If falsehood, like truth, had but one face, we would be more on equal terms. For we would consider the contrary of what the liar said to be certain. But the opposite of truth has a hundred thousand faces and an infinite field.
A man must keep a little back shop where he can be himself without reserve. In solitude alone can he know true freedom.
Those who give the first shock to a state are the first overwhelmed in its ruin; the fruits of public commotion are seldom enjoyed by him who was the first mover; he only beats the water for another's net.
It is a thing of no great difficulty to raise objections against another man's oration -- nay, it is a very easy matter; but to produce a better in its place is a work extremely troublesome.
I see men ordinarily more eager to discover a reason for things than to find out whether things are so.
Laws are maintained in credit, not because they are essentially just, but because they are laws. It is the mystical foundation of their authority; they have none other.
I am further of opinion that it would be better for us to have [no laws] at all than to have them in so prodigious numbers as we have.
To forbid us anything is to make us have a mind for it.
Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul.
I quote others only the better to express myself.
Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.
There is no man so good that if he placed all his actions and thought under the scrutiny of the laws, he would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.
I will follow the right side even to the fire, but excluding the fire if I can.