„Few men think; yet all have opinions.“

Philonous to Hylas. The Second Dialogue. This appears in a passage first added in the third edition, (1734)
Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713)

George Berkeley photo
George Berkeley18
Anglo-Irish philosopher 1685 - 1753

Related quotes

Marcus Aurelius photo
Arthur Schopenhauer photo
Alice A. Bailey photo
Antisthenes photo

„It is better to fight with a few good men against all the wicked, than with many wicked men against a few good men.“

—  Antisthenes Greek philosopher -444 - -365 BC

§ 5
From Lives and Opinions of the Eminent Philosophers by Diogenes Laërtius
Original: (el) κρεῖττόν ἐστι μετ᾿ ὀλίγων ἀγαθῶν πρὸς ἅπαντας τοὺς κακοὺς ἢ μετὰ πολλῶν κακῶν πρὸς ὀλίγους ἀγαθοὺς μάχεσθαι.

James Anthony Froude photo

„It was brought home to me that two men may be as sincere, as earnest, as faithful, as uncompromising, and yet hold opinions far asunder as the poles.“

—  James Anthony Froude, book The Nemesis of Faith

Confessions Of A Sceptic
The Nemesis of Faith (1849)
Context: It was brought home to me that two men may be as sincere, as earnest, as faithful, as uncompromising, and yet hold opinions far asunder as the poles. I have before said that I think the moment of this conviction is the most perilous crisis of our lives; for myself, it threw me at once on my own responsibility, and obliged me to look for myself at what men said, instead of simply accepting all because they said it. I begin to look about me to listen to what had to be said on many sides of the question, and try, as far as I could, to give it all fair hearing.

Warren Farrell photo
Niccolo Machiavelli photo
Woodrow Wilson photo

„I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world: no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.“

—  Woodrow Wilson American politician, 28th president of the United States (in office from 1913 to 1921) 1856 - 1924

Attributed in Shadow Kings (2005) by Mark Hill, p. 91; This and similar remarks are presented on the internet and elsewhere as an expression of regret for creating the Federal Reserve. The quotation appears to be fabricated from out-of-context remarks Wilson made on separate occasions:

I have ruined my country.

Attributed by Curtis Dall in FDR: My Exploited Father-in-Law, regarding Wilson's break with Edward M. House: "Wilson … evidenced similar remorse as he approached his end. Finally he said, 'I am a most unhappy man. Unwittingly I have ruined my country.'"

A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit.…

"Monopoly, Or Opportunity?" (1912), criticizing the credit situation before the Federal Reserve was created, in The New Freedom (1913), p. 185

We have come to be one of the worst ruled… Governments….

"Benevolence, Or Justice?" (1912), also in The New Freedom (1913), p. 201

The quotation has been analyzed in Andrew Leonard (2007-12-21), " The Unhappiness of Woodrow Wilson https://www.salon.com/2007/12/21/woodrow_wilson_federal_reserve/" Salon:

I can tell you categorically that this is not a statement of regret for having created the Federal Reserve. Wilson never had any regrets for having done that. It was an accomplishment in which he took great pride.

John M. Cooper, professor of history and author of several books on Wilson, as quoted by Andrew Leonard
Misattributed

John Toland photo
Thomas Paine photo

„It is never to be expected in a revolution that every man is to change his opinion at the same moment. There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious that all men believed it at once.“

—  Thomas Paine English and American political activist 1737 - 1809

1790s, First Principles of Government (1795)
Context: It is never to be expected in a revolution that every man is to change his opinion at the same moment. There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious that all men believed it at once. Time and reason must cooperate with each other to the final establishment of any principle; and therefore those who may happen to be first convinced have not a right to persecute others, on whom conviction operates more slowly. The moral principle of revolutions is to instruct, not to destroy.

Michel De Montaigne photo

„Few men have been admired by their own domestics.“

—  Michel De Montaigne, book Essays

Book iii. Chap 2. Of Repentance
Essais (1595), Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)
Variant: Few men have been admired by their own households.

George Washington photo

„Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.“

—  George Washington first President of the United States 1732 - 1799

Letter to Major-General Robert Howe (17 August 1779), published in "The Writings of George Washington": 1778-1779, edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (1890)
Paraphrased variants:
Few men have the virtue to withstand the highest bidder.
Few men have virtue enough to withstand the highest bidder
1770s

W. Somerset Maugham photo

„Men have an extraordinarily erroneous opinion of their position in nature; and the error is ineradicable.“

—  W. Somerset Maugham British playwright, novelist, short story writer 1874 - 1965

"1896", p. 20
A Writer's Notebook (1946)

Henry George photo

„If thinking men are few, they are for that reason all the more powerful. Let no man imagine that he has no influence. Whoever he may be, and wherever he may be placed, the man who thinks becomes a light and a power.“

—  Henry George American economist 1839 - 1897

Source: Social Problems (1883), Ch. 21 : Conclusion
Context: Many there are, too depressed, too embruted with hard toil and the struggle for animal existence, to think for themselves. Therefore the obligation devolves with all the more force on those who can. If thinking men are few, they are for that reason all the more powerful. Let no man imagine that he has no influence. Whoever he may be, and wherever he may be placed, the man who thinks becomes a light and a power. That for every idle word men may speak they shall give an account at the day of judgment, seems a hard saying. But what more clear than that the theory of the persistence of force, which teaches us that every movement continues to act and react, must apply as well to the universe of mind as to that of matter? Whoever becomes imbued with a noble idea kindles a flame from which other torches are lit, and influences those with whom he comes in contact, be they few or many. How far that influence, thus perpetuated, may extend, it is not given to him here to see. But it may be that the Lord of the Vineyard will know.

Edward Young photo

„All men think all men mortal but themselves.“

—  Edward Young, Night-Thoughts

Source: Night-Thoughts (1742–1745), Night I, Line 424.

Adam Smith photo
Karen Blixen photo

„Of all the idiots I have met in my life, and the Lord knows that they have not been few or little, I think that I have been the biggest.“

—  Karen Blixen Danish writer 1885 - 1962

As quoted in Journey Through Womanhood: Meditations from Our Collective Soul (2002) by Tian Dayton

Herbert N. Casson photo

„The men who succeed are the efficient few. They are the few who have the ambition and will power to develop themselves.“

—  Herbert N. Casson Canadian journalist and writer 1869 - 1951

Herbert N. Casson cited in: Supervisory Management. Vol. 1 (1955). p. 60
1950s and later

Thomas Hobbes photo

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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