Aristocracy Quotes

Quotes tagged as "aristocracy" Showing 1-30 of 118
Carl Sagan
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Eugene V. Debs
“I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.”
Eugene Debs

E.M. Forster
“I believe in aristocracy, though -- if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secreat understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but power to endure, and they can take a joke.”
E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy

Tennessee Williams
“There is only one true aristocracy . . . and that is the aristocracy of passionate souls!”
Tennessee Williams

Ayn Rand
“Fransisco, you're some kind of very high nobility, aren't you?" He answered, "Not yet. The reason my family has lasted for such a long time is that none of us has ever been permitted to think he is born a d'Anconia. We are expected to become one.”
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

John Keats
“Pensive they sit, and roll their languid eyes.”
John Keats

James Kelman
“Ninety-nine per cent of traditional English literature concerns people who never have to worry about money at all. We always seem to be watching or reading about emotional crises among folk who live in a world of great fortune both in matters of luck and money; stories and fantasies about rock stars and film stars, sporting millionaires and models; jet-setting members of the aristocracy and international financiers.”
James Kelman

F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Aristocracy's only an admission that certain traits which we call fine - courage and honor and beauty and all that sort of thing - can best be developed in a favorable environment, where you don't have the warpings of ignorance and necessity.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

Mark Twain
“It was pitiful for a person born in a wholesome free atmosphere to listen to their humble and hearty outpourings of loyalty toward their king and Church and nobility; as if they had any more occasion to love and honor king and Church and noble than a slave has to love and honor the lash, or a dog has to love and honor the stranger that kicks him! Why, dear me, ANY kind of royalty, howsoever modified, ANY kind of aristocracy, howsoever pruned, is rightly an insult; but if you are born and brought up under that sort of arrangement you probably never find it out for yourself, and don't believe it when somebody else tells you. It is enough to make a body ashamed of his race to think of the sort of froth that has always occupied its thrones without shadow of right or reason, and the seventh-rate people that have always figured as its aristocracies -- a company of monarchs and nobles who, as a rule, would have achieved only poverty and obscurity if left, like their betters, to their own exertions...

The truth was, the nation as a body was in the world for one object, and one only: to grovel before king and Church and noble; to slave for them, sweat blood for them, starve that they might be fed, work that they might play, drink misery to the dregs that they might be happy, go naked that they might wear silks and jewels, pay taxes that they might be spared from paying them, be familiar all their lives with the degrading language and postures of adulation that they might walk in pride and think themselves the gods of this world. And for all this, the thanks they got were cuffs and contempt; and so poor-spirited were they that they took even this sort of attention as an honor.”
Mark Twain

P.G. Wodehouse
“I say, you don't know how I could raise fifty quid somehow, do you?"
"Why don't you work?"
"Work?" said young Bingo, surprised. "What, me? No, I shall have to think of some way.”
P.G. Wodehouse, The Inimitable Jeeves

Guy de Maupassant
“She was simple, not being able to adorn herself, but she was unhappy, as one out of her class; for women belong to no caste, no race, their grace, their beauty and their charm serving them in place of birth and family. Their inborn finesse, their instinctive elegance, their suppleness of wit, are their only aristocracy, making some daughters of the people the equal of great ladies.”
Guy de Maupassant, A Piece of String / The Necklace

Alexis de Tocqueville
“There is hardly any political question in the United States that sooner or later does not turn into a judicial question. From that, the obligation that the parties find in their daily polemics to borrow ideas and language from the judicial system. Since most public men are or have formerly been jurists, they make the habits and the turn of ideas that belong to jurists pass into the handling of public affairs. The jury ends up by familiarizing all classes with them. Thus, judicial language becomes, in a way, the common language; so the spirit of the jurist, born inside the schools and courtrooms, spreads little by little beyond their confines; it infiltrates all of society, so to speak; it descends to the lowest ranks, and the entire people finishes by acquiring a part of the habits and tastes of the magistrate.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Gustave Flaubert
“ There was an air of indifference about them, a calm produced by the gratification of every passion; and through their manners were suave, one could sense beneath them that special brutality which comes from the habit of breaking down half-hearted resistances that keep one fit and tickle one’s vanity—the handling of blooded horses, the pursuit of loose women. ”
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Leo Tolstoy
“Wait, wait,' he began, interrupting Oblonsky. 'Aristocratism, you say. But allow me to ask, what makes up this aristocratism of Vronsky or whoever else it may be - such aristocratism that I can be scorned? You consider Vronsky an aristocrat, but I don't. A man whose father crept out of nothing by wiliness, whose mother, God knows who she didn't have liaisons with... No, excuse me, but I consider myself an aristocrat and people like myself, who can point to three or four honest generations in their families' past, who had a high degree of education (talent and intelligence are another thing), and who never lowered themselves before anyone, never depended on anyone, as my father lived, and my grandfather. And I know many like that. You find it mean that I count the trees in the forest, while you give away thirty thousand to Ryabinin; but you'll have rent coming in and I don't know what else, while I won't, and so I value what I've inherited and worked for... We're the aristocrats, and not someone who can only exist on hand-outs from the mighty of this world and can be bought for twenty kopecks.

'But who are you attacking? I agree with you,' said Stepan Arkadyich sincerely and cheerfully, though he felt Levin included him among those who could be bought for twenty kopecks.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Alexis de Tocqueville
“Aristocracy naturally leads the human mind to the contemplation of the past, and fixes it there. Democracy, on the contrary, gives men a sort of instinctive distaste for what is ancient. In this respect aristocracy is far more favorable to poetry; for things commonly grow larger and more obscure as they are more remote; and, for this two-fold reason, they are better suited to the delineation of the ideal.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Alexis de Tocqueville
“Laws were made to establish a gradation of ranks; but it was soon found that the soil of America was opposed to a territorial aristocracy. To bring that refractory land into cultivation, the constant and interested exertions of the owner himself were necessary; and when the ground was prepared, its produce was found to be insufficient to enrich a proprietor and a farmer at the same time. The land was then naturally broken up into small portions, which the proprietor cultivated for himself. Land is the basis of an aristocracy, which clings to the soil that supports it; for it is not by privileges alone, nor by birth, but by landed property handed down from generation to generation, that an aristocracy is constituted. A nation may present immense fortunes and extreme wretchedness; but unless those fortunes are territorial, there is no true aristocracy, but simply the class of the rich and that of the poor.”
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Julian Fellowes
Lady Sylvia McCordle: Mr Weissman -- Tell us about the film you're going to make.
Morris Weissman: Oh, sure. It's called "Charlie Chan In London". It's a detective story.
Mabel Nesbitt: Set in London?
Morris Weissman: Well, not really. Most of it takes place at a shooting party in a country house. Sort of like this one, actually. Murder in the middle of the night, a lot of guests for the weekend, everyone's a suspect. You know, that sort of thing.
Constance: How horrid. And who turns out to have done it?
Morris Weissman: Oh, I couldn't tell you that. It would spoil it for you.
Constance: Oh, but none of us will see it.”
Julian Fellowes, Gosford Park: The Shooting Script

Percy Bysshe Shelley
“An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king, -
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn, - mud from a muddy spring, -
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow, -
A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field, -
An army, which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who would wield, -
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless - A book sealed;
A Senate, - Time's worst statue unrepealed, -
Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.

- Sonnet: England in 1819
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley: An Anthology

Virginia Woolf
“Parties, he said, bored him—such were English aristocrats before marriage with intellect had adulterated the fine singularity of their minds.”
Virginia Woolf, On Being Ill

Eri Leigh
“Change inspired historians to write and bards to sing; it made for a story worth telling. Valeriya would do everything in her power to ensure her life meant something—that her legacy lived long after her ashes scattered to the winds.”
Eri Leigh, A Queen's Game

Frank Herbert
“All rebellions are ordinary and an ultimate bore. They are copied out of the same pattern, one much like another. The driving force is adrenalin addiction and the desire to gain personal power. All rebels are closet aristocrats.”
Frank Herbert, God Emperor of Dune

Wolfgang Schivelbusch
“Aristocratic society preferred to drink its chocolate at breakfast. Ideally it was served in the boudoir, in bed if possible. Breakfast chocolate has little in common with the bourgeoisie's breakfast coffee. It was quite the opposite, and not only because the drinks were intrinsically different. Whereas the middle-class family sat erect at the breakfast table, with a sense of disciplined propriety, the essence of the chocolate ritual was fluid, lazy, languid motion. If coffee virtually shook drinkers awake for the workday that lay ahead, chocolate was meant to create an intermediary state between lying down and sitting up.”
Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants

Sylvia Townsend Warner
“Members of the ruling class are unwilling to admit themselves mistaken.”
Sylvia Townsend Warner, Kingdoms of Elfin

Frank Herbert
“Surely you know bureaucracies always become voracious aristocracies after they attain commanding power...
Ministers of this, Great Honored Matres of that, a powerful few at the top and many functionaries below. They already are full of adolescent hungers. Like voracious predators, they never consider how they exterminate their prey. A tight relationship: Reduce the numbers of those upon whom you feed and you bring your own structure crashing down.”
Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

“Life in squats with my mother hadn't really prepared me for what to expect from the aristocracy. On balance, I'd have to say people were a lot better behaved in the squats.”
Robert Galbraith, The Ink Black Heart

Martin Luther King Jr.
“Generally we think of white supremacist views as having their origins with the unlettered, underprivileged, poorer-class whites. But the social obstetricians who presided at the birth of racist views in our country were from the aristocracy: rich merchants, influential clergymen, men of medical science, historians and political scientists from some of the leading universities of the nation. With such a distinguished company of the elite working so assiduously to disseminate racist views, what was there to inspire poor, illiterate, unskilled white farmers to think otherwise?

Soon the doctrine of white supremacy was imbedded in every textbook and preached in practically every pulpit. It became a structural part of the culture. And men then embraced this philosophy, not as the rationalization of a lie, but as the expression of a final truth.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

Osamu Dazai
“Just because a person has a title doesn't make him an aristocrat. Some people are great aristocrats who have no other title than the one that nature has bestowed on them, and others like us, who have nothing but titles, are closer to being pariahs than aristocrats.”
Osamu dazai, The Setting Sun

Simone de Beauvoir
“And there was one dream common to most young aristocrats of the time. Scions of a declining class which had once possessed
concrete power, but which no longer retained any real hold on the world, they tried to revive symbolically, in the privacy of the bed-chamber, the status for which they were nostalgic: that of the lone and sovereign feudal despot.”
Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir
“And there was one dream common to most young aristocrats of the time. Scions of a declining class which had once possessed concrete power, but which no longer retained any real hold on the world, they tried to revive symbolically, in the privacy of the bed chamber, the status for which they were nostalgic: that of the lone and sovereign feudal despot.”
Simone de Beauvoir, Must We Burn Sade?

Jordan B. Peterson
“When the aristocracy catches a cold, the working class dies pneumonia.”
Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

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