Principles

Prejudices are the principles of people we dislike.

War is nothing less than a temporary repeal of the principles of virtue. It is a system out of which almost all the virtues are excluded, and in which nearly all the vices are included.

The principles we live by, in business and in social life, are the most important part of happiness. We need to be careful, upon achieving happiness, not to lose the virtues which have produced it.

A man is usually more careful of his money than he is of his principles.

It is universally acknowledged that there is a great uniformity among the actions of men, in all nations and ages, and that human nature remains still the same, in its principles and operations. The same motives always produce the same actions: the same events follow the same causes. Ambition, avarice, self-love, vanity, friendship, generosity, public spirit: these passions, mixed in various degrees, and distributed through society, have been from the beginning of the world, and still are, the source of all the actions and enterprises, which have ever been observed among mankind.

Men are not blamed for such actions as they perform ignorantly and casually, whatever may be the consequences. Why? but because the principles of these actions are only momentary, and terminate in them alone. Men are less blamed for such actions as they perform hastily and unpremeditatedly than for such as proceed from deliberation. For what reason? but because a hasty temper, though a constant cause or principle in the mind, operates only by intervals, and infects not the whole character. Again, repentance wipes off every crime, if attended with a reformation of life and manners. How is this to be accounted for? but by asserting that actions render a person criminal merely a they are proofs of criminal principles in the mind.

The greater part of mankind are naturally apt to be affirmative and dogmatical in their opinions; and while they see objects only on one side, and have no idea of any counterpoising argument, they throw themselves precipitately into the principles, to which they are inclined; nor have they any indulgence for those who entertain opposite sentiments. To hesitate or balance perplexes their understanding, checks their passion, and suspends their action.

An honor-seeker is not really interested in self-improvement. He is only interested in gaining approval from others. Hence, he will disregard any fault he has if he knows that others will not notice it. On the other hand, a person who is able to forego his honor is able to focus on truth. His only thought is to do the right thing and he is willing to sacrifice his honor for his principles. Such a person will eventually receive honor, for he will constantly work on improving himself.

We frequently fall into error and folly, not because the true principles of action are not known, but because for a time they are not remembered; he may, therefore, justly be numbered among the benefactors of mankind who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences that may early be impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to occur habitually to the mind.

When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of highest virtues.

Justice is immortal, eternal, and immutable, like God Himself; and the development of law is only then a progress when it is directed towards those principles which always like Him, are eternal; and whenever prejudice of error succeeds in establishing in customary law any doctrine contrary to eternal justice.

Our inward values and judgments are based on pleasure, not on any great, tremendous principles, but just on pleasure... The active principle of our life is pleasure.

Principles do not mainly influence even the principled; we talk on principle, but we act on interest.

Principles can always be used toward evil ends, so maybe if these principles never existed, the bad person wouldn't be able to do so much harm.

One may be better than his reputation, but never better than his principles.

Madmen... do not appear to me to have lost the faculty of reasoning, but having joined together some ideas very wrongly, they mistake them for truths; and they err as men do that argue right from wrong principles. For, by the violence of their imaginations, having taken their fancies for realities, they make right deductions from them.

Moral principles require reasoning and discourse, to discover the certainty of their truths; they lie not open as natural characters engraven on the mind.

Great revolutions are the work rather of principles than of bayonets, and are achieved first in the moral, and afterwards in the material sphere.

Patriotism is often an arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.

'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.