The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.
There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking it-self is dangerous.
Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold your life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time
Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.
Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.
Forgiveness is the only way to reverse the irreversible flow of history.
Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality.
The point, as Marx saw it, is that dreams never come true.
Love, by its very nature, is unworldly, and it is for this reason rather than its rarity that it is not only apolitical but antipolitical, perhaps the most powerful of all antipolitical forces.
The third world is not a reality, but an ideology.
No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes.
Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.
When all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.
And the distinction between violent and non-violent action is that the former is exclusively bent upon the destruction of the old, and the latter is chiefly concerned with the establishment of something new.
Action, as distinguished from fabrication, is never possible in isolation; to be isolated is to be deprived of the capacity to act.
Men in plural […] can experience meaningfulness only because they can talk with and make sense to each other and themselves.
Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.
As citizens, we must prevent wrongdoing because the world in which we all live, wrong-doer, wrong sufferer and spectator, is at stake.
Revolutionaries do not make revolutions! The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and when they can pick it up. Armed uprising by itself has never yet led to revolution.
For politics is not like the nursery; in politics obedience and support are the same.
The greatest evil perpetrated is the evil committed by nobodies, that is, by human beings who refuse to be persons
Man cannot be free if he does not know that he is subject to necessity, because his freedom is always won in his never wholly successful attempts to liberate himself from necessity.
Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power's disappearance.
Revolutions are the only political events which confront us directly and inevitably with the problem of beginning.
When an old truth ceases to be applicable, it does not become any truer by being stood on its head.
Courage is indispensible because in politics not life but the world is at stake.
Nobody is the author or producer of his own life story ... somebody began it and is its subject in the twofold sense, namely, its actor and sufferer ... but nobody is the author ...
One of the greatest advantages of the totalitarian elites of the twenties and thirties was to turn any statement of fact into a question of motive.
The most redical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revulution
[Justice] demands seclusion, it permits sorrow rather than anger, and it prescribes the most careful abstention from all the nice pleasures of putting oneself in the limelight.
The ideals of homo faber, the fabricator of the world, which are permanence, stability, and durability, have been sacrificed to abundance, the ideal of the animal laborans.
To be sure, totalitarian dictators do not consciously embark upon the road to insanity. The
The only antidote to the irreversibility of history is the faculty of forgiveness.
Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognize it—the quality of temptation.
War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford.
It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lessons that this long course in human wickedness had taught us - the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.
...and if he suffers, he must suffer for what he has done, not for what he has caused others to suffer.
... Half of politics is "image-making", the other half is the art of making people believe the image
In the Third Reich evil lost its distinctive characteristic by which most people had until then recognized it. The Nazis redefined it as a civil norm.
If the ability to tell right from wrong should have anything to do with the ability to think, then we must be able to ‘demand’ its exercise in every sane person no matter how erudite or ignorant.
Good works, because they must be forgotten instantly, can never become part of the world; they come and go,leaving no trace. They truly are not of this world.
Revolutionary action more often than not was a theatrical concession to the desires of violently discontented masses rather than an actual battle for power.
What are we “doing” when we do nothing but think? Where are we when we, normally always surrounded by our fellow men, are together with no one but ourselves?
For legends attract the very best in our times, just as ideologies attract the average, and the whispered tales of gruesome secret powers behind the scenes attract the very worst.
Slavery became the social condition of the laboring classes because it was felt that it was the natural condition of life itself. Omnis vita servitium est.
There is hardly a better way to avoid discussion than by releasing an argument from the control of the present and by saying that only the future will reveal its merits.
Whatever can be taken away from a lasting enjoyment for its own sake cannot possibly be the proper object of desire.
...half of politics is "image-making", the other half the art of making people believe the imager
...the solution to the Jewish question merely produced a new category of refugees, the Arabs, thereby increasing the number of the stateless and rightless by another 700,000 to 800,000 people.
Factuality itself depends for its continued existence upon the existence of the nontotalitarian world.
But this was a moral question, and the answer to it may not have been legally relevant.
Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such,
To sum up: politically speaking, it is insufficient to say that power and violence are not the same. Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent.
The last century has produced an abundance of ideologies that pretend to be keys to history but are actually nothing but desperate efforts to escape responsibility.
The only possible metaphor one may conceive of for the life of the mind is the sensation of being alive. Without the breath of life, the human body is a corpse; without thinking, the human mind is dead.
The crime of the Nuremberg Laws was a national crime; it violated national, constitutional rights and liberties, but it was of no concern to the comity of nations.
The antisemites who called themselves patriots introduced that new species of national feeling which consists primarily in a complete whitewash of one's own people and a sweeping condemnation of all others.
Under the most diverse conditions and disparate circumstances, we watch the development of the same phenomena—homelessness on an unprecedented scale, rootlessness to an unprecedented depth.
No human life, not even the life of the hermit in nature’s wilderness, is possible without a world which directly or indirectly testifies to the presence of other human beings.