Potent Quotables with Edmund Burke

I was looking up the source of “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” because that quote comes to mind with regard to Arizona’s new “Papers, Please” law.

The quote is often attributed to Edmund Burke, but, according to wikiquote, is more likely written for the film adaptation of “War and Peace.”

But Edmund Burke provided plenty of his own sweet quotes:

It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare.

I take toleration to be a part of religion. I do not know which I would sacrifice; I would keep them both: it is not necessary that I should sacrifice either.

Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.

Custom reconciles us to every thing.

I have never yet seen any plan which has not been mended by the observation of those who were much inferior in understanding to the person who took the lead in the business.

Our patience will achieve more than our force.

Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.

Edmund Burke (January 12, 1729 – July 9, 1797), Irish political philosopher, politician and statesman who is often regarded as the “father” of modern conservatism*

Not all his ideas are prizewinners, so using an Edmund Burke quote lacks the potency of, say, dropping a Gandhi bomb in a conversation, which for me is the primary appeal of a quote (“You know who said that? GANDHI.”)

I don’t think people are evil — only actions. It is more accurate, constructive, and troubling to say that evil is done by people who are about the same as you and me. Only then can we learn how to do more good and less evil. Then everybody GETS MORE GOOD STUFF!


Draws. Sweats. Eats too much sugar-free candy.

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