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Civilization Quotes

  • "The inability to make things is not merely a matter of imminent economic bankruptcy, it is cultural bankruptcy too. Civilisations are remembered by their artifacts, not by their credit default swaps or PSBRs."
    Stephen Bailey (1951–), British design critic
    Source: Independent (London) (May 4, 2011)
  • "If civilization has risen from the Stone Age, it can rise again from the Wastepaper Age."
    Jacques Barzun (1907–), French-born US educator, historian, and writer
    Source: The House of Intellect (1959)
  • "Ours is not so much an age of vulgarity as of vulgarization; everything is tampered with or touched up, or adulterated or watered down, in an effort to make it palatable, in an effort to make it pay."
    Louis Kronenberger (19041980), US writer
    Source: “The Spirit of the Age,” Company Manners (1954)
  • "Every advance in civilisation has been denounced as unnatural while it was recent."
    Bertrand Russell (Earl Russell) (18721970), British philosopher and writer
    Source: “An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish,” Unpopular Essays (1950)
  • "Civilization is the progress towards a society of privacy … the process of setting man free from men."
    Ayn Rand (19051982), US writer
    Source: The Fountainhead (1943)
  • "A few suits of clothes, some money in the bank, and a new kind of fear constitute the main differences between the average American today and the hairy men with clubs who accompanied Attila to the city of Rome."
    Philip Gordon Wylie (19021971), US writer
    Source: Generation of Vipers (1942)
  • "Civilization has developed executive powers far beyond its understanding."
    Maude Meagher (18951977), US writer
    Source: Fantastic Traveler (1931)
  • "To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization."
    Bertrand Russell (Earl Russell) (18721970), British philosopher and writer
    Source: The Conquest of Happiness (1930)
  • "Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them."
    Alfred North Whitehead (18611947), British philosopher and mathematician
    Source: An Introduction to Mathematics (1911)
  • "A good civilisation spreads over us freely like a tree, varying and yielding because it is alive. A bad civilisation stands up and sticks out above us like an umbrella—artificial, mathematical in shape; not merely universal, but uniform."
    G. K. Chesterton (18741936), British novelist, poet, and critic
    Source: “Cheese,” Alarms and Discursions (1910)
  • "In a state of nature, the weakest go to the wall; in a state of over-refinement, both the weak and the strong go to the gutter."
    Elbert Hubbard (18561915), US humorist
    Source: The Philistine (1895–1915)
  • "Upon the sacredness of property civilization itself depends—the right of the laborer to his hundred dollars in the savings bank, and equally the legal right of the millionaire to his millions."
    Andrew Carnegie (18351919), US industrialist and philanthropist
    Source: “Wealth,” North American Review (June 1889)
  • "Bare-faced covetousness was the moving spirit of civilization from its first dawn to the present day; wealth, and again wealth, and for the third time wealth; wealth, not of society, but of the puny individual, was its only and final aim."
    Friedrich Engels (18201895), German social philosopher and political economist
    Source: The Origin of the Family (1885)
  • "Increased means and increased leisure are the two civilizers of man."
    Benjamin Disraeli (Earl of Beaconsfield) (18041881), British prime minister and novelist
    Source: Speech to the Conservatives of Manchester (April 3, 1872)
  • "A decent provision for the poor is the true test of civilization."
    Samuel Johnson (17091784), British poet, lexicographer, essayist, and critic
    Source: Quoted in The Life of Samuel Johnson (James Boswell, 1791)
  • "Commerce is the great civilizer. We exchange ideas when we exchange fabrics."
    Robert Green Ingersoll (18331899), US lawyer and writer
    Said to Indianapolis clergy.
    Source: Attributed
  • "I think it would be an excellent idea."
    Mahatma Gandhi (18691948), Indian nationalist leader and philosopher
    Said when asked what he thought of Western civilization.
    Source: Attributed

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