Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Related Quotes

John Rawls, fully John Bordley Rawls

Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. For this reason justice denies that the loss of freedom for some is made right by a greater good shared by others. It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many. Therefore in a just society the liberties of equal citizenship are taken as settled; the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests.

Citizenship | Freedom | Good | Justice | Reason | Right | Rights | Society | Thought | Truth | Virtue | Virtue | Society | Loss |

Joseph Jacobs

Something has clearly gone awry when students at prestigious institutions of higher learning cannot bring themselves to denounce Auschwitz and Treblinka. Too many Americans now shrink from appearing "judgmental" or "moralistic" - the very words themselves are now used only as pejoratives. The prevailing attitude is: "Who's to say what's right or wrong?"

Learning | Right | Words | Wrong |

Luther Standing Bear, aka Ota Kte or Mochunozhin

Today the children of our public schools are taught more of the history, heroes, legends, and sagas of the wold world than of the land of their birth, while they are furnished with little material on the people and institutions that are truly American.

Birth | Children | History | Land | Legends | Little | People | Public | World |

Ruth Benedict, born Ruth Fulton

No man ever looks at the world with pristine eyes. He sees it edited by a definite set of customs and institutions and ways of thinking.

Looks | Man | Thinking | World |

William Rounseville Alger

Public opinion is the atmosphere of society, without which the forces of the individual would collapse, and all the institutions of society fly into atoms.

Individual | Opinion | Public | Society | Society |

C. Wright Mills, fully Charles Wright Mills

The life of an individual cannot be adequately understood without references to the institutions within which his biography is enacted.

Individual | Life | Life |

C. Wright Mills, fully Charles Wright Mills

Our criteria for judging institutions should always include the quality of the men and women they develop and select.

Men |

Alexis de Tocqueville, fully Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

It cannot be denied that democratic institutions strongly tend to promote the feeling of envy in the human heart; not so much because they afford to everyone the means of rising to the same level with others as because those means perpetually disappoint the persons who employ them. Democratic institutions awaken and foster a passion for equality which they can never entirely satisfy.

Envy | Equality | Heart | Means | Passion |

Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Liberal institutions straightway cease from being liberal the moment they are soundly established.

George Woodcock

Anarchism is a creed inspired and ridden by paradox, and thus, while its advocates theoretically reject tradition, they are nevertheless very much concerned with the ancestry of their doctrine. This concern springs from the belief that anarchism is a manifestation of natural human urges, and that it is the tendency to create authoritarian institutions which is the transient aberration. If one accepts this view, then anarchism cannot merely be a phenomenon of the present; the aspect of it we perceive in history is merely one metamorphosis of an element constant in society.

Ancestry | Belief | Creed | History |

George Marshall, fully George Catlett Marshall, Jr.

Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist. Such assistance, I am convinced, must not be on a piecemeal basis as various crises develop. Any assistance that this Government may render in the future should provide a cure rather than a mere palliative. Any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full cooperation, I am sure, on the part of the United States Government. Any government which maneuvers to block the recovery of other countries cannot expect help from us. Furthermore, governments, political parties or groups which seek to perpetuate human misery in order to profit therefrom politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States.

Doctrine | Future | Government | Opposition | Order | Policy | Purpose | Purpose | Will | World | Government |

George F. Kennan

There will be no room, here, for the smug myopia which views American civilization as the final solution to all world problems; which recommends our institutions for universal adoption and turns away with contempt from the serious study of the institutions of peoples whose civilizations may seem to us to be materially less advanced.

Civilization | Contempt | Study | Will | World |

H. G. Wells, fully Herbert George Wells

There has been ... an enormous waste of human mental and physical resources in premature revolutionary thrusts, ill-planned, dogmatic, essentially unscientific reconstructions and restorations of the social order, during the past hundred years. This was the inevitable first result of the discrediting of those old and superseded mental adaptations which were embodied in the institutions and education of the past. They discredited themselves and left the world full of problems.

Education | Inevitable | Past | Waste | World | Old |

Henry Nelson Wieman

The church is a vast institution with roots reaching wide and deep into the social order that now is. It is so integral to society as a whole that any social reconstruction would mean a reconstruction of the church. It would have to reconstruct itself in order to reconstruct society. But it cannot reconstruct itself until society is reconstructed. So it is caught in a vicious circle so far as concerns leadership in achieving any change in the basic institutions of society.

Change | Church | Order | Society | Society | Leadership |

Henry George

Progressive societies outgrow institutions as children outgrow clothes.

Children |

James Madison

Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.

Light | Mind | Public | Security |

John Rawls, fully John Bordley Rawls

The strength of the claims of formal justice, of obedience to system, clearly depend upon the substantive justice of institutions and the possibilities of their reform.

Justice | Obedience | Strength |