Quotations about   hypocrisy

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The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
(Attributed)
Added on 24-Mar-19 | Last updated 24-Mar-19
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Apologize, v.i. To lay the foundation for a future offense.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
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Added on 2-Feb-19 | Last updated 2-Feb-19
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“Classic.” A book which people praise and don’t read.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator, ch. 25, epigraph (1897)
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Added on 7-Jun-18 | Last updated 7-Jun-18
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For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. “Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers: in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007) American novelist, journalist
A Man Without A Country, ch. 9 (2005)
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The Beatitudes (Matthew 5).
Added on 2-Apr-18 | Last updated 2-Apr-18
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In our judgment of men, we are to beware of giving any great importance to occasional acts. By acts of occasional virtue weak men endeavour to redeem themselves in their own estimation, vain men to exalt themselves in that of mankind.

Henry Taylor (1800-1886) English dramatist, poet, bureaucrat, man of letters
The Statesman: An Ironical Treatise on the Art of Succeeding, ch. 3 (1836)
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Added on 8-Aug-17 | Last updated 8-Aug-17
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There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1898 [ed. Paine (1935)]
Added on 21-Jul-17 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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The worst barbarity of war is that it forces men collectively to commit acts against which individually they would revolt with their whole being.

Ellen Key (1849-1926) Swedish feminist and writer
War, Peace, and the Future, ch. 6 (1916) [tr. Norberg]
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Added on 17-Jul-17 | Last updated 17-Jul-17
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I accept this idea of democracy. I am all for trying it out. It must be a good thing if everybody praises it like that. If our government has been willing to go to war and sacrifice billions of dollars and millions of men for the idea I think that I ought to give the thing a trial. The only thing that keeps me from pitching head long into this thing is the presence of numerous Jim Crow laws on the statute books of the nation. I am crazy about the idea of democracy. I want to see how it feels.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) American writer, folklorist, anthropologist
“Crazy for This Democracy,” Negro Digest (Dec 1945)
Added on 12-Jul-17 | Last updated 12-Jul-17
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If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy (1916-2000) American lawyer, feminist, civil rights activist
Speech, Washington, DC (15 May 1971)

Quoted in Off Our Backs (24 Jun 1971). Gloria Steinem, who also used the phrase, later claimed it was said to her and Kennedy by an "old Irish woman taxi driver" in Boston, but she attributed it at other times to Kennedy herself. More info here.
Added on 24-Apr-17 | Last updated 24-Apr-17
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Oppressed people are frequently very oppressive when first liberated. And why wouldn’t they be? They know best two positions. Somebody’s food on their neck or their foot on somebody’s neck.

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy (1916-2000) American lawyer, feminist, civil rights activist
“Institutionalized Oppression vs. the Female” (1970)
Added on 17-Apr-17 | Last updated 17-Apr-17
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That sort of thing wears thin — for when one’s cynicism becomes perfect and absolute, there’s no longer anything amusing in the stupidity and hypocrisy of the herd. It is all to be expected — what else could human nature produce? — so irony annuls itself by means of its own victories!

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) American fabulist [Howard Phillips Lovecraft]
Letter to August W. Derleth (Jan 1928)

Regarding Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary.
Added on 11-Apr-17 | Last updated 11-Apr-17
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This declared indifference, but as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our Republican example of its just influence in the world — enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites — causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty — criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Speech, Peoria, Illinois (16 Oct 1854)
Added on 29-Mar-17 | Last updated 29-Mar-17
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The most dangerous type of atheism is not theoretical atheism, but practical atheism — that’s the most dangerous type. And the world, even the church, is filled up with people who pay lip service to God and not life service. And there is always a danger that we will make it appear externally that we believe in God when internally we don’t. We say with our mouths that we believe in him, but we live with our lives like he never existed. That is the ever-present danger confronting religion. That’s a dangerous type of atheism.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Rediscovering Lost Values,” sermon, Second Baptist Church, Detroit (28 Feb 1954)
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Added on 3-Mar-17 | Last updated 20-Jan-19
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The man of business goes on Sunday to the church with the regularity of the village blacksmith, there to renounce and abjure before his God the line of conduct which he intends to pursue with all his might during the following week.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Fabian Essays in Socialism, “The Basis of Socialism: Economic” (1889)
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Added on 20-Jan-17 | Last updated 20-Jan-17
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When you have discovered a stain in yourself, you eagerly seek for and gladly find stains in others.

Berthold Auerbach (1812-1882) German author
(Attributed)

Attributed in Maturin M. Ballou, Edge-Tools of Speech (1886).
Added on 9-Aug-16 | Last updated 9-Aug-16
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All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major (1916)
Added on 11-Jun-16 | Last updated 11-Jun-16
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We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
Two Cheers for Democracy, “The Tercentenary of the Areopagitica” (1951)
Added on 7-Jun-16 | Last updated 7-Jun-16
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You’re supposed to look at that figure of Christ on the cross and think, “How could a man suffer like that and forgive?” Not, “Romans are pussies — he still has his eyes.”

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
Real Time with Bill Maher, “New Rules” (13 May 2011)

Discussing Christians who support torturing terrorists.
Added on 1-Jun-16 | Last updated 1-Jun-16
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The old century is very nearly out, and leaves the world in a pretty pass, and the British Empire is playing the devil in it as never an empire before on so large a scale. We may live to see its fall. All the nations of Europe are making the same hell upon earth in China, massacring and pillaging and raping in the captured cities as outrageously as in the Middle Ages. The Emperor of Germany gives the word for slaughter and the Pope looks on and approves. In South Africa our troops are burning farms under Kitchener’s command, and the Queen and the two houses of Parliament, and the bench of bishops thank God publicly and vote money for the work. The Americans are spending fifty millions a year on slaughtering the Filipinos; the King of the Belgians has invested his whole fortune on the Congo, where he is brutalizing the Negroes to fill his pockets. The French and Italians for the moment are playing a less prominent part in the slaughter, but their inactivity grieves them. The whole white race is reveling openly in violence, as though it had never pretended to be Christian. God’s equal curse be on them all! So ends the famous nineteenth century into which we were so proud to have been born.

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922) English poet, critic, horse breeder
My Diaries, 1888-1914, 22 Dec 1900 (1921)
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Added on 26-May-16 | Last updated 26-May-16
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If you rejoice in revenge, torture, and war […] you cannot say you’re a follower of the guy who explicitly said “love your enemies” and “do good to those who hate you”. The next line isn’t, “And if that doesn’t work, send a titanium-fanged dog to rip his nuts off”. Jesus lays on that hippie stuff pretty thick! He has lines like, “do not repay evil with evil”, and “do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you.” Really! It’s in that book you hold up when you scream at gay people.

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
Real Time with Bill Maher, “New Rules” (13 May 2011)
Added on 18-May-16 | Last updated 18-May-16
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Jesus, as a philosopher is wonderful. There’s no greater role model, in my view, than Jesus Christ. It’s just a shame that most of the people who follow him and call themselves Christians act nothing like him.

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
Interview, The O’Reilly Factor (26 Sep 2006)
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Added on 9-Mar-16 | Last updated 9-Mar-16
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Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“New Year’s Day,” Virginia City Territorial Enterprise (Jan 1864)
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Added on 31-Dec-15 | Last updated 31-Dec-15
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You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.

Malcolm X - wrong is wrong - wist_info

Malcolm X (1925-1965) American revolutionary, religious leader [b. Malcolm Little]
“Prospects for Freedom in 1965,” speech, New York (7 Jan 1965)
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Added on 20-Nov-15 | Last updated 20-Nov-15
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It is easy to be brave from a safe distance.

Aesop (620?-560? BC) Legendary Greek storyteller
“The Wolf and the Kid”
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It must be a good thing to be good or ivrybody wudden’t be pretendin’ he was.

[It must be a good thing to be good, or everybody wouldn’t be pretending he was.]

Dunne - pretending to be good - wist_info

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
Observations by Mr. Dooley, “Hypocrisy” (1902)
Added on 27-Oct-15 | Last updated 27-Oct-15
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Let no one say that he is a follower of Gandhi. It is enough that I should be my own follower. I know what an inadequate follower I am of myself, for I cannot live up to the convictions I stand for. You are no followers, but fellow students, fellow pilgrims, fellow seekers, fellow workers.
Gandhi - followers - wist_info

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Harijan (2 Mar 1940)
Added on 19-Oct-15 | Last updated 19-Oct-15
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Man is the only animal that learns by being hypocritical. He pretends to be polite and then, eventually, he becomes polite.

Jean Kerr (1922-2003) American author and playwright [b. Bridget Jean Collins]
Finishing Touches, Act 1 (1973)
Added on 14-Sep-15 | Last updated 14-Sep-15
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It is when the sentimentalist turns preacher of morals that we investigate his character, and are justified in so doing. He may express as many and as delicate shades of feeling as he likes, — for this the sensibility of his organization perfectly fits him, no other person could do it so well, — but the moment he undertakes to establish his feeling as a rule of conduct, we ask at once how far are his own life and deed in accordance with what he preaches? For every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action; and that while tenderness of feeling and susceptibility to generous emotions are accidents of temperament, goodness is an achievement of the will and a quality of the life. Fine words, says our homely old proverb, butter no parsnips; and if the question be how to render those vegetables palatable, an ounce of butter would be worth more than all the orations of Cicero. The only conclusive evidence of a man’s sincerity is that he give himself for a principle. Words, money, all things else, are comparatively easy to give away; but when a man makes a gift of his daily life and practice, it is plain that the truth, whatever it may be, has taken possession of him.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
“Rousseau And The Sentimentalists,” North American Review (Jul 1867)
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Added on 10-Aug-15 | Last updated 10-Aug-15
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It is easier to write ten volumes of philosophy than to put one principle into practice.

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) Russian novelist and moral philosopher
Diary (17 Mar 1847)
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From his earliest diary entry, when he was 18.Variants:
  • "It is easier to produce ten volumes of philosophical writing than to put one principle into practice."
  • "It is easier to write ten volumes on theoretical principles than to put one principle into practice."
Added on 9-Jul-15 | Last updated 9-Jul-15
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I don’t trust a man who talks about ethics when he’s picking my pockets.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Time Enough For Love (1973)
Added on 21-Apr-15 | Last updated 21-Apr-15
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That’s what I hate about the war on drugs. All day long we see those commercials: “Here’s your brain, here’s your brain on drugs”, “Just Say No”, “Why do you think they call it dope?” … And then the next commercial is “This Bud’s for yooouuuu.” C’mon, everybody, let’s be hypocritical bastards. It’s okay to drink your drug. We meant those other drugs. Those untaxed drugs. Those are the ones that are bad for you.

Bill Hicks (1961-1994) American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, musician [William Melvin "Bill" Hicks]
Performance, Pittsburgh (20 Jun 1991)

Recorded in Flying Saucer Tour, Vol. 1 (2002)
Added on 17-Apr-15 | Last updated 17-Apr-15
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Every sect clamours for toleration when it is down. […] It would not be very wise to conclude that a beggar is full of Christian charity because he assures you that God will reward you if you give him a penny; or that a soldier is human, because he cries out lustily for quarter when a bayonet is at his throat. The doctrine which, from the very first origin of religious dissensions, has been held by bigots of all sects, when condensed into a few words and stripped of rhetorical disguise, is simply this: I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me, for it is your duty to tolerate truth; but when I am the stronger, I shall persecute you, for it is my duty to persecute error.

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) English writer and politician
“Sir James Mackintosh’s History of the Revolution,” Edinburgh Review (Jul 1835)
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Added on 21-Jan-15 | Last updated 21-Jan-15
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Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) American poet
“Song of Myself,” Sec. 51 (1855)
Added on 12-Jan-15 | Last updated 12-Jan-15
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This country was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free.

George Carlin (1937-2008) American comedian
What Am I Doing in New Jersey? (1988)
Added on 7-Jan-15 | Last updated 7-Jan-15
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The objection to Puritans is not that they try to make us think as they do, but that they try to make us do as they think.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major, 5.22 (1916)
Added on 23-Sep-14 | Last updated 23-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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Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a very good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
“Fragments on Government,” 1854?, Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings, 1832-1858 (1989)
Added on 13-Mar-14 | Last updated 13-Mar-14
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Selfishness is that detestable vice which no one will forgive in others, and no one is without in himself.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Life Thoughts (1858)
Added on 4-Mar-14 | Last updated 4-Mar-14
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The best reformers the world haz ever seen are thoze who commense on themselves.

[The best reformers the world has ever seen are those who commence on themselves.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Nosegays” (1874)
Added on 22-Aug-13 | Last updated 5-May-19
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Do not let your deeds belie your words, lest when you speak in church someone may say to himself, “Why do you not practice what you preach?”

St. Jerome (c. 347-419) Roman Christian priest, theologian, historian, translator [Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus]
Letter 52, to Nepotian (AD 394)

Alt. trans.: "Do not let your deeds belie your words; lest when you speak in church someone may mentally reply, 'Why do you not practice what you profess?'" [Philip Schaff & Henry Wace (eds.) A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, vol. 6 (1893)]
Added on 19-Aug-13 | Last updated 6-Jul-15
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The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 23:2-7 (NIV)
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Alt trans:
  • "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men." [NRSV]
  • "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi." [KJV]
Added on 27-Nov-12 | Last updated 23-Apr-19
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Everybody’s private motto: It’s better to be popular than right.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1902 [ed. Paine (1935)]

Comment on an unlined sheet his papers.
Added on 4-Sep-12 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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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
Trial of C.B. Reynolds for blasphemy (May 1887)
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Added on 15-Feb-12 | Last updated 9-Feb-16
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An orator’s life is more convincing than his eloquence.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 507 [tr. Lyman (1862)]
Added on 9-Jan-12 | Last updated 20-Feb-17
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The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“Mr. Mencken Sounds Off,” interview, LIFE Magazine (5 Aug 1946)
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Added on 16-Aug-11 | Last updated 23-May-17
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A great many people do many things that seem to be inspired more by a spirit of ostentation than by heartfelt kindness. … Such a pose is nearer akin to hypocrisy than to generosity or moral goodness.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis, 1.14 [tr. Miller (1913)]
Added on 29-May-11 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
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Bear with the faults and frailties of others, for you, too, have many faults which others have to bear. If you cannot mold yourself as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking? For we require other people to be perfect, but do not correct our own faults.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, ch. 16 (c. 1418) [tr. L. Sherley-Price (1952)]
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Alt trans.: "Try to bear patiently with the defects and infirmities of others, whatever they may be, because you also have many a fault which others must endure. If you cannot make yourself what you would wish to be, how can you bend others to your will? We want them to be perfect, yet we do not correct our own faults. We wish them to be severely corrected, yet we will not correct ourselves. Their great liberty displeases us, yet we would not be denied what we ask. We would have them bound by laws, yet we will allow ourselves to be restrained in nothing."

Alt trans.: "Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be."
Added on 2-Jun-10 | Last updated 14-Sep-16
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“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 6:1-6 (NIV)
    (Source)

KJV:  "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
Added on 11-Mar-10 | Last updated 8-Jul-16
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More quotes by Bible

The modern conservative is not even especially modern. He is engaged, on the contrary, in one of man’s oldest, best financed, most applauded, and, on the whole, least successful exercises in moral philosophy. That is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. It is an exercise which always involves a certain number of internal contradictions and even a few absurdities. The conspicuously wealthy turn up urging the character-building value of privation for the poor. The man who has struck it rich in minerals, oil, or other bounties of nature is found explaining the debilitating effect of unearned income from the state. The corporate executive who is a superlative success as an organization man weighs in on the evils of bureaucracy. Federal aid to education is feared by those who live in suburbs that could easily forgo this danger, and by people whose children are in public schools. Socialized medicine is condemned by men emerging from Walter Reed Hospital. Social Security is viewed with alarm by those who have the comfortable cushion of an inherited income. Those who are immediately threatened by public efforts to meet their needs — whether widows, small farmers, hospitalized veterans, or the unemployed — are almost always oblivious to the danger.

Galbraith - selfishness - wist_info

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) Canadian-American economist, diplomat, author
“Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National Policy Committee on Pockets of Poverty (13 Dec 1963)

Galbraith used variations on this quote over the years.
  • The above quotation was from a speech given, that was then entered into the Congressional Record, Vol. 109, Senate (18 Dec 1963).
  • This material was reworked into an article "Let us begin: An invitation to action on poverty," in Harper's (March 1964), which was in turn again entered into the Congressional Record, Vol. 110 (1964).
  • One of the last is most often cited: "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy, that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. It is an exercise which always involves a certain number of internal contradictions and even a few absurdities. The conspicuously wealthy turn up urging the character-building value of privation for the poor." ["Stop the Madness," Interview with Rupert Cornwell, Toronto Globe and Mail (6 Jul 2002)]
Added on 19-May-09 | Last updated 20-Nov-15
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More quotes by Galbraith, John Kenneth

There are large parts of the Christian ethic which are universally admitted to be too good for this wicked world. We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one that we preach, but do not practice, and another that we practice, but seldom preach.

Russell - practice and preach - wist_info quote

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“Eastern and Western Ideals of Happiness,” Sceptical Essays (1928)
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More quotes by Russell, Bertrand

Ben, the ethics of sex is a thorny problem. Each of us is forced to grope for a solution he can live with — in the face of a preposterous, unworkable, and evil code of so-called ‘morals.’ Most of us know the code is wrong; almost everybody breaks it. But we pay Danegeld by feeling guilty and giving lip service. Willy-nilly, the code rides us, dead and stinking, an albatross around the neck.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Stranger in a Strange Land [Jubal] (1961)
    (Source)

In the 1960 "uncut" edition, the passage reads as: "Ben, the ethics of sex is a thorny problem because each of us has to find a solution pragmatically compatible with a preposterous, utterly unworkable, and evil public code of so-called "morals." Most of us know, or suspect, that the public code is wrong, and we break it. Nevertheless we pay Danegeld by giving it lip service in public and feeling guilty about breaking it in private. Willy-nilly, that code rides us, dead and stinking, an albatross around the neck."
Added on 24-Mar-09 | Last updated 11-Aug-17
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You cannot change the conclusion of the brain by torture; nor by social ostracism. But I will tell you what you can do by these, and what you have done. You can make hypocrites by the million. You can make a man say that he has changed his mind; but he remains of the same opinion still. Put fetters all over him; crush his feet in iron boots; stretch him to the last gasp upon the holy rack; burn him, if you please, but his ashes will be of the same opinion still.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child” (1877)
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ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE
EQUAL THAN OTHERS

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
Animal Farm, ch. 10 (1946)
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The church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little, by way of example.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
A Tramp Abroad (1880)
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Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) British novelist [pseud. Currer Bell]
Jane Eyre, Preface, 2nd edition (21 Dec 1847)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Dec-15
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