Sunday, December 22, 2013 – Controversy

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves. ~ Buddha

It is not he who gains the exact point in dispute who scores most in controversy – but he who has shown the better temper. ~ Samuel Butler

Impartial – unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage from espousing either side of a controversy. ~ Ambrose Bierce

Controversy equalizes fools and wise men – and the fools know it. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Controversy is part of the nature of art and creativity. ~ Yoko Ono

When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest. ~ William Hazlitt

Controversy is only dreaded by the advocates of error. ~ Benjamin Rush

No sane person should believe that something is subjective merely because it cannot be settled beyond controversy. ~ Hilary Putnam

Anybody can decide a question if only a single principle is in controversy. ~ Felix Frankfurter

The greater the controversy, the more you need manners. ~ Judith Martin

The long and distressing controversy over capital punishment is very unfair to anyone meditating murder. ~ Geoffrey Fisher

People don’t want children to know what they need to know. They want their kids to know what they ought to need to know. If you’re a teacher you’re in a constant battle with mildly deluded adults who think the world will get better if you imagine it is better. You want to teach about sex? Fine, but only when they’re old enough to do it. You want to talk politics? Sure, but nothing modern. Religion? So long as you don’t actually think about it. Otherwise some furious mob will come to your house and burn you for a witch. ~ Nick Harkaway

When both sides of a controversy revel in the defeat and humiliation of the other side, in fact they are on the same side: the side of war. ~ Charles Eisenstein

If a man isn’t willing to take some risk for his opinions, either his opinions are no good or he’s no good. ~ Ezra Pound

The most savage controversies are about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. ~ Bertrand Russell

Most controversies would soon be ended, if those engaged in them would first accurately define their terms, and then adhere to their definitions. ~ Tryon Edwards

The passionate controversies of one era are viewed as sterile preoccupations by another, for knowledge alters what we seek as well as what we find. ~ Freda Adler

A civilization in which there is not a continuous controversy about important issues is on the way to totalitarianism and death. ~ Robert Maynard Hutchins

The dust of controversy is merely the falsehood flying off. ~ Thomas Carlyle

To think everything disputable is a proof of a weak mind and captious temper. ~ James Beattie

I cannot fall out, or contemn a man for an error, or conceive why a difference in opinion should divide an affection: for controversies, disputes, and argumentations, both in philosophy and in divinity, if they meet with discreet and peaceable natures, do not infringe the laws of charity. In all disputes, so much as there is of passion so much there is of nothing to the purpose; for then reason, like a bad hound, spends upon a false scent, and forsakes the question first started. And this is one reason why controversies are never determined: for though they be amply proposed they are scarce at all handled, they do so swell with unnecessary digressions: and the parenthesis on the party is often as large as the main discourse upon the subject. ~ Sir Thomas Browne

In order to keep that temper which is so difficult, and yet so necessary to preserve, you may please to consider, that nothing can be more unjust or ridiculous, than to be angry with another because he is not of your opinion. The interests, education, and means by which men attain their knowledge, are so very different, that it is impossible they should all think alike; and he has at least as much reason to be angry with you, as you with him. Sometimes, to keep yourself cool, it may be of service to ask yourself fairly, what might have been your opinion, had you all the biasses of education and interest your adversary may possibly have? ~ Eustace Budgell: Spectator, No. 197

Avoid as much as you can, in mixed companies, argumentative, polemical conversations; which, though they should not, yet certainly do, indispose for a time the contending parties towards each other: and if the controversy grows warm and noisy, endeavour to put an end to it by some genteel levity or joke. I quieted such a conversation hubbub once by representing to them that, though I was persuaded none there present would repeat out of company what passed in it, yet I could not answer for the discretion of the passengers in the street, who must necessarily hear all that was said. ~ Lord Chesterfield: Letters to his Son, Oct. 19, 1748

It is impossible to fall into any company where there is not some regular and established subordination, without finding rage and vehemence produced only by difference of sentiments about things in which neither of the disputants have any other interest, than what proceeds from their mutual unwillingness to give way to any opinion that may bring upon them the disgrace of being wrong. I have heard of one that, having advanced some erroneous doctrines of philosophy, refused to see the experiments by which they were confuted. ~ Samuel Johnson: Rambler, No. 31

It is very unfair in any writer to employ ignorance and malice together; because it gives his answerer double work. ~ Jonathan Swift.


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