- WIST is my personal collection of quotations, curated for thought, amusement, turn of phrase, historical significance, or sometimes just (often-unintentional) irony.
Please feel free to browse and borrow.
- 17,914 quotes and counting ...
Topic Cloudaction age America author beauty belief change character Christianity death democracy education ego error evil faith fear freedom future God government happiness history humanity integrity justice leadership liberty life love morality perspective politics power progress religion science society success truth virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've been adding topics/tags since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
- * Visual quotes (graphics, memes) only
- “Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National… (7,896)
- Agamemnon, ll. 175-183 [tr. Johnston (2007)] (6,026)
- “The Lesson for Today,” A Witness Tree (1942) (5,948)
- “The Triumph of Stupidity” (10 May 1933) (5,113)
- Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962) (4,889)
- “On The Conduct of Life” (1822) (4,282)
- “In Search of a Majority,” Speech,… (3,930)
- “Get a Knife, Get a Dog, but Get Rid of… (3,751)
- Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907) (3,592)
- “A Cult of Ignorance,” Newsweek (21 Jan 1980) (3,469)
Most Quoted Authors
Author CloudAdams, John • Bacon, Francis • Bible • Bierce, Ambrose • Billings, Josh • Butcher, Jim • Chesterton, Gilbert Keith • Churchill, Winston • Einstein, Albert • Eisenhower, Dwight David • Emerson, Ralph Waldo • Franklin, Benjamin • Fuller, Thomas (1654) • Gaiman, Neil • Galbraith, John Kenneth • Gandhi, Mohandas • Goethe, Johann von • Hazlitt, William • Heinlein, Robert A. • Hoffer, Eric • Huxley, Aldous • Ingersoll, Robert Green • James, William • Jefferson, Thomas • Johnson, Lyndon • Johnson, Samuel • Kennedy, John F. • King, Martin Luther • La Rochefoucauld, Francois • Lewis, C.S. • Lincoln, Abraham • Mencken, H.L. • Orwell, George • Pratchett, Terry • Roosevelt, Eleanor • Roosevelt, Theodore • Russell, Bertrand • Seneca the Younger • Shakespeare, William • Shaw, George Bernard • Stevenson, Adlai • Stevenson, Robert Louis • Twain, Mark • Watterson, Bill • Wilde, Oscar
- Only the 45 most quoted authors are shown above. Full author list.
- 18-Jan-21 - "The Christian Way of Life in Human Relations," speech, General Assembly fo the National Council of Churches, St Louis (4 Dec 1957) | WIST on Letter from Birmingham Jail (16 Apr 1963).
- 8-Jan-21 - ***Dave Does the Blog on Speech to the electors of Bristol (3 Nov 1774).
- 4-Jan-21 - Doing the Numbers, 12/2020 | WIST on Republic, Book 1, 347c.
- 4-Jan-21 - Doing the Numbers, 12/2020 | WIST on “On The Conduct of Life” (1822).
- 4-Jan-21 - Doing the Numbers, 12/2020 | WIST on Nobel prize acceptance speech (10 Dec 1962).
- 4-Jan-21 - Doing the Numbers, 12/2020 | WIST on Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907).
The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government is to live under the government of worse men.
Republic, Book 1, 347c
In Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Eloquence," Society and Solitude (1870).
More discussion here.
- "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics, is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
- The Constitution Party (1952-68) used on their letterhead the variant, "The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
- "The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men."
- "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber."
In context (Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vols. 5 & 6 [tr. Shorey (1969)]):[346e] "Then, Thrasymachus, is not this immediately apparent, that no art or office provides what is beneficial for itself -- but as we said long ago it provides and enjoins what is beneficial to its subject, considering the advantage of that, the weaker, and not the advantage the stronger? That was why, friend Thrasymachus, I was just now saying that no one of his own will chooses to hold rule and office and take other people's troubles in hand to straighten them out, but everybody expects pay for that, [347a] because he who is to exercise the art rightly never does what is best for himself or enjoins it when he gives commands according to the art, but what is best for the subject. That is the reason, it seems, why pay must be provided for those who are to consent to rule, either in form of money or honor or a penalty if they refuse." "What do you mean by that, Socrates?" said Glaucon. "The two wages I recognize, but the penalty you speak of and described as a form of wage I don't understand." "Then," said I, "you don't understand the wages of the best men [347b] for the sake of which the finest spirits hold office and rule when they consent to do so. Don't you know that to be covetous of honor and covetous of money is said to be and is a reproach?" "I do," he said. "Well, then," said I, "that is why the good are not willing to rule either for the sake of money or of honor. They do not wish to collect pay openly for their service of rule and be styled hirelings nor to take it by stealth from their office and be called thieves, nor yet for the sake of honor, [347c] for they are not covetous of honor. So there must be imposed some compulsion and penalty to constrain them to rule if they are to consent to hold office. That is perhaps why to seek office oneself and not await compulsion is thought disgraceful. But the chief penalty is to be governed by someone worse if a man will not himself hold office and rule. It is from fear of this, as it appears to me, that the better sort hold office when they do, and then they go to it not in the expectation of enjoyment nor as to a good thing, but as to a necessary evil and because they are unable to turn it over to better men than themselves [347d] or to their like. For we may venture to say that, if there should be a city of good men only, immunity from office-holding would be as eagerly contended for as office is now, and there it would be made plain that in very truth the true ruler does not naturally seek his own advantage but that of the ruled; so that every man of understanding would rather choose to be benefited by another than to be bothered with benefiting him. "
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Nov-20