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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:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Number of people who attended the World Grits Festival, held in St. George, South Carolina, last spring:
The brown bears of Greece continued chewing through telephone poles.
In Peru, a 51-year-old activist became the first former sex worker to run for the national legislature. “I’m going to put order,” she said, “in that big brothel which is Congress.”
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“Civilization masks us with a screen, from ourselves and from one another, with thin depth of unreality. We habitually live — do we not? — in a world self-created, half established, of false values arbitrarily upheld, largely inspired by misconception, misapprehension, wrong perspective, and defective proportion, misapplication.”