Looking up the quotation "All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely," I got sucked into Wikipedia's etching of Lord Acton (1834-1902), a British thinker. And there was a laundry list of quotations to go with the Wikipedia entry ... I have highlighted the ones that caught my eye:
- "Great men are almost always bad men."
- “There is no worse heresy than the fact that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”
- “The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.”
- “Be not content with the best book; seek sidelights from the others; have no favourites.”
- "The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks."
- "Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity."
- "The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern."
- "There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men."
- "At all times sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities, that have prevailed by associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objects differed from their own; and this association, which is always dangerous, has been sometimes disastrous, by giving to opponents just grounds of opposition."
- “Universal History is . . . not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.”
- "There is not a more perilous or immoral habit of mind than the sanctifying of success." (said of Oliver Cromwell)
- “The strong man with the dagger is followed by the weak man with the sponge.”
- "The science of politics is the one science that is deposited by the streams of history, like the grains of gold in the sand of a river; and the knowledge of the past, the record of truths revealed by experience, is eminently practical, as an instrument of action and a power that goes to making the future."
- “And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that. All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
- "Save for the wild force of Nature, nothing moves in this world that is not Greek in its origin."
- "Liberty is not the power of doing what we like, but the right of being able to do what we ought."
- "Property is not the sacred right. When a rich man becomes poor it is a misfortune, it is not a moral evil. When a poor man becomes destitute, it is a moral evil, teeming with consequences and injurious to society and morality."
“The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.”