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6,095 quotations, showing Aristotle to Bandow

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It is best that laws should be so constructed as to leave as little as possible to the decision of those who judge.

from Rhetoric
Good laws, if they are not obeyed, do not constitute good government.

from Politics
Those who think that all virtue is to be found in their own party principles push matters to extremes; they do not consider that disproportion destroys a state.

from Politics
Virtue, like art, constantly deals with what is hard to do, and the harder the task the better the success.

from Nicomachean Ethics
Virtue ... is of two kinds, intellectual and moral. Intellectual virtue springs from and grows from teaching, and therefore needs experience and time. Moral virtues come from habit... they are in us neither by nature, nor in despite of nature, but we are furnished by nature with a capacity for receiving them, and we develop them through habit.

from Nicomachean Ethics
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

The best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class.

Law is order, and good law is good order.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

Armour, Richard
A rumor is one thing that gets thicker instead of thinner as it is spread.

Arnold, Dr. Thomas
What we must look for here is, first, religious and moral principles; secondly, gentlemanly conduct; thirdly, intellectual ability.

from an address to the Rugby students, quoted in The MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations
Arscott, W. Hugh  
Canada is divided by great mountains, great prairies, Great Lakes, and eleven governments that really grate.

1998 - from Hugh's Views Volume I, quoted in Famous Lasting Words by John Robert Columbo
Ashburton, Lord
The power of the Crown has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

1780 - from a Motion made in the British House of Commons
I wish the British Government would give you Canada at once. It is fit for nothing but to breed quarrels.

Ashcroft, Sen. John
The National Standards for United States History do not mention Robert E. Lee, Paul Revere's midnight ride, and did not mention the Wright Brothers or Thomas Edison. Who made the grade with the revisionists, the educationalists, the liberals who wanted to rewrite history? Well, Mansa Musa, a 14th-century African king, and the Indian chief Speckled Snake had prominent display, but not these others.

Oct. 27, 1997 - quoted in the Washington Times
On moral issue after moral issue, we have cut and run, when we needed to stand and fight.

Jan. 30, 1998 - from a speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee
Leaders who suggest they can separate their private lives and their public actions are wrong. Morality is not divisible.

Jan. 30, 1998 - from a speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee
Ashurst, Henry Fountain
 When I have to choose between voting for the people or the special interests, I always stick with the special interests. They remember. The people forget.

quoted in Aldem's Political Quotations
Atkinson, Brooks
Bureaucracies are designed to perform public business. But as soon as a bureaucracy is established, it develops an autonomous spiritual life and comes to regard the public as its enemy.

People everywhere enjoy believing things that they know are not true. It spares them the ordeal of thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for what they know.

1951 - from Once Around the Sun

I have no objections to churches so long as they do not interfere with God's work.

Atlee, Clement
Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking.

Attila the Hun
Appropriate stress is essential in developing chieftains.

quoted in The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, by Wess Roberts, 1987
Be compatible to the policies of our nation and our tribe. Otherwise, you will seek ways to accomplish your own ambitions. Thus, you will ultimately lose, no matter how bold or tenacious your efforts.

quoted in The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, by Wess Roberts, 1987
As a nation, we would accomplish more if Huns behaved as though national goals were as important to them as personal goals.

quoted in The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, by Wess Roberts, 1987
Superficial goals lead to superficial results.

quoted in The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, by Wess Roberts, 1987
Attlee, Earl Clement
Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking.

quoted in Anatomy of Britain by Anthony Simpson
One layer was certainly 17th century. The 18th century in him is obvious. There was the 19th century, and a large slice, of course, of the 20th century; and another, curious layer which may possibly have been the 21st.

describing Winston Churchill as a cake, quoted in The Last Lion (1983) by William Manchester
The House of Lords is like a glass of champagne that has stood for five days.

quoted in The Fine Art of Political Wit (1964) by Leon Harris
Atwood, Margaret  
If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia.

Never believe anything until it's officially denied.

Auden, W.H.
One of the troubles of our times is that we are all, I think, precocious as personalities and backward as characters.

[A prediction of the future] Reason will be replaced by Revelation ... Knowledge will degenerate into a riot of subjective visions ... Idealism will be replaced by materialism ... Diverted from its normal outlet in patriotism or civic and family pride, the need of the masses for some visible Idol to worship will be driven into totally unsociable channels where no education can reach it. ... Justice will be replaced by pity as the cardinal human virtue.

1958 - from For the Time Being, quoted in "Annus Memorabilis", by Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Prospect Magazine (Jan. 1998)
Hundreds may believe, but each has to believe by himself.

Only the free have disposition to be truthful, only the truthful have the interest to be just, only the just possess the will-power to be free.

Auf der Maur, Nick  
They say Canadians are dull and boring. Actually we're quite insane.

Augustine, Jean  
 We don't want something for youth at risk, we want something for black youth at risk

Aug. 29, 2001 - from a speech in Toronto announcing special Liberal government support programs for black youths, quoted in the National Post
Augustine, Saint
What you are must always displease you if you would attain to that which you are not.

c. 400 A.D. - from his sermons
It very often happens there is some question as to the earth or sky, or other elements of this world ... respecting which, one who is not a Christian has knowledge ... and it is very disgraceful and mischievous and of all things to be carefully avoided, that a Christian speaking of such matters as being according to the Christian Scriptures, should be heard by an unbeliever talking such nonsense that the unbeliever perceiving him to be as wide from the mark as east from west, can hardly restrain himself from laughing.

Aurelius, Marcus
If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.

Austin, J.L.
Fact is richer than diction.

Avram, Kevin  
Throughout history, great men and great women have not always been those who have been stronger, smarter, faster, or wiser. Some have been weak, challenged with infirmity, or disadvantaged in some other way. The quality that drove them was a set of convictions or guidelines that had been seared on their consciousness -- principles of truth, right and wrong that literally held on to their hearts and defined their lives. The birthing of great nations and great things have been presided over by such people. People of conviction are always present at such events.

Babbage, Charles
On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

Babbitt, Irving
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.

If man is to become human he must not let impulse and desire run wild.

from Rousseau and Romanticism
Bacevich, Andrew J.
'Globalization' today has become the functional equivalent of the phrase 'Free World' during the 1950s and 1960s. It contains an important truth, but vastly oversimplifies that truth. It implies mysteries grasped fully only in the most rarified circles of government. It suggests the existence of obligations to which ordinary people must submit. It is a powerful instrument of persuasion, the rhetorical device of last resort, to which--not unlike 'diversity' in the realm of domestic politics--there is no counter.

Jun. 01, 1999 - from his essay "Policing Utopia", published in The National Interest
Besotted with ambition, empires in our age have betrayed an astonishing propensity for self-inflicted wounds. ...the history of the past hundred years offers a moral lesson to complement the geopolitical theme of America’s rise to preeminence. Of the dangers that threaten a Great Power, the most insidious come from within.

Mar. 01, 1998 - from his essay "The Irony of American Power", published in First Things, No. 81
Bacon, Sir Francis
Silence is the virtue of fools.

... no pleasure is comparable to standing upon the vantage ground of truth ... and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below.

1597 - from his essay Of Truth
If a man look sharply and attentively, he shall see Fortune; for though she is blind, she is not invisible.

from Of Fortune

There is no great concurrence between learning and wisdom.

Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.

He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator.

from Of Innovation
Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.

from Aphorisms
Virtue is like precious odours - most fragrant when they are incensed or crushed.

1625 - from "Of Adversity" in Essays
Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise.

Men on their side must force themselves for a while to lay their notions by and begin to familiarize themselves with facts.

Universities incline wits to sophistry and affectation.

1734 - from Valerius Terminus of the Interpretation of Nature, quoted in The MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations
Truth itself is always the highest and best goal of human effort.

Baden-Powell, Robert
An individual step in character training is to put responsibility on the individual.

Bagehot, Walter
You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbour.

Dullness in matters of government is a good sign, and not a bad one -- in particular, dullness in parliamentary government is a test of its excellence, an indication of its success.

The notion of a farseeing and despotic statesman, who can lay down plans for ages yet unborn, is a fancy generated by the pride of the human intellect to which facts give no support.

A democratic despotism is like a theocracy: it assumes its own correctness.

It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations.

1863 - from Biographical Studies
Bailey, David H.
Police budgeting represents the triumph of organizational process over rational decision making. Police resources are allocated by police managers according to formulas, institutional traditions, tacit understandings and contract rules, all of which have little to do with public safety. It is fair to say that the major determinants of police allocations are not considerations of community safety at all but organizational convenience and worker morale.

Contrary to what many people think, the police do not enforce their own conception of order on an unwilling populace. Almost all they do is undertaken at the request of some member of the public. If the public stopped calling the police, they would have to reinvent their job.

Bain, Ron
[Global warming] Although precise interpretation of tree rings, ice cores, flood plains and ocean sediments is impossible, these natural records of weather extremes indicate without a doubt that the earth experienced wild temperature variations long before man evolved or industrialized.

Sep. 13, 2000 - from "If You Can't Stand the Heat...", published by the Independence Institute
Bakatin, Vadim
Making capitalism out of socialism is like making eggs out of an omelet.

Baker, Kenneth
Socialists make the mistake of confusing individual worth with success. They believe you cannot allow people to succeed in case those who fail feel worthless.

Equality of opportunity means the achievers must be allowed to achieve.

1986 - reported in The Times newspaper, London
Baker, Maureen  
Although many governments have used the ideology of economic rationalism to justify restructuring the welfare state, dismantling Canadian social programs has been motivated by far more than concern about high public debt. Federal/provincial politics and especially the fear that the Quebec separatist movement will shatter the Canadian federation have been primary motives in federal reform.

from her essay "The Restructuring of the Canadian Welfare State: Ideology and Policy"
Bakunin, Mikhail
The State ... is the most flagrant negation, the most cynical and complete negation of humanity.

1868 - from Federalism, Socialism, and Anti-Theologism
Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in this; that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely conceives it, wants it, and loves it.

1868 - from Federalism, Socialism, and Anti-Theologism
No dictatorship can have any other aim but that of self-perpetuation, and it can beget only slavery in the people tolerating it; freedom can be created only by freedom, that is, by a universal rebellion on the part of the people and free organization of the toiling masses from the bottom up.

from Statism and Anarchism
Baldacchino, Joseph
Real morality is not easy. It takes constant effort, and its main object is improvement of the inner man or woman.

Mar. 01, 1998 - from "Whither America - and Why", an essay for The Canadian Conservative Forum
Baldwin, James
I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.

Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be.

Confronted with the impossibility of remaining faithful to one's beliefs, and the equal impossibility of becoming free of them, one can be driven to the most inhuman excesses.

It is very nearly impossible... to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.

Words like 'freedom,' 'justice,' 'democracy' are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous and, above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply.

Jul. 7, 1956 - from "The Crusade of Indignation," published in The Nation
We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours.

Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.

Any honest examination of the national life proves how far we are from the standard of human freedom with which we began. The recovery of this standard demands of everyone who loves this country a hard look at himself, for the greatest achievements must begin somewhere, and they always begin with the person. If we are not capable of this examination, we may yet become one of the most distinguished and monumental failures in the history of nations.

It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.

Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart; for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.

1961 - from Nobody Knows My Name
Baldwin, Roger Nash
So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy.

Baldwin, Stanley
The attainment of an ideal is often the beginning of a disillusion.

A statesman wants courage and a statesman wants vision; but believe me, after six months' experience, he wants first, second, third and all the time - patience.

A platitude is simply a truth repeated until people get tired of hearing it.


A government is not in power, it is in office, put there by the will of the people.

Balfour, Arthur
It is unfortunate, considering that enthusiasm moves the world, that so few enthusiasts can be trusted to speak the truth.

1918 - from a letter, quoted in The MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations
Ball, Hugo
Everywhere, the ethical predicament of our time imposes itself with an urgency which suggests that even the question 'Have we anything to eat?' will be answered not in material but in ethical terms.

Ball, Ivern
Expert: A person who may not have all the answers but is sure he could get them with the proper funding.

A politician is a person who can make waves and then make you think he's the only one who can save the ship.

Balzac, Honore de
Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true.

Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.

Equality may perhaps be a right, but no power on earth can ever turn it into a fact.

from La Duchesse de Langeais
Bandow, Doug
Put bluntly, lawmakers are stealing from the public... Theft may seem like a strong word for what now routinely comes out of the legislative process. But that's only because we have abandoned any rigorous conception of individual rights and government responsibilities.

1988 - from his column "What Happened to the Concept of Theft?"
What some social conservatives overlook is that, while the market possesses no morality of its own, it accommodates individuals who value more than just money ... The fact that capitalism protects the right to profit does not mean entrepreneurs are not often engaged in sacrificial and even noble endeavors.

Mar. 19, 1997 - from an editorial column in the Wall Street Journal