Public service, government

Quotations: Public service, government

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
— Mohandas Gandhi, Indian nonviolent civil rights leader (1869-1948)

What do I owe to my times, to my country, to my neighbors, to my friends? Such are the questions which a virtuous man ought often to ask himself.
— Johann Kaspar Lavater, German poet and physiognomist (1741-1801)

Public virtue is a kind of ghost town into which anyone can move and declare himself sheriff.
— Saul Bellow, American novelist (b. 1915)

In a time of social fragmentation, vulgarity becomes a way of life. To be shocking becomes more important—and often more profitable—than to be civil or creative or truly original.
— Al Gore, politician and U.S. vice president (b. 1948)

Without civic morality communities perish; without personal morality their survival has no value.
— Bertrand Russell, British mathematician and philosopher (1872-1970)

The essence of morality is the subjugation of nature in obedience of social needs.
— John Morley, British statesman and writer (1838-1923)

Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.
— Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian (1892-1971)

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.
— Theodore Roosevelt, American adventurer and 26th president (1858-1919)

Happiness is knowin’ you’ve done a good job, whether it’s professional or for another person.
— Elvis Presley, American rock ‘n’ roll icon (1935-1977)

Lying can never save us from another lie.
— Vaclav Havel, Czech poet and political activist, first president of post-Communist Republic (b. 1936)

If men were angels, no government would be necessary.
— James Madison, American Founding Father, U.S. president (1751-1836)

[Because power corrupts] Society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.
— John Adams, American Founding Father and second U.S. president (1735-1826)

Character is the only secure foundation of the state.
— Calvin Coolidge, 30th American president (1872-1933)

With all the power that a president has, the most important thing to bear in mind is this: You must not give power to a man unless, above everything else, he has character. Character is the most important qualification the president of the United States can have.
— Richard Nixon, 37th U.S. president (1913-1994), from TV ad for Barry Goldwaters presidential campaign in 1964

Politics ruins the character.
— Otto von Bismarck, German chancellor, founder of the German nation state (1815-1898)

Political interest [can] never be separated in the long run from moral right.
— Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father and U.S. president (1743-1826), letter to James Monroe, 1806

You can only govern men by serving them.
— Victor Cousin, French philosopher (1792-1867)

Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds.
— Henry Adams, American historian, memoirist and diplomat (1838-1918)

Politics, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.
— Ambrose Bierce, American journalist and writer (1842-1914?), from the Devil’s Dictionary

Since a politician never believes what he says, he is surprised when others believe him.
— Charles de Gaulle, French general and president, founder of the Fifth Republic (1890-1970)

Washington is a place where men praise courage and act on elaborate personal cost-benefit calculations.
— John Kenneth Galbraith, North American economist, novelist and diplomat (b. 1908)

Never create by law what can be accomplished by morality.
— Charles-Louis de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu, French jurist and political philosopher (1689-1755)

Politics is the art of controlling the environment.
— Hunter S. Thomson, 20th-century American journalist and satirist

Democracy becomes a government of bullies, tempered by editors.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, public philosopher and poet (1803-1882)

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead, American anthropologist (1901-1978)

We live in a stage of politics where legislators seem to regard the passage of laws as much more important than the results of their enforcement.
— William Howard Taft, 27th American president (1857-1930)

I sometimes wish that people would put a little more emphasis upon the observance of the law than they do upon its enforcement.
— Calvin Coolidge, 30th American president (1872-1933)

To insure the adoration of a theorem for any length of time, faith is not enough; a police force is needed as well.
— Albert Camus, French existentialist novelist (1913-1960)

There are not enough jails, not enough police, not enough courts to enforce a law not supported by the people.
— Hubert H. Humphrey, 38th American vice president (1911-1978)

Who will protect the public when the police violate the law?
— Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General (b. 1927)

There is, and always has been, one tremendous ruler of the human race — and that ruler is that combination of the opinions of all, the leveling up of universal sense which is called public sentiment. That is the ever-present regulator and police of humanity.
— attributed to Thomas B. Reed

The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
— Sir Robert Peel, British Prime Minister (1788-1850)

The police must obey the law while enforcing the law.
— Earl Warren, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1891-1974)

The duties which a police officer owes to the state are of a most exacting nature. No one is compelled to choose the profession of a police officer, but having chosen it, everyone is obliged to live up to the standard of its requirements. To join in that high enterprise means the surrender of much individual freedom.
— Calvin Coolidge, 30th American president (1872-1933)

Without commonly shared and widely entrenched moral values and obligations, neither the law nor democratic government will function properly.
— Vaclav Havel, President, Czech Republic

Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
— Sir Robert Peel, British Prime Minister (1788-1850)

It is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer.
— William Blackstone, British jurist (1723-1780)

Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches people by example. If the government becomes the law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law and invites every man to become a law unto himself.
— Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1856-1941)

My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains … put it down, Joe.
— Humphrey Bogart, American actor (1899-1957), from The Big Sleep

He that’s cheated twice by the same man is an accomplice with the cheater.
— Thomas Fuller, English divine and author (1608-1661)

Provision for others is the fundamental responsibility of human life.
— Woodrow Wilson, 28th U.S. president (1856-1924)

To protect those who are not able to protect themselves is a duty which every one owes to society.
— Edward Macnaghten

I am only one, but still, I am one. I cannot do everything but I can do something. And, because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do what I can.
— Edward Everett Hale, American clergyman and writer (1822-1909)

We demand entire freedom of action and then expect the government in some miraculous way to save us from the consequences of our own acts…. Self-government means self-reliance.
— Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. president (1872-1933)

There can be no high civility without a deep morality.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American essayist and poet

We can really respect a man only if he doesn’t always look out for himself.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German playwright, poet, novelist (1749-1832)

We need to restore the meaning of that old word, duty. It is the other side of rights.
— Pearl S. Buck, American writer (1892-1973)

It is better to be kind to our neighbors than to cross the world to offer incense to our ancestors.
— African proverb

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.
— Martin Luther King Jr., American civil rights leader (1929-1968)

There’s neither success nor efficiency without authority and laws.
— Irish proverb

Serve your neighbors as you would be served yourself.
— Japanese proverb

A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit.
— Greek proverb