- First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.
Gandhi: 20th century saying, now frequently misattributed to Mahatma
- Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.
Aphorisms (1905) 1830–1916 Austrian writer:
- For your own good is a persuasive argument that will eventually make a man agree to his own destruction.
Faces in the Water (1961) ch. 4 1924–2004 New Zealand writer:
- Persuasion is the resource of the feeble; and the feeble can seldom persuade.
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–88) ch. 68 1737–94 English historian:
- Making noise is an effective means of opposition.
Goebbels and National Socialist Propaganda 1925–45 (1965) 1897–1945 German Nazi leader: Ernest K. Bramsted
- There is no arguing with Johnson; for when his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it.
Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) 26 October 1769 1728–74 Irish writer, poet, and dramatist: James Boswell
- Any stigma, as the old saying is, will serve to beat a dogma.
Masters and Men (1923) 1889–1944 English historian and biographer:
- It takes in reality only one to make a quarrel. It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favour of vegetarianism, while the wolf remains of a different opinion.
Outspoken Essays: First Series (1919) ‘Patriotism’ 1860–1954 English writer; Dean of St. Paul's, 1911–34:
- I hate a fellow whom pride, or cowardice, or laziness drives into a corner, and who does nothing when he is there but sit and growl; let him come out as I do, and bark.
of Jeremiah Markland
Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) 10 October 1782 1709–84 English poet, critic, and lexicographer: James Boswell
- The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress.
Pensées de J. Joubert (1848) 1754–1824 French writer:
- There is no good in arguing with the inevitable. The only argument available with an east wind is to put on your overcoat.
Democracy and other Addresses (1887) ‘Democracy’ 1819–91 American poet:
- He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.
On Liberty (1859) ch. 2 1806–73 English philosopher and economist:
- The Catholic and the Communist are alike in assuming that an opponent cannot be both honest and intelligent.
Polemic January 1946 1903–50 English novelist: in
- Who can refute a sneer?
Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy (1785) bk. 5, ch. 9 1743–1805 English theologian and philosopher:
- The argument of the broken window pane is the most valuable argument in modern politics.
The Strange Death of Liberal England (1936) 1858–1928 English suffragette leader: George Dangerfield
- ‘Yes, but not in the South’, with slight adjustments, will do for any argument about any place, if not about any person.
Lifemanship (1950) 1900–69 British writer:
- My father used to say: ‘Don't raise your voice, improve your argument’.
Africa News 24 November 2004 1931– South African Anglican clergyman: address at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg, 23 November 2004, in
- I am not arguing with you—I am telling you.
The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (1890) 1834–1903 American-born painter:
- I maintain that two and two would continue to make four, in spite of the whine of the amateur for three, or the cry of the critic for five.
Whistler v. Ruskin. Art and Art Critics (1878) 1834–1903 American-born painter:
- Get your tanks off my lawn, Hughie.
to the trade union leader Hugh Scanlon, at Chequers in June 1969
The Battle of Downing Street (1970) 1916–95 British Labour statesman, Prime Minister 1964–70, 1974–6: Peter Jenkins