Quotations about:

Note not all quotations have been tagged, so Search may find additional quotes on this topic.

PENTHEUS: Do you hold your rites
during the day or night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night.
The darkness is well suited to devotion.
PENTHEUS: Better suited to lechery and seducing women.
DIONYSUS: You can find debauchery by daylight too.

[Πενθεύς: τὰ δ᾽ ἱερὰ νύκτωρ ἢ μεθ᾽ ἡμέραν τελεῖς;
Διόνυσος: νύκτωρ τὰ πολλά: σεμνότητ᾽ ἔχει σκότος.
Πενθεύς: τοῦτ᾽ ἐς γυναῖκας δόλιόν ἐστι καὶ σαθρόν.
Διόνυσος: κἀν ἡμέρᾳ τό γ᾽ αἰσχρὸν ἐξεύροι τις ἄν.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 485ff (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

PENTHEUS: By night or day these sacred rites perform'st thou ?
BACCHUS: Mostly by nighty for venerable is darkness.
PENTHEUS: To women this is treacherous and unsafe.
BACCHUS: E'en in the broadest day may shame be found.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform the rites by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night; darkness conveys awe.
PENTHEUS: This is treacherous towards women, and unsound.
DIONYSUS: Even during the day someone may devise what is shameful.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

PENTHEUS: Performest thou these rites by night or day?
DIONYSUS: Most part by night -- night hath more solemn awe.
PENTHEUS: A crafty rotten plot to catch our women.
DIONYSUS: Even in the day bad men can do bad deeds.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

PENTHEUS: Dost thou perform thy rites by day; or night?
DIONYSUS: Chiefly by night; darkness gives dignity.
PENTHEUS: Craft rather and seduction it denotes.
DIONYSUS: Base acts are oft made manifest by day.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 462ff]

PENTHEUS: Is it by night or day thou performest these devotions?
DIONYSUS: By night mostly; darkness lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Calculated to entrap and corrupt women.
DIONYSUS: Day too for that matter may discover shame.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

PENTHEUS: By night or day dost thou perform his rites? ⁠
DIONYSUS: Chiefly by night: gloom lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Ay -- and for women snares of lewdness too.
DIONYSUS: In the day too may lewdness be devised.
[tr. Way (1898)]

PENTHEUS: How is thy worship held, by night or day?
DIONYSUS: Most oft by night; 'tis a majestic thing,
The darkness.
PENTHEUS: Ha! with women worshipping?
'Tis craft and rottenness!
DIONYSUS: By day no less,
Whoso will seek may find unholiness.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

PENTHEUS: Do you celebrate your sacred acts at night or by day?
DIONYSUS: At night for the most party. Darkness possesses solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Darkness for women is deceitful and corrupt!
DIONYSUS: Even in daytime one could discover disgraceful behavior.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

PENTHEUS: Do you celebrate your mysteries by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Chiefly by night. Darkness induces religious awe.
PENTHEUS: For women darkness is treacherous and impure.
DIONYSUS: Impurity can be practiced by daylight too.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

PENTHEUS: These sacred practices of your god, the worship,
The rites of great devotion, do they
Hold at night, or in the day.
DIONYSUS: [...] We hold our rites mostly at night
Because it is cooler. And the lamps
Lend atmosphere and feeling to the heart in worship.
PENTHEUS: And I say night hours are dangerous
Lascivious hours, lechery ....
DIONYSUS: You'll find debauchery in daylight, too.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]

PENTHEUS: The rites -- at night or by day you perform them?
DIONYSUS: At night, mostly; there’s majesty in darkness.
PENTHEUS: And for women there’s trickery and smut.
DIONYSUS: Even by day one may discover shame.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform your mysteries
during the day or by night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night.
The dark is more conducive to worship.
PENTHEUS: You mean to lechery and bringing out the filth in women.
DIONYSUS: Those who look for filth, can find it at the height of noon.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

PENTHEUS: Do you worship in daylight or at night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night. Darkness is most sacred.
PENTHEUS: That is treacherous and unwholesome for women.
DIONYSUS: Some find shame even in daylight.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

PENTHEUS: Do you celebrate these sacred rites at night or in the day?
THE STRANGER: At night mostly, since darkness induces devotion.
PENTHEUS: No, darkness is devious and corrupts women.
THE STRANGER: Even in the day someone could devise shameful deeds.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

PENTHEUS: You practice this cult by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night. Darkness lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: Darkness is just a filthy trap for women.
DIONYSUS: Some people can dig up dirt in daytime, too.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform the rites by day? -- or night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night -- because the darkness has its holiness.
PENTHEUS: It's treacherous, for women, and corrupts them.
DIONYSUS: What's shameful can be found even by light of day.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000), l. 571ff]

PENTHEUS: Do you practice your rites at night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly at night: darkness lends solemnity.
PENTHEUS: This is an immoral trick aimed at women.
DIONYSUS: Someone could engage in shameful deeds even by day.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

PENTHEUS: And you perform these practices at night?
DIONYSUS: Man's true nature's seen in darkness not in light.
PENTHEUS: While darkness shrouds a woman's true duplicity.
DIONYSUS: Duplicity's not found in night exclusively.
[tr. Teevan (2002)]

PENTHEUS: Tell me, when do you hold your worship? By clear day, or dark night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night -- it is a majestic time.
PENTHEUS: Indeed! A majestic time to take advantage of women. Shameful!
DIONYSUS: There are enough shameful things done by day. And enough shameful thoughts in your head, I am sure!
[tr. Rao/Wolf (2004)]

PENTHEUS: These ... holy orgies of yours… do you perform them during the day or in the night?
DIONYSUS: Most of them during the night. Darkness adds a certain modesty.
PENTHEUS: That’s quite a dubious thing for the women… and rather lecherous, I’d say.
DIONYSUS: Shame, of course can be seen during the day, too, if it exists and if one were to look for it.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

PENTHEUS: Do you conduct the mysteries in the night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Us'ally by night, for darkness holds reverence.
PENTHEUS: Is this thing deceitful or unwholesome towards women?
DIONYSUS: One might also uncover shameful things i' the day.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

PENTHEUS: When you dance these rites,
is it at night or during daylight hours?
DIONYSUS: Mainly at night. Shadows confer solemnity.
PENTHEUS: And deceive the women. It's all corrupt!
DIONYSUS: One can do shameful things in daylight, too.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 604ff]

PENTHEUS: These mysteries. Do you practise them by day, or night?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night. Dark is better for devotion.
PENTHEUS: Better for lechery and the taking of women.
DIONYSUS: That happens in daylight too.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

PENTHEUS: And are these rites conducted by day or by night?
DIONYSUS: Night, for the most part. It’s so much more ... spiritual. Good for devotion.
PENTHEUS: The night’s a trap for women’s virtue.
DIONYSUS: And the day isn’t? You don’t get out much, do you?
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform your rituals by day or night?
DIONYSUS: By night. We believe that darkness is holy.
PENTHEUS: It's a cunning time to force filth upon women.
DIONYSUS: Vice thrives in daylight, too.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

PENTHEUS: Do you perform the sacred rites [hiera] by night or by day?
DIONYSUS: Mostly by night; darkness conveys awe.
PENTHEUS: This is treacherous towards women, and unsound.
DIONYSUS: Even during the day you can find what is shameful.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

Added on 28-Mar-23 | Last updated 28-Mar-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Euripides

Fraud, which so gnaweth at all men’s conscience,
A man may use on one who trusts him best
And on him also who risks no confidence.
This latter mode seems only to arrest
The love which Nature meaneth to endure;
Hence in the second circle huddled nest
Hypocrisy, flattery; they who would conjure
By spells; and simony; the thief, the cheat,
Pandars and barrators, and the like ordure.

[La frode, ond’ogne coscïenza è morsa,
può l’omo usare in colui che ‘n lui fida
e in quel che fidanza non imborsa.
Questo modo di retro par ch’incida
pur lo vinco d’amor che fa natura;
onde nel cerchio secondo s’annida
ipocresia, lusinghe e chi affattura,
falsità, ladroneccio e simonia,
ruffian, baratti e simile lordura.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 11, l. 52ff (11.52-60) [Virgil] (1320) [tr. Binyon (1943)]

On the punishment of common fraudsters, who do not betray a personal trust but only the natural love of humanity. This is still deemed worse, in Dante's cosmology, than deadly "bestial" violence.

Barratry is the sale of justice, employment, or public offices, going alongside simony, the sale of holy offices.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

That Fraud of which each Conscience feels the pangs
Man may commit 'gainst those who do confide
In him, as well as those who trust him not.
The first unhappily destroys the Bond
In general by Nature form'd: from whence
Confined in the second Circle are
The Hypocrites, the Flatterers, and they
Who practice Coz'ning, Sorcery, and Theft,
Base Simony, procuring with a smile,
Masked Deceit, and all such filthy tricks.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 53ff]

Fraud skulks below with all her various brood,
There darkling dwell the foes of public good.
The pilf'rer, and the cheat, his dark ally:
With those, whose felon hand their trust betray'd,
Hypocrisy in faintly garb array'd.
Corruption foul, and frontless Perjury.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 8]

Fraud, that in every conscience leaves a sting,
May be by man employ’d on one, whose trust
He wins, or on another who withholds
Strict confidence. Seems as the latter way
Broke but the bond of love which Nature makes.
Whence in the second circle have their nest
Dissimulation, witchcraft, flatteries,
Theft, falsehood, simony, all who seduce
To lust, or set their honesty at pawn,
With such vile scum as these.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Fraud, to the stricken conscience inly known,
Might man devise on him who faith disbursed,
And eke on him who credence had not shown.
The bond of love which nature framed at first.
But only that, the latter mode hath slain,
Whence nesting in the second orb lie curst
Hypocrites, and flatterers, and the wizard train,
Falseness, and simonies, and pilferers' trade,
Panders, and cheats, and all of foulest stain.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Fraud, which gnaws every conscience, a man may practice upon one who confides in him; and upon him who reposes no confidence.
This latter mode seems only to cut off the bond of love which Nature makes: hence in the second circle nests
hypocrisy, flattery, sorcerers, cheating, theft and simony, pandars, barrators, and like filth.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

And fraud, that every conscience can corrode --
Fraud may be practiced against them who trust,
And those who put no confidence in dust.
This seems to come behind, it only slays
The kindly chains of love that nature binds
Hence, in the lower circle, station finds
Hypocrisy, flattery and sorcery;
Falsification, robbery, simony,
Seduction, quarrels, and brutality.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

That fraud, which sharply, ev'ry conscience bites,
Man against those who trust in him may use,
Or against those by whom no trust is giv'n.
This latter seems to rend in twain the bond
Which Nature in her love for us hath made;
Whence in the second circle such are held;
Magic, hypocrisy, and flatters,
Vile falsehood, robbery and simony,
Panders and Userers, and such foul stuff.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Fraud, wherewithal is every conscience stung,
A man may practise upon him who trusts,
And him who doth no confidence imburse.
This latter mode, it would appear, dissevers ⁠
Only the bond of love which Nature makes;
Wherefore within the second circle nestle
Hypocrisy, flattery, and who deals in magic,
Falsification, theft, and simony,
Panders, and barrators, and the like filth.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

The fraud, wherewith every conscience is pricked, man can practise towards the one who trusts him, and towards him who has no confidence in store. This latter mode seems to destroy only the bond of love that nature makes; whence in the second circle have their nests hypocrisy, flatteries, and whoso uses arts; forgery, robbery, and simony; pandars, jobbers, and suchlike filth.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Such fraud, for which all must compunction feel.
Can man exert 'gainst him whose trust he shares,
And him whose thoughts no confidence reveal.
This latter fashion all unseemly tears
The golden chain of love which Nature weaves.
Whence gather in the second circle's lairs
Hypocrisy, all flattery that deceives,
Witchcraft, lies, thefts, the Simoniac blot.
Panders, chicaners, and all similar thieves.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Fraud, by which every conscience is bitten, man may practice on one that confides in him, or on one that owns no confidence. This latter mode seemeth to destroy only the bond of love that nature makes; wherefore in the second circle nestle hypocrisy, flatteries, and sorcerers, falsity, robbery, and simony, panders, barrators, and such like filth.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Fraud, with which there is no conscience but is bitten, a man may practise upon one who putteth his trust in him; and upon one who giveth no credit for fidelity. This last kind seemeth only to sever the bond of love which nature weaveth; and therefore is it that in the second circle there nestle hypocrisy, flattery, workers of sorcery, treachery, robbery and simony, panders, barrators, and such-like refuse.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Fraud, wherewithal is bitten every conscience,
A man may use regarding one who trusts him,
Or one who has no store of trust to deal with.
This latter way, as it would seem, slays only
The tie of love that nature itself fashions;
Whence make their nest within the second circle
Hypocrisy, smooth speeches, and bewitchment,
Forgery, thieving, and the sin of Simon,
Panders, and jobbers, and the like offscouring.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

Fraud, which always stings the conscience, a man may practice on one who confides in him or on one who does not so place his confidence; it is evident that this latter way destroys simply the bond of love which nature makes, so that in the next circle, hypocrisy, flatteries, sorceries, falsifications, theft, and simony, panders, jobbers, and like filth have their nest.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Fraud, which gnaws at every conscience, may be a breach
Of trust against the confiding, or deceive
Such as repose no confidence; though each
Is fraud, the latter sort seems but to cleave
The general bond of love and Nature's tie;
So the second circle opens to receive
Hypocrites, flatterers, dealers in sorcery,
Panders and cheats, and all such filthy stuff,
With theft, and simony and barratry.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

Fraud, which is a canker to every conscience,
may be practiced by a man on those who trust him,
and on those who have reposed no confidence.
This latter mode seems only to deny
the bond of love which all men have from Nature;
therefore within the second circle lie
simoniacs, sycophants, and hypocrites,
falsifiers, thieves, and sorcerers,
grafters, pimps, and all such filthy cheats.
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

Fraud, which gnaws at every conscience, a man may practice upon one who trusts in him, or upon one who reposes no condifence. This altter way seems to sever only the bond of love which nature makes; wherefore in the second circle hypocrisy, flatteries, sorcerers, falsity, theft, simony, panders, barratry, and like filth have their nest.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

Fraud, that gnaws the conscience of its servants,
can be used on one who puts his trust in you
or else on one who has no trust invested.
This latter sort seems only to destroy
the bond of love that Nature gives to man;
so in the second circle there are nests
of hypocrites, flatterers, dabblers in sorcery,
falsifiers, thieves and simonists,
panders, seducers, grafters and like filth.
[tr. Musa (1971)]

Now fraud, that eats away at every conscience,
is praticed by a man against another
who trusts in him, or one who has no trust.
This latter way seems only to cut off
the bond of love that nature forges; thus,
nestled within the second circle are:
hypocrisy and flattery, sorcerers,
and falsifiers, simony, and theft,
and barrators and panders and like trash.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Fraud, by which every conscience is bitten,
A man may practice on a person who trusts him
Or upon one who has no confidence in him.
This latter mode cuts only the bond of love
Which nature itself establishes;
And so there are, lodged in the second circle,
Hypocrisy, flatterers, and those who delude,
Falsity, thieving and simony,
Pimps, trouble-makers, and all such-like scum.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Fraud, which bites every conscience, a man may play
Either on one who trusts him, or one who does not.
The latter of the two is seen to destroy
Only those bonds of love that nature makes:
So in the second circle hypocrisy,
Flatterers, sorcery, larceny, simoniacs,
With pimps, barrators, and such filth have their nest.
[tr. Pinsky (1994), ll. 53-59]

Fraud, which bites at every mind, a man can use against one who trusts in him or against one who has in his purse no cause for trust.
This latter mode seems to cut solely into the bond of love that Nature makes; thus in the second circle find their nest
hypocrisy, flattery, casters of spells, impersonators, thievery and simony, panders, embezzlers, and similar filth.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

Human beings may practise deceit, which gnaws at every conscience, on one who trusts them, or on one who places no trust. This latter form of fraud only severs the bond of love that Nature created, and so, in the eighth circle, are nested hypocrisy; sorcery; flattery; cheating; theft and selling of holy orders; pimps; corrupters of public office; and similar filth.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

As for deceit -- which gnaws all rational minds --
we practise this on those who trust in us,
or those whose pockets have no room for trust.
Fraud of the second kind will only gash
the ligature of love that Nature forms:
and therefore in great Circle Two there nests
smarm and hypocrisy, the casting-up of spells,
impersonation, thievery, crooked priests,
embezzlement and pimping, such like scum.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

Fraud gnaws at every conscience,
whether used on him who trusted
or on one who lacked such faith.
Fraud against the latter only severs
the bond of love that nature makes.
Thus in the second circle nest
hypocrisy, flatteries, and sorcerers;
lies, theft, and simony;
panders, barrators, and all such filth.[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Fraud will gnaw at the conscience, but a man may bury
His heart and cheat the people who believe in him --
But trust's not needed, just opportunity.
This sinning slices away the soft-tied tether
Of love, prepared for us by Nature. The second
Circle is therefore a nest for flatterers
And hypocrites and liars, and those who press
Illiterate fools for high Church office, well-paid
For their filthy work, and bawds, and all such festering
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Fraud eats the conscience, whether used against
Those who trust us, or those who trust us not.
In the latter case, the bonds of love dispensed
By nature are undone. Thus you have got,
In Circle Eight, toadies and hypocrites,
Magicians, forgers, thieves, thugs, dealers in
Holy preferment, everything that fits
The definition of sheer filth.
[tr. James (2013)]

Added on 17-Mar-23 | Last updated 24-Mar-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Dante Alighieri

A conscience which has been bought once will be bought twice.

Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) American mathematician and philosopher
The Human Use of Human Beings, ch. 7 (1954)
Added on 28-Feb-23 | Last updated 28-Feb-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Wiener, Norbert

Evil communication corrupts good manners. I hope to live to hear that good communication corrects “bad manners.”

Benjamin Banneker
Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) American naturalist, surveyor, almanac author, mathematician
Handwritten note in one of his almanacs

Quoted in Friends' Intelligencer, vol. 11 (1854).
Added on 12-Dec-22 | Last updated 12-Dec-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Banneker, Benjamin

Whoever, in a prosperous station plac’d,
Is slothful and regardless of his household,
Intent on nought except bewitching song,
Will by his family, his friends, his country,
Be held in no esteem: for the best gifts
Of nature ineffectual prove, when pleasure,
Degrading pleasure, occupies the soul.

[ἁνὴρ γὰρ ὅστις εὖ βίον κεκτηµένος
τὰ µὲν κατ’ οἴκους ἀµελίᾳ παρεὶς ἐᾷ,
µολπαῖσι δ’ ἡσθεὶς τοῦτ’ ἀεὶ θηρεύεται,
ἀγρὸς µὲν οἴκοι κἂν πόλει γενήσεται,
φίλοισι δ’οὐδείς· ἡ φύσις γὰρ οἴχεται,
ὅταν γλυκείας ἡδονῆς ἥσσων τις ᾗ.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Antiope [Αντιοπη], frag. 187 (TGF, Kannicht) [Zethus/ΖΗΘΟΣ] (c. 410 BC) [tr. Wodhall (1809)]

(Source (Greek)). Barnes frag. 16, Musgrave frag. 29. See also frag. 200. Alternate translation:

For any man who well acquires a livelihood
and permits its decline with his indifference,
and who delights himself with song and dance
and is always chasing it, will be idle at home and in the polis,
and a nobody for his friends; for a man’s nature is lost
when he is conquered by the sweetness of pleasure.
[tr. Will (2015)]

Added on 25-Oct-22 | Last updated 25-Oct-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Euripides

Know your major defect. Every talent is balanced by a fault, and if you give in to it, it will govern you like a tyrant.

[Conocer su defecto rey. Ninguno vive sin él, contrapeso de la prenda relevante; y si le favorece la inclinación, apodérase a lo tirano.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 225 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

To know ones prevailing fault. Every one hath one, that makes a counterpoise to his predominant perfection. And if it be backt by inclination, it rules like a Tyrant.
[Flesher ed. (1685)]

Know your chief fault. There lives none that has not in himself a counterbalance to his most conspicuous merit: if this be nourished by desire, it may grow to be a tyrant.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

Know your chief weakness. No one lives without some counterweight to even his greatest gift, which when petted, assumes tyranny.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

Added on 17-Oct-22 | Last updated 9-Jan-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Gracián, Baltasar

If I may be his guide, you’ll lose him yet;
I’ll subtly lead him my way, if you’ll let
Me do so; shall we have a bet?

[Was wettet Ihr? den sollt Ihr noch verlieren!
Wenn Ihr mir die Erlaubnis gebt,
Ihn meine Straße sacht zu führen.]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust: a Tragedy [eine Tragödie], Part 1, sc. 3 “Prologue in Heaven,” l. 320ff [Mephistopheles] (1808-1829) [tr. Luke (1987)]

Mephisto to the Lord, on tempting His servant, Faust.

Some translations (and this site) include the Declaration, Prelude on the Stage, and Prologue in Heaven as individual scenes; others do not, leading to their Part 1 scenes being numbered three lower.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

What will you wager? Him you yet shall lose,
     If you will give me your permission
     To lead him gently on the path I choose.
[tr. Priest (1808)]

What will you bet? -- now I am sure of winning --
Only, observe you give me full permission
To lead him softly on my path.
[tr. Shelley (1815)]

What will you wager? you shall lose him yet, if you give me leave to guide him quietly my own way.
[tr. Hayward (1831)]

What wilt thou wager? Him thou yet shall lose,
If leave to me thou wilt but give,
Gently to lead him as I choose!
[tr. Swanwick (1850)]

What will you bet? You'll surely lose your wager!
If you will give me leave henceforth,
To lead him softly on, like an old stager.
[tr. Brooks (1868)]

What will you bet? There's still a chance to gain him,
If unto me full leave you give,
Gently upon my road to train him!
[tr. Taylor (1870)]

What wager you? you yet shall lose that soul!
Only give me full license, and you’ll see
How I shall lead him softly to my goal.
[tr. Blackie (1880)]

What will you wager? Give me but permission
To lead him gently on my way,
I'll win him from you to perdition.
[tr. Latham (1908)]

What will you bet? You'll lose him yet to me,
If you will graciously connive
That I may lead him carefully.
[tr. Kaufmann (1961)]

What will you bet? You'll lose him in the end, if you'll just give me your permission to lead him gently down my street.
[tr. Salm (1962)]

You'll lose him yet! I offer bet and tally,
Provided that your Honor gives
Me leave to lead him gently up my alley!
[tr. Arndt (1976)]

Would you care to bet on that? You'll lose, I tell you,
If you'll give me leave to lead the fellow
Gently down my broad, my primrose path.
[tr. Greenberg (1992)]

What would you wager? Will you challenge me
To win him from you? Give me your permission
To lead him down my path to his perdition?
[tr. Williams (1999)]

What do you wager? I might win him yet!
If you give me your permission first,
I’ll lead him gently on the road I set.
[tr. Kline (2003)]

Added on 16-Aug-22 | Last updated 25-Oct-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Goethe, Johann von

My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolts those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Margaret Bayard Smith (6 Aug 1816)
Added on 25-Jul-22 | Last updated 25-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadows about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores.

The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us.

P. J. O'Rourke (b. 1947) American humorist, editor
Parliament of Whores, “At Home in the Parliament of Whores” (1991)

Concluding words of the book.
Added on 19-Jul-22 | Last updated 19-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by O'Rourke, P. J.

To undermine the fundamental appeal of superheroes like Superman and Supergirl by re-casting them as anti-heroes at best or outright monsters — dragging imaginary childhood paragons off their pedestals to reinforce a fairly facile point about the tendency of real world heroes to exhibit feet of clay — struck me and strikes me still as imaginatively lazy.

Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison (b. 1960) Scottish comic book writer and playwright
“SUPERMAN and THE AUTHORITY annotations Pt 2,” blog entry (16 Feb 2022)
Added on 8-Jul-22 | Last updated 8-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Morrison, Grant

And if I turn back, refusing the road in its bitter end, where then shall I go among Elves or Men? Would you have me come to Gondor with this Thing, the Thing that drove your brother mad with desire? What spell would it work in Minas Tirith? Shall there be two cities of Minas Morgul, grinning at each other across a dead land filled with rottenness?’

‘I would not have it so,’ said Faramir.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 2: The Two Towers, Book 4, ch. 6 “The Forbidden Pool” [Frodo and Faramir] (1954)
Added on 30-Jun-22 | Last updated 30-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Tolkien, J.R.R.

Compassion is probably the only antitoxin of the soul. Where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless. One would rather see the world run by men who set their hearts on toys but are accessible to pity, than by men animated by lofty ideals whose dedication makes them ruthless. In the chemistry of man’s soul, almost all noble attributes — courage, honor, hope, faith, duty, loyalty, etc. — can be transmuted into ruthlessness. Compassion alone stands apart from the continuous traffic between good and evil proceeding within us.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The Passionate State of Mind, Aphorism 139 (1955)
Added on 23-Jun-22 | Last updated 23-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Hoffer, Eric

But much I fear, that when this great truth shall be re-established, its votaries will fall into the fatal error of fabricating formulas of creed and confessions of faith, the engines which so soon destroyed the religion of Jesus, and made of Christendom a mere Aceldama; that they will give up morals for mysteries, and Jesus for Plato. How much wiser are the Quakers, who, agreeing in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, schismatize about no mysteries, and, keeping within the pale of common sense, suffer no speculative differences of opinion, any more than of feature, to impair the love of their brethren. Be this the wisdom of Unitarians, this the holy mantle which shall cover within its charitable circumference all who believe in one God, and who love their neighbor!

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Benjamin Waterhouse (26 Jun 1822)
Added on 21-Jun-22 | Last updated 21-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

‘But if you’ll pardon my speaking out, I think my master was right. I wish you’d take his Ring. You’d put things to rights. You’d stop them digging up the Gaffer and turning him adrift. You’d make some folk pay for their dirty work.’

‘I would,’ she said. ‘That is how it would begin. But it would not stop with that, alas!’

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, ch. 7 “The Mirror of Galadriel” [Sam and Galadriel] (1954)
Added on 16-Jun-22 | Last updated 16-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Tolkien, J.R.R.

The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying but they keep lying anyway, and we keep pretending to believe them.

Elena Gorokhova
Elena Gorokhova (b. 1955) Russo-American novelist, linguist, educator
A Mountain of Crumbs: A Memoir, ch. 13 (2010)

On the relationship between the Soviet government and media and the Soviet people. Sometimes attributed to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Added on 27-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Gorokhova, Elena

Fascist movements have been “draining swamps” for generations. Publicizing false charges of corruption while engaging in corrupt practices is typical of fascist politics, and anti-corruption campaigns are frequently at the heart of fascist political movements. Fascist politicians characteristically decry corruption in the state they seek to take over, which is bizarre, given that fascist politicians themselves are invariably vastly more corrupt than those they seek to supplant or defeat.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, ch. 2 (2018)
Added on 14-Apr-22 | Last updated 14-Apr-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Stanley, Jason

The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature,” Essays, No. 13 (1625)

Often trimmed down to "In charity there is no excess."
Added on 25-Mar-22 | Last updated 25-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Bacon, Francis

“You are wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?”

“No!” cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. “With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.” His eyes flashed and his face was lit as by a fire within. “Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused. The wish to wield it would be too great for my strength. I shall have such need of it. Great perils lie before me.”

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, ch. 2 “The Shadow of the Past” (1954)
Added on 24-Mar-22 | Last updated 24-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Tolkien, J.R.R.

All things being equal, those who have more power are liable to sin more; no theorem in geometry is more certain than this.

[Caeteris paribus, on trouvera tousjours que ceux qui ont plus de puissance sont sujets à pécher davantage; et il n’y a point de théorème de géométrie qui soit plus asseuré que cette proposition.]

Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) German mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, polymath
Letter to Ernst, Landgrave of Hessen-Rheinfels (9 Jul 1688) [tr. Fasnacht (1952)]

Quoted by John Dalberg, Lord Acton (and thus often attributed to him).

Acton's quotation was in his Inaugural Lecture on History, Cambridge (11 Jun 1895). In the lecture, after mentioning the academic precept "never be surprised by the crumbling of an idol or the disclosure of a skeleton; judge talent at its best and character at its worst; suspect power more than vice," he footnotes this Leibniz quotation (in its source French, with the Latin introduction). This was in turn translated into English in G. E. Fasnacht, Acton's Political Philosophy, ch. 6 (1952), after which it became erroneously cited by others to Acton.

The source letter (in which Leibniz is discussing the Jesuits) is collected in Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Sämtliche Schriften und Briefe, Series 2, vol. 2, p. 278 (2009), reprinted in Stephen Voss, The Leibniz Arnauld Correspondence (2016) (the Source noted), which offers this alternate translation:

Other things being equal, one will always find that those who have more power are subject to sin more. And there is no theorem of Geometry more sure than this proposition.
[tr. Voss (2016)]

Added on 1-Mar-22 | Last updated 1-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm

We have now, it seems a National Bible Society, to propagate King James Bible, through all Nations. Would it not be better, to apply these pious Subscriptions, to purify Christendom from the corruptions of Christianity; than to propagate those Corruptions in Europe, Asia, Africa and America!

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Thomas Jefferson (4 Nov 1816)

After the founding of the American Bible Society (11 May 1816).
Added on 11-Feb-22 | Last updated 11-Feb-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, John

Who are those who are really disloyal? Those who inflame racial hatreds, who sow religious and class dissensions. Those who subvert the Constitution by violating the freedom of the ballot box. Those who make a mockery of majority rule by the use of the filibuster. Those who impair democracy by denying equal educational facilities. Those who frustrate justice by lynch law or by making a farce of jury trials. Those who deny freedom of speech and of the press and of assembly. Those who press for special favors against the interest of the commonwealth. Those who regard public office as a source of private gain. Those who would exalt the military over the civil. Those who for selfish and private purposes stir up national antagonisms and expose the world to the ruin of war.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“Who Is Loyal to America?” Harper’s Magazine #1168 (Sep 1947)

Reprinted in Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent (1954)
Added on 5-Jan-22 | Last updated 22-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Commager, Henry Steele

All the Sixties were complicated, you know. On the one hand it was funny too, you know; on the other hand it was cruel, you know. The Communists are so cruel, because they impose one taste on everybody, on everything, and who doesn’t comply with their teachings and with their ideology, is very soon labeled pervert, you know, or whatever they want you call it, or counterrevolutionary or whatever. And then the censorship itself, that’s not the worst evil. The worst evil is — and that’s the product of censorship — is the self-censorship, because that twists spines, that destroys my character because I have to think something else and say something else, I have to always control myself. I am stopping to being honest, I am becoming hypocrite — and that’s what they wanted, they wanted everybody to feel guilty, they were, you know… And also they were absolutely brilliant in one way, you know: they knew how effective is not to punish somebody who is guilty; what Communist Party members could afford to do was mind-boggling: they could do practically anything they wanted — steal, you know, lie, whatever. What was important — that they punished if you’re innocent, because that puts everybody, you know, puts fear in everybody.

Milos Forman
Jan Tomáš "Miloš" Forman (1932-2018) Czech-American film director, screenwriter, actor, academic
National Security Archive interview (18 Jan 1997)
Added on 20-Dec-21 | Last updated 20-Dec-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Forman, Milos

To many white Americans, President Obama must have been corrupt, because his very occupation of the White House was a kind of corruption of the traditional order. When women attain positions of political power usually reserved for men — or when Muslims, blacks, Jews, homosexuals, or “cosmopolitans” profit or even share the public goods of a democracy, such as healthcare — that is perceived as corruption.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, ch. 2 (2018)
Added on 16-Dec-21 | Last updated 16-Dec-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Stanley, Jason

Vile deeds are vile, no matter whether we know or do not know what, after death, will be the fate of the doer. We know, at least, what his fate is now, namely to be wedded to the vileness.

Felix Adler
Felix Adler (1851-1933) German-American educator
Life and Destiny, ch. 9 “Ethical Outlook” (1905)
Added on 18-Oct-21 | Last updated 18-Oct-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Adler, Felix

What is blasphemy? I will give you a definition; I will give you my thought upon this subject. What is real blasphemy?

To live on the unpaid labor of other men — that is blasphemy.

To enslave your fellow-man, to put chains upon his body — that is blasphemy.

To enslave the minds of men, to put manacles upon the brain, padlocks upon the lips — that is blasphemy.

To deny what you believe to be true, to admit to be true what you believe to be a lie — that is blasphemy.

To strike the weak and unprotected, in order that you may gain the applause of the ignorant and superstitious mob — that is blasphemy.

To persecute the intelligent few, at the command of the ignorant many — that is blasphemy.

To forge chains, to build dungeons, for your honest fellow-men — that is blasphemy.

To pollute the souls of children with the dogma of eternal pain — that is blasphemy.

To violate your conscience — that is blasphemy.

The jury that gives an unjust verdict, and the judge who pronounces an unjust sentence, are blasphemers.

The man who bows to public opinion against his better judgment and against his honest conviction, is a blasphemer.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
Speech to the Jury, Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, Morristown, New Jersey (May 1887)
Added on 13-Oct-21 | Last updated 13-Oct-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ingersoll, Robert Green

Allegiance to the group identity forged by political party affiliation renders Americans blind to the essential similarities between the agendas of the two parties, similarities that can be expected to be exactly the ones that run counter to public interest, in other words, those interests of the deep-pocketed backers of elections to which any politician must be subservient in order to raise the kind of money necessary to run for national office.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Propaganda Works, Introduction (2015)
Added on 7-Oct-21 | Last updated 7-Oct-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Stanley, Jason

Preacher preaching love like vengeance
Preaching love like hate
Calling for large donations
Promising estates
Rolling lawns and angel bands
Behind the pearly gates
You know he will have his in this life
But yours will have to wait
He’s immaculately tax free

Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell (b. 1943) Canadian singer-songwriter and painter [b. Roberta Joan Anderson]
“Tax Free” Joni Mitchell (1985)
Added on 17-Sep-21 | Last updated 17-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Mitchell, Joni

Few men, indeed, are so mad that they do not know when they are doing wrong. But so avid is their pursuit of goods that wrongdoing has become an element of all they do. To protest that fact is idle. Our politics, our business — little and big, our professions, our labor, are smitten in every facet with a corruption occasioned by reckless determination to make not just a reasonable profit but all the profit that can be wrung from every enterprise. Our commonest man, emulating his superiors, forges ahead with a brick on the safety valve of his conscience. Think over your morning paper in that light.

Philip Wylie (1902-1971) American author
Generation of Vipers (1942)
Added on 19-Jul-21 | Last updated 19-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Wylie, Philip Gordon

“It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of grey.”



“There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Carpe Jugulum [Rev. Mightily Oats, Granny Weatherwax] (1998)
Added on 25-May-21 | Last updated 25-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

The mistake is to assume that rulers who came to power through institutions cannot change or destroy those very institutions — even when that is exactly what they have announced that they will do.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
Added on 12-May-21 | Last updated 12-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

It is not pointless to acquire wealth but it is more evil than anything to get it from injustice.

[Χρήματα πορίζειν μὲν οὐκ ἀχρεῖον, ἐξ ἀδικίης δὲ πάντων κάκιον.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 78 (Diels) [tr. @sententiq (2018)]

Original Greek. Diels citation "78. (74 N.) DEMOKRATES. 43."; collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium 4, 31, 21. Bakewell lists this under "The Golden Sayings of Democritus." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter. Alternate translations:

  • "Making money is not without its value, but nothing is baser than to make it by wrong-doing." [tr. Bakewell (1907)]
  • "To make money is not without use, but if it comes from wrong-doing, nothing is worse." [tr. Freeman (1948)]
Added on 27-Apr-21 | Last updated 27-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Democritus

There is nothing more agreeable in life than to make peace with the Establishment — and nothing more corrupting.

A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) British historian, journalist, broadcaster [Alan John Percivale Taylor]
“William Cobbett” (1953), Essays in English History (1976)
Added on 12-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Taylor, A. J. P.

There is always someone ready to be lured to ruin by hope of gain.

[ἀλλ᾽ ὑπ᾽ ἐλπίδων ἄνδρας τὸ κέρδος πολλάκις διώλεσεν.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 221ff [Creon] (441 BC) [tr. Watling (1947)]

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

  • "But backed by hope, lucre has ruined many." [tr. Donaldson (1848)]
  • "Yet hope of gain hath lured men to their ruin oftentimes." [tr. Storr (1859)]
  • "But hope of gain full oft ere now hath been the ruin of men." [tr. Campbell (1873)]
  • "Yet by just the hope of it, money has many times corrupted men." [tr. Jebb (1891)]
  • "Yet lucre hath oft ruined men through their hopes." [tr. Jebb (1917)]
  • "Yet money talks, and the wisest have sometimes been known to count a few coins too many." [tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939)]
  • "But often we have known men to be ruined by the hope of profit." [tr. Wyckoff (1954)]
  • "But love of gain has often lured a man to his destruction." [tr. Kitto (1962)]
  • "But all too often the mere hope of money has ruined many men." [tr. Fagles (1982)]
  • "But hope -- and bribery -- often have led men to destruction." [tr. Woodruff (2001)]
  • "But profit with its hopes often destroys men." [tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)] https://diotima-doctafemina.org/translations/greek/sophocles-antigone/#post-1273:~:text=But%20profit,with%20its%20hopes%20often%20destroys%20men.
  • "Yet there are men who the mere hope of winning has killed them." [tr. Theodoridis (2004)]
  • "And yet men have often been destroyed because they hoped to profit in some way." [tr. Johnston (2005)]
  • "But often profit has destroyed men through their hopes." [tr. Thomas (2005)]
  • "But the profit-motive has destroyed many people in their hope for gain." [tr. @sentantiq (2018)]
Added on 1-Apr-21 | Last updated 9-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sophocles

We remark with pain that the indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced (we believe, for the first time) at the English Court on Friday last. This is a circumstance which ought not to be passed over in silence. National morals depend on national habits: and it is quite sufficient to cast one’s eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs, and close compressure of the bodies, in this dance, to see that it is far indeed removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is attempted to be forced on the respectable classes of society by the evil example of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so foul a contagion. Amicus Plato sed mogis amica veritas. We pay a due deference to our superiors in rank, but we owe a higher duty to morality. We know not how it has happened (probably by the recommendation of some worthless and ignorant French dancing-master) that so indecent a dance now has for the first time been exhibited at the English court; but the novelty is one deserving of severe reprobation, and we trust it will never again be tolerated in any moral English society.

(Other Authors and Sources)
“Dance Called the Waltz,” The Times of London, 2nd printing (16 Jul 1816)

After the "introduction" of the waltz at a London Ball given by the Prince Regent. The dance had actually been present in London dance studios since 1812, and waltz music had come across from Europe earlier than that.

The Latin means "Plato I love, but I love Truth more," attributed to Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1096a.15.
Added on 29-Mar-21 | Last updated 29-Mar-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by ~Other

The innocent and the beautiful
Have no enemy but time.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) Irish poet and dramatist
“In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz” (1927)
Added on 10-Mar-21 | Last updated 10-Mar-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Yeats, William Butler

A good cause has to be careful of the company it keeps.

Rebecca West (1892-1983) British author, journalist, literary critic, travel writer [pseud. for Cicily Isabel Fairfield]
“World of Books: The Greek Way,” Sunday Times of London (23 Aug 1942)
Added on 18-Feb-21 | Last updated 18-Feb-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by West, Rebecca

If we look at the techniques of totalitarian government, it is obvious that the argument of “the lesser evil” — far from being raised only from the outside by those who do not belong to the ruling elite — is one of the mechanisms built into the machinery of terror and criminality. Acceptance of lesser evils is consciously used in conditioning the government officials as well as the population at large to the acceptance of evil as such.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
“Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship” (1964)
Added on 11-Feb-21 | Last updated 11-Feb-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Arendt, Hannah

The corruption of the best things gives rise to the worst.

David Hume (1711-1776) Scottish philosopher, economist, historian, empiricist
The Natural History of Religion, ch. 10 “With Regard to Courage or Abasement” (1757)

Hume actually calls this "the vulgar observation," an English translation of the well-known Latin phrase corruptio optimi pessima.
Added on 29-Jan-21 | Last updated 29-Jan-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Hume, David

Our political system has been thoroughly corrupted, and by the usual suspect — money, what else? The corruption is open, obscene, and unmistakable. The way campaigns are financed is a system of legalized bribery. We have a government of special interests, by special interests, and for special interests. And that will not change until we change the way campaigns are financed.

Molly Ivins (1944-2007) American writer, political columnist [Mary Tyler Ivins]
You Got to Dance With Them What Brung You, Introduction (1998)
Added on 27-Jan-21 | Last updated 27-Jan-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ivins, Molly

Why, pray, should I speak of things which are incredible except to those who have seen them, that a host of private men have levelled mountains and built upon the seas? To such men their riches seem to me to have been but a plaything; for while they might have enjoyed them honourably, they made haste to squander them shamefully. Nay more, the passion which arose for lewdness, gluttony, and the other attendants of luxury was equally strong; men played the woman, women offered their chastity for sale; to gratify their palates they scoured land and sea; they slept before they needed sleep; they did not await the coming of hunger or thirst, of cold or of weariness, but all these things their self-indulgence anticipated.

[Nam quid ea memorem, quae nisi eis qui videre nemini credibilia sunt, a privatis compluribus subvorsos montis, maria constrata esse? Quibus mihi videntur ludibrio fuisse divitiae; quippe quas honeste habere licebat, abuti per turpitudinem properabant. Sed lubido stupri, ganeae ceterique cultus non minor incesserat; viri muliebria pati, mulieres pudicitiam in propatulo habere; vescendi causa terra marique omnia exquirere, dormire prius quam somni cupido esset, non famem aut sitim neque frigus neque lassitudinem opperiri sed omnia luxu antecapere.]

Sallust (c. 86-35 BC) Roman historian and politician [Gaius Sallustius Crispus]
Bellum Catilinae [The War of Cateline; The Conspiracy of Catiline], ch. 13, sent. 1-3 [tr. Rolfe (1931)]

Original Latin. Alt. trans.:

  • "Need I mention, what to all but eye-witnesses would seem incredible? whole mountains levelled to the valley by the expense and labour of individuals, and even the seas covered with magnificent structures! To such men riches seem to be a burden: what they might enjoy with credit and advantage to themselves, they seem in eager haste to squander away in idle ostentation. To these vices that conspired against the commonwealth, many others may be added, such as prostitution, convivial debauchery, and all kinds of licentious pleasure. The men unsexed themselves, and the women made their persons venal. For the pleasures of the table, sea and land were ransacked; the regular returns of thirst and hunger were anticipated; the hour of sleep was left to a price and accident; cold was a sensation not to be endured by delicate habits; luxury was the business of life, and by that every thing was governed." [tr. Murphy (1807)]

  • "It is needless to recount other things, which none but those who saw them will believe; as the levelling of mountains by private citizens, and even covering the sea itself with fine edifices. These men appear to me to have sported with their riches, since they lavished them in the most shameful manner, instead of enjoying them with honour. Nor were they less addicted to all manner of extravagant gratifications: men and women laid aside all regard to chastity. To procure dainties for their tables, sea and land were ransacked. They indulged in sleep before nature craved it; the returns of hunger and thirst were anticipated with luxury: and cold and fatigue were never so much as felt." [tr. Rose (1831)]

  • "For why should I relate those things which are credible to no one except to those who have seen them -- that mountains have been levelled, seas built over by many private persons, whose riches appear to me to have been a jest, since those which they might have used honourably, they hastened to abuse disgracefully? But no less a desire of wantoning, gluttony, and other fashion had come on, women exhibited their shame in the open air, for the sake of feasting they ransacked every place by sea and land, and slept before there was any desire of sleep, they waited not for hunger nor thirst, nor cold nor fatigue, but anticipated all these things through their luxury." [Source (1841)]

  • "For why should I mention those displays of extravagance, which can be believed by none but those who have seen them; as that mountains have been leveled, and seas covered with edifices, by many private citizens; men whom I consider to have made a sport of their wealth, since they were impatient to squander disreputably what they might have enjoyed with honor. But the love of irregular gratification, open debauchery, and all kinds of luxury, had spread abroad with no less force. Men forgot their sex; women threw off all the restraints of modesty. To gratify appetite, they sought for every kind of production by land and by sea; they slept before there was any inclination for sleep; they no longer waited to feel hunger, thirst, cold, or fatigue, but anticipated them all by luxurious indulgence." [tr. Watson (1867)]

  • "Why should I tell of things which no one who has not seen them could believe, of how often private individuals have levelled mountains and built over seas? Such men seem to me to have trifled with their riches in the haste with which they have ignobly abused what they might honourably have enjoyed. But the passion for defilement, gluttony, and all other kinds of indulgence, had kept pace with that for wealth. Each sex alike trampled on their modesty. Sea and land were ransacked to supply the table. Men went to trest before the felt a desire for sleep; they did not wait for hunger or thirst, cold, or weariness, but anticipated them all by luxurious expedients." [tr. Pollard (1882)]

  • "Why should I recall that numerous private individuals undermined mountains and paved over the seas -- things that are credible to no one except those who have seen them? To such men, it seems to me, their riches were a plaything: when they could have held them with honour, they hurried to misuse them disgracefully. But the lust which had arisen for illicit sex, gluttony and other refinements was no less: men took the passive role of women, women made their chastity openly available; everywhere, by land and by sea, was ransacked for the sake of feeding; they slept before there could be any desire for slumber: they did not wait for hunger or thirst nor for cold nor tiredness, but in their luxuriousness anticipated them all." [tr. Woodman (2007)]

Added on 8-Dec-20 | Last updated 8-Dec-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Sallust

No one has ever been known to decline to serve on a committee to investigate radicals on the ground that so much exposure to their doctrines would weaken his patriotism, nor on a vice commission on the ground that it would impair his morals. Anything may happen inside the censor, but what counts is that in his outward appearances after his ordeal by temptation he is more than ever a paragon of the conforming virtues. Perhaps his appetites are satisfied by an inverted indulgence, but to a clear-sighted conservative that does not really matter. The conservative is not interested in innocent thoughts. He is interested in loyal behavior.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
Men of Destiny, ch. 8 “The Nature of the Battle Over Censorship,” sec. 2 (1927)
Added on 2-Dec-20 | Last updated 2-Dec-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lippmann, Walter

As soon as riches came to be held in honour, when glory, dominion, and power followed in their train, virtue began to lose its lustre, poverty to be considered a disgrace, blamelessness to be termed malevolence. Therefore as the result of riches, luxury and greed, united with insolence, took possession of our young manhood. They pillaged, squandered; set little value on their own, coveted the goods of others; they disregarded modesty, chastity, everything human and divine; in short, they were utterly thoughtless and reckless.

[Postquam divitiae honori esse coepere et eas gloria, imperium, potentia sequebatur, hebescere virtus, paupertas probro haberi, innocentia pro malivolentia duci coepit. Igitur ex divitiis iuventutem luxuria atque avaritia cum superbia invasere; rapere, consumere, sua parvi pendere, aliena cupere, pudorem, pudicitiam, divina atque humana promiscua, nihil pensi neque moderati habere.]

Sallust (c. 86-35 BC) Roman historian and politician [Gaius Sallustius Crispus]
Bellum Catilinae [The War of Cateline; The Conspiracy of Catiline], ch. 12, sent. 1-2 [tr. Rolfe (1931)]

Original Latin. Alt. trans.:
  • "Riches became the epidemic passion; and where honours, imperial sway, and power, followed in their train, virtue lost her influence, poverty was deemed the meanest disgrace, and innocence was thought to be no better than a mark for malignity of heart. In this manner riches engendered luxury, avarice, and pride; and by those vices the Roman youth were enslaved. Rapacity and profusion went on increasing; regardless of their own property, and eager to seize that of their neighbours, all rushed forward without shame or remorse, confounding every thing sacred and profane, and scorning the restraint of moderation and justice." [tr. Murphy (1807)]

  • "When riches began to be held in high esteem, and attended with glory, honour, and power, virtue languished, poverty was deemed a reproach, and innocence passed for ill-nature. And thus luxury, avarice, and pride, all springing from riches, enslaved the Roman youth; they wantoned in rapine and prodigality; undervalued their own, and coveted what belonged to others; trampled on modesty, friendship, and continence; confounded things divine and human; and threw off all manner of consideration and restraint." [tr. Rose (1831)]

  • "After that riches began to be an honour and glory, and command and power followed them, virtue began to languish, poverty to be accounted matter of reproach, and innocence to be considered as malignity. Therefore from riches, luxury and avarice with pride came in upon our youth. They ravaged and wasted every thing, their own property they valued at a trifle, that of other persons they coveted, and had not the least care for, or moderation in, shame, modesty, sacred or profane things, which were all the same to them." [Source (1841)]

  • "When wealth was once considered an honor, and glory, authority, and power attended on it, virtue lost her influence, poverty was thought a disgrace, and a life of innocence was regarded as a life of ill-nature. From the influence of riches, accordingly, luxury, avarice, and pride prevailed among the youth; they grew at once rapacious and prodigal; they undervalued what was their own, and coveted what was another’s; they set at naught modesty and continence; they lost all distinction between sacred and profane, and threw off all consideration and self-restraint." [tr. Watson (1867)]

  • "Riches became a means of distinction and glory, power and influence followed their possession. As a result the edge of virtue was dulled, poverty was accounted a disgrace, and uprightness a kind of ill-nature. Riches made the youth prey to luxury, avarice, and pride: at once grasping and prodigal, they valued lightly their own property, while the coveted that of others; all modesty and purity, alike things human and things divine, everything, in short, was despised and disregarded." [tr. Pollard (1882)]

  • "After riches began to be a source of honour and to be attended by glory, command and power, prowess began to dull, poverty to be considered a disgrace and blamelessness to be regarded as malice. In the wake of riches, therefore, young men were attacked by luxury and avarice along with haughtiness; they seized, they squandered; they placed little weight on their own property and desired that of others; they considered propriety and unchastity, divine and human matters, as indistinguishable, and nothing as worth weight or restraint." [tr. Woodman (2007)]
Added on 1-Dec-20 | Last updated 1-Dec-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sallust

In truth, prosperity tries the souls of even the wise; how then should men of depraved character like these make a moderate use of victory?

[Quippe secundae res sapientium animos fatigant, ne illi corruptis moribus victoriae temperarent.]

Sallust (c. 86-35 BC) Roman historian and politician [Gaius Sallustius Crispus]
Bellum Catilinae [The War of Cateline; The Conspiracy of Catiline], ch. 11, sent. 8 [tr. Rolfe (1931)]

Alt. trans.:
  • "A series of prosperity is often too much even for the wisest and best disposed: that men corrupted should make a temperate use of their victory could not be expected." [tr. Murphy (1807)]
  • "For success unhinges the minds even of wise men; how then should they who were so depraved use their victory with moderation?" [tr. Rose (1831)]
  • "For success tries the minds of wise men, much less could they, when their morals were corrupted, use their victory with moderation." [Source (1841)]
  • "Success unsettles the principles even of the wise, and scarcely would those of debauched habits use victory with moderation." [tr. Watson (1867)]
  • "Since even the wise have their temper tried by prosperity, much less could men of this abandoned character use their success with moderation." [tr. Pollard (1882)]
  • "Successful situations overwhelm the minds even of the wise; still less wouild those men of corrupt morals moderate their victory." [tr. Woodman (2007)]
Added on 17-Nov-20 | Last updated 17-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sallust

Their frail human nature was subjected to a strain greater than it was made for; the fires of greed had been lighted in their hearts, and fanned to a white heat that melted every principle and every law.

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) American writer, journalist, activist, politician
Oil!, ch. 2 (1927)
Added on 29-Oct-20 | Last updated 29-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Sinclair, Upton

Hence the lust for money first, then for power, grew upon them; these were, I may say, the root of all evils. For avarice destroyed honour, integrity, and all the other noble qualities; taught in their place insolence, cruelty, to neglect the gods, to set a price on everything. Ambition drove many men to become false; to have one thought locked in the breast, another ready on the tongue; to value friendships and enmities not on their merits but by the standard of self-interest, and to show a good front rather than a good heart. At first these vices grew slowly, from time to time they were punished; finally, when the disease had spread like a deadly plague, the state was changed and a government second to none in equity and excellence became cruel and intolerable.

[Igitur primo imperi, deinde pecuniae cupido crevit: ea quasi materies omnium malorum fuere. Namque avaritia fidem, probitatem ceterasque artis bonas subvortit; pro his superbiam, crudelitatem, deos neglegere, omnia venalia habere edocuit. Ambitio multos mortalis falsos fieri subegit, aliud clausum in pectore, aliud in lingua promptum habere, amicitias inimicitiasque non ex re, sed ex commodo aestumare magisque voltum quam ingenium bonum habere. Haec primo paulatim crescere, interdum vindicari; post, ubi contagio quasi pestilentia invasit, civitas inmutata, imperium ex iustissumo atque optumo crudele intolerandumque factum.]

Sallust (c. 86-35 BC) Roman historian and politician [Gaius Sallustius Crispus]
Bellum Catilinae [The War of Catiline; The Conspiracy of Catiline], ch. 10, sent. 3-6 [tr. Rolfe (1931)]

Discussing the corruption of Rome in the years after the final defeat of Carthage.

Alt. trans.:
"A love of money, and a lust for power, took possession of every mind. These hateful passions were the source of innumerable evils. Good faith, integrity, and every virtuous principle, gave way to avarice; and in the room of moral honesty, pride, cruelty, and contempt of the gods succeeded. Corruption and venality were introduced; and everything had its price. Such were the effects of avarice. Ambition was followed by an equal train of evils; it taught men to be false and deceitful; to think one thing, and to say another; to make friendship or enmity a mere traffic for private advantage, and to set the features to a semblance of virtue, while malignity lay lurking in the heart. But at first these vices sapped their way by slow degrees, and were often checked in their progress; but spreading at length like an epidemic contagious, morals and the liberal arts went to ruin; and the government, which was before a model of justice, became the most profligate and oppressive." [tr. Murphy (1807)]

"First a love of money possessed their minds; then a passion for power; and these were the seeds of all the evils that followed. For avarice rooted out faith, probity, and every worthy principle; and, in their stead, substituted insolence, inhumanity, contempt of the gods, and a mercenary spirit. Ambition obliged many to be deceitful; to belie with their tongues the sentiments of their hearts; to value friendship and enmity, not according to their real worth, but as they conduced to interest; and to have a specious countenance, rather than an honest heart. These corruptions at first grew by degrees, and were sometimes checked by correction. At last, the infection spreading like a plague, the state was entirely changed, and the government, from being the most righteous and equitable, became cruel and insupportable." [tr. Rose (1831)]

"Therefore at first the love of money, then that of power increased. These things became as it were the foundation of all evils. For avarice overthrew faith, honesty, and all the other good acts; and instead of them it taught men pride, cruelty, to neglect the gods, and to consider everything venal. Ambition forced many men to become false, to have one thing hidden in their hearts, another ready on their tongue, to value friendships and enmities, not accordingly to reality, but interest, and rather to have a good appearance than a good disposition. These things at first began to increase by degrees, sometimes to be punished. Afterwards when the infection swept on like a pestilence, the state was changed, the government from the most just and best, became cruel and intolerable." [Source (1841)]

"At first the love of money, and then that of power, began to prevail, and these became, as it were, the sources of every evil. For avarice subverted honesty, integrity, and other honorable principles, and, in their stead, inculcated pride, inhumanity, contempt of religion, and general venality. Ambition prompted many to become deceitful; to keep one thing concealed in the breast, and another ready on the tongue; to estimate friendships and enmities, not by their worth, but according to interest; and to carry rather a specious countenance than an honest heart. These vices at first advanced but slowly, and were sometimes restrained by correction; but afterwards, when their infection had spread like a pestilence, the state was entirely changed, and the government, from being the most equitable and praiseworthy, became rapacious and insupportable." [tr. Watson (1867)]

"At first the lust of money increased, then that of power, and these, it may be said, were the sources of every evil. Avarice subverted loyalty, uprightness, and every other good quality, and in their stead taught men to be proud and cruel, to neglect the gods, and to hold all things venal. Ambition compelled many to become deceitful; they had one thought buried in their breast, another ready on their tongue; their friendships and enmities they valued not at their real worth, but at the advantage they could bring, and they maintained the look rather than the nature of honest men. These evils at first grew gradually, and were occasionally punished; later, when the contagion advanced like some plague, the state was revolutionized, and the government, from being one of the justest and best, became cruel and unbearable." [tr. Pollard (1882)]

"Hence it was the desire for money first of all, and then for empire, which grew; and these factors were the kindling (so to speak) of every wickedness. For avarice undermined trust, probity, and all other good qualities; instead it taught men haughtiness, cruelty, to neglect the gods, to regard everything as for sale. Ambition reduced many mortals to becoming false, having one sentiment shut away in the heart and another ready on the tongue, assessing friendships and antagonisms in terms not of reality but of advantage, and having a good demeanour rather than a good disposition. At first these things grew gradually; sometimes they were punished; but after, when the contamination had attacked like a plague, the community changed and the exercise of command, from being the best and most just, became cruel and intolerable." [tr. Woodman (2007)]

"At first the desire of power, then the desire of money increased; these were effectively the material of all evils, because avarice overturned faith, probity, and all other noble arts; in their place, it taught men to be arrogant and cruel, to neglect the gods, and to consider all things for sale. Ambition compelled many men to become liars; to hold one thing hidden in the heart, and the opposite thing at the tip of one’s tongue; to judge friends and enemies not in objective terms, but by reference to personal gain; and finally, to make a good appearance rather than to have a good mind. As these vices first began to increase, they were occasionally punished; but afterward, once the contagion had spread like a plague, the state as a whole was altered, and the government, once the noblest and most just, was made cruel and intolerable." [tr. @sententiq (2017)]

That it is the nature of ambition, to make men liars and cheaters; to hide the truth in their breasts, and show, like jugglers, another thing in their mouths; to cut all friendships and enmities to the measure of their own interest, and to make a good countenance without the help of good will. [tr. Cowley? (17th C)]
Added on 23-Oct-20 | Last updated 23-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sallust

When after the destruction of Brutus and Cassius there was no longer any army of the Commonwealth, when Pompeius was crushed in Sicily, and when, with Lepidus pushed aside and Antonius slain, even the Julian faction had only Cæsar left to lead it, then, dropping the title of triumvir, and giving out that he was a Consul, and was satisfied with a tribune’s authority for the protection of the people, Augustus won over the soldiers with gifts, the populace with cheap corn, and all men with the sweets of repose, and so grew greater by degrees, while he concentrated in himself the functions of the Senate, the magistrates, and the laws.

He was wholly unopposed, for the boldest spirits had fallen in battle, or in the proscription, while the remaining nobles, the readier they were to be slaves, were raised the higher by wealth and promotion, so that, aggrandised by revolution, they preferred the safety of the present to the dangerous past.

Nor did the provinces dislike that condition of affairs, for they distrusted the government of the Senate and the people, because of the rivalries between the leading men and the rapacity of the officials, while the protection of the laws was unavailing, as they were continually deranged by violence, intrigue, and finally by corruption.

[Postquam Bruto et Cassio caesis nulla iam publica arma, Pompeius apud Siciliam oppressus, exutoque Lepido, interfecto Antonio, ne Iulianis quidem partibus nisi Caesar dux reliquus, posito triumviri nomine, consulem se ferens et ad tuendam plebem tribunicio iure contentum, ubi militem donis, populum annona, cunctos dulcedine otii pellexit, insurgere paulatim, munia senatus, magistratuum, legum in se trahere, nullo adversante, cum ferocissimi per acies aut proscriptione cecidissent, ceteri nobilium, quanto quis servitio promptior, opibus et honoribus extollerentur ac novis ex rebus aucti, tuta et praesentia quam vetera et periculosa mallent. Neque provinciae illum rerum statum abnuebant, suspecto senatus populique imperio ob certamina potentium et avaritiam magistratuum, invalido legum auxilio, quae vi, ambitu, postremo pecunia turbabantur.]

Tacitus (c.56-c.120) Roman historian, orator, politician [Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus]
Annals Book 1, ch. 2 [tr. Church & Brodribb (1876)]

Alt. trans.:
After the deaths of Brutus and Cassius had disarmed the people, with Sextus Pompeius crushed off Sicily (in the naval defeat off Pelorum, 36BC), with Lepidus discarded and Antony’s life ended, the Julian faction itself would have been leaderless but for Octavian. Relinquishing his title of triumvir, he professed himself a plain consul, content to wield only a tribune’s authority in safeguarding the commons.

Seducing the military with gifts, the people with cheap grain, the world with the delights of peace, he gradually gained power, taking to himself the duties of the senate, the magistracy and the law, unopposed. The boldest had fallen in the field or been proscribed, the remaining nobility, raised to wealth and high office by their propensity for servitude, profiting from the turn of events, preferred security and their present situation to the dangers of the old order.

Nor did the provinces oppose this state of affairs, the power of the senate and people having been discredited by the quarrels among the great and the magistrates’ avarice, there being no help from a legal system skewed by force, favouritism and in the end bribery.

[tr. Kline (2017)]

When the killing of Brutus and Cassius had disarmed the Republic; when Pompey had been crushed in Sicily, and, with Lepidus thrown aside and Antony slain, even the Julian party was leaderless but for the Caesar; after laying down his triumviral title and proclaiming himself a simple consul content with tribunician authority to safeguard the commons, he first conciliated the army by gratuities, the populace by cheapened corn, the world by the amenities of peace, then step by step began to make his ascent and to unite in his own person the functions of the senate, the magistracy, and the legislature.

Opposition there was none: the boldest spirits had succumbed on stricken fields or by proscription-lists; while the rest of the nobility found a cheerful acceptance of slavery the smoothest road to wealth and office, and, as they had thriven on revolution, stood now for the new order and safety in preference to the old order and adventure.

Nor was the state of affairs unpopular in the provinces, where administration by the Senate and People had been discredited by the feuds of the magnates and the greed of the officials, against which there was but frail protection in a legal system for ever deranged by force, by favouritism, or (in the last resort) by gold.

[tr. Jackson [Loeb (1931)]]

After the public was disarmed by the murders of Brutus and Cassius, when Pompey had been defeated in Sicily, Lepidus discarded, and Antony had been killed, even the Julian party had Caesar as the remaining leader. Once he gave up the name of triumvir and was declaring himself a consul, happy to safeguard the common people with tribunal powers, he won over the army with payments, the people with food grants, and everyone else with pleasing peace.

Then, bit by bit, he began to arrogate to himself the duties of the senate, the executive offices, and the law because there was no one opposing him since the boldest men had died either in battle or by proscription. The remaining nobles discovered themselves increased by honors and wealth as soon as they accepted servitude: they preferred the present safety to ancient dangers.

The provinces too were not opposed to this state of affairs because the rule of the Senate and People there had been undermined by the struggles of the powerful and avarice of the officers against which there was the weak defense of laws which were corrupted by force, by nepotism and, finally, bribery.

[tr. @sententiq (2020)]
Added on 16-Oct-20 | Last updated 16-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Tacitus

The one and only test of a valid religious idea, doctrinal statement, spiritual experience, or devotional practice was that it must lead directly to practical compassion. If your understanding of the divine made you kinder, more empathetic, and impelled you to express this sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this was good theology. But if your notion of God made you unkind, belligerent, cruel, or self-righteous, or if it led you to kill in God’s name, it was bad theology. Compassion was the litmus test for the prophets of Israel, for the rabbis of the Talmud, for Jesus, for Paul, and for Muhammad, not to mention Confucius, Lao-tsu, the Buddha, or the sages of the Upanishads.

Karen Armstrong (b. 1944) British author, comparative religion scholar
The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness (2004)
Added on 12-Oct-20 | Last updated 12-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Armstrong, Karen

KING : Am I the strongest or am I not?
BECKET: You are, today. But one must never drive one’s enemy to despair. It makes him strong. Gentleness is better politics. It saps virility. A good occupational force must never crush, it must corrupt.

Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) French dramatist
Becket, Act 2 (1959) [tr. Hill (1961)

The lines remain intact in Edward Anhalt's 1964 screenplay.
Added on 17-Sep-20 | Last updated 17-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Anouilh, Jean

I did not hate them: I was indifferent to them. My crime was far worse because I was not an anti-Semite. … My conscience was progressively calloused and blunted. Of course, one’s conscience does not just cease to exist overnight; it is slowly eroded over the years, eaten away day by day, anesthetized by a multiplicity of little crimes. … As the Nazi environment enveloped us, its evils grew invisible — because we were part of them.

Albert Speer 1905-1981) German architect, government official, author, war criminal
Interview by Eric Norden, Playboy (Jun 1971)
Added on 16-Sep-20 | Last updated 16-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Speer, Albert

In the most deeply significant of the legends concerning Jesus, we are told how the devil took him up into a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; and the devil said unto him: “All this power will I give unto thee, and the glory of them, for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If thou, therefore, wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” Jesus, as we know, answered and said “Get thee behind me, Satan!” And he really meant it; he would have nothing to do with worldly glory, with “temporal power;” he chose the career of a revolutionary agitator, and died the death of a disturber of the peace. And for two or three centuries his church followed in his footsteps, cherishing his proletarian gospel. The early Christians had “all things in common, except women;” they lived as social outcasts, hiding in deserted catacombs, and being thrown to lions and boiled in oil.

But the devil is a subtle worm; he does not give up at one defeat, for he knows human nature, and the strength of the forces which battle for him. He failed to get Jesus, but he came again, to get Jesus’ church. He came when, through the power of the new revolutionary idea, the Church had won a position of tremendous power in the decaying Roman Empire; and the subtle worm assumed the guise of no less a person than the Emperor himself, suggesting that he should become a convert to the new faith, so that the Church and he might work together for the greater glory of God. The bishops and fathers of the Church, ambitious for their organization, fell for this scheme, and Satan went off laughing to himself. He had got everything he had asked from Jesus three hundred years before; he had got the world’s greatest religion.

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) American writer, journalist, activist, politician
The Profits of Religion, Book Seven “The Church of the Social Revolution” (1917)
Added on 27-Aug-20 | Last updated 27-Aug-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sinclair, Upton

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. For the traitor appears not a traitor — he speaks in the accents familiar to his victims, and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation — he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city — he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared. The traitor is the carrier of the plague. You have unbarred the gates of Rome to him.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher

This text, widely passed around on social media, was made up for Cicero in Taylor Caldwell, A Pillar of Iron (1965).
Added on 24-Aug-20 | Last updated 24-Aug-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

So oft as I with state of present time
The image of the antique world compare,
Whereas man’s age was in his freshest prime,
And the first blossom of faire vertue bare,
Such oddes I find twixt those and these which arc,
As that, through long continuance of his course,
Me seemes the world is runne quite out of square
From the first point of his appointed source;
And being once amiss, grows daily worse and worse: […]

For that which all men then did vertue call,
Is now cald vice; and that which vice was hight,
Is now hight vertue, and so us’d of all;
Right now is wrong, and wrong that was is right.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 5, Proem, st. 1, 4 (1589-96)
Added on 20-Jul-20 | Last updated 20-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Spenser, Edmund

The head of the fish is the first part to smell.

Ἰχθὺς ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς ὄζειν ἄρχεται: ἐπὶ τῶν ἐπιστάτας φαύλους ἐχόντων

“The head of a fish begins to stink first.” Used of bad rulers, whose contagion poisons the rest of the people. The expression seems to derive from the language of common people.

[Piscis primum a capite foetet … Piscis a capite primum incipit putere. Dictum in malos principes, quorum contagione reliquum vulgus inficitur. Apparet ab idiotarum vulgo sumptum.]

No picture available
Michael Apostolius (c. 1420 - c. 1480) Greek teacher, writer, copyist [Apostolius Paroemiographus, i.e., Apostolius the proverb-writer]
Apostolius 9.18.12, Tilley F 304

From Erasmus, Adages, Book 4, ch. 2, #97 [tr. Drysdall], who cites Apostolius, who appears to have been the first to record the proverb. Alt. trans.:
  • "Fish start to stink at the top: [this is a proverb] applied to people who have scoundrels for leaders." [tr. @sentantiq]
  • "The fish always stinks from the head downwards: The freshness of a dead fish can be judged from the condition of its head. Thus, when the responsible part (as the leaders of a country, etc.) is rotten, the rest will soon follow. ἰχθὺς ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς ὄζειν ἄρχεται, a fish begins to stink from the head." -- Jennifer Speake, ed., Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs (2015) [Source]
Added on 15-Jun-20 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Apostolius, Michael

An honest politician is one who when he is bought will stay bought.

Simon Cameron (1799-1889) American businessman and politician

Cameron was infamous for his corruption, but this is not found in his writing or reliable accounts, and similar phrases can be found in the era. More discussion here.
Added on 4-Jun-20 | Last updated 4-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Cameron, Simon

American capitalism is predatory, and American politics are corrupt: The same thing is true in England and the same in France; but in all these three countries the dominating fact is that whenever the people get ready to change the government, they can change it.

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) American writer, journalist, activist, politician
Letter to John Reed (22 Oct 1918)
Added on 4-Jun-20 | Last updated 4-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sinclair, Upton