"When good people in any country cease their vigilance and struggle, then evil men prevail."
- Pearl S. Buck, courtesy WisdomQuotes.
There are words in the quote above which appear to be from two other sources --
- "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" -- often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, the source for the sentiment is actually Irish orator John Philpot Curran, in 1790: "It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance."
- "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." -- almost universally attributed to Edmond Burke, but -- via WikiQuote,
This is probably the most quoted statement attributed to Burke, and an extraordinary number of variants of it exist, but all without any definite original source. These very extensively used "quotations" may be based on a paraphrase of some of Burke's ideas, but he is not known to have ever declared them in such a manner in any of his writings. It may have been adapted from these lines of Burke's in his Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents (1770): "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
As an aside, the Burke quote given in the WikiQuote reference also reminds me of "divide and conquer" and the famous Franklin quote "We must all hang together, or we shall all hang separately" (paraphrased from memory).
The quote from Pearl Buck, however, is a good one, regardless of how it was derived. It's also a very good lead-in to this, which is a Godwinesque warning against the current methods of divisive hatemongering currently being employed by the GOP and their teabagging monster, the "Tea Party" --
What are your thoughts on the above?
It's Thursday, 9 September 2010, and this is an Open Thread.