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Commentary Journal Quote

Best Damned Quotes–Dostoyevsky AND MLK Jr.

Today our righteous quotes make for an End-of-April Two-Fer.  My good friend Tony posted an excellent Dostoyevsky twitter quote last Friday, which at first made me feel a little guilty considering my, um, propensity for editorializing.  Being the bigger man has never really been my forte, I’m afraid, behavior that has traditionally gone unchecked since, in a very non-symbolic sense, I have usually, actually been the bigger man.  And when I haven’t been, it was pretty much a given big_769that I was the faster man.

“Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.”
–Fyodor Dostoevsky

Yeh, Words to aspire to, but I’m not that guy–and pretty soon this quote popped into my mind (and yes I had to look it up to get the exact words right)

Rev Martin Luther King“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr

So, I’m thinking I’ve learned one of two things here.  Either that real wisdom comes from knowing when to practice understanding, and when to abandon understanding for defiance and confrontation.  Either that, or Dostoyevsky was simply a skinny little chump afraid of getting his ass kicked by the bullies.*

 

*A patently unfair joke at his expense–Dostoyevsky was a great writer, who survived internment in a labor camp after he pissed off the Tsar.  I love his stuff.  Hemingway loved his stuff, too, and that means he’s good enough for anyone.