Let us have the right quotation

Posted by Tory Historian Friday, October 15, 2010 ,

Tory Historian, like so many people, has been often perplexed by people blithely attributing to Burke the saying: "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" or something like it. Perplexed and annoyed, TH has decided to pursue the matter. It would appear that there is no evidence that either Burke or anyone else said that or wrote that, which makes it a non-quotation by any standard.

What Burke did say in his 1770 pamphlet, Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents, was something much more apt but also slightly more complicated:
When bad men combine, the good must associate, else they will fail, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
So true about so many political events and people.


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