Thomas Jefferson never said any of these things!
It has long been a technique of the unethical and/or the downright stupid to add gravitas to their pronouncements by claiming an origin from an acknowledged genius. Before the internet and cable television, such misinformation was generally confined to discussions between individuals, and it was difficult back then for one person to publish or broadcast misquotations without somebody else fact-checking the claims. The self-publishing capability of the internet, however, has made it a simple matter for a person to promote a personal agenda by merely typing an opinion beneath the solemn visage of an acknowledged sage, then posting the .jpg on a social media site or a blog. Sometimes these misquotations go viral. I hate the word “viral” in this context. It’s actually more of a plague than a virus.

Here are some other examples:

Confucius never said: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” How could he? Very few people got to “choose” a profession in China 500 years before Christ. In fact, Confucius did say almost the opposite. He argued that the enlightened master should be wise in choosing our work for us! “When the person in authority makes more beneficial to the people the things from which they naturally derive benefit;– is not this being beneficent without great expenditure? When he chooses the labors which are proper, and makes them labor on them, who will repine?”

Benjamin Franklin did not say, “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither,” mainly because he was a genius, not an idiot. The very essence of “civilization” involves people banding together and surrendering absolute liberty to create mutual security. Before the dawn of civilization, our cave-dwelling ancestors discovered that absolute freedom is not such a good thing, except for the strongest and most violent among us. Franklin did say, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” With those essential qualifiers, the statement becomes indisputable. Without them, it is gibberish.

John Stuart Mill did not say “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives,” again because he was not a fool. In fact, the LEAST-educated people, high school dropouts, vote overwhelmingly for liberals. Among those with no high school diploma, President Obama beat Governor Romney 64-35. On the other hand, the MOST-educated people also vote overwhelmingly for liberals (55-42 Obama). Using educational achievement as a reasonable surrogate for intellectual capability, it can fairly be argued, at least in the context of modern American politics, that most stupid people are liberals and that most smart people are liberals. (That reality renders the liberal coalition highly fragile.) Everyone in the middle tends to be conservative. Here is what Mill actually said: “I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative.” Get it? Not “conservatives,” but “THE Conservatives” with a capital “C.” He is not referring to “conservative” with a lower-case “c” as a general political philosophy, but with an upper-case “C” as a specific political bloc in 19th century England whose members were, in Mill’s esteemed but pompous judgment, chowderheads, presumably because they often disagreed with him, thus failing to suitably acknowledge his genius to his satisfaction.

Einstein never said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” If he had said it, an editor would probably have re-worded it to employ a more suitable verb than “surpass” (“suppress,” perhaps?). A movie called “Powder” claimed (fictionally) that the great physicist once said, “It’s become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.” The movie’s version at least includes proper grammatical parallelism, and may even be a wise observation, but I can’t give you a link to the real quote because the real Einstein never said that or anything like it.

Pretty much every aphorism attributed to Mark Twain is spurious.

The U.S. Presidential IQ hoax was a mid-2001 e-mail and internet hoax that purported to provide a list of estimated IQs of the U.S. Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush.

It was reprinted as if factual by the ever-gullible Guardian, and was cited in a Doonesbury cartoon as if it represented reality.

In reality, we have a good handle on only three Presidential IQs.

JFK was tested at 119 by his prep school.

President Bush the Younger scored 1206 on the pre-1974 SAT, which converts to an IQ of about 129 on the Otis scale. (There was a close correlation between SAT and IQ in those days. The correlation was dependable enough that MENSA accepted a 1250 score for membership at that time. Over the years the tests have been revised, the correlation no longer exists, and MENSA no longer accepts SAT scores in its admission process.)

Richard Nixon was one of the gifted students studied by Terman in his longtitudinal study. Nixon biographer Roger Morris says RMN tested at 143 when he was in Fullerton High School in California.

Al Gore was never elected President (or was he?), but we also have a pre-1974 SAT score for him. He scored 1355, which is equivalent to about 137-138 on the Otis scale, and would place him in the upper 1%, about in the same league as Nixon.

Abandoned States: Places In Idyllic 1960s Postcards Have Transformed Into Scenes Of Abandonment

The author did a wonderful job of morphing the old images with his own modern ones, thus truly bringing the transformation to life.

If you grew up in NY or the surrounding states, you may have spent a summer or two in the Poconos or The Catskills, particularly if your family was Jewish. The resorts there were places where entire families took long summer vacations together. They featured modern facilities, good food, top-drawer entertainment (this was the famed “Borsch Belt”), and all sorts of healthy recreation. It was that era’s version of a Caribbean cruise, with just a hint of today’s Las Vegas.

I never spent a summer at any of these places, but my family always stopped to eat some of the famed deli cuisine when we traveled from Lake Ontario to the urban caverns of The City. Route 17 was our Yellow Brick Road even if The City boasted no emerald glow.

Nobody from upstate called that city “New York” then, because we were all from New York, even the upstate rubes. One simply said “The City,” and the meaning was clear to everyone. Boston and Detroit were cities, and I lived in a city, but those in the center of the world lived in THE City. Some of my teachers were from The City, and they felt it cast them in a superior mold to that which formed us locals because their city was tougher, smarter, and more energetic than any experience we or any outsider had known. The City was coarser, yet somehow also more refined, than our humble origins. Some of those men bragged of hard childhoods in Hell’s Kitchen or comfy ones on the Upper East Side, but most of those tough, quick-tempered grandsons of Erin were forged in the fires of the Outer Boroughs.

That yellow brick road of my childhood is brown and crumbling today. The most imposing resorts were shuttered long ago, but they were glorious in their day. Grossinger’s, the most famous resort in the area, and supposedly the inspiration for “Dirty Dancing,” had its own golf course, many tennis courts, a ski area with a snow-making machine, indoor and outdoor pools, and a massive theater. Elizabeth Taylor married Eddie Fisher there; Jerry Lewis performed there; Jackie Robinson went there to relax.

Today? The reflective moments of “Dirty Dancing” accurately predicted the demise of the Catskill family resorts:

“It’s not the changes so much this time. It’s that it all seems to be ending. You think kids want to come with their parents and take fox-trot lessons? It feels like it’s all slipping away.”

And slip away it did. Like the resorts, that “way of life is fall’n into the sere.”

The Grossinger golf course is still functioning, but …

Gothamist explains:

“Today, Grossinger’s still has everything you’re looking for—if what you’re looking for is exquisite decay.

The drive there is is a beautiful, albeit sad, experience. State route 17 winds through the Catskills, past boarded up summer camps, through predominantly Orthodox Jewish communities and down near-abandoned main streets. Up a hill and past a guard shack plastered with “no trespassing” signs, Grossinger’s appears on the horizon.

Much of the resort has been demolished; what’s left has been thoroughly picked through over the years. The cabins and cottages that dot the grounds are unsafe to enter, their floors badly rotted, their roofs a deluge of splintered wood. Nobody is home at the Jennie J hotel, which has been thoroughly torn apart. Every bit of copper and steel plucked from its walls, every bathroom smashed apart.”

(That article in Gothamist has many pictures of the former resort’s current state of decrepitude.)