Isaiah BerlinIsaiah Berlin, (1909-1997) Russian-British social and political theorist, philosopher, historian

Isaiah Berlin Quote

“Injustice, poverty, slavery, ignorance -- these may be cured by reform or revolution. But men do not live only by fighting evils. They live by positive goals, individual and collective, a vast variety of them, seldom predictable, at times incompatible.”

Isaiah BerlinIsaiah Berlin
~ Isaiah Berlin

1909, Four Essays on Liberty, Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century

Ratings and Comments

Bryan Morton, Stuart, FL

Individuals should live by positive goals. Governments, on the other hand, should only exist to reactively defend each individual's rights of life, liberty and property necessary toward the attainment of those goals.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

I especially love that each sentence of this quote can also stand on its own, but together they make something that is more than the sum of their parts.

Mike, Norwalk

I agree with Bryan here while the quote does have a substantial basis.

E Archer, NYC

A good reminder -- after all, we know what we are fighting against, but what are we fighting for?

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

I like this quote. My experience is that most on this site only have axes to grind and put forth little of a positive nature. They are anti this and anti that. It has occurred to me that the love of guns for taking on or protection against "corrupt or power grabbing government" as expressed by some is no diiferent than the jihadist phiolosopy of radical Islam. The idea being essentially a moral one of constant vigilance against immorality, corruption etcetera. Many people apparently need to have a vision or hope of ultimate victory or of overcoming something in order to be happy. For Christians it is the blessed hope and fighting the good fight of morality, for the jihadists I guess it is similar, and for the Americans who harbor some conflict in the future against "them" the brief case carrying Potomac crowd etcetera get a form of spiritual directedness also. But I just wondered today what the world would be like if all of these revolutionaries (even if just mental ones) would rid themselves of their hate and replaced it with positive vibes. What kind of world would we have then.


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