Decency Quotes

Quotes tagged as "decency" Showing 1-30 of 115
Christopher Hitchens
“Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it.”
Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
“Love is where you find it. I think it is foolish to go around looking for it, and I think it can be poisonous. I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, 'Please — a little less love, and a little more common decency'.”
Kurt Vonnegut , Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!

Terry Pratchett
“What have I always believed?
That on the whole, and by and large, if a man lived properly, not according to what any priests said, but according to what seemed decent and honest inside, then it would, at the end, more or less, turn out all right.”
Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

Anton Chekhov
“Civilized people must, I believe, satisfy the following criteria:

1) They respect human beings as individuals and are therefore always tolerant, gentle, courteous and amenable ... They do not create scenes over a hammer or a mislaid eraser; they do not make you feel they are conferring a great benefit on you when they live with you, and they don't make a scandal when they leave. (...)

2) They have compassion for other people besides beggars and cats. Their hearts suffer the pain of what is hidden to the naked eye. (...)

3) They respect other people's property, and therefore pay their debts.

4) They are not devious, and they fear lies as they fear fire. They don't tell lies even in the most trivial matters. To lie to someone is to insult them, and the liar is diminished in the eyes of the person he lies to. Civilized people don't put on airs; they behave in the street as they would at home, they don't show off to impress their juniors. (...)

5) They don't run themselves down in order to provoke the sympathy of others. They don't play on other people's heartstrings to be sighed over and cosseted ... that sort of thing is just cheap striving for effects, it's vulgar, old hat and false. (...)

6) They are not vain. They don't waste time with the fake jewellery of hobnobbing with celebrities, being permitted to shake the hand of a drunken [judicial orator], the exaggerated bonhomie of the first person they meet at the Salon, being the life and soul of the bar ... They regard prases like 'I am a representative of the Press!!' -- the sort of thing one only hears from [very minor journalists] -- as absurd. If they have done a brass farthing's work they don't pass it off as if it were 100 roubles' by swanking about with their portfolios, and they don't boast of being able to gain admission to places other people aren't allowed in (...) True talent always sits in the shade, mingles with the crowd, avoids the limelight ... As Krylov said, the empty barrel makes more noise than the full one. (...)

7) If they do possess talent, they value it ... They take pride in it ... they know they have a responsibility to exert a civilizing influence on [others] rather than aimlessly hanging out with them. And they are fastidious in their habits. (...)

8) They work at developing their aesthetic sensibility ... Civilized people don't simply obey their baser instincts ... they require mens sana in corpore sano.

And so on. That's what civilized people are like ... Reading Pickwick and learning a speech from Faust by heart is not enough if your aim is to become a truly civilized person and not to sink below the level of your surroundings.

[From a letter to Nikolay Chekhov, March 1886]”
Anton Chekhov, A Life in Letters

H.L. Mencken
“In the present case it is a little inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible to any public office of trust or profit in the Republic. But I do not repine, for I am a subject of it only by force of arms.”
H.L. Mencken

Louisa May Alcott
“A real gentleman is as polite to a little girl as to a woman.”
Louisa May Alcott, An Old-Fashioned Girl

Kevin Smith
“Remember: It costs nothing to encourage an artist, and the potential benefits are staggering. A pat on the back to an artist now could one day result in your favorite film, or the cartoon you love to get stoned watching, or the song that saves your life. Discourage an artist, you get absolutely nothing in return, ever.”
Kevin Smith, Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good

Margaret Mead
“Young people are moving away from feeling guilty about sleeping with somebody to feeling guilty if they are *not* sleeping with someone.”
Margaret Mead

Chögyam Trungpa
“If you are a warrior, decency means that you are not cheating anybody at all. You are not even about to cheat anybody. There is a sense of straightforwardness and simplicity. With setting-sun vision, or vision based on cowardice, straightforwardness is always a problem. If people have some story or news to tell somebody else, first of all they are either excited or disappointed. Then they begin to figure out how to tell their news. They develop a plan, which leads them completely away from simply telling it. By the time a person hears the news, it is not news at all, but opinion. It becomes a message of some kind, rather than fresh, straightforward news. Decency is the absence of strategy. It is of utmost importance to realize that the warrior’s approach should be simple-minded sometimes, very simple and straightforward. That makes it very beautiful: you having nothing up your sleeve; therefore a sense of genuineness comes through. That is decency.”
Chögyam Trungpa

Eoin Colfer
“Maybe I owe you something too, human," she said, drawing her pistol. Butler almost reacted, but decided to give Holly the benefit of the doubt.

Captain Short plucked a gold coin from her belt, flicking it fifty feet into the moonlit sky. With one fluid movement, she brought her weapon up and loosed a single blast. The coin rose another fifty feet, then spun earthward. Artemis somehow managed to snatch it from the air. The first cool movement of his young life.

"Nice shot," he said. The previously solid disk now had a tiny hole in the center.

Holly held out her hand, revealing the still raw scar on her finger. "If it wasn't for you, I would have missed altogether. No mech-digit can replicate that kind of accuracy. So, thank you too, I suppose."

Artemis held out the coin.

"No," said Holly. "You keep it, to remind you."

"To remind me?"

Holly stared at him frankly. "To remind you that deep beneath the layers of deviousness, you have a spark of decency. Perhaps you could blow on that spark occasionally."

Artemis closed his fingers around the coin. It was warm against his palm.

"Yes, perhaps.”
Eoin Colfer, The Arctic Incident

Michael Bassey Johnson
“A virtuos woman is not moved by big names and flamboyance, but only men of profound wisdom and integrity move her.”
Michael Bassey Johnson

Israelmore Ayivor
“If you lose your integrity, you will also lose your identity, your sensitivity and your dignity. Integrity is honesty, modesty and security in all kinds of weather. It should be our priority!”
Israelmore Ayivor

T.H. White
“Mordred and Agravaine thought Arthur hypocritical—as all decent men must be, if you assume that decency can’t exist.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“The best place for discovering what a man is is the heart of the desert. Your plane has broken down, and you walk for hours, heading for the little fort at Nutchott. You wait for the mirages of thirst to gape before you. But you arrive and you find an old sergeant who has been isolated for months among the dunes, and he is so happy to be found that he weeps. And you weep, too. In the arching immensity of the night, each tells the story of his life, each offers the other the burden of memories in which the human bond is discovered. Here two men can meet, and they bestow gifts upon each other with the dignity of ambassadors.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, A Sense Of Life

Thomas Paine
“The character of Moses, as stated in the Bible, is the most horrid that can be imagined. If those accounts be true, he was the wretch that first began and carried on wars on the score or on the pretence of religion; and under that mask, or that infatuation, committed the most unexampled atrocities that are to be found in the history of any nation. Of which I will state only one instance:

When the Jewish army returned from one of their plundering and murdering excursions, the account goes on as follows (Numbers xxxi. 13): 'And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp; and Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle; and Moses said unto them, 'Have ye saved all the women alive?' behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord. Now therefore, 'kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him; but all the women- children that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for Yourselves.'

Among the detestable villains that in any period of the world have disgraced the name of man, it is impossible to find a greater than Moses, if this account be true. Here is an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers, and debauch the daughters.

Let any mother put herself in the situation of those mothers, one child murdered, another destined to violation, and herself in the hands of an executioner: let any daughter put herself in the situation of those daughters, destined as a prey to the murderers of a mother and a brother, and what will be their feelings?

In short, the matters contained in this chapter, as well as in many other parts of the Bible, are too horrid for humanity to read, or for decency to hear.”
Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

George Orwell
“He wondered about the people in houses like those. They would be, for example, small clerks, shop-assistants, commercial travellers, insurance touts, tram conductors. Did they know that they were only puppets dancing when money pulled the strings? You bet they didn’t. And if they did, what would they care? They were too busy being born, being married, begetting, working, dying. It mightn’t be a bad thing, if you could manage it, to feel yourself one of them, one of the ruck of men. Our civilization is founded on greed and fear, but in the lives of common men the greed and fear are mysteriously transmuted into something nobler. The lower-middle-class people in there, behind their lace curtains, with their children and their scraps of furniture and their aspidistras — they lived by the money-code, sure enough, and yet they contrived to keep their decency. The money-code as they interpreted it was not merely cynical and hoggish. They had their standards, their inviolable points of honour. They ‘kept themselves respectable’— kept the aspidistra flying. Besides, they were alive. They were bound up in the bundle of life. They begot children, which is what the saints and the soul-savers never by any chance do.

The aspidistra is the tree of life, he thought suddenly.”
George Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying

Harry Crews
“Doubt makes a man decent.”
Harry Crews

“Please. Thank you. Learn it. Love it. Or be disappointed.”
CM Punk

Richard Wright
“You asked me questions nobody ever asked me before. You knew that I was a murderer two times over, but you treated me like a man...”
Richard Wright, Native Son

“When approaching me in public, do not be rude. Say please. Introduce yourself. Have manners. Be considerate. Otherwise you'll be disappointed.”
CM Punk

George Sand
“The maid told him that a girl and a child had come looking for him, but since she didn't know them, she hadn't cared to ask them in, and had told them to go on to Mers.
"Why didn't you let them in?" asked Germain angrily. "People must be very suspicious in this part of the world, if they won't open the front door to a neighbor."
"Well, naturally!" replied the maid. "In a house as rich as this, you have to keep a close watch on things. While the master's away I'm responsible for everything, and I can't just open the door to anyone at all."
"That's a mean way to live," said Germain; "I'd rather be poor than live in fear like that. Good-bye to you, miss, and good-bye to this horrible country of yours!”
George Sand, La mare au diable

John Kendrick Bangs
“Curious," it said. "What you call your decent self doesn't dare look me in the eye! What a mistake people make who say that the man who won't look you in the eye is not to be trusted! As if mere brazenness were a sign of honesty; really, the theory of decency is the most amusing thing in the world.”
John Kendrick Bangs, Ghosts I Have Met, and Some Others

Walter Scott
“I pretend not to be a champion of that same naked virtue called truth, to the very outrance. I can consent that her charms be hidden with a veil, were it but for decency's sake.”
Walter Scott, Kenilworth

Shirley Hazzard
“Yet decency nagged at their reluctant hearts; and they acknowledged that, too, in unconscious phrases -- 'I fail to understand...', 'I cannot bring myself to overlook...', 'Tolerance is all very well up to a point...' -- as if they had tried the ways of magnanimity but found them too exigent.”
Shirley Hazzard, The Bay of Noon

Karl Wiggins
“If you’re a black sheep or a tie-died sheep or a Carefree Scamp - I’d rather sit around the fire with you than the ‘decent, mediocre types’ any day of the week.”
Karl Wiggins, Wrong Planet - Searching for your Tribe

Wiss Auguste
“There’s nothing more poisonous to a community than rumors and gossips. They taint the good character of those who effortlessly stand out. They provide mediocre individuals with a means to become relevant. They set in like gangrene and eat away at the sense of decency that differentiates humans from animals.”
Wiss Auguste, The Illusions of Hope

“It truly is gratifying to have morals. Without expecting some divine reward or fearing any retribution, one can indeed be a decent human being who aspires to do the right things.”
Omar Cherif

Abhijit Naskar
“The Social Welfare Sonnet

I have no problem with capitalism,
I have problem when it's devoid of society.
I have no problem with innovation,
I have problem when it lacks accountability.
I have no problem with religion,
I have problem when it's run by bigotry.
I have no problem with intellect,
I have problem when it lacks decency.
I have no problem with advancement,
I have problem when it facilitates disparity.
I have no problem with politics,
I have problem when it loses all sanity.
No field is evil entire of its own.
Evil festers when we forget we can’t progress alone.”
Abhijit Naskar, When Veins Ignite: Either Integration or Degradation

Gabbo De La Parra
“After seeing what people call 'good' today, I rather just be decent.”
Gabbo De La Parra

Edith Wharton
“Seems to me it all boils down to one thing. Was this fellow we're supposing about under any obligation to the other party - the one he was trying to buy the property from?'
Ralph hesitated. 'Only the obligation recognized between decent men to deal with each other decently.'
Mr. Spragg listened to this with the suffering air of a teacher compelled to simplify upon his simplest question.”
Edith Wharton, The Custom of the Country

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