Quotations about   majority

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



The validity of an idea or action is determined not by whether it is widely believed or widely reviled but by whether it obeys the rules of logic. It is not because an argument is denounced by a majority that it is wrong nor, for those drawn to heroic defiance, that it is right.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 1 “Consolation for Unpopularity” (2000)
Added on 28-Feb-19 | Last updated 28-Feb-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by De Botton, Alain

Conscience and the press ought to be unrestrained, not because men have a right to deviate from the exact line that duty prescribes, but because society, the aggregate of individuals, has no right to assume the prerogative of an infallible judge, and to undertake authoritatively to prescribe to its members in matters of pure speculation.

William Godwin (1756-1836) English journalist, political philosopher, novelist
Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, Book 2, ch. 5 (1793)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Nov-17 | Last updated 20-Nov-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Godwin, William

One can be certain that every generally held idea, every received notion, will be an idiocy, because it has been able to appeal to a majority.

Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety (2004).
Added on 21-Aug-17 | Last updated 21-Aug-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Chamfort, Nicolas

Democ’acy gives every man
The right to be his own oppressor.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
The Bigalow Papers, Second Series, “Ef I a song or two could make,” l. 97 (1867)
Added on 13-Mar-17 | Last updated 13-Mar-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lowell, James Russell

The truth is always in the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because as a rule the minority is made up of those who actually have an opinion, while the strength of the majority is illusory, formed of that crowd which has no opinion — and which therefore the next moment (when it becomes clear that the minority is the stronger) adopts the latter’s opinion, which now is in the majority, i.e., becomes rubbish by having the whole retinue and numerousness on its side, while the truth is again in a new minority.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Journal (1850)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Feb-17 | Last updated 8-Feb-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kierkegaard, Soren

“Terrorism” is what we call the violence of the weak, and we condemn it; “war” is what we call the violence of the strong, and we glorify it.

harris-violence-of-the-weak-strong-wist_info-quote

Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) Anglo-American columnist, journalist, author
“Nations Should Submit to the Rule of Law,” Clearing the Ground (1986)
Added on 19-Dec-16 | Last updated 19-Dec-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Harris, Sydney J.

Idiosyncratic belief systems which are shared by only a few adherents are likely to be regarded as delusional. Belief systems which may be just as irrational but which are shared by millions are called world religions.

Anthony Storr (1920-2001) English psychiatrist and author
Feet of Clay, ch. 10 (1996)
Added on 28-Nov-16 | Last updated 28-Nov-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Storr, Anthony

I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong; but no matter, the crowd follows it. The vast majority of the race, whether savage or civilized, are secretly kind-hearted and shrink from inflicting pain, but in the presence of the aggressive and pitiless minority they don’t dare to assert themselves. Think of it! One kind-hearted creature spies upon another, and sees to it that he loyally helps in iniquities which revolt both of them. Speaking as an expert, I know that ninety-nine out of a hundred of your race were strongly against the killing of witches when that foolishness was first agitated by a handful of pious lunatics in the long ago. And I know that even to-day, after ages of transmitted prejudice and silly teaching, only one person in twenty puts any real heart into the harrying of a witch. And yet apparently everybody hates witches and wants them killed. Some day a handful will rise up on the other side and make the most noise — perhaps even a single daring man with a big voice and a determined front will do it — and in a week all the sheep will wheel and follow him, and witch-hunting will come to a sudden end.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Mysterious Stranger, ch. 9 (1916)
Added on 5-May-16 | Last updated 5-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

There is something wonderful in seeing a wrong-headed majority assailed by truth.

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) Canadian-American economist, diplomat, author
The Guardian (28 Jul 1989)
Added on 24-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Galbraith, John Kenneth

If forty million people say a foolish thing it does not become a wise one, but the wise man is foolish to give them the lie.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
A Writer’s Notebook (1949)

An entry in 1901. See Anatole France.
Added on 27-Mar-15 | Last updated 27-Mar-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Maugham, W. Somerset

It is difficult for a majority to see, let alone sympathize with, a practice that discriminates against a minority. It’s not unlike trying to get a fish to understand the concept of water! It is simply the medium in which the fish resides, requiring no cognition of the water that supports it. Discrimination — not just individual, but systemic — is the “water” in which the majority swims, and unless something happens to bring that discrimination into the view and consciousness of the majority, nothing will change, because the majority hardly, if ever, notices it.

Gene Robinson (b. 1947) American Episcopal bishop
God Believes in Love (2012)
Added on 11-Dec-14 | Last updated 11-Dec-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Robinson, Gene

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Inaugural Address (4 Mar 1801)
    (Source)
Added on 4-Apr-13 | Last updated 13-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

True Christianity never shields itself behind majorities. Nero, and the other persecuting Roman emperors, were amply supported by majorities; and yet the pure and peaceable religion of Christ in the end triumphed over them all; and it was only when it attempted itself to enforce religion by the arm of authority, that it began to wane. A form of religion that can not live under equal and impartial laws ought to die, and sooner or later must die.

John Welch (1805-1891) American politician, jurist
Board of Education of Cincinnati v. Minor, Ohio Supreme Court (1872)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Jun-11 | Last updated 4-Sep-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Welch, John

Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ch. 26 (1884)
Added on 10-Jun-10 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

[Si 50 millions de personnes disent une bêtise, c’est quand même une bêtise.]

Anatole France (1844-1924) French poet, journalist, novelist, Nobel Laureate [pseud. of Jaques-Anatole-François Thibault]
(Attributed)

Sometimes misattributed to Bertrand Russell.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 27-Mar-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by France, Anatole

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

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

Also given as "... time to reform."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities.

John Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834-1902) British historian
“The History of Freedom in Antiquity,” Speech, Bridgenorth Institute (28 Feb 1877)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Feb-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Acton, John Dalberg (Lord)