Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Corruption

"The corruption of the best is the worst." -

"In Confucianism, all of us - men and women - are born soldiers. The soldier is the universal individual. No matter what you do for a living - doctor, lawyer, fisherman, thief - you are a fighter. Life is war. The war is to maintain personal integrity in a world that demands betrayal and corruption. All behavior is strategy and tactics. All relationships are martial. Marriages are military alliances." - Frank Chin

"Knowledge is an excellent drug; but no drug has virtue enough to preserve itself from corruption and decay, if the vessel be tainted and impure wherein it is put to keep." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Better that we should err in action than wholly refuse to perform. The storm is so much better than the calm, as it declares the presence of a living principle. Stagnation is something worse than death. It is corruption also." - William Gilmore Simms

"Stagnation is something worse than death; it is corruption also." - William Gilmore Simms

"War is the corruption and disgrace of man." - Edward Thomson

"Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; but still more when they are super bad and add the tendency of the certainty of corruption of authority." - Lord Acton, John Emerich Dalberg-Acton

"Wine-drinking is the mother of all mischief, the root of crimes, the spring of vices, the whirlwind of the brain, the overthrow of the sense, the tempest of the tongue, the ruin of the body, the shame of life, the stain of honesty, and the plague and corruption of the soul." - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"There was plainly wanting a divine revelation to recover mankind out of their universal corruption and degeneracy." - Samuel Clarke

"Even if governmental conduct of business could give us more efficiency instead of less efficiency, the fundamental objection to it would remain unaltered and unabated. It would destroy political equality. It would increase rather than decrease abuse and corruption. It would stifle initiative and invention. It would undermine the development of leadership. It would cramp and cripple the mental and spiritual energies of our people. It would extinguish equality and opportunity. It would dry up the spirit of liberty and progress." - Herbert Hoover, fully Herbert Clark Hoover

"In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories." - Thomas Jefferson

"It takes a lot of self-love and presumption to have such esteem for one’s own opinions that to establish them one must overthrow the public peace and introduce so many inevitable evils, and such a horrible corruption of morals, as civil wars and political changes bring with them in a matter of such weight - and introduce them into one’s own country." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"The corruption of every government begins nearly always with that of principles." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"I condemn Christianity, I bring against the Christian Church the most terrible charge any prosecutor has ever uttered. to me it is the extremist thinkable form of corruption, it has had the will to the ultimate corruption conceivably possible. The Christian Church has left nothing untouched by its depravity, it has made of every value a disvalue, of every truth a lie, of every kind of integrity a vileness of soul. People still dare to talk to me of its ‘humanitarian’ blessings! To abolish any state of distress whatever has been profoundly inexpedient to it: it has lived on states of distress, it has created states of distress in order to externalize itself." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"We know that the wages of secrecy are corruption. We know that in secrecy, error undetected will flourish and subvert." - Robert Oppenheimer, fully Julius Robert Oppenheimer

"Money is both the generation and corruption of purchased honor; honor is both the child and slave of potent money: the credit which honor hath lost, money hath found. When honor grew mercenary, money grew honorable. The way to be truly noble is to contemn both." - Francis Quarles

"Everything naturally loves itself, the result being that everything naturally keeps itself in being, and resists corruption as far as it can. Wherefore suicide is contrary to the inclination of nature, and to charity whereby every man should love himself." - Saint Thomas Aquinas, aka Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis or Doctor Universalis

"To live by the code of “do as you please regardless” is to become a prisoner of your own moral corruption. It is to be troubled by guilt and tormented by the inconsistency of living contrary to the demands of your own conscience and moral nature. You simply cannot be satisfied while ignoring any part of your nature." - Joe Boot

"There is the moral of all human tales, `tis but the same rehearsal of the past, first freedom, and then glory – when that fails, wealth, vice, corruption – barbarism at last." -

"Let us be clear: censorship is cowardice… It masks corruption. It is a school of torture: its teaches, and accustoms one to the use of force against an idea, to submit thought to an alien “other.” But worst still, censorship destroys criticism, which is the essential ingredient of culture." - Pablo Antonio Cuadra

"The universal and the transcendent Cause of all things is neither without life, nor without reason and intelligence; nor is he a body, nor has he form or shape, quality, quantity or weight; nor has he any localized, visible or tangible existence… He suffers no change, corruption, division, privation or flux; none of these things can either be identified with or attributed to him." - Dionysus NULL

"Frugality may be termed the daughter of prudence, the sister of temperance, and the parent of liberty. Those that are extravagant will quickly become poor, and poverty will enforce dependence and invite corruption." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Vanity is the beginning of corruption." - Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis

"Idleness leads to relaxation, sooner or later bringing about ideological and material corruption, accompanied by lack of discipline, anarchy, chaos and defeat." - Samora Machel, fully Samora Moisés Machel

"Blessed is the man who can love all men equally. Blessed is the man who is attached to nothing subject to corruption and time. Blessed is the mind which, passing by all creatures, constantly rejoices in God’s beauty." - Saint Maximus the Confessor NULL

"The results at which I have to aim are only to be attained by systematic corruption of the possessing and governing classes. Business advantages, erotic satisfactions, and ambition, that is to say, the will to power, are the three stops in our propaganda organ." - Adolph Hitler

"The results at which I have to aim are only to be attained by systematic corruption of the possessing and governing classes. Business advantages, erotic satisfactions, and ambition, that is to say, the will to power, are the three stops in our propaganda organ." -

"Corruption is like a ball of snow: whence once set a-rolling it must increase." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Nothing tends so much to the corruption of science as to suffer it to stagnate; these waters must be troubled before they can exert their virtues." - Edmund Burke

"The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means." - Georges Bernanos

"Law, not confusion, is the dominating principle in the universe; justice, not injustice, is the soul and substance of life; and righteousness, not corruption, is the molding and moving force in the spiritual government of the world." -

"The word “independence” is united to the accessory ideas of dignity and virtue. The word “dependence” is united to the ideas of inferiority and corruption." - Jeremy Bentham

"War is both the product of an earlier corruption and a producer of new corruptions." - Lewis Mumford

"Cliques… are like dry rot in the administration… Every clique is a refuge for incompetence. It fosters corruption and disloyalty, it begets cowardice, and consequently is a burden upon and a drawback to the progress of the country. Its instincts and actions are those of the pack." -

"There is a dishonor in being overcome by the love of money, or of wealth, or of political power, whether a man is frightened into surrender by the loss of them, or, having experienced the benefits of money and political corruption, is unable to rise above the seductions of them. For none of these are of a permanent or lasting nature; not to mention that no generous friendship ever sprang from them." - Plato NULL

"The corruption of man is followed by the corruption of language." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"No science is immune to the infection of politics and the corruption of power. " - Jacob Bronowski

"It is the great beauty of true religion that it shall be universal, and a departure in any instance from universality is a corruption of religion itself." -

"The corruption of the positively wicked is often less sad and fatal to society than the irregularities of a virtuous man who yields and falls." - Joseph Francis Eduard Desmahis

"Extreme civilization robs crime of its frightful poetry, and prevents the writer from restoring it. That would be too dreadful, say those good souls who want everything to be prettified, even the horrible. In the name of philanthropy, imbecile criminologists reduce the punishment, and inept moralists the crime, and what is more they reduce the crime only in order to reduce the punishment. Yet the crimes of extreme civilization are undoubtedly more atrocious than those of extreme barbarism, by virtue of their refinement, of the corruption they imply and of their superior degree of intellectualism." - Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupt absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority" - John Dalberg-Acton, Lord Acton, fully John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

"There is the moral of all human tales, `tis but the same rehearsal of the past, first freedom, and then glory – when that fails, wealth, vice, corruption – barbarism at last." -

"Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; but still more when they are super bad and add the tendency of the certainty of corruption of authority. " - John Dalberg-Acton, Lord Acton, fully John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

"Cliques… are like dry rot in the administration… Every clique is a refuge for incompetence. It fosters corruption and disloyalty, it begets cowardice, and consequently is a burden upon and a drawback to the progress of the country. Its instincts and actions are those of the pack. " - Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, born Soong Mei-ling or May-ling

"Instant success is the order of the day; "I want it now!" I wonder whether this is not part of our corruption by machines. Machines do things very quickly and outside the natural rhythm of life...so the few things that we still do...anything at all that cannot be hurried, have a very particular value." - May Sarton, pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton

"The proper role of government is exactly what John Stuart Mill said in the middle of the 19th century in On Liberty. The proper role of government is to prevent other people from harming an individual. Government, he said, never has any right to interfere with an individual for that individual's own good. The case for prohibiting drugs is exactly as strong and as weak as the case for prohibiting people from overeating. We all know that overeating causes more deaths than drugs do. If it's in principle OK for the government to say you must not consume drugs because they'll do you harm, why isn't it all right to say you must not eat too much because you'll do harm? Why isn't it all right to say you must not try to go in for skydiving because you're likely to die? Why isn't it all right to say, "Oh, skiing, that's no good, that's a very dangerous sport, you'll hurt yourself"? Where do you draw the line? It does harm a great many other people, but primarily because it's prohibited. There are an enormous number of innocent victims now. You've got the people whose purses are stolen, who are bashed over the head by people trying to get enough money for their next fix. You've got the people killed in the random drug wars. You've got the corruption of the legal establishment. You've got the innocent victims who are taxpayers who have to pay for more and more prisons, and more and more prisoners, and more and more police. You've got the rest of us who don't get decent law enforcement because all the law enforcement officials are busy trying to do the impossible. And, last, but not least, you've got the people of Colombia and Peru and so on. What business do we have destroying and leading to the killing of thousands of people in Colombia because we cannot enforce our own laws? If we could enforce our laws against drugs, there would be no market for these drugs." - Milton Friedman, fully John Milton Friedman

"All institutions are prone to corruption and to the vices of their members. " - Morris West, fully Morris Langlo West

"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – You may know that your society is doomed." - Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum

"If, as is natural, you focus on the corruption and on those threatened institutions that are trying to prevent change - even though they don't really know what they're trying to prevent - then you can get pessimistic." - Paul Hawken