Quotations about   choice

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A Reverend Donald Wildmon in Mississippi heard something on the radio that he didn’t like. Well, Reverend, did anyone ever tell you there are two knobs on the radio? Two. Knobs. On the radio. Of course, I’m sure the reverend isn’t that comfortable with anything that has two knobs on it … But hey, Reverend, there are two knobs on the radio! One of them turns the radio off, and the other one changes the station! Imagine that, Reverend, you can actually change the station! It’s called freedom of choice, and it’s one of the principles this country was founded upon. Look it up in the library, Reverend, if you have any of them left when you’ve finished burning all the books.

George Carlin (1937-2008) American comedian
“What Am I Doing in New Jersey?” (1988)
Added on 1-Apr-21 | Last updated 1-Apr-21
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“This I choose to do,” she croaked, her breath leaving little clouds in the air. She cleared her throat and started again. “This I choose to do. If there is a price, this I choose to pay. If it is my death, then I choose to die. Where this takes me, there I choose to go. I choose. This I choose to do.”

It wasn’t a spell, except in her own head, but if you couldn’t make spells work in your own head, you couldn’t make them work at all.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Wintersmith, ch. 1 [Tiffany] (2006)
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Added on 2-Mar-21 | Last updated 2-Mar-21
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In their moral justification, the argument of the lesser evil has played a prominent role. If you are confronted with two evils, thus the argument runs, it is your duty to opt for the lesser one, whereas it is irresponsible to refuse to choose altogether. […] Politically, the weakness of the argument has always been that those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
“Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship” (1964)
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Added on 4-Feb-21 | Last updated 4-Feb-21
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The intellect of man is forced to choose
Perfection of the life or of the work.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) Irish poet and dramatist
“The Choice” (1933)
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Added on 25-Jan-21 | Last updated 25-Jan-21
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Another point of disagreement is not factual but involves the ethical/moral principle […] sometimes referred to as the “politics of moral witness.” Generally associated with the religious left, secular leftists implicitly invoke it when they reject LEV on the grounds that “a lesser of two evils is still evil.” Leaving aside the obvious rejoinder that this is exactly the point of lesser evil voting — i.e. to do less evil, what needs to be challenged is the assumption that voting should be seen a form of individual self-expression rather than as an act to be judged on its likely consequences. […] The basic moral principle at stake is simple: not only must we take responsibility for our actions, but the consequences of our actions for others are a far more important consideration than feeling good about ourselves.

Noam Chomsky (b. 1928) American linguist and activist
“An Eight Point Brief for LEV (Lesser Evil Voting)” (15 Jun 2016) [with John Halle]
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Added on 21-Oct-20 | Last updated 21-Oct-20
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MORELLA: There is always choice. We say that there is no choice only to comfort ourselves with a decision we have already made.

J. Michael (Joe) Straczynski (b. 1954) American screenwriter, producer, author [a/k/a "JMS"]
Babylon 5, 3×09 “Point of No Return” (26 Feb 1996)
Added on 23-Jul-20 | Last updated 23-Jul-20
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We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) English prelate, Catholic Cardinal, theologian
Letter to Mrs. William Froude (27 Jun 1848)
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In C. S. Dessain (ed.), Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, vol. 12 "Rome to Birmingham" (1961).
Added on 30-Jun-20 | Last updated 30-Jun-20
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It is worse than useless to try to put down by law a practice which a very large number of people believes to be innocent, and which must be left to the taste and conscience of the individual.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“The Birth-Rate” (1917), Outspoken Essays: First Series (1919)
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Speaking of birth control.
Added on 16-Mar-20 | Last updated 16-Mar-20
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Marriage is not a noun, it’s a verb. It’s not something you have, like a house or a car. It is not a piece of paper that proves you are husband and wife. Marriage is a behavior. It is a choice you make over and over again, reflected in the way you treat your partner every day.

Barbara De Angelis (b. 1951) American relationship consultant, lecturer, author
Ask Barbara: The 100 Most-Asked Questions About Love, Sex, and Relationships (1997)
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Added on 25-May-18 | Last updated 25-May-18
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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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I chose and my world was shaken. —
So what?
The choice may have been mistaken,
The choosing was not.
You have to move on.

Stephen Sondheim (b. 1930) American composer and lyricist
“Sunday in the Park with George” (1984)
Added on 31-Oct-16 | Last updated 31-Oct-16
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When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.

james-itself-a-choice-wist_info-quote

William James (1842-1910) American psychologist and philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 17-Oct-16 | Last updated 17-Oct-16
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Take sides! Always take sides! You will sometimes be wrong — but the man who refuses to take sides must always be wrong! Heaven save us from poltroons who fear to make a choice.

heinlein-take-sides-always-take-sides-wist_info-quote

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Double Star (1956)
Added on 10-Oct-16 | Last updated 10-Oct-16
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Fate chooses our relatives, we choose our friends.

Jacques Delille (1738-1813) French poet, translator
“Malheur et Pitié,” Canto 1 (1803)
Added on 3-Oct-16 | Last updated 3-Oct-16
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We choose our joys and our sorrows long before we experience them.

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) Lebanese-American poet, writer, painter [Gibran Khalil Gibran]
Sand and Foam (1926)
Added on 26-Sep-16 | Last updated 26-Sep-16
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Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.

franklin-slower-in-changing-wist_info-quote

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack
Added on 19-Sep-16 | Last updated 19-Sep-16
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It’s important to be kind. You can’t know all the times that you’ve hurt people in tiny, significant ways. It’s easy to be cruel without meaning to be. There’s nothing you can do about that. But you can choose to be kind. Be kind.

Other Authors and Sources
Beep Boop Robots Tumblr (6 Aug 2016)
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Quoting an elderly lady.
Added on 26-Aug-16 | Last updated 26-Aug-16
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Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music, and rings itself all the way through; and thou shalt make of it a dance, a dirge, or a grand life-march as thou wilt.

Carlyle - a dance a dirge - wist_info quote

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
(Attributed)

Variant: "Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music and rings itself the way through, and you make of it a dance, a dirge, or a life-march, as thou wilt."

The earliest reference I can find to this is its quotation in (or perhaps adjacent to) Kate W. Hamilton, "Ariel Seaton's Rainy Day," The Ladies' Repository (Jan 1868).
Added on 27-Apr-16 | Last updated 27-Apr-16
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There isn’t a way things should be. There’s just what happens, and what we do.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
A Hat Full of Sky (2004)
Added on 23-Sep-15 | Last updated 23-Sep-15
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There’s always, always a choice. My options might really, truly suck, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a choice.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Cold Days (2012)
Added on 9-Sep-14 | Last updated 9-Sep-14
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Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.

Jeff Bezos (b. 1964) American business magnate, entrepreneur, investor
Commencement Speech, Princeton University (2010)
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Added on 19-Aug-14 | Last updated 19-Aug-14
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If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
Added on 14-Apr-14 | Last updated 14-Apr-14
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All theory is against the freedom of the will; all experience for it.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (15 Apr 1778)

In James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)
Added on 13-Dec-13 | Last updated 13-Dec-13
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If a man has a genuine, sincere, hearty wish to get rid of his liberty, if he is really bent upon becoming a slave, nothing can stop him. And the temptation is to some natures a very great one. Liberty is often a heavy burden on a man. It involves that necessity for perpetual choice which is the kind of labor men have always dreaded. In common life we shirk it by forming habits, which take the place of self-determination. In politics party-organization saves us the pains of much thinking before deciding how to cast our vote.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894) American poet, essayist, scholar
Elsie Venner, ch. 18 (1859)
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Added on 12-Oct-10 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
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We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.

Carlos Casteneda (1931-1999) Peruvian-American writer, mystic, anthropologist
The Teachings of Don Juan (1968)

Also attributed to Journey to Ixtlan (1972).
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 19-Sep-16
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You don’t get to control any outcome, only every choice you make along the way.

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Stephen C. Paul
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-May-14
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