Quotations about   complicity

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Historians have a word for Germans who joined the Nazi party, not because they hated Jews, but out of a hope for restored patriotism, or a sense of economic anxiety, or a hope to preserve their religious values, or dislike of their opponents, or raw political opportunism, or convenience, or ignorance, or greed.

That word is “Nazi.” Nobody cares about their motives any more.

They joined what they joined. They lent their support and their moral approval. And, in so doing, they bound themselves to everything that came after. Who cares any more what particular knot they used in the binding?

Andrew R. Moxon (contemp.) American writer, critic [a.k.a. Julius Goat]
Blogspot (16 Jan 2017)
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Frequently mis-attributed to Twitter, where Moxxon also posts under his @JuliusGoat handle. The original Julius Goat Blogspot site is no longer online.
Added on 14-Nov-18 | Last updated 14-Nov-18
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The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) German Lutheran pastor, theologian, martyr
“On Stupidity” (1942)
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Added on 22-Mar-17 | Last updated 22-Mar-17
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He who holds the ladder is as guilty as the thief.

Other Authors and Sources
German proverb
Added on 3-Mar-17 | Last updated 3-Mar-17
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My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.

Anna Sewell (1820-1878) English novelist
Black Beauty, 3.38 (1877)
Added on 16-Nov-15 | Last updated 16-Nov-15
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Who, when he may, forbids not sin, commands it.

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-AD 65) Roman statesman, philosopher, playwright [Lucius Annaeus Seneca]
Troades, l. 290 [tr. Miller (1917)]
Added on 20-Jun-14 | Last updated 20-Jun-14
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To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Where Do We Go from Here?, 3.2 (1967)
Added on 17-Mar-10 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.

Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) American journalist
See It Now (7 Mar 1954)

On Senator Joseph R McCarthy’s Communist witch hunt.
Added on 2-Apr-08 | Last updated 14-Sep-16
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A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Sermon, Selma, Alabama (8 Mar 1965)

Possibly the source of the uncited attributions (or variants) "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" and "The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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