„Evil will win if good people do nothing.“

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„Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.“

— Steven Weinberg American theoretical physicist 1933
Address at the Conference on Cosmic Design, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C. (April 1999) This comment is modified in a later article derived from these talks:

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„All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.“

— Edmund Burke Anglo-Irish statesman 1729 - 1797
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. They closely resemble remarks known to have been made by the Utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill, in an address at the University of St. Andrew (1 February 1867) http://books.google.com/books?id=DFNAAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA36&dq=%22Bad+men+need+nothing+more+to+compass+their+ends,+than+that+good+men+should+look+on+and+do+nothing%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=RUh5U6qWBLSysQT0vYGAAw&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22Bad%20men%20need%20nothing%20more%20to%20compass%20their%20ends%2C%20than%20that%20good%20men%20should%20look%20on%20and%20do%20nothing%22&f=false : Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. The very extensively used remarks attributed to Burke might be based on a paraphrase of some of his ideas, but he is not known to have ever declared them in so succinct a manner in any of his writings. It has been suggested that they may have been adapted from these lines of Burke's in his Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents http://oll.libertyfund.org/Texts/LFBooks/Burke0061/SelectWorks/HTMLs/0005-01_Pt02_Thoughts.html (1770): "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." (see above)

„Evil will never be countered while good men do nothing.“

— David Gemmell British author of heroic fantasy 1948 - 2006
Ch. 10

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„The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or to evil.“

—  Pythagoras ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher -585 - -500 a.C.
As quoted in Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, as translated by Robert Drew Hicks (1925) Variant translation: The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or evil. As quoted in Ionia, a Quest (1954) by Freya Stark, p. 94

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„If, on the contrary, arms are taken up in a selfish struggle to win land, goods, people, and the implements of war, is it not the worst of all evils, the most heinous of all offenses?“

— Yoshida Shoin Japanese politician 1830 - 1859
Context: Those who take up the science of war must not fail to master the [Confucian] Classics. The reason is that arms are dangerous instruments and not necessarily forced for good. How can we safely entrust them to any but those who have schooled themselves in the precepts of the Classics and can use these weapons for the realization of Humanity and Righteousness? To quell violence and disorder, to repulse barbarians and brigands, to rescue living souls from agony and torture, to save the nation from imminent downfall-these are the true ends of Humanity and Righteousness. If, on the contrary, arms are taken up in a selfish struggle to win land, goods, people, and the implements of war, is it not the worst of all evils, the most heinous of all offenses? If, further, the study of offensive and defensive warfare, of the way to certain victory in all encounters, is not based on those principles which should govern their employment, who can say that such venture will not result in just such a misfortune? Therefore, I say that those who take up the science of war must not fail to master the Classics. Vol. II.

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