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June 15, 2007 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Another broken quotation. Who said plenty would bring a country to its knees?

As much as I can remember, probably paraphrased:

Man can withstand anything but plenty; to destroy a country give it everything it wants and you'll have it weak, miserable and on its knees.

Who said that, or some semblance?
posted by Orange Pamplemousse to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm, it sounds familiar, but the best I can come up with Steinbeck:

“I have named the destroyers of nations: comfort, plenty, and security - out of which grow a bored and slothful cynicism, in which rebellion against the world as it is, and myself as I am, are submerged in listless self-satisfaction”

But I'm still trying to remember something else.
posted by pupdog at 6:10 PM on June 15, 2007

there is always the (pseudo?) Confucius quote (or cookie fortune) along the lines of "be wary of getting what you wish for".
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 6:30 PM on June 15, 2007

The only other thing I can come up with is Gerald Ford:

A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.
posted by pupdog at 6:32 PM on June 15, 2007

Best answer: A strange species we are. We can stand anything God and nature can throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much, and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy, sick.

-John Steinbeck (1902-1968), Letter in The Washington Post, 28 Jan 60
posted by iconomy at 6:39 PM on June 15, 2007 [9 favorites]

iconomy, you win. I knew it sounded like Steinbeck, but the other one was as close as I could find.
posted by pupdog at 6:53 PM on June 15, 2007

I didn't know the quote, I just happened to google the right combination of words, I guess. You apparently really know your Steinbeck!
posted by iconomy at 6:59 PM on June 15, 2007

It was a favorite of an old college professor.

Plus, he really liked to bitch about that sort of thing...
posted by pupdog at 7:08 PM on June 15, 2007

Response by poster: Wow, I picked entirely the wrong synonyms for my google searches. Country instead of nation, man instead of species, etc.

posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 7:16 PM on June 15, 2007

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