He who says that there is no such thing as an honest man is himself a knave.
George Berkeley, as quoted in Ladies Home Journal Vol. 97, No. 8 (August 1960).
The truthfulness which Jesus demands from his followers is the self-abnegation which does not hide sin. Nothing is then hidden, everything is brought forth to the light of day. In this question of truthfulness, what matters first and last is that a man’s whole being should be exposed, his whole evil laid bare in the sight of God. But sinful men do not like this sort of truthfulness.
The first step toward greatness is to be honest, says the proverb; but the proverb fails to state the case strong enough. Honesty is not only "the first step toward greatness," — it is greatness itself.
We've reached a truly remarkable situation: a grotesque mismatch between the American intelligencia and the American electorate. A philosophical opinion about the nature of the universe which is held by the vast majority of top American scientists, and probably the majority of the intelligencia generally, is so abhorrent to the American electorate that no candidate for popular election dare affirm it in public. If I'm right, this means that high office in the greatest country in the world is barred to the very people best qualified to hold it: the intelligencia, unless they are prepared to lie about their beliefs. To put it bluntly American political opportunities are heavily loaded against those who are simultaneously intelligent and honest.
Let honesty be as the breath of thy soul, and never forget to have a penny, when all thy expenses are enumerated and paid: then shalt thou reach the point of happiness, and independence shall be thy shield and buckler, thy helmet and crown; then shall thy soul walk upright nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches, nor pocket an abuse because the hand which offers it wears a ring set with diamonds.
In the majority of cases which are brought to me as a consulting psychologist for love and marital adjustment, there are self-deceptions to be uncovered as well as attempts to deceive other people. Beneath such love conflicts there is almost always a festering psychological core of dishonesty.
Ovid, in Henry T. Riley, A Dictionary of Latin and Greek Quotations, Proverbs, Maxims and Mottos (1876), p. 138. This is a translation of Ovid's "gratis paenitet esse probum" from his Ex Ponto, book 2, chapter 3. The translation in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 15th ed., p. 114 (1980) reads: "It is annoying to be honest to no purpose".
In short, honesty is more than a moral principle. It is also a major economic factor. While government can do little to create honesty directly, in various ways it can indirectly either support or undermine the traditions on which honest conduct is based.
Thomas Sowell, Basic Economics, 4th ed. (2010), Ch. 17. Government Functions
A creature that cannot grasp the mutual exclusiveness of A and not A has no difficulty in lying; more than that, such a creature has not even any consciousness of lying, being without a standard of truth.
The man who is so conscious of the rectitude of his intentions as to be willing to open his bosom to the inspection of the world, is already in possession of one of the strongest pillars of a decided character. The course of such a man will be firm and steady, because he has nothing to fear from the world, and is sure of the approbation and support of Heaven.
William Wirt, An Address delivered Before the Peithessophian and Philoclean Societies of Rutgers College 20 July 1830.
"Honesty is the best policy," but he who acts on that principle is not an honest man.
Archbishop Richard Whately, Thoughts and Apothegms, Part II, Chapter XVIII. Pious Frauds; On Some Obstacles to the Attainment of Truth, and to its Progress in the World.
The leading idea is, nothing really succeeds which is not based on reality; the sham, in a large sense, is never successful; that in the life of the individual, as in the more comprehensive life of the state, pretension is nothing and power is everything.