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Quote of the Day: “Trust, but verify”

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Trust, but verify

Image of a Scale balancing "Trust" and "Verification. Source: George Howard's Blog "The Cosmic Tusk"President Ronald Reagan would often say “Trust, but verify“, which was a Russian proverb he had learned of Доверяй, но проверяй (pronounced doveryai no proveryai) .  I thought it was appropriate for the day, with it being both the New Year and also being the final day of Kwanzaa, with the principle of the day being Imani (Faith).  In regards to Imani, I am a firm believer in having trust in humankind, as to live a life where you don’t feel you can trust others is to live a terrified life.  But, if anything this last year has taught me, it is that trust should not be blind, and thus it is important to verify.

And , given that this is also a New Year for ourselves, we must trust ourselves to accomplish our new goals and resolutions, but must also verify that we are doing them, and if we “fall off the wagon”, to not give up, and to keep working on improvement.

As an aside, President Reagan said the following at the 70th National Convention of the American Legion:

Well, I have told other groups before and I want to tell you that I have used a Russian phrase–I am not a linguist but I do know one little Russian phrase, and I used it on Mr. Gorbachev time after time until he is tired of hearing it.

He finally let me know in Moscow that he had heard that often enough so I told him I had a good old American saying that I might switch to, “Trust everybody but cut the cards.”

And for those who are curious about where “Trust everybody but cut the cards”, comes from, it was originally written as “Thrust ivrybody—but cut th’ ca-ards” by Finley Peter Dunne in 1900, and I could find it in proper English as one of some assorted “bits of advice on matters in general” from a B.C. Nelson in 1902.

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Written by Jacob Walker

January 1st, 2014 at 11:59 am

Posted in Quotes from Others

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