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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:
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
No Comment — March 28, 2014, 12:32 pm
On CIA secrecy, torture, and war-making powers
Percentage of G.O.P. House and Senate members in an April 2006 poll who believed humans are causing climate change:
Bees can remember human faces, but only if they are tricked into thinking that we are strange flowers.
“All I saw,” said a 12-year-old neighbor of visits to the man’s house, “was just cats in little diapers.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”