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Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. > Quotes


Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. quotes (showing 1-30 of 43)

“I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“The young man knows the rules but the old man knows the exceptions.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“Even a dog distinguishes between being stumbled over and being kicked.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., The Common Law
“A child's education should begin at least 100 years before he was born.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are going.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in colour and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“Every calling is great when greatly pursued.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“Don’t flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates. The nearer you come into relation with a person, the more necessary do tact and courtesy become.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I wouldn't pass it around. Wouldn't be doing anybody a favor. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don't say embrace trouble. That's as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say, meet it as a friend, for you'll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“The man of action has the present, but the thinker controls the future.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., The Essential Holmes: Selections from the Letters, Speeches, Judicial Opinions, and Other Writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
“We have shared the incommunicable experience of war, we have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top. In our youth our hearts were touched with fire.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
tags: life
“We must think things not words, or at least we must constantly translate our words into the facts for which they stand, if we are to keep to the real and the true.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“We believed that it was most desirable that the North should win, we believed in the principle that the Union is indissoluable, we, or many of us at least, also believed that the conflict was inevitable, and that slavery had lasted long enough. But we equally believed that those who stood against us held just as sacred conviction that were the opposite of ours, and we respected them as every men with a heart must respect those who give all for their belief.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“Certitude leads to violence. This is a proposition that has an easy application and a difficult one. The easy application is to ideoologues, dogmatists, and bullies--people who think that their rigtness justifies them in imposing on anyone who does not happen to suscribe to their particular ideology, dogma or notion of turf. If the conviction of rightness is powerful enough, resistance to it will be met, sooner or later by force. There are people like this in every sphere of life, and it is natural to feel that the world would be a better place without them!”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“For I say to you in all the sadness of conviction, that to think great thoughts you must be heroes as well as idealists. Only when you have worked alone – when you have felt around you a black gulf of solitude more isolating than that which surrounds the dying man, and in hope and in despair have trusted to your own unshaken will – then only will you have achieved. Thus only can you gain the secret isolated joy of the thinker, who knows that, a hundred years after he is dead and forgotten, men who have never heard of him will be moving to the measure of his thought – the subtle rapture of a postponed power, which the world knows not because it has no external trappings, but which to his prophetic vision is more real than that which commands an army.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“Every year, if not every day, we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“I believe that there are no innate, intrinsic differences among a human being , a baboon or a grain of sand.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“The first requirement of a sound body of law is, that it should correspond with the actual feelings and demands of the community, whether right or wrong.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., The Common Law
“A goose flies by a chart the Royal Geographic Society could not improve.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
“Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

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