Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I was recently forwarded an email concerning the war in Iraq, putting the effort in perspective in regards to the other struggles in which the United States has been engaged. That is a post for another day when I have more time to contemplate what I read. Anyway, I enjoyed what I read and wanted to post it (which I will), but before that happened I thought it wise to verify the authenticity of it. Eventually I was able to verify the dialogue as accurate, though the purported timing of the event was off by 30 years. I found this to be interesting.
In my reply to the forwarder (my dad) and another forwardee (my dad's twin brother), I relayed what I'd found and then commented on the essence of the article. I included a quote I love, but couldn't remember the source. So I Googled it:

‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’

Well, it was attributed to Edmund Burke, the 18th century British statesman. I went to a website, http://www.tartarus.org/martin/essays/burkequote.html, and was stunned to find there is no actual proof Burke said that. At all. Isn't that incredible? There are over 1000 variations of this quote (a 1001 if you count mine), all attributed to Burke. But there is no source to which a person can look as the authentic statement.
Regardless, it's a great moral statement. If - and when - evil (and yes, there is good and evil) triumphs, it is because good, moral individuals chose to do nothing to prevent its proliferation. Rather, they have done as Alexander Pope said:
'Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen to oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then

They endured, pitied and then embraced the vice until has become a part of their lives. Are these 'good' individuals, therefore, any more good? (It's rhetorical.)
Well, basically I was amazed at all the stuff floating around out there that probably isn't true, but that we've been led to believe because of the simpleness of throwing around stories across the world. Crazy. If you've received an email or seen pics on the 'Net that are way out there, check out these two sites; they are pretty good about discerning the legitimacy of these types of things: They are http://www.snopes.com and http://www.truthorfiction.com
Oh, and that Pope quote: Alexander Pope, Essay on Man (ep. II, l. 217).