Quotations about:
    ends and means


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


Much less evil would be done on earth if evil could not be done in the name of good.

[Es würde sehr wenig Böses auf Erden getan werden, wenn das Böse niemals im Namen des Guten getan werden könnte.]

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916) Austrian writer
Aphorisms [Aphorismen], No. 97 (1880) [tr. Scrase/Mieder (1994)]
    (Source)

(Source (German)). Alternate translation:

But little evil would be done in the world if evil could never be done in the name of good.
[tr. Wister (1883)]

 
Added on 11-Jul-24 | Last updated 11-Jul-24
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Ebner-Eschenbach, Marie von

Getting what you go after is success; but liking it while you are getting it is happiness.

Bertha Damon
Bertha Damon (1881-1975) American humorist, author, lecturer, editor [Bertha Clark Pope Damon]
A Sense of Humus, ch. 13 “Garden Sass” (1943)
    (Source)
 
Added on 19-Feb-24 | Last updated 19-Feb-24
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Damon, Bertha

When I was a student, we used to sit around discussing whether a particular end justified a particular means. On the assumption of everyone from Marx or Machiavelli, I thought that was the question. It took me twenty years to figure out that the means are the ends — and vice versa. Whatever means you use become an organic part of the ends you achieve.

Gloria Steinem (b. 1934) American feminist, journalist, activist
Commencement address, Tufts University (1987-05-17)
    (Source)
 
Added on 4-Oct-23 | Last updated 4-Oct-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Steinem, Gloria

There are a number of things that science can’t deal with. All questions of values. for example. Science won’t tell you what is good and what is bad — what is good or bad as an end, not just as a means.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Interview by Woodrow Wyatt, BBC TV (1959)
    (Source)

Collected in Bertrand Russell's BBC Interviews (1959) [UK] and Bertrand Russell Speaks His Mind (1960) [US]. Reprinted (abridged) in The Humanist (1982-11/12), and in Russell Society News, #37 (1983-02).
 
Added on 13-Sep-23 | Last updated 13-Sep-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Russell, Bertrand

A man wants to earn money in order to be happy, and his whole effort and the best of a life are devoted to the earning of that money. Happiness is forgotten; the means are taken for the end.

Albert Camus (1913-1960) Algerian-French novelist, essayist, playwright
The Myth of Sisyphus, “Absurd Creation” (1942) [tr. O’Brien (1991)]
    (Source)
 
Added on 6-Sep-23 | Last updated 6-Sep-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Camus, Albert

Violent means are unlikely to reach a peaceful end … the ends and means are a seamless web.

Gloria Steinem (b. 1934) American feminist, journalist, activist
Moving Beyond Words, Part 6 “Doing Sixty” (1994)
    (Source)

Regarding the Vietnam anti-war movement.
 
Added on 23-Jun-23 | Last updated 23-Jun-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Steinem, Gloria

A new Power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all. There is no hope left in Elves or dying Númenor. This then is one choice before you, before us. We may join with that Power. It would be wise, Gandalf. There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it. As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its course, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only our means.

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. 1 “The Council of Elrond” [Saruman to Gandalf] (1954)
    (Source)
 
Added on 20-Oct-22 | Last updated 20-Oct-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Tolkien, J.R.R.

From a wretched deed there is sometimes a good outcome, making penance even more unlikely than usual.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 5 (1963)
    (Source)
 
Added on 4-Oct-22 | Last updated 4-Oct-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by McLaughlin, Mignon

A good cause can become bad if we fight for it with means that are indiscriminately murderous. A bad cause can become good if enough people fight for it in a spirit of comradeship and self-sacrifice. In the end it is how you fight, as much as why you fight, that makes your cause good or bad.

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson (1923-2020) English-American theoretical physicist, mathematician, futurist
Disturbing the Universe, ch. 4 (1979)
    (Source)
 
Added on 26-Sep-22 | Last updated 26-Sep-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Dyson, Freeman

Democracies have no business running secret prisons. That’s what our enemies do. If we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of people around the world, as the administration says we are, I won’t feel very secure if the people around the world believe we are no different than our enemies. […] As Americans, we do believe our system offers a better way. But the only way to convince others of that is if we live by our values. Real security begins with remembering who we are. We gain nothing by adopting the methods of our enemies.

Bob Schieffer
Bob Schieffer (b. 1937) American broadcast journalist
“Free Speech,” CBS Evening News (14 Sep 2006)
    (Source)
 
Added on 23-Aug-22 | Last updated 23-Aug-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Schieffer, Bob

I have wrought great use out of evil tools.

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) English novelist and politician
Richelieu, Act 3, sc. 1, ll. 49-50 [Richelieu] (1839)
    (Source)
 
Added on 25-Jul-22 | Last updated 25-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Bulwer-Lytton, Edward George

Still, the danger of the practice of violence, even if it moves consciously within a non-extremist framework of short-term goals, will always be that the means overwhelm the end. If goals are not achieved rapidly, the result will not merely be defeat but the introduction of the practice of violence into the whole body politic. Action is irreversible, and a return to the status quo in case of defeat is always unlikely. The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is a more violent world.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
“Reflections on Violence,” New York Review of Books (27 Feb 1969)
    (Source)
 
Added on 27-May-21 | Last updated 27-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Arendt, Hannah

We are all ready to be savage in some cause. The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause.

William James (1842-1910) American psychologist and philosopher
Letter to E. L. Godkin (24 Dec 1895)
    (Source)
 
Added on 29-Oct-20 | Last updated 29-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by James, William

In this decline of all public virtue, ambition, and not avarice, was the passion that first possessed the minds of men; and this was natural. Ambition is a vice that borders on the confines of virtue; it implies a love of glory, of power, and pre-eminence; and these are objects that glitter alike in the eyes of the man of honour, and the most unprincipled: but the former pursues them by fair and honourable means, while the latter, who finds within himself no resources of talent, depends altogether upon intrigue and fallacy for his success.

[Sed primo magis ambitio quam avaritia animos hominum exercebat, quod tamen vitium propius virtutem erat. Nam gloriam, honorem, imperium bonus et ignavus aeque sibi exoptant; sed ille vera via nititur, huic quia bonae artes desunt, dolis atque fallaciis contendit.]

Sallust (c. 86-35 BC) Roman historian and politician [Gaius Sallustius Crispus]
Bellum Catilinae [The War of Cateline], ch. 11, sent. 1-2 [tr. Murphy (1807)]
    (Source)

Also known as Catilinae Coniuratio [The Conspiracy of Cateline]. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

At first, indeed, the minds of men were less influenced by avarice than ambition, a vice which has some affinity to virtue; for the desire of glory, power, and preferment is common to the worthy and the worthless; with this difference, that the one pursues them by direct means; the other, being void of merit, has recourse to fraud and subtlety.
[tr. Rose (1831)]

But at first ambition more than avarice influenced the minds of the Romans. Which vice however was the nearer to virtue. For glory, honour, command, the good and slothful equally wish for themselves. But the former strives by the right course; to the latter because good qualities are wanting, he works by tricks and deceits.
[Source (1841)]

At first, however, it was ambition, rather than avarice, that influenced the minds of men; a vice which approaches nearer to virtue than the other. For of glory, honor, and power, the worthy is as desirous as the worthless; but the one pursues them by just methods; the other, being destitute of honorable qualities, works with fraud and deceit.
[tr. Watson (1867)]

At first it was not so much avarice as ambition which spurred men's minds, a vice, indeed, but one akin to virtue. Glory, distinction, and power in the state are equally desired by good and bad, though the first strives to reach his goal by the path of honor, the second, in the lack of honest arts, uses the weapons of falsehood and deceit.
[tr. Pollard (1882)]

But at first men’s souls were actuated less by avarice than by ambitions -- a fault, it is true, but not so far removed from virtue; for the noble and the base alike long for glory, honour, and power, but the former mount by the true path, whereas the latter, being destitute of noble qualities, rely upon craft and deception.
[tr. Rolfe (1931)]

At first people's minds were taxed less by avarice than by ambition, which, though a fault, was nevertheless closer to prowess: for the good man and the base man have a similar personal craving for glory, honour, and command, but the former strives along the truth path, whereas the latter, because he lacks good qualities, presses forward by cunning and falsity.
[tr. Woodman (2007)]
 
Added on 27-Oct-20 | Last updated 4-Oct-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sallust

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.

Robert Brault (b. c. 1945) American aphorist, programmer
(Attributed)
 
Added on 8-Sep-20 | Last updated 8-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Brault, Robert

Men of faith know that throughout history the crimes committed in liberty’s name have been exceeded only by those committed in God’s name.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Mills E. Godwin, Governor of Virginia (Dec 1966)

On KKK cross-burnings. Quoted in various papers of the time.
 
Added on 11-May-20 | Last updated 11-May-20
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by ~Other

Most of the great results of history are brought about by discreditable means.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Considerations by the Way,” The Conduct of Life, ch. 7 (1860)
    (Source)
 
Added on 21-Apr-20 | Last updated 27-Mar-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo

Nations are most commonly saved by the worst men in them. The virtuous are too scrupulous to go to the lengths which are necessary to rouse the people against their tyrants.

Horace Walpole (1717-1797) English novelist, letter writer
Memoirs of the Reign of King George III, Vol. 1, ch. 12 (1859)
    (Source)

Variants:
  • "The adventurer's career suggests the reflection that nations are usually saved by their worse men, since the virtuous are too scrupulous to go to the lengths needed to rouse the people against their tyrants." (Source)
  • "The virtuous are too scrupulous to go to the lengths that are necessary to rouse the people against their tyrants."
  • Modern paraphrase: "No great country was ever saved by good men because good men will not go to the lengths necessary to save it."
  • Modern paraphrase: "No great country was ever saved by good men, because good men may not go to the lengths that may be necessary."
 
Added on 7-Jan-20 | Last updated 7-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Walpole, Horace

For the Bolsheviki the end to be achieved was the Communist State, or the so-called Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Everything which advanced that end was justifiable and revolutionary. The Lenins, Radeks, and Zorins were therefore quite consistent. Obsessed by the infallibility of their creed, giving of themselves to the fullest, they could be both heroic and despicable at the same time. They could work twenty hours a day, live on herring and tea, and order the slaughter of innocent men and women. Occasionally they sought to mask their killings by pretending a “misunderstanding,” for doesn’t the end justify all means? They could employ torture and deny the inquisition, they could lie and defame, and call themselves idealists. In short, they could make themselves and others believe that everything was legitimate and right from the revolutionary viewpoint; any other policy was weak, sentimental, or a betrayal of the Revolution.

Emma Goldman (1869-1940) Lithuanian-American anarchist, activist
My Disillusionment in Russia, ch. 12 (1920)
    (Source)
 
Added on 26-Jul-19 | Last updated 26-Jul-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Goldman, Emma

Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result. For that reason, let a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state, the means will always be considered honest, and he will be praised by everybody because the vulgar are always taken by what a thing seems to be and by what comes of it.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Prince, ch. 18 (1513) [tr. Marriott (1908)]
    (Source)

Origin of the paraphrase "The ends justify the means," which is generally attributed to Machiavelli.
 
Added on 6-Dec-17 | Last updated 6-Dec-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Machiavelli, Niccolo

[Capitalism is] the astonishing belief that the nastiest motives of the nastiest men somehow or other work for the best results in the best of all possible worlds.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) English economist
(Attributed)

Attributed by Sir George Schuster, Christianity and Human Relations in Industry (1951). Frequently quoted, but no direct citation found. More information here.

Variations:
  • "... the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all."
  • "... the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone."
  • "The great merit of the capitalist system, it has been said, is that it succeeds in using the nastiest motives of nasty people for the ultimate benefit of society." (written by E. A. G. Robinson, Monopoly (1941). (Robinson was a colleague of Keynes.)
 
Added on 28-Mar-17 | Last updated 28-Mar-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Keynes, John Maynard

Terror is the most effective political instrument. I shall not permit myself to be robbed of it simply because a lot of stupid, bourgeois mollycoddles choose to be offended by it.

Adolph Hitler (1889-1945) German leader
Table talk (1933)

Quoted in Hermann Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction, ch. 6 (1940). Note: I don't actually wish I'd said this, but it's a useful quotation for those who similarly think torture and terror are legitimate political tools to consider who their bedfellow is.
 
Added on 26-Dec-16 | Last updated 26-Dec-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Hitler, Adolph

This is a vice in them, that were a vertue in us; for obstinacy in a bad cause, is but constancy in a good.

Thomas Browne (1605-1682) English physician and author
Religio Medici, Part 1, sec. 25 (1643)
    (Source)
 
Added on 18-May-16 | Last updated 5-Aug-21
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Browne, Thomas

There are things a man must not do even to save a nation.

Kempton - even to save a nation - wist_info quote

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
“To Save a Nation,” America Comes of Age (1963)
 
Added on 18-Apr-16 | Last updated 18-Apr-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kempton, Murray

Ambitious Men cheat themselves, when they fix upon any Ends for their Ambition; those Ends, when they are attained to, are converted into Means, subordinate to something farther.

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammatist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims] (1665-1678) [tr. Stanhope (1694), Part 4, ¶65]
    (Source)

Reported in multiple translations, but no modern ones. I cannot find the analog for it, the French original, or the "official" number.

Appears in the 1706 (Powell) ed. of Stanhope as ¶711.

Alternate translations:

The ambitious deceive themselves in proposing an end to their ambition; for that end, when attained, becomes a means.
[pub. Donaldson (1783), ¶32]

When the ambitious propose an end to their ambition, they deceive themselves; for, when attained, the end becomes a mean.
[ed. Carville (1835), ¶29]

 
Added on 8-Apr-15 | Last updated 2-Feb-24
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by La Rochefoucauld, Francois

DARLA: You really think that safety can be plucked from the arms of an evil deed?

Steven S. DeKnight (b. 1964) American television screenwriter, producer
Angel, 4×17 “Inside Out” (2 Apr 2003)
 
Added on 22-Aug-14 | Last updated 24-Aug-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by DeKnight, Steven S.

Ambition makes the same mistake concerning power, that avarice makes concerning wealth; she begins by accumulating power, as a mean to happiness, and she finishes by continuing to accumulate it, as an end.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer, aphorist
Lacon: Or, Many Things in Few Words, Vol. 1, § 148 (1820)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Apr-14 | Last updated 31-Jan-24
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Colton, Charles Caleb

Self-interest sets in motion virtues and vices of all kinds.

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammatist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims], #263 (1665-1678) [tr. Tancock (1959)]
 
Added on 4-Feb-14 | Last updated 31-May-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by La Rochefoucauld, Francois

Nothing stands between the people’s miserable present and its glorious future, except a minority, perhaps a majority, of perverse or merely ignorant individuals. All that is necessary is to liquidate a few thousands, or it may be a few millions, of these living obstacles to progress, and then to coerce and propagandize the rest into acquiescence. When these unpleasant but necessary preliminaries are over, the governage will begin. Such is the theory that secular apocalypticism, which is the religion of the revolutionaries. But in practice, it is hardly necessary to say, the means employed positively guarantee that the end actually reached shall be profoundly different form that which the prophetic theorists envisage.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
“Religion and Time,” in Christopher Isherwood, ed. Vedanta for the Western World (1945)
 
Added on 14-Jan-14 | Last updated 22-Nov-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Huxley, Aldous

The lack of objectivity, as far as foreign nations are concerned, is notorious. From one day to another, another nation is made out to be utterly depraved and fiendish, while one’s own nation stands for everything that is good and noble. Every action of the enemy is judged by one standard — every action of oneself by another. Even good deeds by the enemy are considered a sign of particular devilishness, meant to deceive us and the world, while our bad deeds are necessary and justified by our noble goals, which they serve.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
The Art of Loving, ch. 5 (1956)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Nov-12 | Last updated 21-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Fromm, Erich

It is not merely that “power corrupts”; so also do the ways of attaining power.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Arnold Koestler” (1944-09)
    (Source)

Originally written for Focus magazine. First published in Critical Essays (1946-02).

See Acton.
 
Added on 10-Sep-12 | Last updated 13-May-24
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Orwell, George

The ultimate end of human acts is eudaimonia, happiness in the sense of “living well,” which all men desire; all acts are but different means chosen to arrive at it.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
The Life of the Mind, Vol. 2 “Willing,” Part 2, ch. 7 (1977)
    (Source)

Discussing Aristotle, noting he never addressed the moral issue of ends and means.
 
Added on 25-Mar-10 | Last updated 6-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Arendt, Hannah

But if survival calls for the bearing of arms, bear them, you must. As we all have. Keep in mind only this, that province of combat is not the end, it is simply the means. And the most essential part of the challenge is for you to find another means that does not come with the killing of your fellow-man.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Commencement Speech, Binghamton Central High School, Binghamton, New York (28 Jan 1968)
    (Source)

Sometimes paraphrased:

If survival calls for the bearing of arms, bear them you must. But the most important part of the challenge is for you to find another means that does not come with the killing of your fellow man.
 
Added on 8-Jul-08 | Last updated 21-Apr-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Serling, Rod

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

[Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein.]

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
Jenseits von Gut und Böse [Beyond Good and Evil], Aphorism 146 (1886) [tr. Hollingdale (1973, 1990)]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.
[tr. Zimmern (1906)]

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.
[tr. Kaufmann (1966)]

 
Added on 10-Jun-08 | Last updated 28-Feb-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Nietzsche, Friedrich

Give any orthodox church the power, and to-day they would punish heresy with whip, and chain, and fire. As long as a church deems a certain belief essential to salvation, just so long it will kill and burn if it has the power.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“Heretics and Heresies” (1874)
    (Source)
 
Added on 5-Mar-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ingersoll, Robert Green

A good End cannot sanctifie evil Means; nor must we ever do Evil, that Good may come of it. Some Folks think they may Scold, Rail, Hate, Rob and Kill too; so it be but for God’s sake. But nothing in us unlike him, can please him.

William Penn (1644-1718) English writer, philosopher, politician, statesman
Fruits of Solitude, #537-539 (1682)
    (Source)
 
Added on 26-Nov-07 | Last updated 15-May-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Penn, William

I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Abigail Adams (1776-07-03)
    (Source)
 
Added on 14-Aug-07 | Last updated 4-Jul-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, John

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) American politician
Speech, accepting the GOP Presidential Nomination, San Francisco (16 Jul 1964)
    (Source)

Goldwater believed the phrase originated in Cicero, though the source he used is questionable. Karl Hess was Goldwater's speech writer, and he said he derived the turn of phrase from Lincoln's "House Divided" speech. A closer match is this Thomas Paine passage.

More discussion of this quotation and its origins: On the Saying that "Extremism in Defense of Liberty is No Vice" - Niskanen Center
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Jan-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Goldwater, Barry

A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen: but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property & all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to John B. Colvin (20 Sep 1810)
    (Source)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.

George Santayana (1863-1952) Spanish-American poet and philosopher [Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruíz de Santayana y Borrás]
The Life of Reason or The Phases of Human Progress, Introduction (1905-06)
    (Source)
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Mar-20
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Santayana, George