Quotations about   lies

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



Indeed rhetoricians are permitted to lie about historical matters so they can speak more subtly.

[Quidem concessum est rhetoribus ementiri in historiis ut aliquid dicere possint argutius.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Brutus, sec. 42 (46 BC)

Alt. trans.:
  • "Orators are indeed permitted to lie about historical matters so they can speak more subtly."
  • "For it is the privilege of rhetoricians to exceed the truth of history, that they may have an opportunity of embellishing the fate of their heroes." [tr. Jones (1776)]
  • "Fabrication's certainly allowed when practitioners of rhetoric write history, to frame a point more cleverly." [tr. Kaster (2020)]
Added on 14-Sep-20 | Last updated 14-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

A mixture of gullibility and cynicism had been an outstanding characteristic of mob mentality before it became an everyday phenomenon of masses. In an ever-changing, incomprehensible, world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything is possible and that nothing was true. The mixture in itself was remarkable enough, because it spelled the end of the illusion that gullibility was a weakness of unsuspecting primitive souls and cynicism the vice of superior and refined minds. Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part 3, ch. 2 (1951)
    (Source)
Added on 6-Feb-20 | Last updated 6-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Arendt, Hannah

Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (22 Sep 1920)
Added on 28-Nov-16 | Last updated 28-Nov-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Gandhi, Mohandas

It’s one thing to be aware of complex strategies and lies that might be going on around you. It’s another to let yourself become so worried about deception that you become paralyzed.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Dragon (1998)
Added on 19-Aug-16 | Last updated 19-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Brust, Steven

The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
(Attributed)
Added on 15-Jul-16 | Last updated 15-Jul-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Orwell, George

“They’re brothers,” said Zach, and you had to admire him, if only for his persistence. But it didn’t matter, because in an interview a lie can almost be as good as the truth. That’s because all good lies contain as much truth as the liar thinks they can get away with. This truth accumulates, and because it’s easier to remember the truth than something you’ve made up, it remains consistent where the lies do not. All you have to do is keep asking variations on the same questions, until you can sort one from the other. That’s why helping the police with their inquiries can take you all day — if you’re lucky.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Whispers Under Ground (2012)
Added on 30-Dec-15 | Last updated 30-Dec-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Aaronovitch, Ben

Lying is done with words, and also with silence.

Adrienne Rich (1929-2012) American poet, essayist, feminist
“Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying” (1975)
Added on 21-Oct-15 | Last updated 21-Oct-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Rich, Adrienne

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Benjamin Disraeli - lies statistics - wist_info

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) English politician and author
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Attributed by Mark Twain in "Chapters from My Autobiography," April 1904, North American Review (7 Sep 1906), later in : "Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'"

The phrase has not been found in any of Disraeli's works, and he is considered unlikely to be the originator (see here and here for more discussion).

Added on 14-Oct-15 | Last updated 14-Oct-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Disraeli, Benjamin

The more lies are told, the more important it becomes for the liars to justify themselves by deep moral commitments to high-sounding objectives that mask the pursuit of money and power.

Bertram M. Gross (1912-1997) American social scientist, academic, bureaucrat
Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America, ch. 9 (1980)
Added on 30-Sep-15 | Last updated 30-Sep-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Gross, Bertram

Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; ere long she shall appear to vindicate thee.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) German philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 20-Mar-14 | Last updated 20-Mar-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Kant, Immanuel

We begin by fooling others and end up fooling ourselves.

Eric Alterman (b. 1960) American historian, journalist, author
Sound and Fury: The Washington Punditocracy and the Collapse of American Politics, Introduction (1992)
Added on 7-Jan-14 | Last updated 7-Jan-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Alterman, Eric

The worst of all deceptions is self-deception.

Socrates (c.470-399 BC) Greek philosopher
In Plato, Cratylus (c. 360 BC)
Added on 10-Dec-13 | Last updated 21-Aug-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Socrates

It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying, that there is so much falsehood in the world.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (31 Mar 1778)

In James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)
Added on 27-Nov-13 | Last updated 27-Nov-13
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Johnson, Samuel

My father had a deep and lifelong contempt for politicians in general (“They tell lies,” he used to say with wonder, “even when they don’t have to”).

Gore Vidal (1925-2012) American novelist, dramatist, critic
“On Flying” (1985)
Added on 1-Jan-13 | Last updated 28-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Vidal, Gore

When the issue is one of Truth and Justice, there can be no differentiating between small problems and great ones. For the general viewpoints on human behaviour are indivisible. People who fail to regard the truth seriously in small matters, cannot be trusted in matters that are great.

[Wenn es sich um Wahrheit und Gerechtigkeit handelt, gibt es nicht die Unterscheidung zwischen kleinen und grossen Problemen. Denn die allgemeinen Gesichtspunkte, die das Handeln der Menschen betreffen, sind unteilbar. Wer es in kleinen Dingen mit der Wahrheit nicht ernst nimmt, dem kann man auch in grossen Dingen nicht vertrauen …]

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“Albert Einstein on Israeli-Arab Relations,” New Outlook (Jul 1957)

Often paraphrased / translated, "Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." See here for more discussion.
Added on 2-Nov-10 | Last updated 27-Oct-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Einstein, Albert

The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.

Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) American journalist
Speech, The Family of Man Award, The Protestant Council of New York (Oct 1969)

His last public speech.
Added on 3-Mar-09 | Last updated 15-Apr-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Murrow, Edward R.

The cruelest lies are often told in silence. A man may have sat in a room for hours and not opened his teeth, and yet come out of that room a disloyal friend or a vile calumniator.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish essayist, novelist, poet
Virginibus Puerisque, “Virginibus Puerisque,” sec. 4 (1881)
    (Source)
Added on 2-Oct-08 | Last updated 21-Oct-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Stevenson, Robert Louis