Quotations about   principle

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Hell is paved with great granite blocks hewn from the hearts of those who said, “I can do no other.”

Heywood Broun (1888-1939) American journalist, author
“Emma’s Homecoming,” It Seems to Me: 1925-1935 (1935)
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Added on 21-Jun-17 | Last updated 21-Jun-17
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He took my seat and smiled again, like an affable crocodile. He was probably a very principled man, too. So were they all, all principled men. And women. There were few things more annoying than a visibly principled person. Or more troublesome. Most of the ones I’d met could have used a little uncertainty to dilute their principled-ness.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Hush Money (1999)
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Added on 31-May-17 | Last updated 31-May-17
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The envious nature of men, so prompt to blame and so slow to praise, makes the discovery and introduction of any new principles and systems as dangerous as almost the exploration of unknown seas and continents.

macchiavelli-new-systems-and-discoveries-wist_info-quote

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses, Book 1, Introduction (1517) [tr. Detmold (1940)]
Added on 11-Nov-16 | Last updated 11-Nov-16
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As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents.

orwell-worst-advertisement-for-socialism-wist_info-quote

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
The Road to Wigan Pier, ch. 11 (1937)
Added on 30-Sep-16 | Last updated 30-Sep-16
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Change your opinions, keep to your principles;
change your leaves, keep intact your roots.

Hugo - keep intact your roots - wist_info quote

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
Victor Hugo’s Intellectual Autobiography (1907) [tr. O’Rourke]
Added on 8-Sep-16 | Last updated 8-Sep-16
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I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer [pseud. of Francois-Marie Arouet]
(Misattributed)
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The words are not found in any Voltaire and actually belong to historian Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing as S. G. Tallentyre in The Friends of Voltaire (1906), describing an 1759 incident where Voltaire learned that Claude-Adrien Helvétius' book On the Mind [De l’esprit] had been burned (along with Voltaire's own "On Natural Law") after condemnation by the Paris Parliament and the Sorbonne.
‘What a fuss about an omelette!’ he had exclaimed when he heard of the burning. How abominably unjust to persecute a man for such an airy trifle as that! ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,’ was his attitude now.
Hall later wrote to a friend that the actual words were her own and ought not to have had quotation marks.

Variations:
  • I wholly disapprove of what you say -- and will defend to the death your right to say it.
  • Monsieur l’Abbé, je déteste ce que vous écrivez, mais je donnerais ma vie pour que vous puissiez continuer à écrire.
More information here.
Added on 12-Jul-16 | Last updated 12-Jul-16
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This is the way of greatness. In the supreme moments of history, terms like duty, truth, justice, and mercy — which in our torpid hours are tired words — become the measure of decision. … The straight and righteous path is the shortest and the surest.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
“The Fascination of Greatness,” Today and Tomorrow (7 Sep 1943)
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Added on 16-Dec-15 | Last updated 16-Dec-15
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It is loyalty to great ends, even though forced to combine the small and opposing motives of selfish men to accomplish them; it is the anchored cling to solid principles of duty and action, which knows how to swing with the tide, but is never carried away by it — that we demand in public men, and not sameness of policy, or a conscientious persistency in what is impracticable.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
“Abraham Lincoln” (1864), My Study Windows (1871)
Added on 24-Aug-15 | Last updated 24-Aug-15
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Change based on principle is progress. Constant change without principle becomes chaos.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, Republican National Convention, accepting the presidential nomination (23 Aug 1956)
Added on 4-Jun-15 | Last updated 4-Jun-15
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America — a conservative country without any conservative ideology — appears now before the world a naked and arbitrary power, as, in the name of realism, its men of decision enforce their often crackpot definitions upon world reality. The second-rate mind is in command of the ponderously spoken platitude. In the liberal rhetoric, vagueness, and in the conservative mood, irrationality, are raised to principle. Public relations and the official secret, the trivializing campaign and the terrible fact clumsily accomplished, are replacing the reasoned debate of political ideas in the privately incorporated economy, the military ascendancy, and the political vacuum of modern America.

C. Wright Mills (1916-1962) American sociologist, academic, author [Charles Wright Mills]
The Power Elite, ch. 14 “The Conservative Mood” (1956)
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Added on 21-Jan-15 | Last updated 21-Jan-15
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Those words, “temperate and moderate,” are words either of political cowardice, or of cunning, or seduction. A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is a species of lie.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American political philosopher and writer
“Letter addressed to the addressers on the late proclamation” (1792)
Added on 19-Jan-12 | Last updated 1-Jul-16
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If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935) American jurist, Supreme Court Justice
United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U.S. 644 (1929) [Dissent]
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Added on 20-Jul-10 | Last updated 14-Jun-16
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HAYWOOD: There are those in our own country, too, who today speak of the protection of country, of survival. A decision must be made, in the life of every nation, at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat, when it seems the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient. To look the other way. Only the answer to that is: Survival as what?

Abby Mann (1927-2008) American screenwriter, producer [a.k.a. Abraham Goodman, Ben Goodman]
Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 6-Dec-14
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