A lightweight, by definition, is a man who cannot assert his authority over the national press, cannot manipulate reporters, cannot finesse questions, prevent leaks or command a professional public relations operation.
—Walter Scott (1771–1832) Scottish Novelist, Poet, Playwright, Lawyer
I am conservative by temperament. I disapprove of criminal activity. I am very solidly and markedly on the side of authority. The truth is I would rather err on the side of too much authority than too little.
—James Ellroy (b.1948) American Crime Fiction Writer, Essayist
It is not wisdom but Authority that makes a law.
—Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) English Political 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
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
Authority poisons everybody who takes authority on himself.
—Golda Meir (1898–1978) Israeli Head of State
Those fields which most depend upon authoritative opinion for their data least contain known natural law
—L. Ron Hubbard (1911–86) American Scientologist Religious Leader, Novelist, Author
New faces have more authority than accustomed ones.
—Euripides (480–406 BCE) Ancient Greek Dramatist
No statement should be believed because it is made by an authority.
—Robert A. Heinlein (1907–88) American Science Fiction Writer
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955) German-born Physicist
A leading authority is anyone who has guessed right more than once.
—Frank A. Clark
In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.
—Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) Italian Astronomer, Physicist, Mathematician
Most men, after a little freedom, have preferred authority with the consoling assurances and the economy of effort which it brings.
—Walter Lippmann (1889–1974) American Journalist, Political Commentator, Writer
I bow before the authority of special men because it is imposed upon me by my own reason.
—Mikhail Bakunin (1814–76) Russian Anarchist Philosopher
My only purpose is to teach children to rebel against authority figures.
Great men in judicial places will never want authority.
Outside of the Constitution we have no legal authority more than private citizens, and within it we have only so much as that instrument gives us. This broad principle limits all our functions and applies to all subjects.
—Andrew Johnson (1808–75) 17th American President
The country and the Congress were misled into war. I regret that we were not given the truth; as I said more than a year ago, knowing what we know now, I would not have gone to war in Iraq. And knowing now the full measure of the Bush Administration’s duplicity and incompetence, I doubt there are many members of Congress who would give them the authority they abused so badly. I know I would not.
—John Kerry (b.1943) American Politician, Diplomat
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.
—John Muir (1838–1914) Scottish-born American Naturalist
I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don’t have as many people who believe it.
—George Carlin (1937–2008) American Stand-up Comedian
The faith that stands on authority is not faith.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
The people are hungry: It is because those in authority eat up too much in taxes.
—Laozi (fl.6th Century BCE) Chinese Philosopher, Sage
A teacher should have maximal authority, and minimal power.
—Thomas Szasz (1920–2012) Hungarian-American Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst
Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases
—John Adams (1735–1826) American Head of State, Lawyer
The key to the behavior of subjects lies not in pent-up anger or aggression, but in the nature of their relationship to authority. They have given themselves to the authority; they see themselves as instruments for the execution of his wishes; once so defined, they are unable to break free.
—Stanley Milgram (1933–84) American Social Psychologist
He makes a great mistake… who supposes that authority is firmer or better established when it is founded by force than that which is welded by affection.
—Terence (c.195–159 BCE) Roman Comic Dramatist
I hold it a blasphemy to say that a man ought not to fight against authority: there is no great religion and no great freedom that has not done it, in the beginning.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
The man whose authority is recent is always stern.
—Aeschylus (525–456 BCE) Greek Playwright
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
Nothing more enhances authority than silence. It is the crowning virtue of the strong, the refuge of the weak, the modesty of the proud, the pride of the humble, the prudence of the wise, and the sense of fools.
—Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970) French General, Statesman