AUTHORITY QUOTES

quotations about authority

Authority quote

Wherever there is a man who exercises authority, there is a man who resists authority.

OSCAR WILDE, De Profundis

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Obedience is the psychological mechanism that links individual action to political purpose. It is the dispositional cement that binds men to systems of authority.

STANLEY MILGRAM, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View

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Tags: obedience


Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge--fitter to bruise than polish.

ANNE BRADSTREET, Meditations Divine and Moral

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Tags: Anne Bradstreet, wisdom


Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.

HENRY DAVID THOREAU, journal, Feb. 3, 1860

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Tags: Henry David Thoreau, fools


Authority forgets a dying king.

ALFRED TENNYSON, Idylls of the King

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Tags: Alfred Tennyson, kings


As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

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Tags: Bertrand Russell, reason


Giving orders you know won't be obeyed is one of the best ways I know to destroy your own authority.

DAVID WEBER, By Schism Rent Asunder

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Any man who asks for greater authority does not deserve to have it.

BRIAN HERBERT & KEVIN J. ANDERSON, The Butlerian Jihad

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Authority and power are two different things: power is the force by means of which you can oblige others to obey you. Authority is the right to direct and command, to be listened to or obeyed by others. Authority requests power. Power without authority is tyranny.

JACQUES MARITAIN, "The Democratic Charter", Man and the State

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Tags: Jacques Maritain, power


Thou hast seen a farmer's dog bark at a beggar, And the creature run from the cur: There, thou might'st behold the great image of authority; A dog's obeyed in office.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, King Lear

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And though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft led by the nose with gold.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, The Winter's Tale

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To punish me for my contempt of authority, Fate has made me an authority myself.

ALBERT EINSTEIN, aphorism for a friend, Sep. 18, 1930, Albert Einstein: Creator and Rebel

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Tags: Albert Einstein, Fate


Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.

P. J. O'ROURKE, Parliament of Whores

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Tags: P. J. O'Rourke, democracy


I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.

NOAM CHOMSKY, Language and Politics

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Tags: Noam Chomsky, freedom


Some system of authority is a requirement of all communal living, and it is only the man dwelling in isolation who is not forced to respond, through defiance or submission, to the commands of others.

STANLEY MILGRAM, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View

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There's no point in questioning something if you're not interested in finding the answer. We're right to question authority when we think that authority is unfounded, unjust, or otherwise just screwed up somehow. But if we ask the question, we need to be willing to help find the answer, understanding that the answer might be complicated, that it might be difficult, or that the answer might be different from what we initially think it is.

STEVE NOWICKI, convocation speech delivered to Duke University Class of 2019, August 19, 2015

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When each citizen submits himself to the authority of law he does not thereby decrease his independence or freedom, but rather increases it. By recognizing that he is a part of a larger body which is banded together for a common purpose, he becomes more than an individual, he rises to a new dignity of citizenship. Instead of finding himself restricted and confined by rendering obedience to public law, he finds himself protected and defended and in the exercise of increased and increasing rights.

CALVIN COOLIDGE, speech, May 30, 1924

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Tags: Calvin Coolidge, law


In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the bootmaker.

MIKHAIL BAKUNIN, God and the State

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But man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Measure for Measure

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Tags: William Shakespeare, angels


Authority is by nothing so much strengthened and confirmed as by custom; for no man easily distrusts the things which he and all men have been always bred up to observe and believe; or, if he does, he will hardly hope or venture to introduce opinions wherein he knows none or few of his mind, and thinks all others will defend those already received.

SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE, "An Essay on the Original and Nature of Government"

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Tags: custom