“The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.”

Liberty“The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.” – Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

For as long as I can recall Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day have had tremendously powerful emotional and psychological gravity for me.  On my father’s side I can trace my lineage back to three of the original Mayflower Compact signatories and have relatives who have served in the military and have fought in every major armed conflict since 1620.  My mother’s side (and my wife’s entire family tree) heralds from Eastern Europe and Russia, having come to the United States as a place of refuge either from the Russian anti-Jewish pogroms of the 19th and 20th centuries or ahead of Hitler’s death camps.  Sociologist Robert Bellah described America as has having a secular “civil religion” that identified these days as sacred.  I concur.

So to the millions of soldiers and their families who have defended the liberty and freedoms that American’s enjoy today, thank you for everything.  Freedom is not free and your sacrifice shall never be forgotten.

On an interesting note, the quote from Einstein above bears a remarkable similarity to the following statement: “[a]ll that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”  This is often and incorrectly attributed to Irish politician Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797) but without definitive source but can also be attributed to Sergei Bondarchuk (1920 – 1994) in his film adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910) novel War and Peace.

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5 thoughts on ““The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.”

  1. Pingback: 1,000 posts | The Road Not Taken

  2. ““The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” – Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)”

    I’ve yet to find an attribution for this, and thus I’m very much inclined to think Einstein never wrote or said this, until I find someone who has a credible attribution. Do you happen to know of one, perchance?

    • Interestingly enough I think you’re right. The actual quote is “…the world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.” That comes from Einstein’s tribute to Pablo Casals in “Conversations with Casals.”

  3. Pingback: Memorial Day 2012 | The Road Not Taken

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