Celebrating George Carlin Day: 15 Political Quotes From The Great George Carlin (VIDEO, NSFW)


It’s been eight years since the voice of the philosopher and comedian George Carlin has been heard. But his wisdom lives on. Oh, sure he was funny. But he was a lot more than that. Over his career, Carlin would serve up profundity with his jokes. And we are all richer for that.

He played it safe up until the start of the 1970s when the Hippy Dippy weatherman gave way to the rebellious persona most of us are familiar with. His audience changed, as white bread, middle-class America rejected this new Carlin. But his new audience was much more open to Carlin’s wisdom.

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In 1972, he released the album, “FM & AM” and, from there on out, he was the voice of a generation. I remember listening to that album when it came out — a friend with a more relaxed mother bought it — I was 13 and hearing those curse words and “dirty jokes” felt so grown-up. Those dirty words (the 7 you still can’t say on TV) shot Carlin to stardom.

With his ability to see through the bullshit and show us what life was like under it all, Carlin became a guru to many of us. His observational humor was much more than just jokes. He told it like it was and, often got into hot water with one special interest group or another. Mostly, religious people hated him but, as a truth-teller, he pissed pretty much everyone off at one time or another.

His observations and opinions about politics grew more and more acerbic the older he got. Here was truth that we had not heard in quite the same way before. Or since. Here are 15 of Carlin’s best quotes about politics:

  1. In America, anyone can become president. That’s the problem.
  2. Conservatives say if you don’t give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they’ve lost all incentive because we’ve given them too much money.
  3. The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ and ‘Thou shalt not lie’ in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.
  4. I don’t think we should be governing ourselves. What we need is a king, and every now and then if the king’s not doing a good job, we kill him.
  5. The owners of this country know the truth: It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.
  6. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.’
  7. If churches want to play the game of politics, let them pay admission like everyone else.
  8. Government wants to tell you things you can’t say because they’re against the law, or you can’t say this because it’s against a regulation, or here’s something you can’t say because its a…secret; “You can’t tell him that because he’s not cleared to know that.” Government wants to control information and control language because that’s the way you control thought, and basically that’s the game they’re in.
  9. Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins. It’s as simple as that. The CIA doesn’t kill anybody anymore, they neutralize people, or they depopulate the area. The government doesn’t lie, it engages in disinformation. The Pentagon actually measures nuclear radiation in something they call sunshine units. Israeli murderers are called commandos, Arab commandos are called terrorists. Contra killers are called freedom fighters. Well, if crime fighters fight crime, and firefighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?
  10. Once you leave the womb, conservatives don’t care about you until you reach military age. Then you’re just what they’re looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers.
  11. Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren’t they? They’re all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you’re born, you’re on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t want to know about you. They don’t want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re preborn, you’re fine; if you’re preschool, you’re fucked.
  12. People are fucking nuts. This country is full of nitwits and assholes. You ever notice that? Nitwits, assholes, fuckups, scumbags, jerkoffs, and dipshits. And they all vote. In fact, sometimes you get the impression that they’re the only ones who vote.
  13. When fascism comes to America, it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jack-boots. It will be Nike sneakers and Smiley shirts. Germany lost the Second World War. Fascism won it. Believe me, my friend.
  14. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations that’ve long since been bought and paid for, the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pocket, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and the information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them.
  15. When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat.

That last one… wow. If only George Carlin were still alive. I bet he’d have a lot to say about this election cycle. As it is, we have to remind ourselves of Carlin’s brilliance. We can do that through his recordings and performances. He was one funny guy but, even more, he was fiercely intelligent. Those two things together gave us a philosopher we will not see the likes of again.

In closing, let me share one of my favorite clips of Carlin. Enjoy and Happy George Carlin Day!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dY4WlxO6i0&w=640&h=480]

Featured image by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images 

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