Cruelty

The aim and end of war is murder; the weapons employed in war are espionage, treachery and the encouragement of treachery, the ruining of a country, the plundering and robbing of its inhabitants for the maintenance of the army, and trickery and lying which all appear under the heading of the art of war. The military world is characterized by the absence of freedom – in other words, a rigorous discipline – enforced inactivity, ignorance, cruelty, debauchery, and drunkenness.

Just as you discover that stupidity and cruelty are the same everywhere, you find that the essential elements of humanism are the same everywhere, too.

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom, in the pursuit of truth as in the endeavor after a worthy manner of life.

The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists. That is why they invented Hell.

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

Music doth extenuate fears, furies, appeaseth cruelty, abaeth heaviness, and to such as are wakeful it causeth quiet rest; it cures all irksomeness and heaviness of the soul.

There is no cruelty so inexorable and unrelenting, as that which proceeds from a bigoted and presumptuous supposition of doing service to God.

There is no cruelty so inexorable and unrelenting as that which proceeds from a bigoted and presumptuous supposition of doing service to God. The victim of the fanatical persecutor will find that the stronger the motives he can urge for mercy are, the weaker will be his chance for obtaining it, for the merit of his destruction will be supposed to rise in value in proportion as it is effected at the expense of every feeling both of justice and of humanity.

No body of men can be induced to do another man’s killing for him unless he can convince them that they may honorably do so. The percentage of blackguards and sadists who enjoy cruelty for its own sake have to pretend that they are patriots and ministers of justice to secure the toleration of their fellow citizens.

The Universe, so far as we can observe it, is a wonderful and immense engine; its extent, its order, its beauty, its cruelty, make it alike impressive. If we dramatize its life and conceive its spirit, we are filled with wonder, terror and amusement, so magnificent is that spirit, so prolific, inexorable, grammatical and dull.

Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem. We recognize this for Nazi Germany, that the people obeyed Hitler. People obeyed; that was wrong.

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history of not only cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, and kindness…The future is an infinite succession of "presents," and to live now as we think that human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

The moral law is written on the tablets of eternity. For every false word or unrighteous deed, for cruelty and oppression, for lust or vanity, the price has to be paid at last.

Fear is the parent of cruelty.

Fear is the parent of cruelty.

Lack of imagination causes cruelty.

It is cruelty in war that buyeth conquest,

War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it.

One generation of fearless women could transform the world, by bringing into it a generation of fearless children, not contorted into unnatural shapes, but straight and candid, generous, affectionate, and free. Their ardor would sweep away the cruelty and pain which we endure because we are lazy, cowardly, hard-hearted and stupid. It is education that gives us these bad qualities, and education that must give us the opposite virtues. Education is the key to the new world.

I do take law very seriously, deeply seriously, because fragile as reason is and limited as law is as the institutionalized medium of reason, that's all we have standing between us and the tyranny of mere will and the cruelty of unbridled, undisciplined feeling.