Quotations about   consensus

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The world is not what anyone wished for, but it’s what everyone wished for.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #11 (Spring 1999)
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Added on 16-Nov-21 | Last updated 16-Nov-21
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In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statues and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Debate #1, Ottawa, Illinois (21 Aug 1858)
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Added on 24-Sep-21 | Last updated 24-Sep-21
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By convention sweet is sweet, by convention bitter is bitter, by convention hot is hot, by convention cold is cold, by convention color is color. But in reality there are atoms and the void. That is, the objects of sense are supposed to be real and it is customary to regard them as such, but in truth they are not. Only the atoms and the void are real.

[νόμωι (γάρ φησι) γλυκὺ καὶ νόμωι πικρόν, νόμωι θερμόν, νόμωι ψυχρόν, νόμωι χροιή, ἐτεῆι δὲ ἄτομα καὶ κενόν]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 0 (Diels) [tr. Bakewell (1907)]
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Cited to Tetralogies of Thrasyllus, 9; Sext. Emp. Math VII 135. Alternate translations:

  • "Sweet exists by convention, bitter by convention, colour by convention; atoms and Void (alone) exist in reality ... We know nothing accurately in reality, but (only) as it changes according to the bodily condition, and the constitution of those things that flow upon (the body) and impinge upon it." [tr. Freeman (1948), frag. 9]
  • "By convention sweet is sweet, bitter is bitter, hot is hot, cold is cold, color is color; but in truth there are only atoms and the void." [tr. Durant, from Bakewell]
Added on 22-Dec-20 | Last updated 23-Feb-21
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Modern politics cannot be a matter of genuine moral consensus. And it is not. Modern politics is civil war carried on by other means.

Alasdair MacIntyre (b. 1929) Scottish philosopher
After Virtue: A Study of Moral Theory, ch. 17 (1981)
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Added on 23-Jun-20 | Last updated 23-Jun-20
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Divide and rule, the politician cries;
Unite and lead, is watchword of the wise.

[Entzwei’ und gebiete! Tüchtig Wort;
Verein’ und leite! Beßrer Hort!]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Sprüche in Reimen (1819)
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Alt. trans.:
  • "Divide and command, a wise maxim; / Unite and guide, a better."
  • "Divide and rule, a capital motto! / Unite and lead, a better one!"
Added on 17-Aug-15 | Last updated 18-Nov-20
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Our public morality, then — the moral standards we maintain for everyone, not just the ones we insist on in our private lives — depends on a consensus view of right and wrong. The values derived from religious belief will not — and should not — be accepted as part of the public morality unless they are shared by the pluralistic community at large, by consensus. That values happen to be religious values does not deny them acceptability as a part of this consensus. But it does not require their acceptability, either.

Mario Cuomo (1932-2015) American politician
“Religious Belief and Public Morality,” John A. O’Brien Lecture, U. of Notre Dame (13 Sep 1984)
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Added on 4-May-15 | Last updated 4-May-15
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For those who want some proof that physicists are human, the proof is in the idiocy of all the different units which they use for measuring energy.

Richard Feynman (1918-1988) American physicist
The Character of Physical Laws ch. 3 “The Great Conservation Principles” (1965)
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Added on 9-Apr-08 | Last updated 10-Jan-20
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The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.

Max De Pree (1924-2017) American businessman and writer
Leadership Is An Art (1989)
Added on 17-Oct-05 | Last updated 1-Sep-15
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