Quotations about   wrong

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From such Considerations as these it follows, that I ought never to be angry with any one for differing in Judgment from me. For how know I but the Point in dispute between us, is one of those Errors that I have embrac’d as Truth. If I am in the Wrong, I should not be displeas’d that another is in the Right. If I am in the Right, ’tis my Happiness; and I should rather pity than blame him who is unfortunately in the Wrong.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Letter to Josiah Franklin (Apr 1738) [draft]
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Added on 8-Oct-20 | Last updated 8-Oct-20
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So oft as I with state of present time
The image of the antique world compare,
Whereas man’s age was in his freshest prime,
And the first blossom of faire vertue bare,
Such oddes I find twixt those and these which arc,
As that, through long continuance of his course,
Me seemes the world is runne quite out of square
From the first point of his appointed source;
And being once amiss, grows daily worse and worse: […]

For that which all men then did vertue call,
Is now cald vice; and that which vice was hight,
Is now hight vertue, and so us’d of all;
Right now is wrong, and wrong that was is right.

Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-1599) English poet
The Faerie Queene, Book 5, Proem, st. 1, 4 (1589-96)
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Added on 20-Jul-20 | Last updated 20-Jul-20
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There is no accepted test of civilization. It is not wealth, or the degree of comfort, or the average duration of life, or the increase of knowledge. All such tests would be disputed. In default of any other measure, may it not be suggested that as good a measure as any is the degree to which justice is carried out, the degree to which men are sensitive as to wrong-doing and desirous to right it? If that be the test, a trial such as that of Servetus is a trial of the people among whom it takes place, and his condemnation is theirs also.

John Macdonell (1846-1921) British jurist
Historical Trials, ch. 7 (1927)
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John Calvin ordered Michael Servetus be imprisoned for heresy in Geneva; he was tried, then burned at the stake in 1553.
Added on 15-Jun-20 | Last updated 15-Jun-20
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But I’m here to say to you this morning that some things are right and some things are wrong. Eternally so, absolutely so. It’s wrong to hate. It always has been wrong and it always will be wrong. It’s wrong in America, it’s wrong in Germany, it’s wrong in Russia, it’s wrong in China. It was wrong in 2000 B.C., and it’s wrong in 1954 A.D. It always has been wrong, and it always will be wrong.

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 19-May-17 | Last updated 19-May-17
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It really hurts me very much to suppose that I have wronged anybody on earth.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Quincy, Illinois (13 Oct 1858)
Added on 4-Jan-16 | Last updated 4-Jan-16
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The dictionaries should get with it; in pronunciation and ultimately in usage, when enough of us are wrong, we’re right.

Safire - wrong right - wist_info quote

William Safire (1929-2009) American author, columnist, journalist, speechwriter
Language Maven Strikes Again, “Drudgery It Ain’t” (1990)
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Often paraphrased: "The thing about language is that, when enough of us are wrong, we're right."
Added on 18-Dec-15 | Last updated 18-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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My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.

Anna Sewell (1820-1878) English novelist
Black Beauty, Part 3, ch. 33 “Dolly and a Real Gentleman” (1877)
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Added on 16-Nov-15 | Last updated 31-Jan-20
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People see the wrongness in an idea much quicker that the rightness.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
(Attributed)
Added on 21-Aug-15 | Last updated 21-Aug-15
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There is something to be said for every error; but, whatever may be said for it, the most important thing to be said about it is that it is erroneous.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
Illustrated London News (25 April 1931)
Added on 13-May-15 | Last updated 13-May-15
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COUNTESS: Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
All’s Well that Ends Well, Act 1, sc. 1, l. 73 (1602)
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Added on 1-Apr-15 | Last updated 1-Apr-15
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ZOE: I know something ain’t right.

WASH: Sweetie, we’re crooks. If everything were right, we’d be in jail.

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Firefly, 1×01 “Serenity” (pilot) (20 Dec 2002)
Added on 19-Feb-15 | Last updated 19-Feb-15
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If the first button of one’s coat is wrongly buttoned, all the rest will be crooked.

Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) Italian philosopher
(Attributed)
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Attributed in John Emerich & Edward Dalberg, The Cambridge Modern History (1904).
Added on 8-Dec-14 | Last updated 8-Dec-14
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When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
(Misttributed)
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Often attributed directly to King, he prefaced it, in Why We Can't Wait (1964), with "Someone once wrote ..."
Added on 10-Aug-12 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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You know my friends, there comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by the iron feet of oppression. […] We are not wrong, we are not wrong in what we are doing. If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until “justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Speech, Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) Mass Meeting, Hold Street Baptist Church, Montgomery (5 Dec 1955)

Quotation is from the Bible, Amos 5:24.
Added on 16-Mar-12 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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To this war of every man against every man, this also is consequent; that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice, have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law; where no law, no injustice. Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) English philosopher
Leviathan, Part 1, ch. 13 (1651)
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Added on 7-Oct-10 | Last updated 6-Nov-20
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I am not one of those who think that the people are never in the wrong. They have been so, frequently and outrageously, both in other countries and in this. But I do say, that in all disputes between them and their rulers, the presumption is at least upon a par in favour of the people.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
“Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (23 Apr 1770)
Added on 25-Aug-08 | Last updated 9-Nov-20
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All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible.

George Santayana (1863-1952) Spanish-American poet and philosopher [Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruíz de Santayana y Borrás]
Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
Added on 23-Jul-08 | Last updated 16-Mar-20
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It is better to be roughly right than to be precisely wrong.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) English economist
(Misttributed)

Not attributed to Keynes until after his death. Actually from Carveth Read, Logic, deductive and inductive (1898): "It is better to be vaguely right than exactly wrong."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Dec-15
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O my son!
These are no trifles! Think: all men make mistakes,
But a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong,
And repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 1022ff [Tiresias] (441 BC) [tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), ll. 803ff]
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Alt. trans.:

Then take these things to heart, my son: for error
Is as the universal lot of man;
But whenso'er he errs, that man no longer
Is witless or unblessed, who, having fallen
Into misfortune, seeks to mend his ways
And is not obstinate: the stiffneckt temper
Must oft plead guilty to the charge of folly.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

Now, then, my son, take thought. A man may err;
But he is not insensate or foredoomed
To ruin, who, when he hath lapsed to evil,
Stands not inflexible, but heals the harm.
The obstinate man still earns the name of fool.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

O ponder this, my son. To err is common
To all men, but the man who having erred
Hugs not his errors, but repents and seeks
The cure, is not a wastrel nor unwise.
No fool, the saw goes, like the obstinate fool.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

Think, therefore, on these things, my son. All men are liable to err. But when an error is made, that man is no longer unwise or unblessed who heals the evil into which he has fallen and does not remain stubborn. Self-will, we know, invites the charge of foolishness.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

Consider this, my son! and, O remember,
To err is human; 'tis the common lot
Of frail mortality; and he alone
Is wise and happy, who, when ills are done,
Persists not, but would heal the wound he made.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

Think, then, on these things, my son. All men are liable to err; but when an error hath been made, that man is no longer witless or unblest who heals the ill into which he hath fallen, and remains not stubborn. Self-will, we know, incurs the charge of folly.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

Mark this, my son: all men fall into sin.
But sinning, he is not forever lost
Hapless and helpless, who can make amends
And has not set his face against repentance.
Only a fool is governed by self-will.
[tr. Watling (1939)]

Think of these things, my son. All men may err
but error once committed, he's no fool
nor yet unfortunate, who gives up his stiffness
ad cures the trouble he has fallen in.
Stubbornness and stupidity are twins.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

Be warned, my son, No man alive is free
From error, but the wise and prudent man
When he has fallen into evil courses
Does not persist, but tries to find amendment ....
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

Take these things to heart, my son, I warn you.
All men make mistakes, it is only human.
But once the wrong is done, a man
can turn his back on folly, misfortune too,
if he tries to make amends, however low he's fallen,
and stops his bullnecked ways. Stubbornness
brands you for stupidity -- pride is a crime
[tr. Fagles (1982), l. 1131ff]

Therefore, think about this, child. For men,
all of them, it is common to make mistakes.
Whenever he does make a mistake, that man is still not
foolish or unhappy who, fallen into evil,
applies a remedy and does not become immovable.
Stubborn self-will incurs a charge of stupidity.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

Understand this: All men make mistakes. But when they do, it would be a wise and well acting man who corrected that mistake and moved on rather than stayed there stubbornly and unrepentant. The stubborn man is rewarded with more errors.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

Consider this, my son.
All men make mistakes -- that's not uncommon.
But when they do, they’re no longer foolish
or subject to bad luck if they try to fix
the evil into which they’ve fallen,
once they give up their intransigence.
Men who put their stubbornness on show
invite accusations of stupidity.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 1138ff]

Therefore, think on these things, my child; for every human being makes mistakes, but when he has made a mistake, that man is no longer foolish and unhappy who remedies the evil into which he has fallen and is not stubborn. Obstinacy brings the charge of stupidity.
[tr. Thomas (2005)]

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Dec-20
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“My Country, right or wrong” is a thing no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
The Defendant, ch. 16 “A Defence of Patriotism”
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Apr-16
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This isn’t right. This isn’t even wrong.

[Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!]

Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958) American physicist
(Attributed)

Quoted by R. Peierls in “Wolfgang Ernst Pauli, 1900-1958,″ Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society (1960): “... a friend showed him the paper of a young physicist which he suspected was not of great value but on which he wanted Pauli’s views. Pauli remarked sadly ‘That’s not right. It’s not even wrong.’” More discussion here.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 23-Jul-15
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I cannot ask of heaven success, even for my country, in a cause where she should be in the wrong. Fiat justitia, pereat coelum. My toast would be, may our country be always successful, but whether successful or otherwise, always right.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
Letter to John Adams (1 Aug 1816)

In response to Stephen Decatur's quote (and subsequent popular catch phrase), "Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right, but our country, right or wrong."

The Latin translates as "Let justice be done though Heaven should fall."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 22-Aug-16
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It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I’m right.

Molière (1622-1673) French playwright, actor [stage name for Jean-Baptiste Poquelin]
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 24-Aug-15
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