— John Carroll Australian professor and author 1944
Context: The act of greatest subversion … is the one of indifference. A man, or a group, finds it unbearable that someone can be simply uninterested in his, or its, convictions. … There is a degree of complicity, or mutual respect, between the believer and the man who attacks his beliefs (the revolutionary), for the latter takes them seriously. p. 53
„Not even the apparently enlightened principle of the ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ can excuse indifference to individual suffering. There is no test for progress other than its impact on the individual.“
— John Carroll Australian professor and author 1944
„One of the greatest perplexities of the Government is to avoid receiving troops faster than it can provide for them. In a word, the people will save their Government if the Government itself will do its part only indifferently well.“
— Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States 1809 - 1865
Context: The evidence reaching us from the country leaves no doubt that the material for the work is abundant, and that it needs only the hand of legislation to give it legal sanction and the hand of the Executive to give it practical shape and efficiency. One of the greatest perplexities of the Government is to avoid receiving troops faster than it can provide for them. In a word, the people will save their Government if the Government itself will do its part only indifferently well.
— Elie Wiesel writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor 1928 - 2016
„Better that an individual should suffer an injury than that the public should suffer an inconvenience.“
— William Henry Ashurst (judge) English judge 1725 - 1807
Russell v. The Mayor of Devon (1788), 1 T. R. 673.
„"This is a very old argument. The greatest happiness of the greatest number. If you think about it, you'll find it always works out that a few suffer for the good of the rest."
"In stories," Gair agreed hopelessly. "brave men die defending the rest. But this isn't like that!"
"Call it the modern version," Mr Claybury suggested kindly.“
— Diana Wynne Jones English children's fantasy writer 1934 - 2011
„A good society is a society which believes that it is not good enough; that it is the task of the collectivity to insure individuals against individually suffered misfortune; and that the quality of society is measured by the quality of life of its weakest, just like the carrying power of a bridge is measured by its weakest pillar.“
— Zygmunt Bauman Polish philosopher and sociologist 1925 - 2017
Quoted in Ziggy Stardust https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/703/ziggy-stardust, 2007
„The truth seems to be that monogamous marriage, mitigated in certain countries by divorce and in certain other by tolerance of infidelity, persists in our Western civilization as the solution which entails the least suffering for the greatest number of people.“
— André Maurois French writer 1885 - 1967
„My own experience and development deepen everyday my conviction that our moral progress may be measured by the degree in which we sympathize with individual suffering and individual joy.“
— George Eliot English novelist, journalist and translator 1819 - 1880
Letter to Charles Bray (15 November 1857)
„When a man tries to own an individual, whether that individual be another man, an animal or even a tree, he suffers the psychic consequences of an unnatural act.“
— Tom Robbins American writer 1936
Context: When a man confines an animal in a cage, he assumes ownership of that animal. But an animal is an individual; it cannot be owned. When a man tries to own an individual, whether that individual be another man, an animal or even a tree, he suffers the psychic consequences of an unnatural act.
— Leonardo Da Vinci Italian Renaissance polymath 1452 - 1519
„A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.“
— Abraham Joshua Heschel Polish-American Conservative Judaism Rabbi 1907 - 1972
„The pathology of Western intellectuals has committed them to an adversarial relationship with the culture - free markets and individual rights - that has produced the greatest alleviation of suffering; the greatest liberation from want, ignorance, and superstition; and the greatest increase of bounty and opportunity in the history of all human life. This pathology allows Western intellectuals to step around the Everest of bodies of the victims of Communism without a tear, a scruple, a regret, an act of contrition, or a reevaluation of self, soul, and mind.“
— Alan Charles Kors American academic 1943
As quoted in "Notable & Quotable: The Victims of Socialism" https://web.archive.org/web/20160217064704/http://www.wsj.com/articles/notable-quotable-the-victims-of-socialism-1455667462 (17 February 2016), The Wall Street Journal, A13
„If ignorance and passion are the foes of popular morality, it must be confessed that moral indifference is the malady of the cultivated classes. The modern separation of enlightenment and virtue, of thought and conscience, of the intellectual aristocracy from the honest and common crowd is the greatest danger that can threaten liberty.“
— Henri-Frédéric Amiel Swiss philosopher and poet 1821 - 1881
„Every great example of punishment has in it some injustice, but the suffering individual is compensated by the public good.“
— Tacitus Roman senator and historian 58 - 120
Habet aliquid ex iniquo omne magnum exemplum, quod contra singulos, utilitate publica rependitus. Book XIV, 44
„Everyone's effort will be directed toward snatching a scrap of fraternal privilege from the legislature. The suffering classes, although having the greatest claim, will not always have the greatest success.“
— Frédéric Bastiat French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly 1801 - 1850
Context: "[The socialists declare] that the State owes subsistence, well-being, and education to all its citizens; that it should be generous, charitable, involved in everything, devoted to everybody;... that it should intervene directly to relieve all suffering, satisfy and anticipate all wants, furnish capital to all enterprises, enlightenment to all minds, balm for all wounds, asylums for all the unfortunate, and even aid to the point of shedding French blood, for all oppressed people on the face of the earth. Who would not like to see all these benefits flow forth upon the world from the law, as from an inexhaustible source? … But is it possible? … Whence does [the State] draw those resources that it is urged to dispense by way of benefits to individuals? Is it not from the individuals themselves? How, then, can these resources be increased by passing through the hands of a parasitic and voracious intermediary? ... Finally…we shall see the entire people transformed into petitioners. Landed property, agriculture, industry, commerce, shipping, industrial companies, all will bestir themselves to claim favors from the State. The public treasury will be literally pillaged. Everyone will have good reasons to prove that legal fraternity should be interpreted in this sense: "Let me have the benefits, and let others pay the costs." Everyone's effort will be directed toward snatching a scrap of fraternal privilege from the legislature. The suffering classes, although having the greatest claim, will not always have the greatest success. p. 319