„In recent years we have seen a great deal of bravery and self-sacrifice, but civil courage hardly anywhere, even among ourselves.“
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer German Lutheran pastor, theologian, dissident anti-Nazi 1906 - 1945
Context: What lies behind the complaint about the dearth of civil courage? In recent years we have seen a great deal of bravery and self-sacrifice, but civil courage hardly anywhere, even among ourselves. To attribute this simply to personal cowardice would be too facile a psychology; its background is quite different. In a long history, we Germans have had to learn the need for and the strength of obedience. In the subordination of all personal wishes and ideas to the tasks to which we have been called, we have seen the meaning and greatness of our lives. We have looked upwards, not in servile fear, but in free trust, seeing in our tasks a call, and in our call a vocation. This readiness to follow a command from "above" rather than our own private opinions and wishes was a sign of legitimate self-distrust. Who would deny that in obedience, in their task and calling, the Germans have again and again shown the utmost bravery and self-sacrifice? But the German has kept his freedom — and what nation has talked more passionately of freedom than the Germans, from Luther to the idealist philosophers? — by seeking deliverance from self-will through service to the community. Calling and freedom were to him two sides of the same thing. But in this he misjudged the world; he did not realize that his submissiveness and self-sacrifice could be exploited for evil ends. When that happened, the exercise of the calling itself became questionable, and all the moral principles of the German were bound to totter. The fact could not be escaped that the Germans still lacked something fundamental: he could not see the need for free and responsible action, even in opposition to the task and his calling; in its place there appeared on the one hand an irresponsible lack of scruple, and on the other a self-tormenting punctiliousness that never led to action. Civil courage, in fact, can grow only out of the free responsibility of free men. Only now are the Germans beginning to discover the meaning of free responsibility. It depends on a God who demands responsible action in a bold venture of faith, and who promises forgiveness and consolation to the man who becomes a sinner in that venture. p. 5.
— Robert Menzies Australian politician, 12th Prime Minister of Australia 1894 - 1978
Context: I respect the way in which he and Harold Holt took up the decision, which I think was the greatest decision made by any government in Australia's history. That is the decision of a wartime Curtin government to initiate in the post-war period the massive immigration program. Menzies and Holt supported that and carried it on... I give Menzies and McEwen considerable credit for the way in which they re-established the trading relationship with Japan which became our most important trading relationship. They showed imagination and a degree of courage... Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke in interview with former Prime Minister John Howard, regarding Menzies' Prime Ministership
„Come back again, old heart! Ah me!
Methinks in those thy coward fears
There might, perchance, a courage be,
That fails in these the manlier years;
Courage to let the courage sink,
Itself a coward base to think,
Rather than not for heavenly light
Wait on to show the truly right.“
— Arthur Hugh Clough English poet 1819 - 1861
The Higher Courage http://whitewolf.newcastle.edu.au/words/authors/C/CloughArthurHugh/verse/poemsproseremains/highercourage.html, st. 7 (1840).
— Nikos Kazantzakis Greek writer 1883 - 1957
Context: This is our epoch, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, rich or poor — we did not choose it. This is our epoch, the air we breathe, the mud given us, the bread, the fire, the spirit! Let us accept Necessity courageously. It is our lot to have fallen on fighting times. Let us tighten our belts, let us arm our hearts, our minds, and our bodies. Let us take our place in battle!
„To save the world requires faith and courage: faith in reason, and courage to proclaim what reason shows to be true.“
— Bertrand Russell logician, one of the first analytic philosophers and political activist 1872 - 1970
— Erich Fromm German social psychologist and psychoanalyst 1900 - 1980
— Confucius Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher -550 - -478 a.C.
— Erma Bombeck When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and co... 1927 - 1996
„This is the time not just for this Government– or, indeed, for this Prime Minister—but for this House to give a lead: to show that we will stand up for what we know to be right; to show that we will confront the tyrannies and dictatorships and terrorists who put our way of life at risk; to show, at the moment of decision, that we have the courage to do the right thing.“
— Tony Blair former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1953
Hansard http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmhansrd/vo030318/debtext/30318-09.htm#30318-09_spmin2, House of Commons, 6th series, vol. 301, cols. 773-774. Conclusion of speech in the House of Commons debate on Iraq, 18 March 2003.
„Today we need a special kind of courage. Not the kind needed in battle, but a kind which makes us stand up for everything that we know is right, everything that is true and honest. We need the kind of courage that can withstand the subtle corruption of the cynics, so that we can show the world that we are not afraid of the future.“
— Isabel II do Reino Unido queen of the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and head of the Commonwealth of Nations 1926
1957 Christmas Broadcast; quoted on royal website http://www.royal.gov.uk/imagesandbroadcasts/thequeenschristmasbroadcasts/christmasbroadcasts/christmasbroadcast1957.aspx (25 December 1957)
— Grace Paley American writer and activist 1922 - 2007
„Not blaming ourselves for mistakes is the flip side of not taking credit for our acts of courage or creativity or leadership, or our good ideas.“
— Charles Eisenstein American writer 1967
The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible