Virtue, vice

Quotations: Virtue, vice

The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it.
— Lord Thomas Macaulay, British poet, historian, politician (1800-1859)

If you don’t have enemies, you don’t have character.
— Paul Newman, American actor (b. 1925)

What a man’s mind can create, man’s character can control.
— Attributed to Thomas Edison, American inventor (1847-1931)

The best index to a person’s character is (a) how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can’t fight back.
— Abigail van Buren (Pauline Esther Friedman), American newspaper advice columnist (1918-2002)

If we are forced, at every hour, to watch or listen to horrible events, this constant stream of ghastly impressions will deprive even the most delicate among us of all respect for humanity.
— Cicero (Marcus Tullius), Roman orator, philosopher and statesman (106-43 B.C.)

It is reasonable that everyone who asks justice should do justice.
— Thomas Jefferson, American Founding Father and third U.S. president( 1743-1826), letter to George Hammond, 1792

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

Charity isn’t a good substitute for justice.
— Jonathan Kozol, American journalist and author (b. 1936)

When a man hangs from a tree it doesn’t spell justice unless he helped write the law that hanged him.
— E. B. White, American essayist (1899-1985)

There are two levers for moving men — interest and fear.
— Napoleon Bonaparte, French general and emperor (1769-1821)

Any man will usually get from other men just what he is expecting of them. If he is looking for friendship he will likely receive it. If his attitude is that of indifference, it will beget indifference. And if a man is looking for a fight, he will in all likelihood be accommodated in that.
— John Richelsen

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.
— George Washington, American Founding Father and war hero, first U.S. president (1732-1799)

A man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.
— Niccolo Machiavelli, Florentine dramatist, political analyst and adviser (1469-1527)

It is a grand mistake to think of being great without goodness and I pronounce it as certain that there was never a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous.
— Benjamin Franklin, American Founding Father, inventor and statesman (1706-1790)

An election is a moral horror, as bad as battle except for the blood; a mud bath for every soul concerned.
— George Bernard Shaw, Anglo-Irish dramatist and wit (1856-1950)

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
— Cicero (Marcus Tullius), Roman orator, philosopher and statesman (106-43 B.C.)

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between a dog and a man.
— Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), American humorist, author and journalist (1835-1910)

Virtue has never been as respectable as money.
— Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), American humorist, author and journalist (1835-1910)

What does not destroy makes me stronger.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900)

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

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

A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sin and suffering.
— Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and third U.S. president (1743-1826), from a letter to Samuel Kercheval, 1816

Whatever else may be shaken, there are some facts established beyond warring: virtue is better than vice, truth is better than falsehood, kindness than brutality.
— Quintin Hogg, English merchant and philanthropist (1845-1903)

We talk on principle but we act on interest.
— William Savage Landor, English author (1775-1864)

Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.
— Confucius (K’ung Fu-tzu), Chinese sage (551-479 B.C.)

Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic disease of the 20th century.
— Alexandr Solzhenitzyn, Russian novelist and historian (b. 1918)

Make a virtue of necessity.
— Geoffrey Chaucer, English author (c. 1342-1400)

Do not sound a trumpet before thee as the hypocrites d …that they may have glory from men….But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.
— Bible, Matthew 6:1-4

I value solid popularity—the esteem of good men for good action. I despise the bubble popularity that is won without merit and lost without crime.
— Thomas Hart Benton, American writer and U.S. senator from Missouri (1782-1858)

After hunger, a human’s most important need is to know what is virtuous.
— Jerome Kagan, Harvard psychology professor and author (b. 1929)

He who hates vice, hates mankind.
— Pliny the Younger, Roman author (61-113 A.D.)

Our virtues are most often praised but our vices disguised.
— François duc de la Rochefoucauld, French memoirist and philosopher (1613-1680)

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
— Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), American humorist, author and journalist (1835-1910), in Puddnhead Wilson

The essence of greatness is the perception that virtue is enough.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, public philosopher and poet (1803-1880)

Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.
— François duc de la Rochefoucauld, French epigrammatist (1613-1680)

More people are flattered into virtue than bullied out of vice.
— Robert Smith Surtees, English novelist and editor (1803-1864)

To many people, virtue consists chiefly in repenting faults, not in avoiding them.
— Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Value is that which one acts to gain and/or keep. Virtue is the act by which one aims and/or keeps it.
— Ayn Rand, Russian-American philosopher and author (1905-1982)

If you live long enough, you get accused of things you never did and praised for virtues you never had.
— I.F. Stone, 20th-century American journalist

Perfection has one grave defect; it is apt to be dull.
— Somerset Maugham, English author (1874-1965)

Don’t try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough.
— Arthur Freed, American lyricist and film producer (1894-1973)

Laws control the lesser person. Right conduct controls the greater one.
— Chinese proverb

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
— William Shakespeare, English poet and playwright (1564-1616)

True strength lies in gentleness.
— Irish proverb

If you damage the character of another person, you damage your own.
— Yoruba proverb

Fortune lost, nothing lost; courage lost, much lost; honor lost, more lost; soul lost, all lost.
— Dutch proverb

The way to overcome the angry man is with gentleness, the evil man with goodness, the miser with generosity and the liar with truth.
— Indian proverb

If honor be your clothing, the suit will last a lifetime; but if clothing be your honor, it will soon be worn threadbare.
— William Arnot, preacher and theological writer (1808-1875)

I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.
— Mother Teresa, Catholic nun and founder of Missionaries of Charity (1910-1997)

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If people speak or act with evil thoughts, pain follows them. If people speak or act with pure thoughts, happiness follows them, like a shadow that never leaves them.
— Siddhartha Gautama, spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism (c. 563 – 483 BCE)