Quote of the day …

Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless.

Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudment simply need not be believed — in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical — and when facts are irrefutable, they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack.

For that reason, greater caution is called for when dealing with a stupid person than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945),  from ‘After Ten Years’ in “On Stupidity – Letters and Papers from Prison”

Complete Quote at Religious Grounds

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7 Responses to Quote of the day …

  1. auscitizenmom says:

    Makes total sense.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. jeans2nd says:

    This is most excellent, thank you.
    The prelude to this is what has helped guide my life – Hanlon’s Razor.
    “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
    Now add Bonhoeffer’s quote.

    Liked by 1 person

    • stella says:

      I’m listening to today’s Judiciary Committee investigation of the acting AG Whittaker. Both quotes would apply to many asking questions, although I think that both malice and stupidity are playing a role.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Menagerie says:

    This is accurate and should make all of us uncomfortable. We are too accepting of stupidity.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. czarina33 says:

    I have learned to just make my point, then walk away. I agree, they are dangerous…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lucille says:

    Oh, to have such expressive clear thinkers in our time. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was not only a clear thinker, but a man of high intelligence and curiosity, a possessor of great discernment regarding what is true and what is false. This “stupidity” quote reveals these not-so-common characteristics. I pull his books from my library shelves every once in a while just to be reminded of how remarkable a life he led.

    He was also a respecter of his fellows, a man of deep faith, an example to others–not because he was overtly trying to be but because the light of Christ shined out from his inner being.

    He didn’t see himself that way as is evidenced by his poem “Who Am I” written in June 1944. He was executed for treason at age 39 on April 9, 1945 by the Nazi regime just days before the Flossenburg prison camp was liberated by the U. S. Army (April 23). That was not happenstance…the Nazis knew the Allies were just days away. They purposefully wanted the political prisoners not to survive and go on to be an anti-fascism force in post-war Germany. In desiring Bonhoeffer’s death they didn’t believe, of course, that he would live forever with his Lord and all the saints.

    “Who Am I?”

    Who am I? They often tell me I would step from my cell’s confinement calmly, cheerfully, firmly, like a squire from his country-house.

    Who am I? They often tell me I would talk to my warden freely and friendly and clearly, as though it were mine to command.

    Who am I? They also tell me I would bear the days of misfortune equably, smilingly, proudly, like one accustomed to win.

    Am I then really all that which other men tell of, or am I only what I know of myself, restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage, struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat, yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds, thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness, trembling with anger at despotisms and petty humiliation, tossing in expectation of great events, powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance, weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making, faint and ready to say farewell to it all.

    Who am I? This or the other? Am I one person today, and tomorrow another? Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others, and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling? Or is something within me still like a beaten army, fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

    Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.

    Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine.

    Liked by 2 people

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