Quotations about   necessary evil

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In their moral justification, the argument of the lesser evil has played a prominent role. If you are confronted with two evils, thus the argument runs, it is your duty to opt for the lesser one, whereas it is irresponsible to refuse to choose altogether. […] Politically, the weakness of the argument has always been that those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
“Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship” (1964)
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Added on 4-Feb-21 | Last updated 4-Feb-21
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War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.

Jimmy Carter (b. 1924) American politician, US President (1977-1981), Nobel laureate [James Earl Carter, Jr.]
Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (10 Dec 2002)
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Added on 11-Jan-21 | Last updated 11-Jan-21
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It may be necessary temporarily to accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good.

Margaret Mead (1901-1978) American anthropologist
(Attributed)
Added on 6-Jan-21 | Last updated 6-Jan-21
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Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a Government, which we might expect in a country without Government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American political philosopher and writer
Common Sense, “On the Origin and Design of Government in General” (14 Feb 1776)
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Added on 26-Jan-11 | Last updated 17-Feb-21
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