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Gizmotude Quotation Archives



Without doubt the greatest injury…was done by basing morals on myth, for sooner or later myth is recognized for what it is, and disappears. Then morality loses the foundation on which it has been built. ~~ Sir Herbert Samuel


The punters know that the horse named Morality rarely gets past the post, whereas the nag named Self-Interest always runs a good race. ~~ Gough Whitlam


As society is now constituted, a literal adherence to the moral precepts scattered throughout the Gospels would mean sudden death. ~~ Alfred North Whitehead


Americans are, if not the most self-critical, at least the most anxiously self-conscious people in the world, forever concerned about the inadequacy of something or other -- their national morality, their national culture, their national purpose. ~~ Richard Hofstadter


Of moral purpose I see no trace in Nature. That is an article of exclusively human manufacture -- and very much to our credit. ~~ Thomas Huxley


There is not a single outward mark of courtesy that does not have a deep moral basis. ~~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Morals are an acquirement -- like music, like a foreign language, like piety, poker, paralysis -- no man is born with them. ~~ Mark Twain


To understand a cat, you must realize that he has his own gifts, his own viewpoint, even his own morality. ~~ Lillian Jackson Braun


There must be religion for religion's sake, morality for morality's sake, as there is art for art's sake… the beautiful cannot be the way to what is useful, nor to what is good, nor to what is holy; it leads only to itself. ~~ Victor Cousin


Democracy is not an easy form of government, calling for a system of checks and balances and the responsibility of every individual. No democracy is safe without the continuing social and economic progress of the people. So it is vital that the leaders in the next millennium remain fully aware of their political and moral responsibilities towards their people and humanity. ~~ His Majesty, King Constantine [of Greece, exiled]


Do not do an immoral thing for moral reasons. ~~ Thomas Hardy


In our country the lie has become not just a moral category but a pillar of the State. ~~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn


People are very inclined to set moral standards for others. ~~ Elizabeth Drew


I believe that an excellent way to discover the prevailing attitudes of any era -- social, moral, political -- is to study its major trials. ~~ Raymond Paul


A minister is coming down every generation nearer and nearer to the common level of the useful citizen -- no oracle at all, but a man of more than average moral instincts, who if he knows anything, knows how little he knows. ~~ Oliver Wendell Holmes


It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life -- the sick, the needy, and the handicapped. ~~ Hubert H. Humphrey


A group of politicians deciding to dump a President because his morals are bad is like the Mafia getting together to bump off the Godfather for not going to church on Sunday. ~~ Russell Baker


Property is a god. This god already has its theology (called state politics and juridical right) and also its morality, the most adequate expression of which is summed up in the phrase: "That man is worth so much!" ~~ Michael Bakunin


The seven sins are wealth without works, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle. ~~ Mahatma Gandhi


Be not too hasty to trust or admire the teachers of morality; they discourse like angels, but they live like men. ~~ Samuel Johnson


All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening. ~~ Alexander Woollcott


The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. A man does what he must -- in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures -- and that is the basis of all morality. ~~ John F. Kennedy


There is a kinship, a kind of freemasonry, between all persons of intelligence, however antagonistic their moral outlook. ~~ Norman Douglas


Some citizens are so good that nothing a leader can do will make them better. Others are so incorrigible that nothing can be done to improve them. But the great bulk of the people go with the moral tide of the moment. The leader must help create that tide. ~~ Unattributed


Since when do grown men and women, who presume to hold high government office and exercise what they think of as "moral leadership," require ethics officers to tell them whether it is or isn't permissible to grab the secretary's behind or redirect public funds to their own personal advantage? ~~ Meg Greenfield


Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time. ~~ John Stuart Mill


One may no more live in the world without picking up the moral prejudices of the world than one will be able to go to hell without perspiring. ~~ H. L. Mencken


Life itself, however, flows and is sequential and punishes those who try to compartmentalize it. Thus if, for any reason whatsoever, moral standards are conspicuously and unprecedentedly breached in one area of society, such as the political, it will follow as the night the day that those standards will start collapsing all down the line -- in sports, entertainment, education, the armed forces, business, and government. ~~ Margaret Halsey


Common experience shows how much rarer is moral courage than physical bravery. A thousand men will march to the mouth of the cannon where one man will dare espouse an unpopular cause. ~~ Clarence Darrow


As soon as your bring up money, I notice, conversation gets sociological, then political, then moral. ~~ Jane Smiley


You are so afraid of losing your moral sense that you are not willing to take it through anything more dangerous than a mud puddle. ~~ Gertrude Stein


We cannot confront solitude without moral resources. ~~ Honore de Balzac


They talk of a man betraying his country, his friends, his sweetheart. There must be a moral bond first. All a man can betray is his conscience. ~~ Joseph Conrad


In statesmanship, get the formalities right; never mind about the moralities. ~~ Mark Twain


It is wiser to be conventionally immoral than unconventionally moral. It isn't the immorality they object to, but the originality. ~~ Ellen Glasgow


Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. ~~ Mark Twain ["Notice," The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn]


The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others. ~~ Bertrand Arthur William Russell


If the world suffers from mental deterioration or from moral degradation, then something goes wrong at the very root of civilization or culture. Even though that civilization may drag out for a considerable period, it grows less and less vital and ultimately tumbles down. ~~ Jawaharlal Nehru


The unhealthy gap between what we preach in America and what we often practice creates a moral dry rot that eats at the very foundation of our democratic ideals and values. ~~ Whitney Moore Young


Whatever it is morally right for man to do, it is morally right for woman to do. ~~ Angelina E. Grimke


Our laws make law impossible; our liberties destroy all freedom; our property is organized robbery; our morality an impudent hypocrisy; our wisdom is administered by inexperienced or mal-experienced dupes; our power wielded by cowards and weaklings; and our honor false in all its points. I am an enemy of the existing order for good reasons. ~~ George Bernard Shaw


Boredom is therefore a vital problem for the moralist, since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it. ~~ Bertrand Russell


When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned. ~~ Herbert Clark Hoover


There is in the clergy of all the Christian denominations a time-serving, cringing, subservient morality, as wide from the spirit of the Gospel as it is from the intrepid assertion and vindication of truth. ~~ John Quincy Adams


Abstinence signifies higher purpose, moral scruples, lack of opportunity, lack of satisfaction, fear of punishment, or incapacity. ~~ Unattributed


The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act even when it has worked. ~~ H. L. Mencken


Moralizing and morals are two entirely different things and are always found in entirely different people. ~~ Don Herold


We have become morally confused as a people, and possess neither the human sympathy nor the corporate will to put our inner convictions into practice. We are split personalities. ~~ Agnes E. Myer [Journey Through Chaos]


Go into the street and give one man a lecture on morality and another a shilling, and see which will respect you most. ~~ Samuel Johnson


If America ever passes out as a great nation, we ought to put on our tombstone: America died from a delusion she had Moral Leadership. ~~ Will Rogers


I have found by experience that they who have spent all their lives in cities, improve their talents but impair their virtues; and strengthen their minds but weaken their morals. ~~ Charles Caleb Colton


The essence of morality is a questioning about morality; and the decisive move of human life is to use ceaselessly all light to look for the origin of the opposition between good and evil. ~~ Georges Bataille


If your morals make you dreary, depend upon it, they are wrong. I do not say give them up, for they may be all you have, but conceal them like a vice lest they should spoil the lives of better and simpler people. ~~ Robert Louis Stevenson

If moral behavior were simply following rules, we could program a computer to be moral. ~~ Samuel P. Ginder


The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creatures that cannot. ~~ Mark Twain


Feeling that morality has nothing to do with the way you use the resources of the world is an idea that can't persist much longer. If it does, then we won't. ~~ Barbara Kingsolver


Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world. ~~ Etty Hillesum [An Interrupted Life]


Morals are a matter of private agreement; decency is of public concern. ~~ Marguerite Yourcenar


The greatest gift is the passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination. ~~ Elizabeth Hardwick


The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy -- that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~~ John Kenneth Galbraith


Elvira always lied first to herself before she lied to anybody else, since this gave her a conviction of moral honesty. ~~ Phyllis Bottome


Cowards can never be moral. ~~ Mohandas K. Gandhi


America is not a mere body of traders; it is a body of free men. Our greatness is built upon our freedom -- is moral, not material. We have a great ardor for gain; but we have a deep passion for the rights of man. ~~ Woodrow Wilson


The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality. ~~ Dante Alighieri


Americans have always had an ambivalent attitude toward Intelligence. When they feel threatened, they want a lot of it, and when they don't, they regard the whole thing as somewhat immoral. ~~ Vernon A. Walters


The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell. ~~ Bertrand Russell


If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. ~~ Frederick Douglass


[Prediction for the next millennium:] Out of the ashes of materialism will rise the spectre of true morality and meaning of life. There will be greater compassion, concern, and commitment towards humans and nature by the year 3000. ~~ Arun Gandhi


As to moral courage, I have rarely met with the two-o'clock-in-the-morning kind: I mean unprepared courage, that which is necessary on an unexpected occasion; and which, in spite of the most unforeseen events, leaves full freedom of judgment and decision. ~~ Napolean


The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, "I was wrong." ~~ Sydney J. Harris


His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy. ~~ Woody Allen


Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo. ~~ H. G. Wells


Most of the errors of public life… come, not because men are morally bad, but because they are afraid of somebody. ~~ Woodrow Wilson


My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her. ~~ George Washington


We have two kinds of morality side by side: one which we preach but do not practice, and the other which we practice but seldom preach. ~~ Bertrand Russell


To be patriotic, hate all nations but your own; to be religious, all sects but your own; to be moral, all pretenses but your own. ~~ Lionel Strachey


It is probably safe to say that over a long period of time, political morality has been as high as business morality. ~~ Henry Steele Commager


Ultimately our moral sense or conscience becomes a highly complex sentiment--originating in the social instinct, largely guided by the approbation of our fellow men, ruled by reason, self-interest, and in later times by deep religious feelings, and confirmed by instruction and habit. ~~ Charles Darwin


Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment and learn again to exercise … his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals. ~~ Albert Schweitzer (see Said Who?)


An opinion, right or wrong, can never constitute a moral offense, nor be in itself a moral obligation. It may be mistaken; it may involve an absurdity, or a contradiction. It is a truth; or it is an error; it can never be a crime or a virtue. ~~ Frances Wright


The new century would be blessed if all of us would more than hitherto stress and live up to the moral principle of any human being's responsibility. ~~ Helmut Schmidt


Ambition is the subtlest beast of the intellectual and moral field. It is wonderfully adroit in concealing itself from its owner. ~~ John Adams [Second President of US]


Genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum. ~~ Charles Spencer


[Politeness is:] A tacit agreement that people's miserable defects, whether moral or intellectual, shall on either side be ignored and not be made the subject of reproach. ~~ Arthur Schopenhauer


With every physical pain, my moral fiber unravels a little. ~~ Mason Cooley


Every man has his moral backside too, which he doesn't expose unnecessarily but keeps covered as long as possible by the trousers of decorum. ~~ G. C. Lichtenberg


Great actions are sometimes historically barren; smallest actions have taken root in the moral soil and grown like banana forests to cover whole quarters of the world. ~~ Thomas Carlyle


No matter how brilliant a man may be, he will never engender confidence in his subordinates and associates if he lacks simple honesty and moral courage. ~~ J. Lawton Collins


I have often thought morality may perhaps consist solely in the courage of making a choice. ~~ Leon Blum


On the achievement of fame in government service: Of this be wary. Honor and fame are often regarded as interchangeable. Both involve an appraisal of the individual … but I suggest this difference. Fame is morally neutral. ~~ Edward R. Murrow


I have to live for others and not for myself; that's middle-class morality. ~~ George Bernard Shaw


There is no moral authority like that of sacrifice. ~~ Nadine Gordimer


I have never regarded politics as the arena of morals. It is the arena of interests. ~~ Aneurin Bevan


To be an American is of itself almost a moral condition, an education, and a career. ~~ George Santayana


The man whose only pleasure in life is making money, weighs less on the moral scale than an angleworm. ~~ Josh Billings


Moral courage is a more rare commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. ~~ Robert F. Kennedy


Words have their genealogy, their history, their economy, their literature, their art and music, as too they have their weddings and divorces, their successes and defeats, their fevers, their undiagnoseable ailments, their sudden deaths. They also have their moral and social distinctions. ~~ Virgilia Peterson


The consistent thinker, the consistently moral man, is either a walking mummy or else, if he has not succeeded in stifling all this vitality, a fanatical monomaniac. ~~ Aldous Huxley


Moral: Don't try and solve all your difficulties at the same time. Most will solve themselves or disappear. ~~ John Bingham


From 40 to 60 percent of the presidential office is not in administration but in morals, politics, and spiritual leadership … He has to guide a people in the greatest adventure ever undertaken on the planet. ~~ William Allen White


Love and respect woman. Look to her not only for comfort, but for strength and inspiration and the doubling of your intellectual and moral powers. Blot out from your mind any idea of superiority; you have none. ~~ Joseph Mazzini


No moral system can rest solely on authority. ~~ A. J. Ayer


The worst government is often the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression. ~~ H. L. Mencken


We may pretend that we're basically moral people who make mistakes, but the whole of history proves otherwise. ~~ Terry Hands


Mankind's true moral test… consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. ~~ Milan Kundera


America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle. We as a people have such a purpose today. It is to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world. ~~ George Herbert Walker Bush


Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it. ~~ Lewis Carroll [Alice in Wonderland]