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quotations about corruption

Each of us is born with a share of purity, predestined to be corrupted by our commerce with mankind.

EMILE CIORAN, A Short History of Decay

State censorship presents itself as a bulwark between society and forces of subversion or moral corruption. To dismiss this account of its own motives by the state as insincere would be a mistake: it is a feature of the paranoid logic of the censoring mentality that virtue ... must be innocent, and therefore, unless protected, vulnerable to the wiles of vice.

J.M. COETZEE, Giving Offense

Do you know how a man makes his way here? By brilliant genius or by skilful corruption. You must either cut your way through these masses of men like a cannon ball, or steal among them like a plague.


Corruption hates what is not corrupt.

PAUL PARK, A Princess of Roumania

Corruption is man's inheritance.

ANACLETUS, attributed, Day's Collacon

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.

TACITUS, The Annals of Imperial Rome

At length corruption, like a general flood
(So long by watchful ministers withstood),
Shall deluge all; and avarice, creeping on,
Spread like a low-born mist, and blot the sun.


Loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.


Corruption is a hard cane that beats hard on a nation with deaf ears.

CHUKWUEMEKA E. ONYEJINDUAKA, 6,000 Proverbs and Quotes of Chukwuemeka E. O.

The mistake you make, don't you see,is in thinking one can live in a corrupt society without being corrupt oneself.

GEORGE ORWELL, Keep the Aspidistra Flying

There is something in corruption which, like a jaundiced eye, transfers the color of itself to the object it looks upon, and sees everything stained and impure.


Corruption is a tree, whose branches are
Of an immeasurable length: they spread
Ev'rywhere; and the dew that drops from thence
Hath infected some chairs and stools of authority.

JOHN FLETCHER, The Honest Man's Fortune

Power attracts the corruptible. Suspect any who seek it.

FRANK HERBERT, Chapterhouse: Dune

All things can corrupt perverse minds.

OVID, attributed, Day's Collacon

The men with the muck-rake are often indispensable to the well-being of society, but only if they know when to stop raking the muck.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT, speech, Apr. 14, 1906

I see corruption so largely rewarded that I doubt not that I should thrive in the world, could I get but a dispensation for my conscience for the liberty of trading.


I have seen corruption boil and bubble 'til it oerrun the stew.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Measure for Measure

No nation will run away from corruption when the devil is the kingmaker.

CHUKWUEMEKA E. ONYEJINDUAKA, 6,000 Proverbs and Quotes of Chukwuemeka E. O.

The world is full of corruption, and deceit, and deviltry — chock full of it.


A corrupt judge does not carefully search for the truth.

HORACE, attributed, Forty Thousand Quotations, Prose and Poetical

'Tis the most certain sign, the world's accurst
That the best things corrupted, are the worst;
'Twas the corrupted Light of knowledge, hurl'd
Sin, Death, and Ignorance o'er all the world;
That Sun like this (from which our sight we have)
Gaz'd on too long, resumes the light he gave.

JOHN DENHAM, Progress of Learning

He that accuses all mankind of corruption ought to remember that he is sure to convict only one.

EDMUND BURKE, letter to the sheriffs of Bristol, 1777

Corruption is the flesh that covers every bone.

CHUKWUEMEKA E. ONYEJINDUAKA, 6,000 Proverbs and Quotes of Chukwuemeka E. O.

The devil himself can become beauty, so we are told, to corrupt mankind.

IAIN PEARS, An Instance of the Fingerpost

Corrupt officials are usually close-mouthed and open-handed.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

Do not think that you can fight corruption without while you let corruption fester within.

LYMAN ABBOTT, Problems of Life: Selections from the Writings of Rev. Lyman Abbott

The corrupt heart breaketh out by the lewd tongue.

XENOPHON, attributed, Day's Collacon

If you can sense the corruption in me, it is ... because there's a dose of it in you.

LOUIS AUCHINCLOSS, The Rector of Justin


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