Justification Quotes

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Quote Author Cited
Men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts. Voltaire
To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is cruelty. Maximilien Robespierre
Give your decisions, never your reasons; your decisions may be right, your reasons are sure to be wrong. James Mansfield
As soon as the Confederates laid down their arms, some picked up their pens and began to distort what they had done and why. The resulting mythology took hold of the nation a generation later and persists. James W. Loewe
How many more [murders of abortion providers] is it going to take before we finally realize that legalized abortion in fact will destroy the United States of America? What do you expect people to do who literally understand that these people are making a living killing babies? Well, the evidence is at hand. There are people out there who will go and blow their brains out. Neal Horsley
I condemn suicide bombings; it’s not acceptable as a Muslim to kill innocent people. It’s explainable. But explainable doesn’t mean justifiable. Tariq Ramadan
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. William Pitt the Younger
If this trade --- slavery --- admits of a moral or a rational justification, every crime, even the most atrocious, may be justified. John Wesley
Modern capitalism is masterful at producing services people don't need and in large part probably don't want. It is brilliant at convincing people that they do need and want them. But it has difficulty turning itself to the production of those services which people really do need. Not only that, it often spends an enormous amount of time and effort convincing people that those services are either unrealistic, marginal or counterproductive. John Ralston Saul
In the wake of the Iraq war, it has become clear that official intelligence analysis was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community’s own work was politicized. Paul. Pillar
Nothing will justify the killing of innocent people. Ahmed Nazif
We are not compelled to believe in biological uniformity in order to affirm human freedom and dignity. Edward O. Wilson
We Argentines are human! We Argentines are right! Anonymous
This is in part because of the government's criminal negligence; has it not permitted them [Christian Copts] to build new churches, though there are more than enough of them in a country where over ninety percent of the inhabitants are Muslims; has the regime not let them parade their religious affiliation in public (for example, crosses on car stickers and dresses), which is a sheer provocation to Muslims? Ahmad Al-Mahalawi
There is no justification for execution by the state under modern circumstances … Bishops have testified against it, popes talk about it constantly and it has the same status as abortion in terms of rejection. Zebulan Bartels
When a man speaks of the need for realism one may be sure that this is always the prelude to some bloody deed. Isaiah Berlin
The choice of "fundamental values" by the [Supreme] Court cannot be justified. Where constitutional materials do not clearly specify the value to be preferred, there is no principled way to prefer any claimed human value to any other. The judge must stick close to the text and history, and their fair implications, and not construct any new rights. Robert Bork
I begin by taking. I shall find scholars afterwards to demonstrate my perfect right. Frederick II
An ideology is a complex of ideas or notions which represents itself to the thinker as an absolute truth for the interpretation of the world and his situation within it; it leads the thinker to accomplish an act of self-deception for the purpose of justification, obfuscation and evasion in some sense or other Karl Jaspers
I am here to regret nothing I have already done, to retract nothing I have already said …. The history of Ireland explains this crime, and justifies it …. Thomas Francis Meagher
As the important contest, into which we have been driven, is now become interesting to every European state, and particularly affects the members of the British Empire, we think it our duty to address you on the subject. We are desirous, as is natural to injured innocence, of possessing the good opinion of the virtuous and humane. We are peculiarly desirous of furnishing you with a true state of our motives and objects; the better to enable you to judge of our conduct with accuracy, and determine the merits of the controversy with impartiality and precision. Continental Congress
The wrong is wrong and the fall of the majority in such wrong does not justify it. It is known that the right way is difficult and not all the people can follow it, but only the few distinguished for their principles. Shenouda III
Even the most repressive regimes seek to maintain the fiction that they have the people’s interest at heart. George Soros
Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue… Maximilien Robespierre
The end must justify the means. Matthew Prior
Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject. American Association of University Professors
Today's terrorists can strike at any place, at any time, and with virtually any weapon Department of Homeland Security
For any imperial policy to work effectively...it needs moral and intellectual guidance...It is much to be doubted that the United States can continue to play an imperial role without the endorsement of its intellectual class... Irving Kristol
No one can be truly powerful unless he has access to the command of major institutions, for it is over these institutional means of power that the truly powerful are, in the first instance, truly powerful... C. Wright Mills
How many does it take to metamorphose wickedness into righteousness? One man must not kill. If he does, it is murder.... But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, and it is not murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, and right. Only get people enough to agree to it, and the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent. But how many does it take? Adin Ballou
“One picture is worth a thousand words,” said an ancient Chinese; but it may take ten thousand words to validate it. Garrett Hardin
Necessity has its own rules Arab Proverb
The problem with absolutist beliefs that they can get you into traps in which the ends justify the means. Brent Scowcroft
There's a very heavy burden of proof to be borne by anyone who calls for violence. Maybe it can be sometimes justified. Personally, I'm not a committed pacifist, so I think that, yes, it can sometimes be justified. Noam Chomsky
Liberty of the press is a privilege to publish, with impunity, falsehood on matters of public concern, in the honest belief it is truth, with good motives, for justifiable ends Henry Schofield
What is harm for some women isn’t harm for another. Some women accept beatings and insults as a joke, while others do not. Abd al-Rahman Muhammad
Amidst all their wrongs the Irish people have hitherto held fast to one sacred right which, though often menaced, has never been betrayed their right to that which has been their sword and shield in doubt, in trouble, and in danger ; their right to that one social blessing that has brightened their past and cheers their future history; their right to that leadership and political guidance through which they have obtained all their rights, and through which—with the blessing of God—they are resolved to maintain them, their right to the free voice and unfettered patriotism of their clergy- a right which they have bought with their blood, and which they will never permit to be sold…to place an interdict upon the clergy- in their efforts to vindicate the social and religious rights of their people- would be the most wicked because the most subtle and dangerous of all the penal laws by which it has been sought to damn and degrade us. George Henry Moore
I admit that we deported Armenians from our eastern provinces, and we acted in this matter upon a previously prepared scheme. The responsibility of these acts falls upon the deported people themselves. Russia ... had armed and equipped the Armenian inhabitants of this district [Van] ..., and had organized strong Armenian bandit forces. ... When we entered the Great War, these bandits began their destructive activities in the rear of the Turkish army on the Caucasus front, blowing up the bridges and killing the innocent Mohammedan inhabitants regardless of age and sex... All these Armenian bandits were helped by the native Armenians Mehmet Talaat Pasha; Talaat Bey
Every crime, even the most atrocious, may be justified. John Wesley
Even the gods cannot strive against necessity. Pittacus of Mytilene
The power structure does what they want, when they want; then they try to find reasons to justify it Serge Lang
Revolutions and bolts [from the party] are alike. They are sacred when the facts justify them. When not so justified they are blunders of the sort that is worse than crime. Rutherford B. Hayes
Anything can be justified by security. Fyodor Urnov
All the arguments given for building the Trans-Continental Railroad at the time were plausible but turned out not to be true. Richard White
We go to war, and then we look for the reasons…. George W. Bush is a classic example of a man whose mode of thinking is totally intuitive. He told us such. Daniel Kahneman
History teaches us that there have been but few infringements of personal liberty by the state which have not been justified, as they are here, in the name of righteousness and the public good, and few which have not been directed, as they are now, at politically helpless minorities. Harlan Fiske Stone
I'm sickened by the way that the delivery of so-called humanitarian aid is once again being used as a justification — or cover — for war. Susan Sontag
The end must justify the means. Matthew Prior
What is today supported by precedents will hereafter become a precedent. Cornelius Tacitus
Often the less there is to justify a traditional custom the harder it is to get rid it. Mark Twain
It is often attempted to palliate slavery by comparing the state of slaves with our poorer countrymen: if the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin; but how this bears on slavery, I cannot see; as well might the use of the thumb-screw be defended in one land, by showing that men in another land suffered from some dreadful disease. Charles Darwin
We try to make virtues out of the faults we have no wish to correct. Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Even the gods cannot strive against necessity. Pittacus of Mytilene
Was the blood which has just been shed so pure? Antoine Barnave
… the war on terrorism will serve as the justification for restraints on civil liberties. Philip Agee
We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it. And we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into a trial of the causes of the war, for our position is that no grievances or policies will justify resort to aggressive war. It is utterly renounced and condemned as an instrument of policy. Robert Houghwout Jackson
The scientist insists on verification; the religious theologian does not; the philosopher sometimes does and sometimes does not Lewis D. Eigen
I believe that to have interfered as I have done—in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. John Brown
When private property ceases to make free men, its only spiritual justification goes. Democracy and the widespread distribution of private property go together. Dorothy Thompson
The ends do not always justify the means William Sloane Coffin
Since I know that about a million people have been killed by the government of Iraq, I do not need much those weapons of mass destruction. Martti Ahtisaari
The story of our inferiority is an old dodge, as I have said; for wherever men oppress their fellows, wherever they enslave them, they will endeavor to find the needed apology for such enslavement and oppression in the character of the people oppressed and enslaved Frederick Douglass
What are the phenomena of nationalism? Here are some of them: 1) National egoism, from which many other negative traits of nationalism are derived, as for example — a desire for foreign conquest, a desire to oppress other nations, a desire to impose economic exploitation upon other nations, and so on; 2) national-chauvinism which is also a source of many other negative traits of nationalism, as for example national hatred, the disparagement of other nations, the disparagement of their history, culture, and scientific activities and scientific achievements, and so on, the glorification of developments in their own history that were negative … And what are these negative things? Wars of conquest are negative, the subjugation and oppression of other nations is negative, economic exploitation is negative, colonial enslavement is negative, and so on. All these things are accounted negative by Marxism and condemned. All these phenomena of the past can, it is true, be explained, but from our point of view they can never be justified Josip Broz Tito
Condemn me, it does not matter: history will absolve me. Fidel Castro
International laws do not prohibit an intelligence agency like the CIA from carrying out targeted killings, provided it complies with the relevant international rules. These rules require … when it’s a matter of being able to kill someone in a foreign country, that all such killings be legally justified, that we know the justification, and that there are effective mechanisms for investigation, prosecution, and punishment if laws are violated. Philip G. Alston
The right of the revolution is the right of the future. Pieter Geyl
Everything I did, I did for my country Pol Pot
Better to be always in a minority of one with God — branded as madman, incendiary, fanatic, heretic, infidel — frowned upon by "the powers that be," and mobbed by the populace — or consigned ignominiously to the gallows, like him whose "soul is marching on," though his "body lies moldering in the grave," or burnt to ashes at the stake like Wickliffe, or nailed to the cross like him who "gave himself for the world," — in defense of the RIGHT, than like Herod, having the shouts of a multitude crying, "It is the voice of a God, and not of a man!". William Lloyd Garrison
The censor is always quick to justify his function in terms that are protective of society. But the First Amendment, written in terms that are absolute, deprives the States of any power to pass on the value, the propriety, or the morality of a particular expression. William O. Douglas
Poison gas meant that the war could be brought to an end sooner and thus reduce the number of casualties. Fritz Haber
It is a poor head that cannot find plausible reason for doing what the heart wants to do. William Jennings Bryan
So the Chinese have at last given us the grounds and the ‘incident’ which we have so long desired. Wilhelm II
There is a lot of spinning and a lot of lying in our times—in politics, in government, in sports and everywhere. It’s gotten to the point where … you no longer believe the first version of anything. It wasn’t always that way. I guess it started for me with Vietnam, when the establishment felt it had to lie to justify a policy that as it turned out was never going to work. Benjamin C. Bradlee
The actions of our president systematically provide both the legal and political justifications for similar initiatives undertaken by later presidents. William P. Marshall
No exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked to justify torture, including war, threat of war, internal political instability, public emergency, terrorist acts, violent crime, or any form of armed conflict.. United Nations
… right of retaliatory vengeance Andrew Jackson
Some Japanese officials are already mulling over the idea of developing long-range missiles for possible preemptive strikes against North Korea. And South Korea has been developing longer range missiles that can not only hit all of North Korea, but parts of China. “Meanwhile, both Japan and China are planning to open up massive reprocessing plants that could make one to 2,000 nuclear weapons worth of plutonium a year, even though there is no economic justification for opening such plants -- they're enormous money losers. And, of course, South Korea doesn't want to be left behind -- hawkish politicians there keep voicing a desire to develop an option to go nuclear. All this is a prescription for mischief and, if it’s not arrested, will end in a vale of tears. Henry D. Sokolski
As soon as fear, hatred, jealousy and power worship are involved, the sense of reality becomes unhinged. And ... the sense of right and wrong becomes unhinged also. There is no crime, absolutely none, that cannot be condoned when ‘our’ side commits it. Even if one does not deny that the crime has happened, even if one knows that it is exactly the same crime as one has condemned in some other case, even if one admits in an intellectual sense that it is unjustified — still one cannot feel that it is wrong. Loyalty is involved, and so pity ceases to function. George Orwell

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