Notable Quotes
Browse quotes by subject | Browse quotes by author


We don't call war hell because it is fought without restraint. It is more nearly right to say that, when certain restraints are passed, the hellishness of war drives us to break with every remaining restraint in order to win. Here is the ultimate tyranny: those who resist aggression are forced to imitate, and perhaps even to exceed, the brutality of the aggressor.

MICHAEL WALZER, Just and Unjust Wars

There is a certain attitude of mind that underlies the theory of justice and that ought to be strengthened by the experience of complex equality: we can think of it as a decent respect for the opinions of mankind. Not the opinions of this or that individual, which may well deserve a brusque response: I mean those deeper opinions that are the reflections in individual minds, shaped also by individual thought, of the social meanings that constitute our common life. For us, and for the foreseeable future, these opinions make for autonomous distributions; and every form of dominance is therefore an act of disrespect. To argue against dominance and its accompanying inequalities, it is only necessary to attend to the goods at stake and to the shared understanding of these goods. When philosophers do this, when they write out of respect for the understandings they share with their fellow citizens, they pursue justice justly, and they reinforce the common pursuit.

MICHAEL WALZER, Spheres of Justice

For as long as men and women have talked about war, they have talked about it in terms of right and wrong. And for almost as long, some among them have derided such talk, called it a charade, insisted that war lies beyond (or beneath) moral judgment. War is a world apart, where life itself is at stake, where human nature is reduced to its elemental forms, where self-interest and necessity prevail. Here men and women do what they must to save themselves and their communities, and morality and law have no place. Inter arma silent leges: in time of war the law is silent.

MICHAEL WALZER, Just and Unjust Wars

The moral reality of war is divided into two parts. War is always judged twice, first with reference to the reasons states have for fighting, secondly with reference to the means they adopt.... The two sorts of judgment are logically independent. It is perfectly possible for a just war to be fought unjustly and for an unjust war to be fought in strict accordance with the rules. But this independence, though our views of particular wars often conform to its terms, is nevertheless puzzling. It is a crime to commit aggression, but aggressive war is a rule-governed activity. It is right to resist aggression, but the resistance is subject to moral (and legal) restraint. [This] dualism ... is at the heart of all that is most problematic in the moral reality of war.

MICHAEL WALZER, Just and Unjust Wars


Life Quotes

Love Quotes

Death Quotes

God Quotes

Wisdom Quotes

Hope Quotes

Success Quotes

Women Quotes

Happiness Quotes

Shakespeare Quotes