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Our 50 Favorite Voltaire Quotes

[In no particular order]

  1. A State can be no better than the citizens of which it is composed. Our labour now is not to mould States but make citizens.

  2. A witty saying proves nothing.

  3. All styles are good except the boring kind.

  4. Answer me, you who believe that animals are only machines. Has nature arranged for this animal to have all the machinery of feelings only in order for it not to have any at all?

  5. Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

  6. Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law.

  7. Changing a habit is hard work. But it's harder to find work that would be more fulfilling.

  8. Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.

  9. Common sense is not so common.

  10. Dare to think for yourself.

  11. Do well and you will have no need for ancestors.

  12. Don’t think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money.

  13. Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives and few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time.

  14. Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.

  15. Fools admire everything in an author of reputation.

  16. I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

  17. I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health.

  18. Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.

  19. In the case of news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.

  20. It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

  21. It is far better to be silent than merely to increase the quantity of bad books.

  22. It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.

  23. It is said that God is always on the side of the big battalions.

  24. Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.

  25. Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.

  26. Life is bristling with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one's garden.

  27. No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking.

  28. No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

  29. One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything’s fine today, that is our illusion.

  30. Only your friends steal your books.

  31. Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.

  32. Prejudices are what fools use for reason.

  33. The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.

  34. The greatest consolation in life is to say what one thinks.

  35. The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is that he wants to believe.

  36. The infinitely small have a pride infinitely great.

  37. The more he became truly wise, the more he distrusted everything he knew.

  38. The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.

  39. The more often a stupidity is repeated, the more it gets the appearance of wisdom.

  40. The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood.

  41. The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity.

  42. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

  43. The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reason.

  44. Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

  45. To hold a pen is to be at war.

  46. To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid – one must also be polite.

  47. Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.

  48. Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.

  49. What is history? The lie that everyone agrees on.

  50. When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.


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- Voltaire

The greatest consolation in life is to say what one thinks.

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