Henri-Frédéric AmielHenri-Frédéric Amiel, (1821-1881) Swiss philosopher, poet

Henri-Frédéric Amiel Quote

“Liberty, equality -- bad principles! The only true principle for humanity is justice; and justice to the feeble is protection and kindness.”

Henri-Frédéric AmielHenri-Frédéric Amiel
~ Henri-Frédéric Amiel

Ratings and Comments

Jim, Llanrwst


E Archer, NYC

Since when is justice 'kindness'? When that day comes, Amiel will be understood. Liberty and equality are ideals, but are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Mike, Norwalk

Just stupid and wrong on so many levels. The quote has to be part of a sick and twisted comedy sketch; European humor maybe.

Ken, Allyn, WA

Since Amiel is Swiss, I would assume that he is speaking about the French revolutionary model of Liberte, Fraternite, Egalite, and its outcome. In that sense, liberty and equality enforced by a guillotine are indeed bad principles. The prisoners of the most repressive regimes have the liberty to share in their equal misery and fear. Justice is the protection of individual rights of the weak from the powerful who would abuse them. If that is not kindness, it could certainly be confused with it when one's head is saved from the chopping block.

David L Rosenthal

In some ways we are equal, in other ways we never could be. In some ways we are free, in other ways we never could be. Justice does not preclude kindness, but it does not always demand it. But if it were not for kindness, none of us still would be breathing.

different perspective, ID

To say that people should be equitable does not explain what people should do, how people should act in order to be equitable. If we treat everyone in a just manner, that gives a little bit better guidelines as to how everyone should be treated.

  • Reply
    Anonymous    5/17/09

    I like justice.

    Patrick Henry, Red Hill

    Characteristically, is infralapsarian Man just or prejudicial in his judgments?

    Justice is an aspirational Ideal, one that has been most commonly realized in those polities in which Liberty is also an aspirational Ideal.

    Liberty and Justice are inextricable Ideals.


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