Quotations about   accountability

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They [the hours] pass by, and are put to our account.

[Nobis pereunt et imputantur.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 5, #20, line 13

This phrase is often found as an inscription on sundials.

Alt. trans.:
  • "As it is, neither of us lives for himself, but sees his good days flee from him and vanish; days which are ever being lost to us, and set down to our account. Should any one, then, delay to live, when he knows how?" [tr. Bohn (1871)]
  • "Now to himself, alas! does neither live / But see good suns of which we are to give / A strict account, set and march thick away. / Knows a man how to live, and does he stay?" [tr. Cowley]
  • "To-day neither lives for himself, and he feels the good days are flitting and passing away, our days that perish and are scored to our account. Does any man, when he knows how to live, delay?" [tr. Ker (1919)]
  • "Each of us feels the good days speed and depart, and they are lost and counted against us. [bonosque soles effugere atque abire sentit, qui nobis pereunt et imputantur]" [Source]
  • "The hours perish to us, and are accounted also to us." [Source]

    Nunc vivit sibi euter,heu, bonosque Soles effugere atque abire sentit: Qui nobis pereunt et imputantur. Quisquan vive cum sciat, moratur?
Added on 25-May-18 | Last updated 25-May-18
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Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) German Lutheran pastor, theologian, martyr
Letter to Renate and Eberhard Bethge (1944)
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "It is not the thought but readiness to take responsibility that is the mainspring of action."
Added on 21-Aug-17 | Last updated 21-Aug-17
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In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and in eternity.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Annual Message to Congress (1 Dec 1862)
Added on 22-Mar-17 | Last updated 22-Mar-17
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With great power there must also come — great responsibility!

lee-great-power-comes-great-responsibility-wist_info-quote

Stan Lee (b. 1922) American comic-book writer, publisher, media personality [b. Stanley Martin Lieber]
Amazing Fantasy (Aug 1962)

Used in the original Spider-Man story.
Added on 20-Jan-17 | Last updated 20-Jan-17
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This is the affirmation on which democracy rests … [W]e can all be responsible … We become what we do. So does the world we live in, if enough of us do it — whether “it” be good or detestable. This is the burden of freedom: that it is all our fault or our credit.

Herbert Agar (1897-1980) American journalist and historian
“The Perils of Democracy” (1966)
Added on 7-Nov-16 | Last updated 7-Nov-16
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A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist
On Liberty, ch. 1 “Introductory” (1859)
Added on 3-Aug-16 | Last updated 3-Aug-16
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Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Galatians 6:7 (KJV)
Added on 25-May-16 | Last updated 25-May-16
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Let the Care of one’s business be committed but to one Person; for otherwise, besides Disagreement which may arise when Account is taken, everyone’s Answer is, That he thought others had done it.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Introductio ad Prudentiam, #1072 (1731)
Added on 21-Dec-15 | Last updated 21-Dec-15
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Security is not a license for people in authority to hide tactics they would never openly admit to using.

John G. Hemry (contemp.) American naval officer, author [pseud. Jack Campbell]
The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Invincible (2012)
Added on 23-Jul-14 | Last updated 23-Jul-14
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I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility.

John Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834-1902) British historian
Letter to Bp. Mandell Creighton (3 Apr 1887)
Added on 21-Jan-14 | Last updated 21-Jan-14
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The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Kansas City Star (7 May 1918)

Reprinted in "Lincoln and Free Speech," The Great Adventure (1926).
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 22-Aug-16
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It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do.

Molière (1622-1673) French playwright, actor [stage name for Jean-Baptiste Poquelin]
(Attributed)

Alt. trans.: "It is not what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 24-Aug-15
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