An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Morality is a private and costly luxury.


Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918, American historian)


The only immorality is not to do what one has to do when one has to do it.


Jean Anouilh (1910-1987, French playwright)


Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.


Isaac Asimov (1920-1992, Russian-born American author)


While moral rules may be propounded by authority the fact that these were so propounded would not validate them.


Alfred Jules Ayer (1910-1989, British philosopher)


I'm as pure as the driven slush.


Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968, American actress)


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 (1897-1962, French novelist, critic)


Just as there's garbage that pollutes the Potomac river, there is garbage polluting our culture. We need an Environmental Protection Agency to clean it up.


Patrick Buchanan (1938-, American statesman)


Though sages may pour out their wisdom's treasure, there is no sterner moralist than pleasure.


Lord Byron (1788-1824, British poet)


Riches are not forbidden . . . but the pride of them is.


St. John Chrysostom (345-407, Patriarch of Constantinople)


For the "superior morality," of which we hear so much, we too would desire to be thankful: at the same time, it were but blindness to deny that this "superior morality" is properly rather an "inferior criminality," produced not by greater love of Virtue, but by greater perfection of Police; and of that far subtler and stronger Police, called Public Opinion.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


It is far easier for a woman to lead a blameless life than it is for a man; all she has to do is to avoid sexual intercourse like the plague.


Angela Carter (1940-1992, British author)


The person is always happy who is in the presence of something they cannot know in full. A person has advanced far in the study of morals who has mastered the difference between pride and vanity.


Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort (1741-1794, French writer, journalist, playwright)


I cannot believe that this country cannot come together around some values.  What these kids need is a moral life... the issue is not ideas, it is conduct. The real question is how we reach these young people morally, and what do we bring to them.


Robert Coles


Corruption is like a ball of snow; once it's set a-rolling it must increase.


Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832, British sportsman writer)


The higher the building the lower the morals.


Noel Coward (1899-1973, British writer)


The Golden Rule is of no use to you whatever unless you realize that it is your move.


Frank Crane (American actor)


Modern morality and manners suppress all natural instincts, keeps people ignorant of the facts of nature and makes them fighting drunk on bogey tales.


Aleister Crowley (1875-1947, British occultist)


Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.


Aleister Crowley (1875-1947, British occultist)


A set of rules laid out by professionals to show the way they would like to act if it was profitable.


Frank Dane


Morals are in all countries the result of legislation and government; they are not African or Asian or European: they are good or bad.


Denis Diderot (1713-1784, French philosopher)


When we start deceiving ourselves into thinking not that we want something or need something, not that it is a pragmatic necessity for us to have it, but that it is a moral imperative that we have it, then is when we join the fashionable madmen, and then is when the thin whine of hysteria is heard in the land, and then is when we are in bad trouble.


Joan Didion (1934-, American essayist)


We moralize among ruins.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


Moral codes adjust themselves to environmental conditions.


William J. Durant (1885-1981, American historian, essayist)


The fatal trait of the times is the divorce between religion and morality.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Selfishness is the root and source of all natural and moral evils.


Nathaniel Emmons


A woman can look both moral and exciting -- if she also looks as if it was quite a struggle.


Edna Ferber (1887-1968, American author)


It is almost systematic to constitute a natural moral law. Nature has no principles. She furnishes us with no reason to believe that human life is to be respected. Nature, in her indifference, makes no difference between right and wrong.


Anatole France (1844-1924, French writer)


Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine.


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939, Austrian physician, founder of Psychoanalysis)


The better one is morally the less aware they are of their virtue.


James A. Froude (1818-1894, British historian)


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.


Emma Goldman (1869-1940, American anarchist)


Don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter.


Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774, Anglo-Irish author, poet, playwright)


Morality comes with the sad wisdom of age, when the sense of curiosity has withered.


Graham Greene (1904-1991, British novelist)


We may pretend that we're basically moral people who make mistakes, but the whole of history proves otherwise.


Terry Hands


Morality and expediency coincide more than the cynics allow.


Roy Hattersley (1932-, British statesman)


Every man, in his own opinion, forms an exception to the ordinary rules of morality.


William Hazlitt (1778-1830, British essayist)


What is moral is what you feel good after, and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.


Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961, American writer)


The end never really justifies the meanness.


E. Duane Hulse


However great an evil immorality may be, we must not forget that it is not without its beneficial consequences. It is only through extremes that men can arrive at the middle path of wisdom and virtue.


Karl Wilhelm Von Humboldt (1767-1835, German statesman, philologist)


Moral choices do not depend on personal preference and private decision but on right reason and, I would add, divine order.


Basil Hume


Morality is always the product of terror; its chains and strait-waistcoats are fashioned by those who dare not trust others, because they dare not trust themselves, to walk in liberty.


Aldous Huxley (1894-1963, British author)


The quality of moral behavior varies in inverse ratio to the number of human beings involved.


Aldous Huxley (1894-1963, British author)


The foundation of morality is to have done, once and for all, with lying


Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895, British biologist, educator)


For morality life is a war, and the service of the highest is a sort of cosmic patriotism which also calls for volunteers.


William James (1842-1910, American psychologist, professor, author)


Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826, American President (3rd))


There are few things more disturbing than to find, in somebody we detest, a moral quality which seems to us demonstrably superior to anything we ourselves possess. It augurs not merely an unfairness on the part of creation, but a lack of artistic judgment. Sainthood is acceptable only in saints.


Pamela Hansford Johnson (1912-1981, British writer)


Morality is not the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.


Immanuel Kant (1724-1804, German philosopher)


Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.


Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968, American Civil Rights leader, Nobel Prize winner, 1964)


Morality is a venereal disease. Its primary stage is called virtue; its secondary stage, boredom; its tertiary stage, syphilis.


Karl Kraus (1874-1936, Austrian satirist)


The immorality of men triumphs over the amorality of women.


Karl Kraus (1874-1936, Austrian satirist)


In Los Angeles, it's like they jog for two hours a day and then they think they're morally right. That's when you want to choke people, you know?


Liam Neeson (1952-, British-born American actor)


In the ocean of baseness, the deeper we get, the easier the sinking.


James Russell Lowell (1819-1891, American poet, critic, editor)


When virtue is lost, benevolence appears, when benevolence is lost right conduct appears, when right conduct is lost, expedience appears. Expediency is the mere shadow of right and truth; it is the beginning of disorder.


Lao-Tzu (BC 600-?, Chinese philosopher, founder of Taoism)


There's always the hyena of morality at the garden gate, and the real wolf at the end of the street.


D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930, British author)


Every man has his moral backside which he refrains from showing unless he has to and keeps covered as long as possible with the trousers of decorum.


Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799, German physicist, satirist)


There is nothing so bad but it can masquerade as moral.


Walter Lippmann (1889-1974, American journalist)


To give a man full knowledge of morality, I would send him to no other book than the New Testament.


John Locke (1632-1704, British philosopher)


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.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892, American poet)


Might was the measure of right.


F. L. Lucan (39-65, Roman epic poet)


We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.


Thomas B. Macaulay (1800-1859, American essayist and historian)


Let the public mind become corrupt, and all efforts to secure property, liberty, or life by the force of laws written on paper will be as vain as putting up a sign in an apple orchard to exclude canker worms.


Horace Mann (1796-1859, American educator)


Morality is the theory that every human act must be either right or wrong, and that 99 % of them are wrong.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


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.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


Time is the great equalizer in the field of morals.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


Morality is the herd-instinct in the individual.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good.


Joe Paterno (1926-, American football coach)


We become moral when we are unhappy.


Marcel Proust (1871-1922, French novelist)


If you can't be good, then be careful.


Bulgarian Proverb


The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.


Ayn Rand (1905-1982, Russian philosopher, author, "Atlas Shrugged")


Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born.


Ronald Reagan (1911-2004, American President (40th))


No author can be as moral as his work and no preacher as pious as his sermons.


Jean Paul Richter (1763-1825, German novelist)


The biggest threat to our well-being is the absence of moral clarity and purpose.


Rick Shuman


Moral indignation in most cases is, 2% moral, 48% indignation, and 50% envy.


Vittorio De Sica


We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one that we preach, but do not practice, and another that we practice, but seldom preach.


Bertrand Russell (1872-1970, British philosopher, mathematician, essayist)


Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


Unfortunately, moral beauty in art -- like physical beauty in a person -- is extremely perishable. It is nowhere so durable as artistic or intellectual beauty. Moral beauty has a tendency to decay very rapidly into sententiousness or untimeliness.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


Unfortunately, moral beauty in art -- like physical beauty in a person -- is extremely perishable. It is nowhere so durable as artistic or intellectual beauty. Moral beauty has a tendency to decay very rapidly into sententiousness or untimeliness.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


The greater part of humanity is too much harassed and fatigued by the struggle with want, to rally itself for a new and sterner struggle with error.


Johann Friedrich Von Schiller (1759-1805, German dramatist, poet, historian)


I never come back home with the same moral character I went out with; something or other becomes unsettled where I had achieved internal peace; some one or other of the things I had put to flight reappears on the scene.


Marcus Annaeus Seneca (BC 3-65 AD, Roman philosopher, dramatist, statesman)


The aim of morality is to give people a standard of action and a motive to work by which, they will not intensify each person's selfishness, but raise them up above it.


Cecil J. Sharpe (1859-1924, British collector of folk songs and dances)


An Englishman thinks he is moral when he is only uncomfortable.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


Morality is suspecting other people of not being legally married.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


The new so called morality has too often the old immorality condoned.


Lord Shawcross


Mercy to living beings, self restraint, truth, honesty, chastity and contentment, right faith and knowledge, and austerity are but the entourage of morality.




A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.


Socrates (BC 469-399, Greek philosopher of Athens)


Kindness and generosity ... form the true morality of human actions.


Anne Germain De Stael (1766-1817, French-Swiss novelist)


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 (1850-1895, Scottish essayist, poet, novelist)


Don't be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant's truce between virtue and vice.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


A man can do what he ought to do; and when he says he cannot, it is because he will not.


Author Unknown


Many people convince themselves if it is economically necessary, it's morally right. That's not always the case.


Author Unknown


Riches well-got, and well-used, are a great blessing.


Author Unknown


The person who still blushes is not yet a degenerate.


Author Unknown


Nobody seriously questions the principle that it is the function of mass culture to maintain public morale and certainly nobody in the mass audience objects to having his morale maintained.


Robert Warshow


Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.


George Washington (1732-1799, American President (1st))


To set up as a standard of public morality a notion which can neither be defined nor conceived is to open the door to every kind of tyranny.


Simone Weil (1910-1943, French philosopher, mystic)


Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.


H.G. Wells (1866-1946, British-born American author)


What is morality in any given time or place? It is what the majority then and there happen to like, and immorality is what they dislike.


Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947, British mathematician, philosopher)


Morality is the attitude we adopt toward people whom we personally dislike.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


There is no such thing as morality or immorality in thought. There is immoral emotion.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Moral power is probably best when it is not used. The less you use it the more you have.


Andrew Young (1932-, Civil rights activist, protestant minister, public official)


A moral lesson is better expressed in short sayings than in long discourse.


Johann Georg Zimmermann (1957-, German physicist)


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