differentiation between right and wrong, virtues and vices
(Redirected from Morals)

Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are "good" (or right) and those that are "bad" (or wrong).

When scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men. When we foolishly minimize the internal of our lives and maximize the external, we sign the warrant for our own day of doom. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. ~ Immanuel Kant
What is goodheartedness, refinement or genius to me, when the person who has these virtues tolerates slack feelings in his faith and judgments and when he does not account the desire for certainty as his inmost craving and deepest distress. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Only that which prepares the complete and final overthrow of imperialist bestiality is moral, and nothing else. ~ Leon Trotsky
Cowardice, caressed by Christianity, creates morality. ~ Bruno Filippi
Wisdom is purified by morality, and morality is purified by wisdom: where one is, the other is, the moral man has wisdom and the wise man has morality, and the combination of morality of wisdom is called the highest thing in the world. ~ Gautama Buddha
Socrates taught that true felicity is not to be derived from external possessions, but from wisdom, which consists in the knowledge and practice of virtue… ~ William Enfield
Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral law is written on the tablets of eternity. ~ James Anthony Froude
If your morals make you dreary, depend upon it they are wrong. I do not say "give them up," for they may be all you have; but conceal them like a vice, lest they should spoil the lives of better and simpler people. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

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  • If ... the ability to tell right from wrong should turn out to have anything to do with the ability to think, then we must be able to "demand" its exercise from every sane person, no matter how erudite or ignorant, intelligent or stupid, he may happen to be. Kant—in this respect almost alone among the philosophers—was much bothered by the common opinion that philosophy is only for the few, precisely because of its moral implications.
  • It is necessary therefore that the person who is to study, with any tolerable chance of profit, the principles of nobleness and justice and politics generally, should have received a good moral training. For our data here are moral judgments, and if a man knows what it is right to do, he does not require a formal reason. And a person that has been thus trained, either possesses these first principles already, or can easily acquire them. As for him who neither possesses nor can acquire them, let him take to heart the words of Hesiod:
  • ‘ He is the best of all who thinks for himself in all things.
  • He, too, is good who takes advice from a wiser (person).
  • But he who neither thinks for himself, nor lays to heart another's wisdom, this is a useless man.’

/* A */ Aristotle + Hesiod

  • Lorsque la Spoliation est devenue le moyen d’existence d’une agglomération d’hommes unis entre eux par le lien social, ils se font bientôt une loi qui la sanctionne, une morale qui la glorifie.
    • When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.
      • Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Sophisms, 2nd series (1848), ch. 1 Physiology of plunder ("Sophismes économiques", 2ème série (1848), chap. 1 "Physiologie de la spoliation").
  • The essence of morality is a questioning about morality; and the decisive move of human life is to use ceaselessly all light to look for the origin of the opposition between good and evil.
    • Georges Bataille, in Denis Hollier, On Bataille, "The Dualist Materialism of Georges Bataille," ed. Allan Stoekl (1990). "Du Rapport entre le Divin et le Mal," Critique (Paris, March 1947).
  • Morality is character and conduct such as is required by the circle or community in which the man's life happens to be placed. It shows how much good men require of us.
  • IMMORAL, adj. Inexpedient. Whatever in the long run and with regard to the greater number of instances men find to be generally inexpedient comes to be considered wrong, wicked, immoral. If man's notions of right and wrong have any other basis than this of expediency; if they originated, or could have originated, in any other way; if actions have in themselves a moral character apart from, and nowise dependent on, their consequences -- then all philosophy is a lie and reason a disorder of the mind.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • Morality's not practical. Morality's a gesture. A complicated gesture learnt from books.
  • All systems of morality are fine. The gospel alone has exhibited a complete assemblage of the principles of morality, divested of all absurdity. It is not composed, like your creed, of a few common-place sentences put into bad verse. Do you wish to see that which is really sublime? Repeat the Lord's Prayer.
    • Napoleon Bonaparte, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 419.
  • Wisdom is purified by morality, and morality is purified by wisdom: where one is, the other is, the moral man has wisdom and the wise man has morality, and the combination of morality of wisdom is called the highest thing in the world.
    • Gautama Buddha, Digha Nikaya, M. Walshe, trans. (1987), Sutta 4 (Sonadanda Sutta), verse 22, p. 131
  • It is monstrous for one to live in luxury while many are in want.
  • There are two principles of established acceptance in morals; first, that self-interest is the mainspring of all of our actions, and secondly, that utility is the test of their value.
  • Whoever desires that his intellect may grow up to soundness, to healthy vigor, must begin with moral discipline. Reading and study are not enough to perfect the power of thought. One thing above all is needful, and that is, the disinterestedness which is the very soul of virtue. To gain truth, which is the great object of the understanding, I must seek it disinterestedly. Here is the first and grand condition of intellectual progress. I must choose to receive the truth, no matter how it bears on myself. I must follow it, no matter where it leads, what interests it opposes, to what persecution or loss it lays me open, from what party it severs me, or to what party it allies. Without this fairness of mind, which is only another phrase for disinterested love of truth, great native powers of understanding are perverted and led astray.
  • As our own species is in the process of proving, one cannot have superior science and inferior morals. The combination is unstable and self-destroying.
  • To be a person with high morals is to be a person with a liberated soul.
  • It would be deeply depressing if the only way children could get moral values was from religion. Either from scripture, and God knows we don't want them to get it from scripture, I mean, just look at scripture. Or, from being afraid of God, being intimidated by God. Anybody who is good for only those two reasons is not really being good at all. Why not teach children things like the Golden Rule, do as you would be done by, how would you like it if other children did that to you, so why do you do it to them. ... I think it's depressing that anybody should suggest that you actually need God in order to be moral. I would hope that our morals come from a better source than that, and therefore they are genuinely moral rather than based on outmoded scripture, or based on fear.
  • Puritanism and paganism — the repression and the expression of the senses and desires — alternate in mutual reaction in history. Generally religion and puritanism prevail in periods when the laws are feeble and morals must bear the burden of maintaining social order; skepticism and paganism (other factors being equal) progress as the rising power of law and governments permits the decline of the church, the family, and morality without basically endangering the stability of the state.
  • There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion. France, the United States, and some other nations have divorced their governments from all churches, but they have had the help of religion in keeping social order.
  • We frolic in our emancipation from theology, but have we developed a natural ethic — a moral code independent of religion — strong enough to keep our instincts of acquisition, pugnacity, and sex from debasing our civilization into a mire of greed, crime, and promiscuity? Have we really outgrown intolerance, or merely transferred it from religious to national, ideological, or racial hostilities?
  • The world would be in better shape if people would take the same pains in the practice of the simplest moral laws as they exert in intellectualizing over the most subtle moral questions.
  • The system of morality which Socrates made it the business of his life to teach was raised upon the firm basis of religion. The first principles of virtuous conduct which are common to all mankind are, according to this excellent moralist, laws of God; and the conclusive argument by which he supports this opinion is, that no man departs from these principles with impunity.
  • Socrates taught that true felicity is not to be derived from external possessions, but from wisdom, which consists in the knowledge and practice of virtue; that the cultivation of virtuous manners is necessarily attended with pleasure as well as profit; that the honest man alone is happy; and that it is absurd to attempt to separate things which are in nature so closely united as virtue and interest.
  • The first and most necessary topic in philosophy is that of the use of moral theorems, such as, “We ought not to lie;” the second is that of demonstrations, such as, “What is the origin of our obligation not to lie;” the third gives strength and articulation to the other two, such as, “What is the origin of this is a demonstration.” For what is demonstration? What is consequence? What contradiction? What truth? What falsehood? The third topic, then, is necessary on the account of the second, and the second on the account of the first. But the most necessary, and that whereon we ought to rest, is the first. But we act just on the contrary. For we spend all our time on the third topic, and employ all our diligence about that, and entirely neglect the first. Therefore, at the same time that we lie, we are immediately prepared to show how it is demonstrated that lying is not right.
  • It is the dutiful disposition of each person to spread morality outside of himself to the best of his ability and knowledge, i.e., to see to it that everyone has the same disposition he has … It follows from this that the overall end of the moral community as a whole is to produce unanimity concerning matters of morality.
    • Johann Gottlieb Fichte, in The System of Ethics: According to the Principles of the Wissenschaftslehre (2005), p. 329.
  • Cowardice, caressed by Christianity, creates morality.
    • Bruno Filippi, The Rebel’s Dark Laughter: The Writings of Bruno Filippi (1918)
  • I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral. The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: "Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle)." The first Israeli prime minister who declares that he will follow the Old Testament will finally bring peace to the Middle East. First, the Arabs will stop using children as shields. Second, they will stop taking hostages knowing that we will not be intimidated. Third, with their holy sites destroyed, they will stop believing that G-d is on their side. Result: no civilian casualties, no children in the line of fire, no false sense of righteousness, in fact, no war. Zero tolerance for stone throwing, for rockets, for kidnapping will mean that the state has achieved sovereignty. Living by Torah values will make us a light unto the nations who suffer defeat because of a disastrous morality of human invention.
    • Manis Friedman Answer for the question "How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?" for the "Moment" magazine. [1]
  • I would like to clarify the answer published in my name in last month’s issue of Moment Magazine. First of all, the opinions published in my name are solely my own, and do not represent the official policy of any Jewish movement or organization. Additionally, my answer, as written, is misleading. It is obvious, I thought, that any neighbor of the Jewish people should be treated, as the Torah commands us, with respect and compassion. Fundamental to the Jewish faith is the concept that every human being was created in the image of G-d, and our sages instruct us to support the non-Jewish poor along with the poor of our own brethren. The sub-question I chose to address instead is: how should we act in time of war, when our neighbors attack us, using their women, children and religious holy places as shields. I attempted to briefly address some of the ethical issues related to forcing the military to withhold fire from certain people and places, at the unbearable cost of widespread bloodshed (on both sides!)—when one’s own family and nation is mercilessly targeted from those very people and places. Furthermore, some of the words I used in my brief comment were irresponsible, and I look forward to further clarifying them in a future issue. I apologize for any misunderstanding my words created.
  • Morality rests upon a sense of obligation; and obligation has no meaning except as implying a Divine command, without which it would cease to be.
    • James Anthony Froude, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 419.
  • Opinions alter, manners change, creeds rise and fall, but the moral law is written on the tablets of eternity. For every false word or unrighteous deed, for cruelty and oppression, for lust or vanity, the price has to be paid at last.
    • James Anthony Froude, in the lecture "The Science of History" (5 February 1864); published in Representative Essays (1885) by George Haven Putnam, p. 274; John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton quoted the first sentence of this an address of 1895, and this has often been misattributed to him.
  • It is safe to say that no other superstition is so detrimental to growth, so enervating and paralyzing to the minds and hearts of the people, as the superstition of Morality.
  • I think if we study the primates, we notice that a lot of these things that we value in ourselves, such as human morality, have a connection with primate behavior. This completely changes the perspective, if you start thinking that actually we tap into our biological resources to become moral beings. That gives a completely different view of ourselves than this nasty selfish-gene type view that has been promoted for the last 25 years.
  • Our moral traditions, like many other aspects of our culture, developed concurrently with our reason, not as its product.
    • Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit (1988), Introduction: Was Socialism a Mistake?
  • So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.
  • If this truth has once and for all been discarded and men have decided for integral adjustment, if reason has been purged of all morality regardless of cost, and has triumphed over all else, no one may remain outside and look on. The existence of one solitary “unreasonable” man elucidates the shame of the entire nation. His existence testifies to the relativity of the system of radical self-preservation that has been posited as absolute.
    • Max Horkheimer, “The End of Reason,” The Essential Frankfurt School Reader (1982), p. 45
  • There is a principle, supposed to prevail among many, which is utterly incompatible with all virtue or moral sentiment; and as it can proceed from nothing but the most depraved disposition, so in its turn it tends still further to encourage that depravity. This principle is, that all benevolence is mere hypocrisy, friendship a cheat, public spirit a farce, fidelity a snare to procure trust and confidence; and that while all of us, at bottom, pursue only our private interest, we wear these fair disguises, in order to put others off their guard, and expose them the more to our wiles and machinations.
    • David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751), Appendix 2
  • Acting out of expedience turns morality and justice into a hollow mockery.
    • Henrik Ibsen, Dr. Stockmann in An Enemy of the People (Signet:1970), p. 220
  • This Court does not sit as a Court of morality, to inflict punishment against those who offend against the social law.
    • Sir F. H. Jeune, Evans v. Evans (1899), L. R. Prob. Div. [1899], p. 202; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 178.
  • The ruling powers tell us poor lower-class folks that we have an obligation, a social responsibility to society, to abide by the law, but they don’t have any social responsibility to us to help us meet our needs. It’s pure bourgeoisie class-based morality, a morality that serves the ruling class, not the masses of the oppressed.
    • Kevin Rashid Johnson, Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin Rashid Johnson (2010)
  • Ich soll niemals anders verfahren als so, dass ich auch wollen könne, meine Maxime solle ein allgemeines Gesetz werden.
  • The main objection to absolute morality is that even if there were absolute moral standards we should have no way of knowing whether we had found them.
  • Our world hinges on moral foundations. God has made it so. God has made the universe to be based on a moral law. So long as man disobeys it he is revolting against God. That's what we need in the world today: people who will stand for right and goodness. It's not enough to know the intricacies of zoology and biology, but we must know the intricacies of law. It is not enough to know that two and two makes four, but we've got to know somehow that it's right to be honest and just with our brothers. It's not enough to know all about our philosophical and mathematical disciplines, but we've got to know the simple disciplines of being honest and loving and just with all humanity. If we don't learn it, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own powers.
  • When scientific power outruns moral power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men. When we foolishly minimize the internal of our lives and maximize the external, we sign the warrant for our own day of doom.
  • Morality is a venereal disease. Its primary stage is called virtue; its secondary stage, boredom; its tertiary stage, syphilis.
    • Karl Kraus, "The Riehl Case" in Die Fackel; also in Karl Kraus (1971) by Harry Zohn, p. 47.
  • Morality without religion is only a kind of dead reckoning, — an endeavor to find our place on a cloudy sea by measuring the distance we have run, but without any observation of the heavenly bodies.
  • What is it to understand oneself as a moral agent? ... First, I have to understand myself as and to present myself to others as someone with an identity other than the identities of role and office that I assume in each of the roles that I occupy. ... There must therefore be a place in any social order in which the exercise of the powers of moral agency is to be a real possibility. ... These too must be milieus of everyday practice in which the established standards are, when it is appropriate, put to the question, and not just in an abstract and general way. The necessary presupposition of such questioning is some more or less shared conception of what it is to be a good human being that focuses upon qualities which individuals possess or fail to possess qua individuals, independently of their roles, and which are exemplified in part by their capacity or their lack of capacity to stand back from and reconsider their engagement with the established role-structures.
  • Alasdair MacIntyre, "Social Structures and their Threats to Moral Agency," Philosophy, vol. 4, no. 289 (July 1999), p. 315.
  • Whatever is contrary, bonos mores est decorum, the principles of our law prohibit, and the King's Court, as the general censor and guardian of the public manners, is bound to restrain and punish.
    • Lord Mansfield, Jones v. Randall (1774), Lofft. 386; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 177.
  • The reason why no mention is made in our ancient books of uses, is, because men were then of better Consciences than now they are, so as the feoffees did not give occasion to their feoffors to bring subpoenas to compell them to perform the trusts reposed in them.
    • Manwood, J., Brett's Case (1583), 2 Leonard's Rep. 15; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 177.
  • Law, morality, religion, are ... so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests
  • Morality is too important to leave to the jurisdiction of community values.
  • The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.
  • It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.
  • Morality is the theory that every human act must be either right or wrong, and that 99% of them are wrong.
  • The matter of “right and wrong” was a subject in which he had long been interested. Indeed, it had been a deeply personal concern ever since, early in his career, he had detected a great distinction between morality and honor. “I have never met a thoroughly moral man who was honorable,” he had written in Prejudices, by which he had meant that fervently moral men would employ any means, including dishonorable ones, to achieve their ends.
  • We should never doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step toward totalitarianism.
    • Kenneth Minogue, The Servile Mind, How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life (2010), Encounter Books, pp. 2-3
  • Though the customs be both good as customs, and suitable to him, yet to conform to custom, merely as custom, does not educate or develop in him any of the qualities which are the distinctive endowment of a human being. The human faculties of perception, judgment, discriminative feeling, mental activity, and even moral preference, are exercised only in making a choice. He who does anything because it is the custom, makes no choice. He gains no practice either in discerning or in desiring what is best. The mental and moral, like the muscular powers, are improved only by being used. The faculties are called into no exercise by doing a thing merely because others do it, no more than by believing a thing only because others believe it.
    • J. S. Mill, On Liberty (Henry Holt, New York: 1895), Chapter 3, p. 105
  • Dionysus used to laugh at professors who did research into the bad qualities of Ulysses yet knew nothing of their own; at musicians whose flutes were harmonious but not their morals; at orators whose studies led to talking about justice, not to being just.
    • Montaigne, Essays, M. Screech, trans. (1991), Book I, ch. 25, “On Schoolmasters’ Learning,” p. 156
  • Moral argument tries to appeal to a capacity for impartial motivation which is supposed to be present in all of us. Unfortunately it may be deeply buried, and in some cases it may not be present at all. In any case it has to compete with powerful selfish motives, and other personal motives that may not be so selfish, in its bid for control of our behavior. The difficulty of justifying morality is not that there is only one human motive, but that there are so many.
    • Thomas Nagel, What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (1987), Ch. 7. Right and Wrong
  • The intellectual conscience: … the great majority of people does not consider it contemptible to believe this or that and to live accordingly without first having given themselves an account of the final and most certain reasons pro and con, and without even troubling themselves about such reasons afterward: the most gifted men and noblest women still belong to this “great majority.” But what is goodheartedness, refinement or genius to me, when the person who has these virtues tolerates slack feelings in his faith and judgments and when he does not account the desire for certainty as his inmost craving and deepest distress—as that which separates the higher human beings from the lower.
  • Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.

    All our dignity consists then in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor to think well; this is the principle of morality.

    • Pascal, Pensées, #347, W. F. Trotter, trans. (New York: 1958)
  • Each one of us is... called upon to give a judgment upon an immense variety of problems, crucial for our social existence. If that judgment confirms measures and conduct tending to the increased welfare of society, then it may be termed a moral, or, better, a social judgment. It follows, then, that to ensure a judgement's being moral, method and knowledge are essential to its formation. ...[T]he formation of a moral judgment—that is, one which the individual is reasonably certain will tend to social welfare—does not depend solely on the readiness to sacrifice individual gain or comfort, or on the impulse to act unselfishly: it depends in the first place on knowledge and method. The first demand of the state upon the individual is not for self-sacrifice but for self-development. ...[T]he man who gives a vote... in the choice of a representative, after forming a judgement based upon knowledge, is... acting socially, and is fulfilling a higher standard of citizenship.
  • There are a precious few whose studies are sound and honest and whose goal is truth and virtue. This is the knowledge of things and the improvement of moral conduct. … As for the others, of whom there is an enormous mass, some seek glory, an insipid, yet gleaming prize. But the majority aims only at the gleam of money, which is not only a rather poor reward, but dirty, and neither equal to the trouble involved, nor worthy of efforts of the mind.
  • The ruling powers tell us poor lower-class folks that we have an obligation, a social responsibility to society, to abide by the law, but they don’t have any social responsibility to us to help us meet our needs. It’s pure bourgeoisie class-based morality, a morality that serves the ruling class, not the masses of the oppressed.
    • Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, Kersplebedeb: 2015
  • Morality is the normative guide that assumes the world is sufficient as it is to say what is right and what is wrong. Ethics allows us to accept that the world isn’t as it ought to be and perhaps never will be. ... Morality is quite often perverse because it is accountable to the set of relations that bind a society together. It serves the world as the world is, and is invested in keeping it that way.
    • Omar Ricks, "A Celebration of Assata Shakur and the Black Radical Tradition: Conclusion: Shakur, or, a Primer on the Difference between Morality and Ethics," Feminist Wire, July 16, 2013
  • I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.
  • Morality has always had a difficult time of it; utility and legality even begrudge the fact of its existence.
    • Friedrich Schlegel, Philosophical Fragments, P. Firchow, trans. (1991), “Athenaeum Fragments,” § 373
  • People who are eccentric enough to be quite seriously virtuous understand each other everywhere, discover each other easily, and form a silent opposition to the ruling immorality that happens to pass for morality.
  • We want none of your Lisson Grove prudery here, young woman. You've got to learn to behave like a duchess.
  • وَإِنَّمَا الْأُمَمُ الْأَخْلَاقُ مَا بَقِيَتْ / فَإِنْ هُمُ ذَهَبَتْ أَخْلَاقُهُمْ ذَهَبُوا
    • Nations are nothing but morals: If their morals disappear, they disappear.
  • My thesis is that morality exists outside the human mind in the sense of being not just a trait of individual humans, but a human trait; that is, a human universal.
  • Absolute morality leads logically to absolute intolerance. Once you believe that you have the absolute and final answers to moral questions, why be tolerant of those who refuse to accept your Truth? Religiously based moral systems apply this principle in spades.
  • If a state should pass laws forbidding its citizens to become wise and holy, it would be made a byword for all time. But this, in effect, is what our commercial, social, and political systems do. They compel the sacrifice of mental and moral power to money and dissipation.
  • If your morals make you dreary, depend upon it they are wrong. I do not say "give them up," for they may be all you have; but conceal them like a vice, lest they should spoil the lives of better and simpler people.
  • I always thought dancing improper; but it can't be since I myself am dancing.
    • The Red Cow in P. L. Travers' Mary Poppins, Ch. 5 "The Dancing Cow" (1934)
  • It is above all the impersonal and economically rationalized (but for this very reason ethically irrational) character of purely commercial relationships that evokes the suspicion, never clearly expressed but all the more strongly felt, of ethical religions. For every purely personal relationship of man to man, of whatever sort and even including complete enslavement, may be subjected to ethical requirements and ethically regulated. This is true because the structures of these relationships depend upon the individual wills of the participants, leaving room in such relations for manifestations of the virtue of charity. But this is not the situation in the realm of economically rationalised relationships, where personal control is exercised in inverse ratio to the degree of rational differentiation of the economic structure.
  • The ascetic, when he wishes to act within the world ... must become afflicted with a sort of happy closure of the mind regarding any question about the meaning of the world, for he must not worry about such questions. Hence, it is no accident that inner-worldly asceticism reached its most consistent development on the foundation of the Calvinist god's absolute inexplicability, utter remoteness from every human criterion, and unsearchableness as to his motives. Thus, the inner-worldly ascetic is the recognized "man of a vocation," who neither inquires about nor finds it necessary to inquire about the meaning of his actual practice of a vocation within the whole world, the total framework of which is not his responsibility but his god's.
  • Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.
    • H. G. Wells, The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman (1914), p. 299
  • Germs have no morals whatsoever in their instinctual drive to defeat other germs.
The Bible on Wikisource.
  • Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
  • You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.
  • Bad company ruins good morals.
  • He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations


Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. ?.

  • Kant, as we all know, compared moral law to the starry heavens, and found them both sublime. On the naturalistic hypothesis we should rather compare it to the protective blotches on a beetle's back, and find them both ingenious.
    • Arthur J. Balfour, Foundations of Belief.
  • No mere man since the Fall, is able in this life perfectly to keep the Commandments.
    • Book of Common Prayer, Shorter Catechism.
  • The Bearings of this observation lays in the application on it.
    • Dickens, Dombey and Son, Chapter XXIII.
  • The moral system of the universe is like a document written in alternate ciphers, which change from line to line.
    • Froude, Short Studies on Great Subjects. Calvinism.
  • Morality, when vigorously alive, sees farther than intellect, and provides unconsciously for intellectual difficulties.
    • Froude, Short Studies on Great Subjects. Divus Cæsar.
  • Dr. Johnson's morality was as English an article as a beefsteak.
  • Turning the other cheek is a kind of moral jiu-jitsu.
  • We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.
    • Macaulay, On Moore's Life of Lord Byron (1830).
  • I find the doctors and the sages
    Have differ'd in all climes and ages,
    And two in fifty scarce agree
    On what is pure morality.
    • Moore, Morality.

Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)

James H. Billington; Library of Congress (2010). Platt, Suzy. ed. Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. Dover Publications. ISBN 9780486472881. 
  • For what end shall we be connected with men, of whom this is the character and conduct?… Is it, that we may see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution; soberly dishonoured; speciously polluted; the outcasts of delicacy and virtue, and the lothing of God and man?
    • Timothy Dwight, The Duty of Americans, at the Present Crisis (1798), p. 20–21. Dwight, president of Yale, preached this sermon on July 4, 1798, at New Haven, Connecticut. In 1798, much of the anti-French feeling was directed at the Jeffersonians, who were the champions in America of the French Revolution. In the congressional elections that year, the Jeffersonians lost heavily as the Federalists won control of both the House and the Senate. In this sermon, Dwight warned that a victory for the Jeffersonians meant lustful moral depravity. Saul K. Padover, Jefferson (1942), p. 251–52.
  • Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.
    • John F. Kennedy, remarks in Bonn, West Germany, at the signing of a charter establishing the German Peace Corps, June 24, 1963. The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963, p. 503. This remark may have been inspired by the passage from Dante Alighieri's La Comedia Divina, trans. Geoffrey L. Bickersteth, "Inferno", canto 3, lines 35–42 (1972):

      by those disbodied wretches who were loth
      when living, to be either blamed or praised.
      … … … … … …
      Fear to lose beauty caused the heavens to expel
      these caitiffs; nor, lest to the damned they then
      gave cause to boast, receives them the deep hell.

      A more modern-sounding translation: "They are mixed with that repulsive choir of angels … undecided in neutrality. Heaven, to keep its beauty, cast them out, but even Hell itself would not receive them for fear the wicked there might glory over them".—Dante's Inferno, trans. Mark Musa, p. 21 (1971).
  • I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the world.
    • Robert F. Kennedy, "Day of Affirmation", address delivered at the University of Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966. Congressional Record, June 6, 1966, vol. 112, p. 12430.
  • Even in war moral power is to physical as three parts out of four.
    • Attributed to Napoleon I; reported in Maturin M. Ballou, Treasury of Thought (1899), p. 407. Reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989). A handwritten note in Congressional Research Service files says that the War Department Library had searched many times without success for a different version: "Morale is to material as is the ratio of three to one".
  • Ethics, too, are nothing but reverence for life. That is what gives me the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil.
    • Albert Schweitzer, "Civilization and Ethics", Preface, The Philosophy of Civilization, trans. C. T. Campion, part 2 (1949, reissued 1981), p. 79.

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