Frasi di Edmund Burke

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Edmund Burke

Data di nascita: 12. Gennaio 1729
Data di morte: 9. Luglio 1797
Altri nomi: ਐਡਮੰਡ ਬਰਕੀ, Эдмунд Берк

Edmund Burke, detto il Cicerone britannico , è stato un politico, filosofo e scrittore britannico di origine irlandese, nonché uno dei principali precursori ideologici del romanticismo inglese.

Per più di vent'anni sedette alla Camera dei Comuni come membro del partito Whig , avversari dei Tories . Viene ricordato soprattutto per il suo sostegno alla lotta condotta dalle colonie americane contro re Giorgio III, anche se si oppose alla loro indipendenza, lotta che portò alla Guerra di indipendenza americana, come anche per la sua decisa opposizione alla Rivoluzione francese con l'opera Riflessioni sulla rivoluzione in Francia. Il dibattito sulla rivoluzione rese Burke una delle figure principali della corrente conservatrice del partito Whig , in opposizione ai “New Whigs” filo-rivoluzionari, guidati da Charles James Fox. Burke pubblicò anche opere filosofiche sull'estetica e fondò l'«Annual Register», una rivista politica. La polemica di Burke sulla Rivoluzione stimolò il dibattito in Inghilterra: ad esempio l'anglo-americano Thomas Paine rispose alle Riflessioni con I diritti dell'uomo, mentre William Godwin scrisse l'Inchiesta sulla giustizia politica condannando gli esiti sanguinosi della rivolta, ma senza ripudiare i principi che l'avevano ispirata, come fece invece Burke.

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Frasi Edmund Burke

„È lenta la marcia della mente umana.“

—  Edmund Burke

da The Second Speech on Conciliation with America, 1775
Second Speech on Conciliation with America

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„Non è ciò che un avvocato mi dice che potrei fare; ma ciò che umanità, ragione e giustizia mi dicono che dovrei fare.“

—  Edmund Burke

da The Second Speech on Conciliation with America, 1775
Second Speech on Conciliation with America

„All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.“

—  Edmund Burke

This is probably the most quoted statement attributed to Burke, and an extraordinary number of variants of it exist, but all without any definite original source. They closely resemble remarks known to have been made by the Utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill, in an address at the University of St. Andrew (1 February 1867) http://books.google.com/books?id=DFNAAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA36&dq=%22Bad+men+need+nothing+more+to+compass+their+ends,+than+that+good+men+should+look+on+and+do+nothing%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=RUh5U6qWBLSysQT0vYGAAw&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22Bad%20men%20need%20nothing%20more%20to%20compass%20their%20ends%2C%20than%20that%20good%20men%20should%20look%20on%20and%20do%20nothing%22&f=false : Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. The very extensively used remarks attributed to Burke might be based on a paraphrase of some of his ideas, but he is not known to have ever declared them in so succinct a manner in any of his writings. It has been suggested that they may have been adapted from these lines of Burke's in his Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents http://oll.libertyfund.org/Texts/LFBooks/Burke0061/SelectWorks/HTMLs/0005-01_Pt02_Thoughts.html (1770): "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." (see above)
:This purported quote bears a resemblance to the narrated theme of Sergei Bondarchuk's Soviet film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, produced in 1966. In it the narrator declares "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing", although since the original is in Russian various translations to English are possible. This purported quote also bears resemblance to a quote widely attributed to Plato, that said "The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." It also bears resemblance to what Albert Einstein wrote as part of his tribute to Pablo Casals: "The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it."
: More research done on this matter is available at these two links: Burkequote http://www.tartarus.org/~martin/essays/burkequote.html & Burkequote2 http://www.tartarus.org/~martin/essays/burkequote2.html — as the information at these links indicate, there are many variants of this statement, probably because there is no known original by Burke. In addition, an exhaustive examination of this quote has been done at the following link: QuoteInvestigator http://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/12/04/good-men-do/.
Disputed
Variante: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

„If pretended revelations have caused wars where they were opposed, and slavery where they were received, the pretended wise inventions of politicians have done the same. But the slavery has been much heavier, the wars far more bloody, and both more universal by many degrees.“

—  Edmund Burke, libro A Vindication of Natural Society

A Vindication of Natural Society (1756)
Contesto: If pretended revelations have caused wars where they were opposed, and slavery where they were received, the pretended wise inventions of politicians have done the same. But the slavery has been much heavier, the wars far more bloody, and both more universal by many degrees. Show me any mischief produced by the madness or wickedness of theologians, and I will show you an hundred resulting from the ambition and villany of conquerors and statesmen. Show me an absurdity in religion, and I will undertake to show you an hundred for one in political laws and institutions. 'If you say, that natural religion is a sufficient guide without the foreign aid of revelation, on what principle should political laws become necessary? Is not the same reason available in theology and in politics? If the laws of nature are the laws of God, is it consistent with the Divine wisdom to prescribe rules to us, and leave the enforcement of them to the folly of human institutions? Will you follow truth but to a certain point?

„It looks to me to be narrow and pedantic to apply the ordinary ideas of criminal justice to this great public contest. I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against a whole people.“

—  Edmund Burke

Second Speech on Conciliation with America (1775)
Contesto: It looks to me to be narrow and pedantic to apply the ordinary ideas of criminal justice to this great public contest. I do not know the method of drawing up an indictment against a whole people. <!-- Works of Edmund Burke Volume ii, p. 136

„Power gradually extirpates from the mind every humane and gentle virtue. Pity, benevolence, friendship, are things almost unknown in high stations.“

—  Edmund Burke, libro A Vindication of Natural Society

A Vindication of Natural Society (1756)
Contesto: The rich in all societies may be thrown into two classes. The first is of those who are powerful as well as rich, and conduct the operations of the vast political machine. The other is of those who employ their riches wholly in the acquisition of pleasure. As to the first sort, their continual care and anxiety, their toilsome days and sleepless nights, are next to proverbial. These circumstances are sufficient almost to level their condition to that of the unhappy majority; but there are other circumstances which place them in a far lower condition. Not only their understandings labour continually, which is the severest labour, but their hearts are torn by the worst, most troublesome, and insatiable of all passions, by avarice, by ambition, by fear and jealousy. No part of the mind has rest. Power gradually extirpates from the mind every humane and gentle virtue. Pity, benevolence, friendship, are things almost unknown in high stations.

„And these questions are constantly resolved, without any consideration of the merits of the cause, merely as the parties who uphold these jarring interests may chance to prevail; and as they prevail, the balance is overset, now upon one side, now upon the other.“

—  Edmund Burke, libro A Vindication of Natural Society

A Vindication of Natural Society (1756)
Contesto: Kings are ambitious; the nobility haughty; and the populace tumultuous and ungovernable. Each party, however in appearance peaceable, carries on a design upon the others; and it is owing to this, that in all questions, whether concerning foreign or domestic affairs, the whole generally turns more upon some party-matter than upon the nature of the thing itself; whether such a step will diminish or augment the power of the crown, or how far the privileges of the subject are likely to be extended or restricted by it. And these questions are constantly resolved, without any consideration of the merits of the cause, merely as the parties who uphold these jarring interests may chance to prevail; and as they prevail, the balance is overset, now upon one side, now upon the other. The government is, one day, arbitrary power in a single person; another, a juggling confederacy of a few to cheat the prince and enslave the people; and the third, a frantic and unmanageable democracy. The great instrument of all these changes, and what infuses a peculiar venom into all of them, is party. It is of no consequence what the principles of any party, or what their pretensions, are; the spirit which actuates all parties is the same; the spirit of ambition, of self-interest, of oppression, and treachery. This spirit entirely reverses all the principles which a benevolent nature has erected within us; all honesty, all equal justice, and even the ties of natural society, the natural affections. In a word, my Lord, we have all seen, and, if any outward considerations were worthy the lasting concern of a wise man, we have some of us felt, such oppression from party government as no other tyranny can parallel. We behold daily the most important rights, rights upon which all the others depend, we behold these rights determined in the last resort without the least attention even to the appearance or colour of justice; we behold this without emotion, because we have grown up in the constant view of such practices; and we are not surprised to hear a man requested to be a knave and a traitor, with as much indifference as if the most ordinary favour were asked; and we hear this request refused, not because it is a most unjust and unreasonable desire, but that this worthy has already engaged his injustice to another. These and many more points I am far from spreading to their full extent. <!-- You are sensible that I do not put forth half my strength; and you cannot be at a loss for the reason. A man is allowed sufficient freedom of thought, provided he knows how to choose his subject properly. Tou may criticise freely upon the Chinese constitution, and observe with as much severity as you please upon the absurd tricks or destructive bigotry of the bonzees. But the scene is changed as you come homeward, and atheism or treason may be the names given in Britain, to what would be reason and truth if asserted of China.

„A good parson once said, that where mystery begins, religion ends. Cannot I say, as truly at least, of human laws, that where mystery begins, justice ends?“

—  Edmund Burke, libro A Vindication of Natural Society

A Vindication of Natural Society (1756)
Contesto: A good parson once said, that where mystery begins, religion ends. Cannot I say, as truly at least, of human laws, that where mystery begins, justice ends? It is hard to say whether the doctors of law or divinity have made the greater advances in the lucrative business of mystery. The lawyers, as well as the theologians, have erected another reason besides natural reason; and the result has been, another justice besides natural justice. They have so bewildered the world and themselves in unmeaning forms and ceremonies, and so perplexed the plainest matters with metaphysical jargon, that it carries the highest danger to a man out of that profession, to make the least step without their advice and assistance. Thus, by confining to themselves the knowledge of the foundation of all men's lives and properties, they have reduced all mankind into the most abject and servile dependence. We are tenants at the will of these gentlemen for everything; and a metaphysical quibble is to decide whether the greatest villain breathing shall meet his deserts, or escape with impunity, or whether the best man in the society shall not be reduced to the lowest and most despicable condition it affords. In a word, my Lord, the injustice, delay, puerility, false refinement, and affected mystery of the law are such, that many who live under it come to admire and envy the expedition, simplicity, and equality of arbitrary judgments.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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