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Brecht’s ‘To What End Goodness’

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1
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?

2
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
Superfluous!

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.)

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