Calumny is a monstrous vice: for, where parties indulge in it, there are always two that are actively engaged in doing wrong, and one who is subject to injury. The calumniator inflicts wrong by slandering the absent; he who gives credit to the calumny before he has investigated the truth is equally implicated. The person traduced is doubly injured--first by him who propagates, and secondly by him who credits the calumny.
As my object was not myself, I set out with the determination, and happily with the disposition, of not being moved by praise or censure, friendship or calumny, nor of being drawn from my purpose by any personal altercation; and the man who cannot do this, is not fit for a public character.
After upwards of two thousand years Epicurus has been exonerated from the reproach that the doctrines of his philosophy recommended the pleasures of sensuality and voluptuousness as the chief good. Calumny may rest on genius a considerable part of a world's duration; what then is the value of fame?
William Benton Clulow
Nothing will ever equal that moment of joyous excitement which filled my whole being when I felt myself flying away from the earth. It was not mere pleasure; it was perfect bliss. Escaped from the frightful torments of persecution and of calumny, I felt that I was answering all in rising above all.
What may be the significance of so many forms of "spirituality" on this planet that are antagonistic to "life" - and Christianity at the head of that list, with its "calumny" against life, its faith that just because nothing in life is eternal therefore life itself contains no value, nothing that makes it worth living, investing our souls in, committing our consciences to?
A man's reputation is not in his own keeping, but lies at the mercy of the profligacy of others. Calumny requires no proof. The throwing out [of] malicious imputations against any character leaves a stain, which no after-refutation can wipe out. To create an unfavorable impression, it is not necessary that certain things should be true, but that they have been said. The imagination is of so delicate a texture that even words wound it.
Pessimism like calumny is easy to do, and attracts immediate attention. The gossiper and the writer may find this out soon enough, and a little encouragement from the current mood will procure them successes that bring endless imitators in their trail. On the other hand saying good things about life in general and individuals in particular and making it interesting is a serious task which few can achieve with credit.
Nothing will ever equal that moment of joyous excitement which filled my whole being when I felt myself flying away from the earth. It was not mere pleasure; it was perfect bliss. Escaped from the frightful torments of persecution and of calumny, I felt that I was answering all in rising above all. [Said after making man's first ascent by hydrogen balloon in 1783]
Yet the people, and even the clergy, incapable of forming any rational judgment of the business of peace and war, presumed to arraign the policy of Stilicho, who so often vanquished, so often surrounded, and so often dismissed the implacable enemy of the republic. The first moment of the public safety is devoted to gratitude and joy; but the second is diligently occupied by envy and calumny.
The maxim that men are not to be praised before their death was invented by envy and too lightly adopted by philosophers. I, on the contrary, maintain that they ought to be praised in their lifetime if they merit it; but jealousy and calumny, roused against their virtue or their talent, labour to degrade them if any one ventures to bear testimony to them. It is unjust criticism that they should fear to hazard, not sincere praise.
Luc de Clapiers
Society is a republic. When an individual endeavors to lift himself above his fellows, he is dragged down by the mass, either by means of ridicule or of calumny. No one shall be more virtuous or more intellectually gifted than others. Whoever, by the irresistable force of genius, rises above the common herd is certain to be ostracized by society, which will pursue him with such merciless derision and detraction that at last he will be compelled to retreat into the solitude of his thoughts.
Then I celebrated my Wall of Books. I counted the volumes on my twenty-foot-long modernist bookshelf to make sure none had been misplaced or used as kindling by my subtenant. "You're my sacred ones," I told the books. "No one but me still cares about you. But I'm going to keep you with me forever. And one day I'll make you important again." I thought about that terrible calumny of the new generation: that books smell.
I have performed my duty to my God, my country, and my family. I have nothing to fear in approaching death. To me it is the mere shadow of God's protecting wing . . . Here I will rest in quiet and peace beyond the reach of calumny's poisoned shaft, the influence of envy and jealous enemies, where treason and traitors or State backsliders and hypocrites in church can have no peace.
The generation that followed did not have the same concerns; none of its members attempted to follow the example of the past generation. There was no longer anyone with the noble determination to get to know the great men of the world, or if there were some individuals consumed with this curiosity, they were few in number. From then on, there remained only vulgar minds given over to hatred, envy and discord, who took an interest only in things which did not concern them, gossip, slander, calumny of one's neighbors, all those things which are the source of the worst of our troubles.
Cheikh Anta Diop
The tyrant, who in order to hold his power, suppresses every superiority, does away with good men, forbids education and light, controls every movement of the citizens and, keeping them under a perpetual servitude, wants them to grow accustomed to baseness and cowardice, has his spies everywhere to listen to what is said in the meetings, and spreads dissension and calumny among the citizens and impoverishes them, is obliged to make war in order to keep his subjects occupied and impose on them permanent need of a chief.
The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.
Work or die'-this is the essence of slavery, of compulsion. And yet this is our world. Most of our world is enslaved but does not know it. Only the homeless are free, and for their freedom we sentence them to death. To refuse compulsion is to earn death, suffering, and calumny. It is not to refuse work-the homeless work very hard, endure many hardships we cannot imagine in our comfortable slavery. And yet we call our slavery freedom. We do not know what freedom means, yet.
But are his needs any more shocking than the needs of any other animals and men? Are his deeds more outrageous than the deeds of the parent who drained the spirit from his child? The vampire may foster quickened heartbeats and levitated hair. But is he worse than the parent who gave to society a neurotic child who became a politician? Is he worse than the manufacturer who set up belated foundations with the money he made by handing bombs and guns to suicidal nationalists? Is he worse than the distiller who gave bastardized grain juice to stultify further the brains of those who, sober, were incapable of progressive thought? (Nay, I apologize for this calumny; I nip the brew that feeds me.) Is he worse, then, than the publisher who filled ubiquitous racks with lust and death wishes? Really, no, search your soul, lovie-is the vampire so bad?
If we are to violate the Constitution, will the people submit to our unauthorized acts? Sir, they ought not to submit; they would deserve the chains that these measures are forging for them. The country will swarm with informers, spies, delators and all the odious reptile tribe that breed in the sunshine of a despotic power... [T]he hours of the most unsuspected confidence, the intimacies of friendship, or the recesses of domestic retirement afford no security. The companion whom you most trust, the friend in whom you must confide, the domestic who waits in your chamber, all are tempted to betray your imprudent or unguarded follie; to misrepresent your words; to convey them, distorted by calumny, to the secret tribunal where jealousy presides - where fear officiates as accuser and suspicion is the only evidence that is heard... Do not let us be told, Sir, that we excite a fervour against foreign aggression only to establish a tyranny at home; that [... ] we are absurd enough to call ourselves 'free and enlightened' while we advocate principles that would have disgraced the age of Gothic barbarity and establish a code compared to which the ordeal is wise and the trial by battle is merciful and just." [opposing the Alien and Sedition bills of 1798, in Congress]
Remembering that only a few years ago men, women, and even children, were imprisoned, tortured and burned, for having expressed in an exceedingly mild and gentle way, the ideas entertained by me, I congratulate myself that calumny is now the pulpit's last resort. The old instruments of torture are kept only to gratify curiosity; the chains are rusting away, and the demolition of time has allowed even the dungeons of the Inquisition to be visited by light. The church, impotent and malicious, regrets, not the abuse, but the loss of her power, and seeks to hold by falsehood what she gained by cruelty and force, by fire and fear. Christianity cannot live in peace with any other form of faith. If that religion be true, there is but one savior, one inspired book, and but one little narrow grass-grown path that leads to heaven. Such a religion is necessarily uncompromising, unreasoning, aggressive and insolent. Christianity has held all other creeds and forms in infinite contempt, divided the world into enemies and friends, and verified the awful declaration of its founder-a declaration that wet with blood the sword he came to bring, and made the horizon of a thousand years lurid with the fagots' flames.
Robert G. Ingersoll