But there is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over the domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes.
—William H. Seward (1801–72) American Elected Representative, Lawyer, Politician, Activist
A leading authority is anyone who has guessed right more than once.
—Frank A. Clark
However sugarcoated and ambiguous, every form of authoritarianism must start with a belief in some group’s greater right to power, whether that right is justified by sex, race, class, religion or all four. However far it may expand, the progression inevitably rests on unequal power and airtight roles within the family.
—Gloria Steinem (b.1934) American Feminist, Journalist, Social Activist, Political Activist
The defiance of established authority, religious and secular, social and political, as a world-wide phenomenon may well one day be accounted the outstanding event of the last decade.
—Hannah Arendt (1906–75) German-American Philosopher, Political Theorist
Nothing destroys authority more than the unequal and untimely interchange of power stretched too far and relaxed too much.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
Authority is by nothing so much strengthened and confirmed as by custom; for no man easily distrusts the things which he and all men have been always bred up to.
—William Temple (1881–1944) British Clergyman, Theologian
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual’s own reason and critical analysis.
—The 14th Dalai Lama (b.1935) Tibetan Buddhist Religious Leader, Civil Rights Leader, Philosopher, Author
Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.
—P. J. O’Rourke (1947–2022) American Journalist, Political Satirist
The younger generation is supposed to rage against the machine, not for it. They’re supposed to question authority, not question those who question authority.
—Bill Maher (b.1956) American Comedian, TV Personality, Social Critic, Author, Actor
Wherever there is authority, there is a natural inclination to disobedience.
—Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796–1865) Canadian Author, Humorist, Businessperson, Judge
Nothing is more gratifying to the mind of man than power or dominion.
—Joseph Addison (1672–1719) English Essayist, Poet, Playwright, Politician
Put two or three men in positions of conflicting authority. This will force them to work at loggerheads, allowing you to be the ultimate arbiter.
—Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945) American Head of State, Lawyer
For a war to be just three conditions are necessary – public authority, just cause, right motive.
—Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) American Author, Journalist, Short Story Writer
Giving people self-confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do. Because then they will act.
—Jack Welch (1935–2020) American Businessperson
Authority is not a quality one person “has,” in the sense that he has property or physical qualities. Authority refers to an interpersonal relation in which one person looks upon another as somebody superior to him.
—Erich Fromm (1900–80) German-American Psychoanalyst, Social Philosopher
He who is firmly seated in authority soon learns to think security, not progress, the highest lesson of statecraft.
—James Russell Lowell (1819–91) American Poet, Critic
My only purpose is to teach children to rebel against authority figures.
No man has any natural authority over his fellow men.
—Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78) Swiss-born French Philosopher
Authority poisons everybody who takes authority on himself.
—Golda Meir (1898–1978) Israeli Head of State
Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character.
—Robert E. Lee (1807–70) Confederate General during American Civil War
Without the intervention of the civil authority what would our percepts become?- Platonic laws
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
War should only be declared by the authority of the people, whose toils and treasures are to support its burdens, instead of the government which is to reap its fruits.
—James Madison (1751–1836) American Founding Father, Statesman, President
To say that authority, whether secular or religious, supplies no ground for morality is not to deny the obvious fact that it supplies a sanction.
—A. J. Ayer (1910–89) English Philosopher
I had the greatest respect for the authorities of my day—until I studied things for myself, and came to my own conclusions.
—Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) Austrian Psychiatrist, Psychoanalytic
I am a liberated woman. And I do believe if a woman does equal work she should be paid equal money. But personally I am feminine and I do like male authority to lean on.
—Julie Andrews (b.1935) British Actress, Singer
The accidental prescriptions of authority, when time has procured them veneration, are often confounded with the laws of nature, and those rules are supposed coeval with reason, of which the first rise cannot be discovered
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist
Punishment may make us obey the orders we are given, but at best it will only teach an obedience to authority, not a self-control which enhances our self-respect.
—Bruno Bettelheim (1903–90) Austrian-born Psychoanalyst, Educational Psychologist
Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year—and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade.
—Tony Robbins (b.1960) American Self-Help Author, Entrepreneur
Freedom of conscience entails more dangers than authority and despotism.
—Michel Foucault (1926–84) French Philosopher, Critic, Historian
If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure.
—Bill Gates (b.1955) American Businessperson, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Author