Saturday, December 03, 2005

Source of the aphorism about offense and honesty


The aphorism I was thinking of in an earlier post is actually a conflation of two similar ones. The first is from Thomas Paine and it is cited in so many place online that I wondered if it was merely apocryphal:

"He who dares not offend cannot be honest."

Indeed the Wikiquote page on Thomas Paine lists it as an attribution.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Paine

The other quote I am more confident of is a Ben Franklin quote according to Isaacson's 2003 Biography of Benjamin Franklin (Isaacson, Walter (2003) Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Simon and Shusters, New York. ISBN-0-684-80761-0) which I just finished.

"There would be very little printed"...if publishers produced only things that offended nobody. The part after the ellipsis is not in quotes because Isaacson does not have this part in quotes. So I am guessing he is paraphrasing here.
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