Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Policy

"A firm faith is the best theology; a good life is the best philosophy, a clear conscience the best law; honesty the best policy, and temperance the best physic." - Arthur Aughey

"Honesty is the best policy, I will stick to that. The good shall have my hand and heart, but the bad neither foot nor fellowship. And in my mind, the main point of governing, is to make a good beginning." - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"Honesty is the best policy." - Benjamin Franklin

"The essence of good foreign policy is constant re-examination." - David Halberstam

"The policy of adapting one’s self to circumstances makes all ways smooth." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"A society which values equality will attach a high degree of significance to differences of character and intelligence between different individuals, and a low degree of significance to economic and social differences between different groups. It will endeavor, in shaping its policy and organization, to encourage the former and to neutralize and suppress the latter, and will regard it as vulgar and childish to emphasize them when, unfortunately, they still exist." -

"A land ethic for tomorrow should be as honest as Thoreau's Walden, and as comprehensive as the sensitive science of ecology. It should stress the oneness of our resources and the live-and-help-live logic of the great chain of life. If, in our haste to "progress," the economics of ecology are disregarded by citizens and policy makers alike, the result will be an ugly America." - Stewart Udall, Fully Stewart Lee Udall

""Honesty is the best policy," but he who acts on that principle is not an honest man." - Richard Whately

"Our obsession with test scores has produced distorted curriculum, teaching, and educational policy. As long as it continues, we will get the dual phenomena of rising test scores and too many illiterate and enumerate citizens." - Ernest Leroy Boyer

"For the mass public, it is easier to understand problems if they are reduced to black/white dichotomies. It is easier to understand policies if they are attached to individuals who are simplistically labeled as hawks or doves. Yet in today’s world any attempt to reduce its complexities to a single set of ideological propositions, to a single personality, or to a single issue is in itself a distortion. Such a distortion also raises the danger that public emotions could become so strong as to make the management of a genuinely complex foreign policy well-nigh impossible." -

"There is no policy like politeness; and a good manner is the best thing in the world either to get a good name, or to supply the want of it." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"War is a continuation of policy by other means. It is not merely a political act but a real political instrument." - Carl von Clausewitz, fully Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz, also Karl von Clausewitz

"The single greatest power in the world today is the power to change... The most recklessly irresponsible thing we could do in the future would be to go on exactly as we have in the past ten or twenty years. I can imagine no more dangerous policy than the conservatism that exists today." - Karl Deutsch, fully Karl Wolfgang Deutsch

"When a business firm attempts to mold its whole policy to meet the prices of its competitor that business is entering a labyrinth, the center of which is the chamber of despair. Highest quality never can be given or obtained at the lowest prices. If a price must be sacrificed, quality must be sacrificed. If quality is sacrificed society is not truly served." -

"The essential element of successful strategy is that it derives its success from the differences between competitors with a consequent difference in their behavior. Ordinarily, this means that any corporate policy and plan which is typical of the industry is doomed to mediocrity. Where this is not so, it should be possible to demonstrate that all other competitors are at a distinct disadvantage." - Bruce Doolin Henderson

"If we care about the land, it will be necessary to redefine whole economies, not just the farm economy. A complex, solid economy could certainly grow around a policy of cooperation with natural environments. Why haven’t we proposed such policies - on a grand a scale as national defense - when our own species is at stake?" - Janet Kauffman

"Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"The more quietly and peaceably we all get on the better - the better for ourselves - the better for our neighbors. In nine cases out of ten the wisest policy is, if a man cheats you, quit dealing with him; if he is abusive, quit his company; if he slanders you, take care to live so that nobody will believe him: no matter who he is, or how he misuses you, the wisest way is generally to let him alone; for there is nothing better than this cool, calm, quiet way of dealing with the wrongs we meet with." - Simon Patrick

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasure. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasure, with the result that a democracy collapses over loose fiscal policy." - Alexis de Tocqueville, fully Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

"Honesty is the best policy, but he who is governed by that maxim is not an honest man." - Richard Whately

"Peace is more than simply the absence of aggression and war. Peace transcends the end of a conflict or a statement of policy. While we may force the outward appearance of peace upon a people or a nation, it is the underlying thinking that must change to create a true and lasting peace." - Gregg Braden

"Butterfield, Empire is neither built nor maintained without some strokes of hard policy and with the generation of deep resentments. And if we are sometimes exasperated by officialdom even at home, can we imagine what must be the reaction of awakening minds in regions where the officialdom represents the foreigner, and the foreigner is in the country also to exploit it?" - Herbert Butterfield, fully Sir Herbert Butterfield

"Personnel is policy." - Becky Norton Dunlop

"The more amiably and esprit de corps among the members of a policy-making in-group, the greater is the danger that independent critical thinking will be replaced by groupthink, which is likely to result in irrational and dehumanizing actions directed against out-groups." - Irving L. Janis

"All too often… intelligence estimates tell us more about interests and foreign policy preferences of powerful groups in government than it does about the other side’s intentions and capabilities are." - Robert Jervis

"Private and public life are subject to the same rules – truth and manliness are two qualities that will carry you through this world much better than policy or tact or expediency or other words that were devised to conceal a deviation from a straight line." -

"The trite saying that honesty is the best policy is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy." -

"It is loyalty to great ends, even though forced to combine the small and opposing motives of selfish men to accomplish them; it is the anchored cling to solid principles of duty and action, which knows how to swing with the tide, but is never carried away by it – that we demand in public men, and not sameness of policy, or a conscientious persistency in what is impracticable." - James Russell Lowell

"A prince is further esteemed when he is a true friend or a true enemy, when, that is, he declares himself without reserve in favor of some one or against another. This policy is always more useful than remaining neutral." - Niccolò Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

"Reform and renewal come into institutional structures from the margins of power, policy and status." -

"[McClaughry’s Law of Public Policy] Politicians who vote huge expenditures to alleviate problems get reelected; those who propose structural changes to prevent problems get early retirement." - John McClaughry

"The animosity which Nations reciprocally entertain is nothing more than what the policy of their Governments excites to keep up the spirit of the system. Each Government accuses the other of perfidy, intrigue, and ambition, as a means of heating the imagination of their respective Nations, and incensing them to hostilities. Man is not the enemy of Man, but through the medium of a false system of Government." - Thomas Paine

"The art of policy is knowing when to act, how to act, through whom to act, with what tools to act, and for what purposes to act." - Dean Rusk, fully David Dean Rusk

"“Honesty is the best policy,” but he who acts on that principle is not an honest man." -

"The message from geneticists to intellectuals and policy-makers is this: Choose the society you want to promote, then prepare to live with its heritabilities. Never favor the reverse, of promoting social policies just to change heritabilities. For best results, cultivate individuals, not groups." -

"If we want to work out a policy for the present, we must examine the past and prepare for the future, discard the material and elevate the spirit, rely on the individual and exclude the mass." - Lu Xun, or Lu Hsün, pen name of Zhou Shuren

"Replacing religious institutions that are thousands of years old and hostile to reason with a reason-based belief system would transform society in a positive way more than any mere political change or economic-policy change ever could." - David B Anthony

"A bold policy to reduce the addiction to oil would be the most powerful weapon to win the epic struggle against terrorism. In the short term, this means saving energy through more efficient technologies, necessary anyway to slow the greenhouse effect and global warming." - Lutz Kleveman

"The really basic thing in government is policy. Bad administration… can destroy good policy, but good administration can never save bad policy." - Adlai Ewing Stevenson

"The really basic thing in government is policy. Bad administration… can destroy good policy, but good administration can never save bad policy." -

"The really basic thing in government is policy. Bad administration… can destroy good policy, but good administration can never save bad policy." -

"Could Hamlet have been written by a committee, or the Mona Lisa painted by a club? Could the New Testament have been composed as a conference report? Creative ideas do not spring from groups. They spring from individuals. The divine spark leaps from the finger of God to the finger of Adam, whether it takes ultimate shape in a law of physics or a law of the land, a poem or a policy, a sonata or a mechanical computer." - Alfred Whitney Griswold

"Honesty is not only the deepest policy, but the highest wisdom." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Truth can hardly be expected to adapt herself to the crooked policy and wily sinuosities of worldly affairs; for truth, like light, travel only in straight lines." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle." - Edmund Burke

"The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls." - Elizabeth Cady Stanton

"Honesty is the best policy." -

"The aggregate happiness of society, which is best promoted by the practice of a virtuous policy, is, or ought to be, the end of all government." - George Washington

"A crisis does not always appear to a policy-maker as a series of dramatic events. Usually it imposes itself as an exhausting agenda of petty chores demanding both concentration and endurance. One is forced to react to scraps of information in very limited spans of time; longing for full knowledge, one must chart a route through the murk of unknowing." - Henry Kissinger, fully Henry Alfred Kissinger