Quotations about   safety

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This is an example of what those who have studied history well know: When stupidity is considered patriotism, it is unsafe to be intelligent.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare (1970)

On Falstaff in Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 1, Act 1, sc. 1 (1587).
Added on 8-Sep-20 | Last updated 8-Sep-20
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Some Saian mountaineer
Struts today with my shield.
I threw it down by a bush and ran
When the fighting got hot.
Life seemed somehow more precious.
It was a beautiful shield.
I know where I can buy another
Exactly like it, just as round.

Archilochus (c. 680-645 BC) Greek lyric poet and mercenary [Ἀρχίλοχος, Archilochos, Arkhilokhus]
Fragment 79 [tr. Davenport (1964)]
    (Source)

Fragment from Plutarch, "Laws and Customs of the Lacedaemonians". Alt. trans.:
  • "Let who will boast their courage in the field, / I find but little safety from my shield. / Nature's, not honour's, law we must obey: / This made me cast my useless shield away, / And, by a prudent flight and cunning, save / A life, which valour could not, from the grave. / A better buckler I can soon regain; / But who can get another life again?" [tr. Pulleyn (18th C)]
  • "A Saian boasts about the shield which beside a bush / though good armour I unwillingly left behind. / I saved myself, so what do I care about the shield? / To hell with it! I'll get one soon just as good." ["To my shield" (D6, 5W)]
  • "I don't give a damn if some Thracian ape struts / Proud of that first-rate shield the bushes got. / Leaving it was hell, but in a tricky spot / I kept my hide intact. Good shields can be bought." [tr. Silverman]
  • "Some barbarian is waving my shield, since I was obliged to leave that perfectly good piece of equipment behind under a bush. But I got away, so what does it matter? Life seemed somehow more precious. Let the shield go; I can buy another one equally good." [tr. Lattimore (1955)]
Identified elsewhere as Fragment 6.
Added on 21-Jan-20 | Last updated 21-Jan-20
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I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry V, Act 3, sc. 2 [Boy] (1599)
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Added on 2-Apr-18 | Last updated 2-Apr-18
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Eight years involved with the nuclear industry have taught me that when nothing can possible go wrong and every avenue has been covered, then is the time to buy a house on the next continent.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Post, alt.fan.pratchett (26 Aug 1998)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Feb-18 | Last updated 20-Mar-20
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Most men love money and security more, and creation and construction less, as they get older.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) English economist
“Clissold” (1927)
Added on 7-Feb-17 | Last updated 7-Feb-17
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Carelessness does more harm than a want of knowledge.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 11-Jun-16 | Last updated 11-Jun-16
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He is free from danger who, even when safe, is on his guard.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings]
Added on 20-May-16 | Last updated 31-May-16
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Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the laborer, unless under compulsion from society.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist
Capital: A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production (1873)
Added on 20-Apr-16 | Last updated 20-Apr-16
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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”
Added on 20-Nov-15 | Last updated 20-Nov-15
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There’s a particular kind of safety that comes from being on the streets where you went to school, had your first snog, or drink, or threw up your first chicken vindaloo.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Moon Over Soho (2011)
Added on 18-Nov-15 | Last updated 18-Nov-15
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Altho insured
Remember, kiddo
They don’t pay you
They pay
Your widow
Burma-Shave

Other Authors and Sources
Burma-Shave sign
Added on 11-Nov-15 | Last updated 11-Nov-15
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He tried
To cross
As fast train neared
Death didn’t draft him
He volunteered
Burma-Shave

Other Authors and Sources
Burma-Shave sign
Added on 5-Nov-15 | Last updated 5-Nov-15
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The high sentiments always win in the end, the leaders who offer blood, toil, tears, and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“The Art of Donald McGill” (Sep 1941)
Added on 16-Oct-15 | Last updated 16-Oct-15
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The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.

[Nisi impunitatis cupido retinuisset, magnis semper conatibus adversa.]

Tacitus (c.56-c.120) Roman historian, orator, politician [Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus]
Annals, Book 15, 50 (AD 117)

Referring to Subrius Flavus’ thought of assassinating Nero while the emperor sang on stage. Alt. trans.: "But desire of escape, foe to all great enterprises, held him back."
Added on 21-Jul-15 | Last updated 21-Jul-15
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You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
(Attributed)
Added on 17-Jul-15 | Last updated 17-Jul-15
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DARLA: You really think that safety can be plucked from the arms of an evil deed?

Steven S. DeKnight (b. 1964) American television screenwriter, producer
Angel, 4×17 “Inside Out” (2 Apr 2003)
Added on 22-Aug-14 | Last updated 24-Aug-20
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That cannot be safe which is not honorable.

Tacitus (c.56-c.120) Roman historian, orator, politician [Publius or Gaius Cornelius Tacitus]
The Histories, 1.33 [tr. Church and Brodribb (1942)]

Quoting an unnamed Roman.
Added on 12-Jul-13 | Last updated 20-Jun-16
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We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable Rights; that among these, are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Declaration of Independence (1776)
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Added on 10-Jan-13 | Last updated 10-Sep-14
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The old woman took the umbrella, gratefully, and smiled her thanks. “You’ve a good heart,” she told him. “Sometimes that’s enough to see you safe wherever you go.” Then she shook her head. “But mostly, it’s not.”

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Neverwhere (1996)
Added on 4-May-10 | Last updated 19-Apr-18
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Even while I protest the assembly-line production of our food, our songs, our language, and eventually our souls, I know that it was a rare home that baked good bread in the old days. Mother’s cooking was with rare exceptions poor, that good unpasteurized milk touched only by flies and bits of manure crawled with bacteria, the healthy old-time life was riddled with aches, sudden death from unknown causes, and that sweet local speech I mourn was the child of illiteracy and ignorance. It is the nature of a man as he grows older, a small bridge in time, to protest against change, particularly change for the better.

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) American writer
Travels With Charley: In Search of America, Part 2 (1962)
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Added on 21-Aug-09 | Last updated 4-Sep-19
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Where the very safety of the country depends upon the resolution to be taken, no considerations of justice or injustice, humanity or cruelty, nor of glory or shame, should be allowed to prevail. But putting all other considerations aside, the only question should be, “What course will save the life and liberty of the country?”

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses on Livy, Book 3, ch. 41 (1517) [tr. Detmold (1882)]
Added on 11-May-09 | Last updated 27-Jan-20
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He that will not set sail till all dangers are over must never put out to sea.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #2353 (1732)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 6-May-16
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Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. God Himself is not secure, having given man dominion over His works! Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Faith alone defends. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
Let Us Have Faith (1940)

Reprinted in The Open Door (1957)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Sep-20
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A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

John A. Shedd (contemp.) American writer
Salt from My Attic (1928)

    Variants:
  • "Ships in harbor are safe, but that is not what ships are built for."
  • "A ship in port is safe. But that’s not what ships were built for." (used by Grace Hopper)
  • "A ship is always safe at shore, but that is not what it is built for." (frequently misattributed to Albert Einstein)
More information on this quotation here. Sometimes (mis)attributed to William Greenough Thayer Shedd.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 27-May-18
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