Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress had been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.
Newspapers have degenerated. They may now be absolutely relied upon.
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
Society produces rogues, and education makes one rogue cleverer than another.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation.
The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
[T]hough of all poses a moral pose is the most offensive, still to have a pose at all is something.
Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
As one reads history, not in the expurgated editions written for schoolboys and passmen, but in the original authorities of each time, one is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted; and a community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime.
To believe is very dull. To doubt is intensely engrossing. To be on the alert is to live, to be lulled into security is to die.
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. There lies its immense value. For what it seeks is to disturb monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine.
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
All authority is quite degrading.
The form of government that is most suitable to the artist is no government at all. ... One might point out how the Renaissance was great, because it sought to solve no social problem, and busied itself not about such things, but suffered the individual to develop freely, beautifully, and naturally, and so had great and individual artists, and great, individual men. One might point out how Louis XIV, by creating the modern state, destroyed the individualism of the artist ...
A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.
He hasn't one redeeming vice.