|Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
– Gautama Buddha (563 BC-483 BC)
|Authority – the fact, namely, that something has already happened or been said or decided, is of great value; but it is only a pedant who demands authority for everything.|
|Always acknowledge a fault frankly. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you opportunity to commit more.
– Mark Twain (1835-1910)
|To punish me for my contempt of authority, Fate has made me an authority myself.
– Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
|In time of peril, like the needle to the lodestone, obedience, irrespective of rank, generally flies to him who is best fitted to command.|
|Leadership means that a group, large or small, is willing to entrust authority to a person who has shown judgment, wisdom, personal appeal, and proven competence.|
|Vulgar prejudices are those which arise out of accident, ignorance, or authority; natural prejudices are those which arise out of the constitution of the human mind itself.|
|An established government has an infinite advantage by that very circumstance of its being established–the bulk of mankind being governed by authority, not reason, and never attributing authority to anything that has not the recommendation of antiquity.
– David Hume (1711-1776)
|Anyone who in discussion relies upon authority uses, not his understanding, but rather his memory.|
|There is no other species on the Earth that does science. It is, so far, entirely a human invention, evolved by natural selection in the cerebral cortex for one simple reason: it works. It is not perfect. It can be misused. It is only a tool. But it is by far the best tool we have, self-correcting, ongoing, applicable to everything. It has two rules. First: there are no sacred truths; all assumptions must be critically examined; arguments from authority are worthless. Second: whatever is inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised. We must understand the Cosmos as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be.
– Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
And makes mere sots of magistrates;
The fumes of it invade the brain,
And make men giddy, proud, and vain;
By this the fool commands the wise,
The noble with the base complies,
The sot assumes the rule of wit,
And cowards make the base submit.
– Samuel Butler (1612) (1612-1680)
|Education on the value of free speech and the other freedoms reserved by the Bill of Rights, about what happens when you don’t have them, and about how to exercise and protect them, should be an essential prerequisite for being an American citizen – or indeed a citizen of any nation, the more so to the degree that such rights remain unprotected. If we can’t think for ourselves, if we’re unwilling to question authority, then we’re just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us.
– Carl Sagan (1934-1996)