Quotations about   busy-body

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The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
Minority Report, #323 (1956)
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Added on 30-May-17 | Last updated 30-May-17
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Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.

Twain - other peoples habits - wist_info quote

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, ch. 15, epigraph (1894)
Added on 25-Feb-16 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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If an American were condemned to confine his activity to his own affairs, he would be robbed of one half of his existence.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French writer, diplomat, politician
Democracy in America, Vol. 1, pt. 2, ch. 14 (1835)
Added on 18-Feb-16 | Last updated 18-Feb-16
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Human nature is so constituted, that all see and judge better in the affairs of other men than in their own.

Terence (186?-159 BC) African-Roman dramatist [Publius Terentius Afer]
(Attributed)
Added on 11-Feb-16 | Last updated 11-Feb-16
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Every man hath in his own life sins enough, in his own mind trouble enough, in his own fortune evils enough, and in performance of his offices failings more than enough, to entertain his own inquiry; so that curiosity after the affairs of others cannot be without envy, and an evil mind. What is it to me, if my neighbour’s grandfather were a Syrian, or his grandmother illegitimate; or that another is indebted five thousand pounds, or whether his wife be expensive?

Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667) English cleric and author
The Rules and Exercises of Holy Living (1650)
Added on 4-Feb-16 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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The self-styled reformers, the greatest bores of all.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
Walden, “Visitors” (1854)
Added on 28-Jan-16 | Last updated 28-Jan-16
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One who is too nice an observer of the business of others, like one who is too curious in observing the labor of bees, will often be stung for his curiosity.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1727)
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Added on 21-Jan-16 | Last updated 21-Jan-16
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No tendency is quite so strong in human nature as the desire to lay down rules of conduct for other people.

William Howard Taft (1857-1930) US President (1909-13) and Chief Justice (1921-1930)
Ladies Home Journal (May 1919)

Regarding the temperance movement. Quoted in Robert J. Schoenberg, Mr. Capone (1992).
Added on 17-Aug-15 | Last updated 17-Aug-15
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The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in
the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil in someone else. The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist
On Liberty, ch. 1 (1859)
Added on 5-Aug-15 | Last updated 24-Feb-16
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She’s the sort of woman who lives for others — you can always tell the others by their haunted expression.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Screwtape Letters, ch. 26 (1982 ed. (1942))
Added on 2-Mar-15 | Last updated 2-Mar-15
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The first thing men do when they have renounced pleasure, through decency, lassitude, or for the sake of health, is to condemn it in others. Such conduct denotes a kind of latent affection for the very things they left off; they would like no one to enjoy a pleasure they can no longer indulge in; and thus they show their feelings of jealousy.

Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
“Of Mankind,” The Characters [Les Caractères] (1688)
Added on 2-Apr-13 | Last updated 14-Jan-16
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Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, ch. 15, epigraph (1894)
Added on 22-Mar-13 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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ABSTAINER, n. A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure. A Total Abstainer is one who abstains from everything, but abstention, and especially from inactivity in the affairs of others.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
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Added on 12-Mar-13 | Last updated 17-Jul-17
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If we would all ov us take kare ov our own souls, and let our nabors alone, thare would be less time lost, and more souls saved.

[If we would all of us take care of our own souls, and let our neighbors alone, there would be less time lost and more souls saved.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Josh Billings: His Works, Complete (1873)
Added on 23-Jul-12 | Last updated 12-Dec-17
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You will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Self-Reliance,” Essays: First Series (1841)
Added on 21-Oct-09 | Last updated 27-Feb-17
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Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies, The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
God in the Dock, “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment” (1970)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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