Aristocracy Quotes

Quotes tagged as "aristocracy" Showing 1-30 of 104
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

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
“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

Rutger Bregman
Rousseau already observed that this form of government is more accurately an ‘elective aristocracy’ because in practice the people are not in power at all. Instead we’re allowed to decide who holds power over us. It’s also important to realise this model was originally designed to exclude society’s rank and file. Take the American Constitution: historians agree it ‘was intrinsically an aristocratic document designed to check the democratic tendencies of the period’. It was never the American Founding Fathers’ intention for the general populace to play an active role in politics. Even now, though any citizen can run for public office, it’s tough to win an election without access to an aristocratic network of donors and lobbyists. It’s not surprising that American ‘democracy’ exhibits dynastic tendencies—think of the Kennedys, the Clintons, the Bushes.

Time and again we hope for better leaders, but all too often those hopes are dashed. The reason, says Professor Keltner, is that power causes people to lose the kindness and modesty that got them elected, or they never possessed those sterling qualities in the first place. In a hierarchically organised society, the Machiavellis are one step ahead. They have the ultimate secret weapon to defeat their competition.

They’re shameless.”
Rutger Bregman, De meeste mensen deugen

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

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

“Let Labor and Capital bicker amongst each other, while I, as idle Aristocracy, twiddle my fiddle in my pastoral idyll.”
Pietros Maneos

Hilary Mantel
“Not prayer nor Bible verse, nor scholarship nor wit, nor grant under seal nor statute law can alter the fact of villain blood. Not all his craft and guile can make him a Howard, or a Cheney, or a Fitzwilliam, a Stanley or even a Seymour: not even in an emergency.”
Hilary Mantel, The Mirror & the Light

Thomas Jefferson
“For I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents. Formerly bodily powers gave place among the aristoi. But since the invention of gunpowder has armed the weak as well as the strong with missile death, bodily strength, like beauty, good humor, politeness and other accomplishments, has become but an auxiliary ground of distinction. There is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents; for with these it would belong to the first class. The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and government of society. And indeed it would have been inconsistent in creation to have formed man for the social state, and not to have provided virtue and wisdom enough to manage the concerns of the society. May we not even say that that form of government is the best which provides the most effectually for a pure selection of these natural aristoi into the offices of government? The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provision should be made to prevent its ascendancy.”
Thomas Jefferson

Keri Hulme
“What does he mean by disgraceful propensities?"

"Weelll, I should imagine in that ingrown aristocracy it could mean anything from an improper preference for scotch whisky, to a practiced predilection for raping the cat."

He chokes on his coffee.”
Keri Hulme, The Bone People

Hannah Rothschild
“Trelawney is just a film set for our dreams and fantasies. Take away the script, the razzamatazz, the people or prestige, the power or money, and it’s just bricks and mortar.”
Hannah Rothschild, House of Trelawney

Nancy Rubin Stuart
“What, after all, was the point of describing a Revolution meant to create a democratic republic of free men that was destroyed by power-hungry men determined to create a new 'aristocracy?”
Nancy Rubin Stuart, The Muse of the Revolution: The Secret Pen of Mercy Otis Warren and the Founding of a Nation

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 secret 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 for themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure, and they can take a joke.”
E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy

“But fancy that muckle great place and only two auld folk biding in it! It would house a regiment. How many rooms did you say it has, Chrissie?"

"Over two hundred... there's an indoor staff of thirty-seven to keep it going."

"God Almighty!" Grandpa said. "Thirty-seven servants to look after two useless auld folk."

"How many outside ones there are, I don't know", Daddy said. "There must be hundreds..."

"They'd be better employed doing something else instead of pandering to the tastes of two half-daft auld buggers.”
Fred Urquhart, Palace of Green Days

Thomas Jefferson
“There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents." But "there is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents.... The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and the government of society...May we not even say that that form of government is best which provides the most effectually for a pure selection of these natural aristocracy into the offices of government?”
Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
“There is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents." But "there is also an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents.... The natural aristocracy I consider as the most precious gift of nature for the instruction, the trusts, and the government of society...May we not even say that that form of government is best which provides the most effectually for a pure selection of these natural aristoi into the offices of government?”
Thomas Jefferson

“We need to place the noblest and smartest people on top and order everyone else beneath them so that we have stewards instead of profiteers, and make those people wealthy enough that they have no motive to become opportunistic.”
Brett Stevens

Pramoedya Ananta Toer
“Ah, Mas Nganten ini. Bagi orang kebanyakan seperti sahaya ini kita kawin supaya semakin susah. Tentu beda dengan para priyayi besar, mereka kawin supaya jadi senang.”
Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Gadis Pantai

George Lamming
“It was a big thing to be a king. It meant that you were getting the feeling that you lived in a big room all by yourself where no one could see you and you were your own man. Free and alone.”
George Lamming, In the Castle of My Skin

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