Quotations about   fairness

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Life isn’t fair, but government must be.

Ann Richards (1933-2006) American politician [Dorothy Ann Willis Richards]
Inauguration speech, San Antonio, Texas (15 Jan 1991)

As reported in the San Antonio Express-News (16 Jan). In the Houston Chronicle, same date, it was quoted as "Life is not fair, but government absolutely must be." See here for more discussion.
Added on 11-Jan-21 | Last updated 11-Jan-21
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Always it is, that the hearts in the younger men are frivolous,
but when an elder man is among them, he looks behind him
and in front, so that all comes out far better for both sides.

[Αἰεὶ δ’ ὁπλοτέρων ἀνδρῶν φρένες ἠερέθονται·
οἷς δ’ ὁ γέρων μετέῃσιν ἅμα πρόσσω καὶ ὀπίσσω
λεύσσει, ὅπως ὄχ’ ἄριστα μετ’ ἀμφοτέροισι γένηται.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad, Book 3, ll. 108-110 [Menelaus] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Lattimore (1951)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
All young men’s hearts are still unstaid; but in those well-weigh'd deeds
An old man will consent to pass things past, and what succeeds
He looks into, that he may know, how best to make his way
Through both the fortunes of a fact, and will the worst obey.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 113-16]

And youth itself an empty wavering state:
Cool age advances, venerably wise,
Turns on all hands its deep-discerning eyes;
Sees what befell, and what may yet befall,
Concludes from both, and best provides for all.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Young men are ever of unstable mind;
But when an elder interferes, he views
Future and past together, and insures
The compact, to both parties, uninfringed.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 124-27]

For the minds of younger men are ever fluctuating; but for those among whom a senior is present, he looks at the same time both backward and forward, in order that the best results may accrue to both parties.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

For young men's spirits are too quickly stirr'd;
But in the councils check'd by rev'rend age,
Alike are weigh'd the future and the past,
And for all int'rests due provision made.
[tr. Derby (1864), ll. 130-34]

Young men's minds are light as air, but when an old man comes he looks before and after, deeming that which shall be fairest upon both sides.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Ever unstable are the hearts of the young; but in whatsoever an old man taketh part, he looketh both before and after, that the issue may be far the best for either side.
[tr. Murray (1924), #95]

The minds of the younger men are always flighty,
but let an old man stand his ground among them,
one who can see the days behind, the days ahead --
that is the best hope for peace, for both our armies.
[tr. Fagles (1990), ll. 131-34]

Always in fact do the spirits in younger men flutter unsteady;
but with an elder among them, at once the before and the after
he can observe, so that things will become far better for both sides.
[tr. Merrill (2007), ll. 108-110]
Added on 26-Aug-20 | Last updated 24-Nov-20
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Rage is caused by a conviction, almost comic in its optimistic origins (however tragic in its effects), that a given frustration has not been written into the contract of life.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 3 “Consolation for Frustration” (2000)
    (Source)
Added on 6-Dec-17 | Last updated 6-Dec-17
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Dependability, integrity, the characteristic of never knowingly doing anything wrong, that you would never cheat anyone, that you would give everybody a fair deal. Character is a sort of an all-inclusive thing. If a man has character, everyone has confidence in him. Soldiers must have confidence in their leader.

Omar Bradley (1893-1981) American general
Personal interview with Edgar Puryear (15 Feb 1963)

Quoted in Edgar Puryear, 19 Stars : A Study in Military Character and Leadership (1981).
Added on 28-Jan-16 | Last updated 28-Jan-16
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Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) First Lady of the US (1933-45), politician, diplomat, activist
“My Day” (15 Oct 1947)
Added on 6-May-15 | Last updated 6-May-15
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SIMON: I’m trying to put this as delicately as I can. How do I know you won’t kill me in my sleep?
MAL: You don’t know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you’ll be awake, you’ll be facing me, and you’ll be armed.
SIMON: Are you always this sentimental?
MAL: I had a good day.

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Firefly, 1×01 “Serenity” (pilot) (20 Dec 2002)
Added on 5-Mar-15 | Last updated 5-Mar-15
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We protest against unjust criticism, but we accept unearned applause.

José Narosky (b. 1930) Argentine aphorist and writer
Si Todos Los Sueños (1993)
Added on 1-Sep-14 | Last updated 1-Sep-14
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Everybody is in favor of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
Speech, House of Commons (13 Oct 1943)
Added on 28-Mar-14 | Last updated 28-Mar-14
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Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.

Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer [pseud. of Francois-Marie Arouet]
Dictionnaire philosophique portatif, “Tolerance” (1764)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 19-Apr-16
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We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?

Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) French writer, filmmaker, artist
Comment (1955)

On his election to Académie Française. Alt. trans.: "Of course I believe in luck. How else does one explain the successes of one's enemies?"
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Sep-16
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Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own.

Other Authors and Sources
Chinese proverb
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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MARCUS: You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair; then I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happened to us come because we actually deserved them?’ So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.

J. Michael (Joe) Straczynski (b. 1954) American screenwriter, producer, author [a/k/a "JMS"]
Babylon 5, 3×13 “A Late Delivery from Avalon” (22 Apr 1996)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-Jul-20
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