Civilization Quotes / Quotations 

Famous Quotes and Quotations about Civilization

Civilization Quotes 1-50 out of 81
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There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.
more John Adams quotes
I know how men in exile feed on dreams of hope
more Aeschylus quotes
People have become as processed as food.
more Astrid Alauda quotes
A free and open society is an ongoing conflict, interrupted periodically by compromises.
more Saul Alinsky quotes
No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.
more Hannah Arendt quotes
[The US has] developed two coordinate governing classes: the one, called ‘business,' building cities, manufacturing and distributing goods, and holding complete and autocratic power over the livelihood of millions; the other, called ‘government,' concerned with preaching and exemplification of spiritual ideals, so caught in a mass of theory, that when it wished to move in a practical world it had to do so by means of a sub rosa political machine.
more Thurman Arnold quotes
Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.
more Isaac Asimov quotes
A Fatal Tendency of Mankind. Self-preservation and self-development are common aspirations among all people. And if everyone enjoyed the unrestricted use of his faculties and the free disposition of the fruits of his labor, social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing. But there is also another tendency that is common among people. When they can, they wish to live and prosper at the expense of others. This is no rash accusation. Nor does it come from a gloomy and uncharitable spirit. The annals of history bear witness to the truth of it: the incessant wars, mass migrations, religious persecutions, universal slavery, dishonesty in commerce, and monopolies. This fatal desire has its origin in the very nature of man -- in that primitive, universal, and insuppressible instinct that impels him to satisfy his desires with the least possible pain.
more Frederic Bastiat quotes
Civilization exists precisely so that there may be no masses but rather men alert enough never to constitute masses.
more Georges Bernanos quotes
I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of people would die for Him.
more Napoleon Bonaparte quotes
The entire world economy rests on the consumer; if he ever stops spending money he doesn't have on things he doesn't need -- we're done for.
more Bill Bonner quotes
Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young peoples, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation.
more Edmund Burke quotes
We all have a little weakness, which is very natural but rather misleading, for supposing that this epoch must be the end of the world because it will be the end of us. How future generations will get on without us is indeed, when we come to think of it, quite a puzzle. But I suppose they will get on somehow, and may possibly venture to revise our judgments as we have revised earlier judgments.
more Gilbert Keith Chesterton quotes
America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to denigration without the usual interval of civilization.
more Georges Clemenceau quotes
The evolution of the human race will not be accomplished in the ten thousand years of tame animals, but in the million years of wild animals, because man is and will always be a wild animal.
more Charles Darwin quotes
The Fifth Amendment is an old friend and a good friend. It is one of the great landmarks in men’s struggle to be free of tyranny, to be decent and civilized.
more Justice William O. Douglas quotes
I know no class of my fellowmen, however just, enlightened, and humane, which can be wisely and safely trusted absolutely with the liberties of any other class.
more Frederick Douglass quotes
[H]istory assures us that civilizations decay quite leisurely.
more Will Durant quotes
The man who stands upon his own soil, who feels, by the laws of the land in which he lives,--by the laws of civilized nations,--he is the rightful and exclusive owner of the land which he tills, is, by the constitution of our nature, under a wholesome influence, not easily imbibed from any other source.
more Edward Everett quotes
The world is so dreadfully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain.
more Ronald Firbank quotes
Increasingly constructive doubt is the sign of advancing civilization.
more Jerome D. Frank quotes
All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.
more Benjamin Franklin quotes
Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.
more Milton Friedman quotes
Phil Donohue: When you see around the globe the maldistribution of wealth, the desperate plight of millions of people in underdeveloped countries, when you see so few haves and so many have-nots, when you see the greed and the concentration of power, did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism? And whether greed is a good idea to run on? Milton Friedman: Well first of all tell me, is there some society you know that doesn't run on greed? You think Russia doesn't run on greed? You think China doesn't run on greed? What is greed? Of course none of us are greedy. It's only the other fella that's greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The greatest achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn't construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn't revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty that you are talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it's exactly in the kind of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system. Phil Donohue: Seems to reward not virtue as much as the ability to manipulate the system. Milton Friedman: And what does reward virtue? You think the Communist commissar rewards virtue? You think a Hitler rewards virtue? Do you think... American presidents reward virtue? Do they choose their appointees on the basis of the virtue of the people appointed or on the basis of political clout? Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest? You know I think you are taking a lot of things for granted. And just tell me where in the world you find these angels that are going to organize society for us? Well, I don't even trust you to do that.
more Milton Friedman quotes
I think it would be an excellent idea.
more Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi quotes
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
more Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi quotes
It's difficult to view the world outside our human context. Staying alive and paying the bills both require our attention squarely fixed on our own business. Our sprawling cities and suburbs are wonderful and frightening tributes to creative self-absorption. In them, we spend our microscheduled days bustling between work and the endless details of our private lives, turning in our moments of rest to the buzzing distractions of television and computers - all accelerating toward some ultimate, unseen fulfillment of convenience and hyperreality. Little encourages us to pause and look around, much less question the end goal of all our busyness. Anything slower than the quick cuts of TV commercials is overwhelmed by our impatience and short attention. Unfortunately, we might be missing something important - to our happiness and to our survival.
more Jason Gardner quotes
Who ordained that a few should have the land of Britain as a perquisite; who made ten thousand people owners of the soil and the rest of us trespassers in the land of our birth?
more David Lloyd George quotes
It is largely because civilization enables us constantly to profit from knowledge which we individually do not possess and because each individual's use of his particular knowledge may serve to assist others unknown to him in achieving their ends that men as members of civilized society can pursue their individual ends so much more successfully than they could alone.
more Friedrich August von Hayek quotes
Many of the greatest things man has achieved are not the result of consciously directed thought, and still less the product of a deliberately coordinated effort of many individuals, but of a process in which the individual plays a part which he can never fully understand.
more Friedrich August von Hayek quotes
What a free society offers to the individual is much more than what he would be able to do if only he were free.
more Friedrich August von Hayek quotes
The great masses of the people ... will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one.
more Adolf Hitler quotes
The aspiration toward freedom is the most essentially human of all human manifestations.
more Eric Hoffer quotes
Armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence - those are the three pillars of Western prosperity.
more Aldous Huxley quotes
A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable.
more Thomas Jefferson quotes
The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.
more Thomas Jefferson quotes
The greatest problem for the human species, the solution of which nature compels him to seek, is that of attaining a civil society which can administer justice universally.
more Immanuel Kant quotes
War itself requires no special motive but appears to be engrafted on human nature; it passes even for something noble, to which the love of glory impels men quite apart from any selfish urges. Thus among the American savages, just as much as among those of Europe during the age of chivalry, military valor is held to be of great worth in itself, not only during war (which is natural) but in order that there should be war. Often war is waged only in order to show valor; thus an inner dignity is ascribed to war itself, and even some philosophers have praised it as an ennoblement of humanity, forgetting the pronouncement of the Greek who said, "War is an evil inasmuch as it produces more wicked men than it takes away." So much for the measures nature takes to lead the human race, considered as a class of animals, to her own end.
more Immanuel Kant quotes
At the heart of western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man... is the touchstone of value, and all society, groups, the state, exist for his benefit. Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and abiding practice of any western society.
more Robert F. Kennedy quotes
Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion -- and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion ... while Truth again reverts to a new minority.
more Soren Kierkegaard quotes
Nothing whatever but the constitutional law, the political structure, of these United States protects any American from arbitrary seizure of his property and his person, from the Gestapo and the Storm Troops, from the concentration camp, the torture chamber, the revolver at the back of his neck in a cellar.
more Rose Wilder Lane quotes
[C]ivilization means, above all, an unwillingness to inflict unnecessary pain ... those of us who heedlessly accept the commands of authority cannot yet claim to be civilized men.
more Harold J. Laski quotes
Here, I think, lies our real dilemma. Probably we cannot, certainly we shall not, retrace our steps. We are tamed animals (some with kind, some with cruel, masters) and should probably starve if we got out of our cage. That is one horn of the dilemma. But in an increasingly planned society, how much of what I value can survive? That is the other horn.
more C. S. Lewis quotes
War creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice.
more C. S. Lewis quotes
When men are brought face to face with their opponents, forced to listen and learn and mend their ideas, they cease to be children and savages and begin to live like civilized men. Then only is freedom a reality, when men may voice their opinions because they must examine their opinions.
more Walter Lippmann quotes
Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance, this great land of ordered liberty, for if we stumble and fall, freedom and civilization everywhere will go down in ruin.
more Henry Cabot Lodge quotes
Within seven centuries, [the ancient Greeks] invented for itself, epic, elegy, lyric, tragedy, novel, democratic government, political and economic science, history, geography, philosophy, physics and biology; and made revolutionary advances in architecture, sculpture, painting, music, oratory, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, anatomy, engineering, law and war... a stupendous feat for whose most brilliant state Attica was the size of Hertfordshire, with a free population (including children) of perhaps 160,000.
more F. J. Lucas quotes
It has often been found that profuse expenditures, heavy taxation, absurd commercial restrictions, corrupt tribunals, disastrous wars, seditions, persecutions, conflagrations, inundation, have not been able to destroy capital so fast as the exertions of private citizens have been able to create it.
more Thomas Babington Macaulay quotes
Institutions purely democratic must, sooner, or later, destroy liberty or civilization or both.
more Thomas Babington Macaulay quotes
In every declining civilization there is a small "remnant" of people who adhere to the right against the wrong; who recognize the difference between good and evil and who will take an active stand for the former and against the latter; who can still think and discern and who will courageously take a stand against the political, social, moral, and spiritual rot or decay of their day.
more Donald S. McAlvaney quotes
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