Thursday, 16 October 2014

The triumph of evil

Daniel Hannan MEP has tweeted that "Burke never spoke that line about 'all it takes for evil to triumph'. In politics, he was broadly in favour of good men doing nothing".  Naturally this sent me scurrying to my reference books.

Nigel Rees in Brewer's Quotations confirms the first statement. "We have here another of those quotations which arrive apparently from nowhere, and gets quoted and re-quoted without justification." However, he does cite an excerpt from a Commons speech by Burke which rather casts doubt on the second assertion:
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle".

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