A Bit of Burke for the Election

Somerville, MA:  HONK! 2014, Forward Marching Band, Madison, WI  10/11/14
Somerville, MA: HONK! 2014, Forward Marching Band, Madison, WI 10/11/14

The election results, which at mid-afternoon seem foreboding, will be known when most see this post.

As I distracted myself this afternoon, I happened across a couple of quotations attributed to a man, Edmund Burke (1729-97), who failed in great, noble causes more often than he succeeded.  They’re not comforting to those thinking what cover they might take for the next two years.

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.[1]

 The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.[2]

           According to the Burke scholar, David Bromwich, he never said the second. But it’s too apt not to repeat.[3] The first, though, offers all I admire in Burke, as a stylist and as a great man of politics.

 

NOTES

1.  Edmund Burke (ca. 1780), as quoted in Ferdinand Mount, “No Theatricks”, London Review of Books, August 21, 2014, pp. 14, 15.

2.  Id.

3.  Id.

 

One Comment

  1. Why is it that those with the most to lose dance on to the fiddles of those who will take it from them?

    November 5, 2014
    Reply

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