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quotations about compromise

Compromise cannot be allowed in cases where the exact truth is ascertainable.

ARTHUR LYNCH, Moods of Life

A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, "Huh. It works. It makes sense."

BARACK OBAMA, The New Yorker, May 31, 2004

When a nation issues ultimatums, it leaves no room for compromise and ensures that war will continue.

HOWARD ZINN, Howard Zinn on War

Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.

AYN RAND, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.

ALBERT CAMUS, attributed, Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love


KEN KESEY, Sometimes a Great Notion

A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.

LUDWIG ERHARD, attributed, The Mammoth Book of Zingers

When the final result is expected to be a compromise, it is often prudent to start from an extreme position.

JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES, The Economic Consequences of Peace

Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof.

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, "Democracy," The Writings of James Russell Lowell

I believe in friendly compromise. I said over in the Senate hearings that truth is the glue that holds government together. Compromise is the oil that makes governments go.

GERALD FORD, remarks to House Committee on the Judiciary, Nov. 15, 1973

A compromise is a settlement by which each side gets what neither side wanted.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

Compromise is a stalling between two fools.

STEPHEN FRY, Moab Is My Washpot

Real life is, to most men, a long second-best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, Mysticism and Logic: And Other Essays

The method of compromise is ... itself a compromise between the two methods, that of persuasion, on the one hand, and that of force, on the other.

OLIVER MARTIN, "Beyond Compromise," Ethics

I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in-between.

AYN RAND, The Fountainhead

Now and then one can stand uncompromisingly for a naked principle and force people up to it. This is always the attractive course; but in certain great crises it may be a very wrong course. Compromise, in the proper sense, merely means agreement; in the proper sense opportunism should merely mean doing the best possible with actual conditions as they exist. A compromise which results in a half-step toward evil is all wrong, just as the opportunist who saves himself for the moment by adopting a policy which is fraught with future disaster is all wrong; but no less wrong is the attitude of those who will not come to an agreement through which, or will not follow the course by which, it is alone possible to accomplish practical results for good.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, The Century, Jun. 1900

Compromise is like the middle of the road; always safer to walk on than the edges.

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, attributed, Thoughts for Meaningful Life

All government -- indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act is founded on compromise and barter. We balance inconveniences; we give and take; we remit some rights that we may enjoy others; and we choose rather to be happy citizens than subtle disputants.

EDMUND BURKE, speech on conciliation with America, Mar. 22, 1775

Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. It is what makes nations great and marriages happy.

PHYLLIS MCGINLEY, A Short Walk from the Station

Compromise is a word found only in the vocabulary of those who have no will to fight—the lazy, the cunning, the cowardly—for they consider themselves defeated before they start.


Can compromise be an art? Yes--but a minor art.


Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.

G. K. CHESTERTON, What's Wrong with the World

In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win.

AYN RAND, Atlas Shrugged

The man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

The achievement of maturity, psychologically speaking, might be said to be the realization and acceptance that we simply cannot live independently from the world, and so we must live within it, with whatever compromises that might entail.

PAUL MURRAY, Skippy Dies

Worse than thieves, murderers, or cannibals, those who offer compromise slow you and sap your vitality while pretending to be your friends. They are not your friends. Compromisers are the enemies of all humanity, the enemies of life itself. Compromisers are the enemies of everything important, sacred, and true.

L. NEIL SMITH, Lever Action

Compromise" is so often used in a bad sense that it is difficult to remember that properly it merely describes the process of reaching an agreement. Naturally there are certain subjects on which no man can compromise. For instance, there must be no compromise under any circumstances with official corruption, and of course no man should hesitate to say as much.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, The Outlook, Jul. 28, 1900

The body can endure compromise and the mind can be seduced by it. Only the heart protests. The heart. Carbon-based primitive in a silicon world.



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