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The honest man takes pains, and then enjoys pleasures; the knave takes pleasures, and then suffers pain.
1754 - from
Poor Richard's Almanac
Duty is not beneficial because it is commanded, but is commanded because it is beneficial.
He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.
1754 - from
Poor Richard's Almanac
If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.
The problem has been widely recognized. Yet, despite numerous efforts to reform government-run schools, the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests, the most comprehensive and reliable measures of educational attainment, show no significant improvement in performance in any age category or subject area from the early 1980s to the present. The fault is not with the teachers, it is not with the children, it is not with the parents, it is with the monopoly character of the market for educational services.
May 1996 - from "The Low Quality of Government Education", published by the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Education Choice
Fromm, Erich H.
Fortitude is the capacity to say "no" when the world wants to hear "yes."
1968 - from
The Revolution of Hope
A good conscience is the best divinity.
1732 - from
Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs
One that would have the fruit must climb the tree.
1732 - from
Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs
Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
Only the mediocre are always at their best.
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
Life is the childhood of our immortality.
Genius is formed in quiet, character in the stream of human life.
1790 - from
, Goethe's play about the Italian Renaissance poet
While I must have the character to play by the rules, I must also have the character to do the right thing when the rules don't help. If I want to have the character to strive for ethical excellence, then I must have the character to draw the line when there is no line drawn.
1997 - from
Character is Destiny : The Value of Personal Ethics in Everyday Life
Graham, Rev. Billy
Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.
Jul. 1964 - quoted in
Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wing, and only character endures.
So does practice make perfect, and the outward become the inward. First we pretend, then we become.
Mar. 2, 2001 - from "What is a gentleman?", published by Creators Syndicate Inc.
Griswold, Alfred Whitney
Self-respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale. It cannot be fabricated out of public relations. It comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments, in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it; knowing the truth, we have spoken it.
We may win when we lose, if we have done what we can; for by so doing we have made real at least some part of that finished product in whose fabrication we are most concerned: ourselves.
1955 - from "A Fanfare for Prometheus" in
The Spirit of Liberty
Let's not concentrate on disabilities, let's focus on abilities
Columbo's New Canadian Quotations
John Robert Columbo
We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.
1944 - from
The Road to Serfdom
The measure of any man's virtue is what he would do, if he had neither the laws nor public opinion, nor even his own prejudices, to control him.
1823 - from
Failure can be bought on easy terms; success must be paid for in advance.
Integrity is an absolute virtue.
The farther we go, the more the ultimate explanation recedes from us, and all we have left is faith.
The beginning of thought is in disagreement - not only with others but also with ourselves.
Hutchins, Robert Maynard
To put an end to the spirit of inquiry that has characterized the West it is not necessary to burn the books. All we have to do is to leave them unread for a few generations. On the other hand, the revival of interest in these books from time to time throughout history has provided the West with new drive and creativeness. Great books have salvaged, preserved, and transmitted the tradition on many occasions similar to our own.
from "The Tradition of the West", published in
The Great Conversation: The Substance of a Liberal Eduation
, Encyclopedia Britannica
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Material advancement has its share in moral and intellectual progress. Becky Sharp's [the opportunistic central character of W.M. Thackeray's
] acute remark that it is not difficult to be virtuous on ten thousand a year, has its application to nations; and it is futile to expect a hungry and squalid population to be anything but violent and gross.
1893 - from
Collected Essays III: Science and Education
Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom.
The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
1890 - from
Principles of Psychology
Most people are resistant to ideas, especially new ones. But they are fascinated by character. Extravagance of personality is one way in which the pill can be sugared and the public induced to look at works dealing with ideas.
1988 - from
, Harper and Row, New York
... there is all the difference in the world between characters of nature and characters of manners ...
Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D
by James Boswell
Kaiser, Henry J.
When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
1938 - from
Helen Keller's Journal
Kennedy, John F.
When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.
Apr. 12, 1959 - from a speech delivered in Indianapolis, Indiana
King, Martin Luther
The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.
There are two freedoms; The false, where man is free to do what he likes; The true, where man is free to do what he ought.
The twentieth-century conservative is concerned, first of all, for the regeneration of spirit and character -- with the perennial problem of the inner order of the soul, the restoration of the ethical understanding, and the religious sanction upon which any life worth living is founded. This is conservatism at its highest.
1953 - from
The Conservative Mind
The influence Marxism has achieved, far from being the result or proof of its scientific character, is almost entirely due to its prophetic, fantastic and irrational elements... Almost all the prophecies of Marx and his followers have already proved to be false, but this does not disturb the spiritual certainty of the faithful...for it is a certainty not based on any empirical premises or supposed 'historical laws', but simply on the psychological need for certainty. In this sense Marxism performs the function of religion...
The critics say that to fail to portray [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] in a wheelchair is to give in to his false--i.e., nonmodern--consciousness about disability. On the contrary. It is to celebrate his ethos of bold denial. Denial is not in great favor today. It is considered unhealthy, an almost cowardly psychic constriction. The mantra today is that all must be dealt with, talked out, coped with, opened up, faced squarely. This may work for some. But it has become something of a religion. And if its priests are so correct about the joys of catharsis and the perils of denial, how do they explain how the champion denier of our century, Franklin Roosevelt, lived such a splendid life? Roosevelt's denial of his disability was more than just a denial of crushing adversity, more than a jaunty, smiling, damn-the-torpedoes refusal to dwell upon--indeed, fully acknowledge--his physical reality. It was a denial of self, a strange notion for us living in this confessional age when self--self-exploration, self-expression, self-love--is paramount. Roosevelt's life had a grand outer directedness. He was not searching for the inner Franklin. He was reaching for a new America. It was the outer Franklin he cultivated, and it is that Franklin, the one who saved his country, that we honor and remember.
May 5, 1997 - from "The dignity of denial", published in
Up to a point a man's life is shaped by environment, heredity and changes in the world about him. Then there comes a time when it lies within his grasp to shape his life into the sort of thing he wishes it to be. Only the weak blame parents, their race, their times, lack of good fortune, or the quirks of fate. Everyone has it within his power to say, This I am today; that I will be tomorrow.
1984 - from
The Walking Drum
Honor can be a troublesome thing, but if one has it one does not lightly yield it.
1984 - from
The Walking Drum
A man needs heroes. He needs to believe in strength, nobility, and courage. Otherwise we become sheep to be herded to the slaughterhouse...
1974 - from
Men strive for peace, but it is their enemies that give them strength... if man no longer had enemies, he would have to invent them, for his strength only grows from struggle.
1983 - from
The Lonesome Gods
Nobody got anywhere in this world by simply being content.
1978 - from
... to build anything and to make it last calls for discipline that a man provides for himself and the cooperative discipline that men give to each other.
1978 - from
A growing chorus of critics say the highly politicized character of many [women's shelter] facilities means that the client's needs take second place to the agenda of the people in charge. In some cases, the critics say, these services are being run by zealots concerned with dogma who are overly hostile to men, male children, and heterosexual relationships.
Nov. 14, 1998 - The National Post
Lawrence, David Herbert
Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot.
Nearly all men can withstand adversity; if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
You cannot help men permanently by doing what they could and should do for themselves. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
... the quality of each manís life is the full measure of that manís personal commitment to excellence and to victory... it teaches that work and sacrifice and perseverance and competitive drive and the selflessness, a respect for authority is the price that each and every one of us must pay to achieve any goal thatís worthwhile.
Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
After the cheers have died down and the stadium is empty, after the headlines have been written and after you are back in the quiet of your room and the championship ring has been placed on the dresser and all the pomp and fanfare has faded, the enduring things that are left are: the dedication to excellence, the dedication to victory, and the dedication to doing with our lives the very best we can to make the world a better place in which to live.
We have to be hard sometimes to get the most out of people. We have to be tough sometimes to get the most out of ourselves...
Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
Right now in a large sense I think, weíre engaged in a struggle which is far more fiercely contested than anything, and it's a struggle for the hearts and it's a struggle for the souls and minds of all of us. And it's a game in which there are no spectators, only players, and it's a struggle which is going to test all of our courage, and all of our stamina, and all of our teamwork. ... At no other time in our history have the prizes and the perils at one and the same time been so great. But I think we have to decide whether we want to provide a full life for humanity or destroy ourselves with our own problems. And the test is going to be whether man mistakes the growth of wealth and power with the growth of spirit and character. Or like some infant who is playing with matches destroys the very house he may have inherited.
Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
The difference between a successful man and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in lack of will because the character rather than the education is manís greatest need and manís greatest safeguard because the character is higher than the intellect.
Jun. 22, 1970 - from his last public speech
We come now to one of the most distinctive characteristics of the Ontario mind. This way of dealing with ideas distinguishes us from the four founding nations. This is, that ideas are, in general, considered as orthodox or heretical, not as true or false. They fail or pass the test not of facts or logic, but of some dogmatic system, normally constructed by the user out of bits and pieces of the other dogmatic systems lying around. This way of dealing with ideas is naturally most evident in those classes of people who use ideas, the intelligentsia, academics, school teachers, journalists, and so forth.
1985 - from
The Mind of Ontario
, Mika Publishing Company
... in the very near future our problem will be not to get people to work but to find something for them to do, not to make the most efficient use of scarce means but to start repairing the scarcity of human values that have been submerged in the struggle against material scarcity.
1972 - from
The Real World of Democracy
Respect for character is always diminished in proportion to the number among whom the blame or praise is to be divided.
1787 - from a speech at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia
... the [Chretien] Liberal government ... has presided over the worst decade in living memory for Canada's relative prosperity. After many decades occupying third place in the world in gross domestic product per capita ... Canada slipped to the fifth spot in 1991. We have vacillated between fifth and seventh ever since. Ireland, which in 1987 had half our standard of living, is set to become a more prosperous county than Canada in 2000. Canadians have long consoled themselves by characterizing the U.S. as sacrificing socal spending in order to create high levels of wealth. Now we must face the fact that the wealthy U.S. is spending more per capita on social programs than Canada does.
Feb. 28, 2000 - from "How to Judge the Budget", published in
Many [people] now believe public education has become largely unaccountable to those who have the most at stake in using it -- parents. The system's approach to issues such as homosexual conduct, sex education and religion have heightened concerns by parents that public education is imposing an alternative agenda on our children. But these issues are only a symptom of a much deeper problem in our education system -- the outright dismissal of teachings related to morality and virtue. In the past, public education played an important role in modelling and developing character and moral standards. This has steadily diminished over the past two decades and many parents and educators now encounter opposition and confusion over whether it is possible or even desirable to teach children about morality.
Oct. 1997 - from a column in
Christian Info News
Nothing is more characteristic of Canadians than the inclination to be moderate.
Every attainment, every step forward in knowledge, follows from courage, from hardness against oneself, from cleanliness in relation to oneself.
1888 - from
Nixon, Richard Milhouse
A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.
Dec. 10, 1978 - quoted in the
With all the power that a President has, the most important thing to bear in mind is this: You must not give power to a man unless, above everything else, he has character. Character is the most important qualification the President of the United States can have.
1964 - from a television advertisement supporting Barry Goldwater's bid for the presidency
The public school system is characterized by two important features. First, it is politically controlled. Second it is a virtual monopoly. Like most politically controlled monopolies, government-run schools tend to produce low-quality, high-cost outcomes.
1995 - from
Revolution at the Roots
William D. Eggers
Liberalism today is the ideology of the New Class. As time goes on, its true character becomes increasingly - and starkly - clear. It justifies the extension of state regulation over the whole of our lives, not merely our business life, but also our social life, our moral attitudes, even our diet. At the same time it emancipates the New Class, which exercises this extensive authority, from democratic control by transferring more and more decisions from congresses and parliaments to judges, unaccountable bureaucracies, international agencies and other New Class strongholds. It is, in effect, Bolshevism operating in a formally democratic context.
Nov. 06, 1997 - from his essay "Why Conservatives Must Reject Liberalism" published at
Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.
1792 - from
The Rights of Man: Part II
Character is much easier kept than recovered.
1776 - from
The American Crisis
Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.
Fascist ethics begin ... with the acknowledgment that it is not the individual who confers a meaning upon society, but it is, instead, the existence of a human society which determines the human character of the individual. According to Fascism, a true, a great spiritual life cannot take place unless the State has risen to a position of pre-eminence in the world of man. The curtailment of liberty thus becomes justified at once, and this need of rising the State to its rightful position.
1936 - from
The Philosophy of Fascism
Real education is rooted in the telling and retelling of culturally formative stories which give meaning to ideas of honour, courage, justice, truth, and love. An education without these foundations is an education that is not worthy of the name.
Jun. 1996 - from "The Myth of Moral Neutrality", originally published in the
Impartiality, though it be the last, is not the least part of the character of a good magistrate. ... Justice is justly represented blind, because she sees no difference in the parties concerned. ... The impartial judge in judgment, knows nothing but the law. ... Impartiality is the life of justice, as that is of government.
1693 - from
Some Fruits of Solitude
Virtue is but heroic bravery, to do the thing thought to be true, in spite of all enemies of flesh or spirit, in despite of all temptations or menaces.
Self-conquest is the greatest of victories.
One's vision first and foremost rests on values. Values because values are the conscience of a society. Values that must be lived; not just preached. Children learn values by watching their parents in their homes. Values which are then reinforced in their churches and in their places of worship, in the schools and in the communities in which they live. Values fuel families, families that are bound together by love and commitment. Families that then have the strength to withstand the assaults of contemporary life, to resist the images of violence and vulgarity that flood into our lives every day. Families that come together as communities to defeat the scourge of drugs and crime and incivility that threaten us.
Oct. 11, 1997 - from an interview published in
You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.
1995 - from
My American Journey
Reagan, Ronald Wilson
Without God there is not virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience, without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.
quoted in "The Forgotten Roots of American Freedom" by Brad Chaver
You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jelly beans.
Americanism is a question of principle, of purpose, of idealism, of character. It is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of descent.
The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer.
Rousseau, Jean Jacques
A country cannot subsist well without liberty, nor liberty without virtue.
Ruiz, Don Miguel
Be impeccable with your word ... Don't take things personally ... Don't make assumptions ... Always do your best.
1997 - the four "agreements" from
The Four Agreements
One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.
Blaming 'society' makes it awfully easy for a person of weak character to shrug off his own responsibility for his actions.
Schwarzkopf, Gen. Norman
Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.
Scott, Sir Walter
We shall never learn to feel and respect our own calling and destiny, until we have taught ourselves to consider everything as moonshine, compared with the education of the heart.
1825 - from a letter to his son-in-law and biographer, J.G. Lockhart
Seneca, Lucius Annaeus
Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.
59 A.D. - from
It is easy enough to arouse in a listener a desire for what is honorable; for in every one of us nature has laid the foundations or sown the seeds of the virtues. We are born to them all, all of us, and when a person comes along with the necessary stimulus, then those qualities of the personality are awakened, so to speak, from their slumber.
Snyder, Jeffrey R.
'Cowardice' and 'self-respect' have largely disappeared from the public discourse. In their place we are offered 'self-esteem' as the bellwether of success and a proxy for dignity. 'Self-respect' implies that one recognizes standards, and judges oneself worthy by the degree to which one lives up to them. 'Self-esteem' simply means that one feels good about oneself. 'Dignity' used to refer to the self-mastery and fortitude with which a person conducted himself in the face of life's vicissitudes and the boorish behavior of others. Now, judging by campus speech codes, dignity requires that we never encounter a discouraging word and that others be coerced into acting respectfully, evidently on the assumption that we are powerless to prevent our degradation if exposed to the demeaning behavior of others. These are sign-posts proclaiming the insubstantiality of our character, the hollowness of our souls.
Fall 1993 - from "A Nation of Cowards", published in
The Public Interest
History is replete with examples of how freedom sucking big government is characterized by economic decay, nasty nationalism and government repression of anyone who is
. If history is the standard, then the victory is absolute. Statism has been vanquished. It is small, limited government and personal freedom that encourages the tolerance and compassion that Canadians say they value.
Jan. 18, 1999 - essay, "The Psychology of Big Government"
It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes. It may even lie on the surface; but we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions - especially selfish ones.
1973 - from "Peace and Violence" in
Solzhenitsyn: A Documentary Record
, Leopold Labedz, ed.
A person who is not inwardly prepared for the use of violence against him is always weaker than the person committing the violence.
There seems to be no getting people to accept the truth, which is yet conspicuous enough, that the welfare of a society and the justice of its arrangements are at bottom dependent upon the character of its members; and that improvement in neither can take place without improvement in character.
Fame is what you have taken, Character's what you give; When to this truth you waken, Then you begin to live.
Tennyson, Alfred Lord
Virtue must shape itself in deed.
1885 - from "Tiresias"
Why do you climb philosophical hills? Because they are worth climbing... There are no hills to go down unless you start from the top.
Aug. 8, 1986 - quoted in the
Wall Street Journal
Iron entered my soul. You need a touch of steel. Otherwise you become like India rubber.
Mar. 01, 1980 - from an interview on BBC Radio, quoted in
As I Said to Denis: The Margaret Thatcher Book of Quotations
, edited by Iain Dale
If we will not be constrained from within by the power of God, we must be constrained from without by the power of the State...
Mar. 1995 - from an article in
The lack of any personal accountability to a moral code has made immorality respectable in our nation. There is at times little in the press, in the entertainment industry, or in our institutions of higher (lower?) learning that can lift us up or cause us to realize that we have fallen. All of the voices are coming from below, rather than from above.
1990 - from
The Death of Ethics in America
When I was young, my parents never worried that I might learn something bad from "Buffalo Bob'' and Shari Lewis. Television was a welcome guest in our home. You could even watch the news as a family. Other shows -- like "Kukla, Fran and Ollie,'' "Ding Dong School'' and "Romper Room'' -- taught children right from wrong and instilled positive moral and patriotic values. Some scoff at such things today, but it might be argued that the rejection of those values has led to many of our present predicaments.
Aug. 10, 1998 - from "Endangered Species", published in
Jewish World Review