal is not legislative bargaining or executive action or judicial review but performative outrage for a partisan audience.

Laura Miller

Writing a book is like moving into an imaginary house. The author, the sole inhabitant, wanders from room to room, choosing the furnishings, correcting imperfections, adding new wings. Often, this space feels like a sanctuary. But sometimes it is a ramshackle fixer-upper that consumes time father than cash, or a claustrophobic haunted mansion whose intractable problems nearly drive its creator mad…

S. M. Hutchens

One of the literary lessons I’ve learned from pruning fruit trees every spring is that a well-pruned tree, like a well-pruned essay, doesn’t look pruned, just nicely shaped. None of what has come off is missed after a second glance, nor does any remembrance remain of what the tree looked like beforehand. Pruning does not simply encourage dendritic aesthetics and stimulate fruit production, but allows light and air to penetrate to the center of the tree, discouraging disease and pests. “He who pruned not, hateth his tree” — which proverb is related to “Everybody needeth an editor.”

Rick Bragg

It rained every day for three months, from late fall till spring… it was dank and cold, and the sky was low, like the ceiling of a coal mine, the clouds the color of asphalt. By March the low places ran with muddy water and washed whole lifetimes away, and storms tore up some parts of the South like they were held together with shoeboxes and glue. Things rusted that never had, doors swelled and jammed, and the roots of hundred-year-old trees lost their grip in the liquid soil and fell under their own weight. It even caused a kind of moldering in the mind, an absence of optimism, like we had tracked the red mud into our finer nature.

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