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To what end goodness
If the good are immediately struck down, or those
To whom they are good
Are struck down?
To what end freedom
If the free are forced to live among the unfree?
To what end reason
If only stupidity puts the bread on the table
That each of us needs?
Instead of just being good, make an effort
To create the conditions that make goodness possible,
And better still
That make it superfluous!
Instead of just being free, make an effort
To create the conditions that liberate us all,
And that make the love of freedom
Instead of just being sensible, make an effort
To create the conditions that make the stupidity
of the individual
Into a bad deal!
–Bertolt Brecht, Was nützt die Güte? (1935) in: Gesammelte Werke, vol. 4, p. 553 (Suhrkamp ed. 1967)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
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Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
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Peaceful fungus-farming ants are sometimes protected against nomadic raider ants by sedentary invader ants.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighbor’s home.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."