> Es war einemal eine glückliche Zeit, als Menschen frei wählen konnten; Lieber tot als Sklav', lieber stehend sterben, als auf den Knien leben. Es war einmal eine verruchte Zeit, als schwachsinnig gewordene Intellektuelle erklärten, das Leben sei der Güter höchstes. Gekommen ist heute die furchtbare Zeit, in der jeden Tag bewiesen wird, daß der Tod seine Schreckensherrschaft genau dann beginnt, wenn das Leben das höchste Gut geworden ist; daß der, der es vorzieht, auf den Knien zu leben, auf den Knien stirbt; daß niemand leichter zu morden ist als ein Sklave. Wir Lebenden haben zu lernen, daß man auf den Knien noch nicht einmal leben kann, daß man nicht unsterblich wird, wenn man dem Leben nachjagt, und daß, wenn man für nichts mehr sterben will, man stirbt, obwohl man nichts getan hat.
-- Hannah Arendt (1942)
> So long as you are alive you have a place in all this and you play a role in it. Everyone here -- on the sidewalks, pedaling by on bicycles, looking at us, or not looking at us -- has a part he's playing in this story. Everyone is doing something that relates to us. They may kick sick guys in the belly as much as they like, or kill them, or force guys with the shits to remain closed up inside a church and then shoot them because they shit, or yell Alles Scheiße, alles Scheiße! for the millionth time, between them and us a relationship nevertheless exists that nothing can destroy. They know what they're doing, they know what's being done to us. They know it as well as if they were us. And they are. You are us. One looks at each of these creatures who doesn't know and one would like to get inside their consciousness that only wants to see a piece of striped cloth, a bearded face, a line of men with a martial SS figure at their head. They're going to ignore us; whenever we go through a town, it's a sleep of human beings that passes through a sleep of sleeping persons. That's how it appears. But we know; each group knows about the other, knows everything about it.
-- Robert Antelme, "The Human Race"
> He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.
> [..] intellectual freedom is a deep-rooted tradition without which our characteristic western culture could only doubtfully exist. From that tradition many of our intellectuals arc visibly turning away. They have accepted the principle that a book should be published or suppressed, praised or damned, not on its merits but according to political expediency. [..] If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. The common people still vaguely subscribe to that doctrine and act on it. In our country — it is not the same in all countries: it was not so in republican France, and it is not so in the USA today — it is the liberals who fear liberty and the intellectuals who want to do dirt on the intellect: it is to draw attention to that fact that I have written this preface.
-- George Orwell
> If you wish to be useful, never take a course that will silence you. Refuse to learn anything that implies collusion, whether it be a clerkship or a curacy, a legal fee or a post in a university. Retain the power of speech no matter what other power you may lose. If you can take this course, and in so far as you take it, you will bless this country. In so far as you depart from this course, you become dampers, mutes, and hooded executioners.
-- John J. Chapman
Karl Jaspers on Censorship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qjl4OYS6MoM
> Hobbes was the true, though never fully recognized, philosopher of the bourgeoisie because he realized that acquisition of wealth conceived as a never-ending process can be guaranteed only by the seizure of political power, for the accumulating process must sooner or later force open all existing territorial limits. He foresaw that a society which had entered the path of never-ending acquisition had to engineer a dynamic political organization capable of a corresponding never-ending process of power generation. He even, through sheer force of imagination, was able to outline the main psychological traits of the new type of man who would fit into such a society and its tyrannical body politic. He foresaw the necessary idolatry of power itself by this new human type, that he would be flattered at being called a power-thirsty animal, although actually society would force him to surrender all his natural forces, his virtues and his vices, and would make him the poor meek little fellow who has not even the right to rise against tyranny, and who, far from striving for power, submits to any existing government and does not stir even when his best friend falls an innocent victim to an incomprehensible raison d'etat.
-- Hannah Arendt, "The Origins of Totalitarianism"
> The salvation of the world depends only on the individual whose world it is. At least, every individual must act as if the whole future of the world, of humanity itself, depends on him. Anything less is a shirking of responsibility and is itself a dehumanizing force, for anything less encourages the individual to look upon himself as a mere actor in a drama written by anonymous agents, as less than a whole person, and that is the beginning of passivity and aimlessness.
-- Joseph Weizenbaum
> The moral issue arose only with the phenomenon of "coordination," that is, not with fear-inspired hypocrisy, but with this very early eagerness not to miss the train of History, with this, as it were, honest overnight change of opinion that befell a great majority of public figures in all walks of life and all ramifications of culture, accompanied, as it was, by an incredible ease with which life long friendships were broken and discarded. In brief, what disturbed us was the behavior not of our enemies but of our friends, who had done nothing to bring this situation about. They were not responsible for the Nazis, they were only impressed by the Nazi success and unable to pit their own judgment against the verdict of History, as they read it. Without taking into account the almost universal breakdown, not of personal responsibility, but of personal judgment in the early stages of the Nazi regime, it is impossible to understand what actually happened.
-- Hannah Arendt, "Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship"
> Aber aus Liebe zu kommenden Generationen muß nach Beendigung des Krieges ein Exempel statuiert werden, daß niemand auch nur die geringste Lust je verspüren sollte, Ähnliches aufs neue zu versuchen. Vergeßt auch nicht die kleinen Schurken dieses Systems, merkt Euch die Namen, auf daß keiner entkomme! Es soll ihnen nicht gelingen, in letzter Minute noch nach diesen Scheußlichkeiten die Fahne zu wechseln und so zu tun, als ob nichts gewesen wäre!