Quotations about   consistency

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In our judgment of men, we are to beware of giving any great importance to occasional acts. By acts of occasional virtue weak men endeavour to redeem themselves in their own estimation, vain men to exalt themselves in that of mankind.

Henry Taylor (1800-1886) English dramatist, poet, bureaucrat, man of letters
The Statesman: An Ironical Treatise on the Art of Succeeding, ch. 3 (1836)
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Added on 8-Aug-17 | Last updated 8-Aug-17
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No well-informed person has declared a change of opinion to be inconstancy.

[Nemo doctus unquam mutationem consilii inconstantiam dixit esse.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Epistulae ad Atticum, Book 16, Letter 7 (59-54 BC)

Alt. trans.: No philosopher ever yet -- and there has been a great deal written upon the subject -- defined a mere change of plan as vacillation. [Nemo doctus umquam (multa autem de hoc genere scripta sunt) mutationem consili inconstantiam dixit esse.]

Often mis-cited as Letter 8.
Added on 13-Jul-17 | Last updated 18-Jul-17
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Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one’s mind.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
Of Human Bondage, ch. 39 (1915)
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Added on 15-Jun-17 | Last updated 15-Jun-17
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If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.

Jackie "Moms" Mabley (1894-1975) American standup comedian [stage name of Loretta Mary Aiken]
(Attributed)

Also attributed to a number of other comics of the era.
Added on 8-Dec-16 | Last updated 8-Dec-16
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Any fool could devise a more consistent system than exists, but even a despot can rarely institute one.

Alfred Louis "A. L." Kroeber (1876-1960) American cultural anthropologist
The Nature of Culture, ch. 14 (1952)
Added on 14-Nov-16 | Last updated 14-Nov-16
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Obstinacy in a bad cause is but consistency in a good.

Thomas Browne (1605-1682) English physician and author
Religio Medici, 1.25 (1642) [ed. Symonds (1886)]
Added on 18-May-16 | Last updated 18-May-16
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“Do you think the world is growing worse?” Mr. Hennessy asked.
“I do not,” said Mr. Dooley.
“Do you think it’s growing better?”
“No,” said Mr. Dooley. “If it’s doing anything, it’s just turning around as usual.”

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
(Attributed)

Usually paraphrased as "The world is not growing worse and it is not growing better -- it is just turning around as usual."
Added on 26-Feb-16 | Last updated 26-Feb-16
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To live bravely by convictions from which the free peoples of the world can take heart, the American people must put their faith in long-range policies — political, economic, and military — programs that will not be heated and cooled with the brightening and waning of tensions. The United States has matured to world leadership; it is time we steered by the stars, not by the lights of each passing ship.

Omar Bradley (1893-1981) American general
Speech, Memorial Day, Longmeadow, Mass. (31 May 1948)
Added on 4-Feb-16 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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“They’re brothers,” said Zach, and you had to admire him, if only for his persistence. But it didn’t matter, because in an interview a lie can almost be as good as the truth. That’s because all good lies contain as much truth as the liar thinks they can get away with. This truth accumulates, and because it’s easier to remember the truth than something you’ve made up, it remains consistent where the lies do not. All you have to do is keep asking variations on the same questions, until you can sort one from the other. That’s why helping the police with their inquiries can take you all day — if you’re lucky.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Whispers Under Ground (2012)
Added on 30-Dec-15 | Last updated 30-Dec-15
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People are very open-minded about new things — as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
(Attributed)
Added on 28-Aug-15 | Last updated 28-Aug-15
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Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) American poet
“Song of Myself,” Sec. 51 (1855)
Added on 12-Jan-15 | Last updated 12-Jan-15
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Stupidity … is nature’s favorite resource for preserving steadiness of conduct and consistency of opinion.

Walter Bagehot (1826-1877) British businessman, essayist, journalist
Letter to London Inquirer (1851)
Added on 20-Nov-14 | Last updated 20-Nov-14
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Stare decisis is usually the wise policy, because in most matters it is more important that the applicable rule of law be settled than that it be settled right. … This is commonly true even where the error is a matter of serious concern, provided correction can be had by legislation. But in cases involving the Federal Constitution, where correction through legislative action is practically impossible, this court has often overruled its earlier decisions. The court bows to the lessons of experience and the force of better reasoning, recognizing that the process of trial and error, so fruitful in the physical sciences, is appropriate also in the judicial function.

Louis Brandeis (1856-1941) American lawyer, activist, Supreme Court Justice (1916-39)
Burnet v. Coronado Oil & Gas Co., 285 U.S. 393 (1932) [dissent]
Added on 11-Nov-14 | Last updated 11-Nov-14
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Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)

After Johnson.
Added on 8-Jun-09 | Last updated 21-Jun-16
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Opinions are made to be changed — or how is truth to be got at?

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Letter to John Murray (9 May 1818)
Added on 28-May-09 | Last updated 15-Jun-17
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With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon-balls and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Self-Reliance,” Essays: First Series (1841)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 28-Jul-16
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Persistence in a single view has never been regarded as a merit in political leaders.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Epistulae ad Familiares, 1.9.21
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
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Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 7:1-2 (KJV)

Alt. trans.:
  • "Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get."(NRSV)
  • "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (NIV)
  • "Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others." (GNT)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Jun-16
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