Pieces of the Action

Bush, Vannevar

He who struggles with joy in his heart struggles the more keenly because of that joy. Gloom dulls, and blunts the attack. We are not the first to face problems, and as we face them we can hold our heads high. In such spirit was this book written.

Respect for us overseas has dwindled—respect for our morality as well as our judgment and our military skill.

The Supreme Court legislates, and hazards the one thing upon which it fully depends: the respect of the thinking public.

as I look back, we have always been worried about something, and often about the same things we worry about now. We are in the midst of gloom, with real reason. But we do not need to become submerged in the stuff.

We hear of scandals, but very little about the honest, hardworking, hardheaded majority.

Calvin Coolidge, who wouldn’t have been there if television had been developed earlier, and who didn’t know what was going on, didn’t try to learn, and couldn’t have been taught if he had.

Those who are running the country today are mostly young men who do not remember those grim days.

Throughout the country, and for years, men lost faith, not only in their leaders but also in the system under which their fathers had prospered, or at least had avoided abject poverty.

in these days, when complaint and stark pessimism and grim prophecies of the end of the democratic system are rampant, to review the days of the ’30s from time to time. For the system survived, and moreover, it cleansed itself of much of its grosser chicanery and cruelty.

There is no doubt that older men often enjoy reminiscing, and that for them to reminisce is legitimate, provided they do not force anyone to listen to them.

The form that military and political organizations take is important, certainly, but far more important is the extent to which scientists, engineers, and military men learn to understand one another, and hence, to work effectively toward a common objective.

The war effort taught us the power of adequately supported research for our comfort, our security, and our prosperity

We indeed avoided allowing scientific effort to become a political football or a form of patronage

We need, today, something we can be genuinely proud of. It should help to dissipate the gloom. For we have been losing our pride of accomplishment in these recent days. Pride of the right sort does not go before a fall; pride of accomplishment leads to greater accomplishment

We have in general underpaid our police and left them in a position where temptation is severe. We have not made the police career a life of dignity and satisfaction. We have not supplied adequate training. Above all, we have not given the police solid public support as they protect us. We had better.

We will not bring crime under control until we have produced a police force that is truly feared—feared in the way a kind father is feared by his young son—feared because of its power, because of the public support behind it, and because of its pride in its performance

we need a revival of the essence of the old pioneer spirit that conquered the forest and the plains, that looked at its difficulties with a steady eye, labored and fought, and left its thinking and its philosophy for later and quieter times.

We take ourselves too seriously these days. Something sad appears to have happened to our sense of humor. It is true that our outlook is grim; we face many tough problems. We have to tackle them with determination, and we will do a better job at it if we do not let them get us down—pitch us into gloom and frantic despair. Have we lost our sense of humor? I don’t think so. But I sorely miss Will Rogers,13 who could remind us of our absurdities, and do so without rancor.