Apology is a word which generally refers to an expression of remorse, regret, or sorrow for having said or done something that harmed or has been perceived to have harmed another, or to those of apologetics, the discipline of developing defenses against criticisms through the systematic use of information, and even formal justifications of such actions, attitudes or stances, as others perceive to be undesirable or harmful; to apologize typically refers to acts of expressing remorse, but can also refer to the more formal acts of apologists, in defense or justification of particular intentions or actions.
- APOLOGIZE, v.i. To lay the foundation for a future offence.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911)
- What must be acknowledged, for example the prevalence of anxiety, is grafted onto man’s essence as if it grew there. Such is the tried and tested method of the apologist: what is social in origin is presented as natural.
- Russell Jacoby, Social Amnesia (1975), p. 63
- Reflective apologists for war at the present day all take it religiously. It is a sort of sacrament. It's profits are to the vanquished as well as to the victor; and quite apart from any question of profit, it is an absolute good, we are told, for it is human nature at its highest dynamic.
- What remains if you give up the great religions? Many people think: only Communism, Nazism, and immorality. But the morality of Socrates, Spinoza, and Hume compares favorably with Augustine's, Luther's, and Calvin's. And the evil deeds of Communism and Nazism are not due to their lack of belief but to their false beliefs, even as the evil deeds of the Crusaders, Inquisitors, and witch hunters, and Luther's exhortation to burn synagogues and Calvin's decision to burn Servetus, were due to their false beliefs. … Renouncing false beliefs will not usher in the millennium. Few things about the strategy of contemporary apologists are more repellent than their frequent recourse to spurious alternatives. The lesser lights inform us that the alternative to Christianity is materialism, thus showing how little they have read, while the greater lights talk as if the alternative were bound to be a shallow and inane optimism. I don't believe that man will turn this earth into a bed of roses either with the aid of God or without it.
- Is it healthy, though, for societies to apologize for things that were done in different centuries and under different sets of beliefs? Politicians and others have been quick to make all sorts of apologies, even when it is difficult to see why they need feel any responsibility—or what good an apology would do. The Pope apologized for the Crusades. The daughter of the British poet John Betjeman apologized to a town near London for a line in one of his poems which read, “Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough / It isn’t fit for humans now.” In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton apologized for slavery and Tony Blair for the Irish potato famine. A descendant of the famous Elizabethan freebooter and slaver Sir John Hawkins wore a T-shirt reading “so sorry” while he knelt in front of a crowd of locals in Gambia.
- Margaret MacMillan, The Uses and Abuses of History (2008)
- Contrary to liberal myth, Smith was not an apologist for capitalists. He argued in fact, that capitalists always seek "to deceive and oppress the public" by conspiring to inflate their prices and profits.
- David McNally, Another World Is Possible : Globalization and Anti-capitalism (2002), Ch. 3, The Invisible Hand Is A Closed Fist, p. 61
- Conservatives — or better, pro-corporate apologists — hijacked the vocabulary of Jeffersonian liberalism and turned words like "progress," "opportunity," and "individualism" into tools for making the plunder of America sound like divine right … This "degenerate and unlovely age," as one historian calls it, exists in the mind of Karl Rove — the reputed brain of George W. Bush — as the seminal age of inspiration for politics and governance of America today.
- Bill Moyers, in a speech to the "Take Back America" Conference (10 June 2003); "Degenerate and unlovely age" is a quotation from Charles Eliot Norton
- Reagan's story of freedom superficially alludes to the Founding Fathers, but its substance comes from the Gilded Age, devised by apologists for the robber barons. It is posed abstractly as the freedom of the individual from government control — a Jeffersonian ideal at the roots of our Bill of Rights, to be sure. But what it meant in politics a century later, and still means today, is the freedom to accumulate wealth without social or democratic responsibilities and license to buy the political system right out from everyone else.
- Bill Moyers, "For America's Sake" speech (12 December 2006), as quoted in Moyers on Democracy (2008), p. 17
- In all the fearful moral dilemmas of our time, Simone Weil never once went astray, whereas Simone de Beauvoir, with I am sure the best of intentions, has found herself aligned with apologists for some of the most monstrous barbarities and falsehoods of history.
- Malcolm Muggeridge, in "A Knight of the Woeful Countenance" in The World of George Orwell (1972) edited by Miriam Gross, p. 167
- The sponsor of an hour's television program is not buying merely the six minutes devoted to commercial message. He is determining, within broad limits, the sum total of the impact of the entire hour. If he always, invariably, reaches for the largest possible audience, then this process of insulation, of escape from reality, will continue to be massively financed, and its apologist will continue to make winsome speeches about giving the public what it wants, or "letting the public decide."
- Professional philosophers are usually only apologists: that is, they are absorbed in defending some vested illusion or some eloquent idea. Like lawyers or detectives, they study the case for which they are retained.
- George Santayana, The Genteel Tradition in American Philosophy (1911)
- Qui s'excuse s'accuse.
- Who apologizes, accuses.
- Quoted by Wood, V.-C, Tichborne v. Tichborne (1867), 15 W. R. 1074; by Lord Bramwell, Derry v. Peek (1889), L. R. 14 Ap. Ca. 347
- Encyclopedic article on Apology on Wikipedia