QUOTE & OBSERVATION: All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. — Edmund Burke

Irish and English statesman Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”

This is true of major evils like the unabated rise of Nazism in the 30s and 40s and the toleration of, or indifference to, the outrageous ideas and actions of the KKK in the 50s and 60s. But it also applies to all sorts of fundamentally unfair or irrational practices and mindsets that are silently accepted because they have become systemic.

We can’t be expected to engage in battle against every single injustice we face — we must choose the hills we’re willing to die on — but I believe we have a moral duty to stand up and speak out at least occasionally.

Motives matter, and although any effort to fight negative forces and oppose malicious, callous and abusive people is, overall, a good thing, on the ladder of virtue, these efforts are less good when the motives are self-aggrandizement, glory or revenge.

Character is doing the right thing even when it costs more than we want to pay. The good news is that when we show good character, we’re often the one who gets paid — in self-esteem, the respect of worthy people and the knowledge that we did our best to make the world (even the smaller world of one’s workplace or family) a better place.

Comments 6

  1. I have in the past challenged WhatWillMatter on the issue of unchallenged U.S. immigration policies that undermine the well-being of the greater population and U.S. workforce. Thinking of Edmond Burke

  2. Brandon’s treatise is tremendous and quite reasonable. We do not see this presentation so well done very often; hence my gratitude to Brandon :):)

    Our nation of immigrants must always receive our shining and many times brilliant “New Americans”; yet the millions of influx in recent years is definitely TOO MUCH and simply just too, too many people. The policies and politics that allow this phenomena MUST change to enforce our great nation’s borders !! No matter where one is regarding the different positions on the entire immigration question; enforcing and protecting our borders is critical to our national defense and much more as “Brandon” above so eloquently states the case :):)

  3. I agree with both, though I must be honest that I did not read entirely what Brandon wrote. But I’m surprised that neither started off the subject of immigration mentioning the abuse of sending children to cross over to a foreign country by paid agents. It is horrific and sad to see innocent children alone, scared and it has to stop.

    1. Brenda, consider reading my entire comment. It included other myriad implications of unmitigated immigration: “More than that, Americans have a moral obligation to provide opportunities to our fellow citizens including our own working poor, homeless, unemployed, and our struggling middle class, all of which include a large number of veterans. American have a further obligation to protect infrastructure, natural resources, social services, education, health care, law enforcement and the U.S. treasury from impacts of mass immigration. The immigration implications in each of these is enormous in their respective impacts; not a one of them being a positive.”

      As to the children being shipped like cattle, it is an outrage. But for the explicit invitation by our President to come one, come all this wouldn’t be happening. That was an outrage. The fix is for the President to use his pen and his phone to charter trains, planes and buses to immediately return all who cross. The churches and other organizations could step up to the plate providing chaperones to churches and social organizations in their countries of origin where the children can be cared for until returned to their families.

  4. What is the definition of good people, people with character and faith?

    Who defines it?

    How do we recognize it? and

    Do good people always stay good?

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