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Karl Brandt

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Ethical obligation has to subordinate itself to the totalitarian nature of war.
1947. Quoted in article "Ethics of Nazi doctors analyzed in telecast" by Joanna Arnold, 10/17/07

Karl Brandt

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The law is obligated to punish the transgressor as much as the transgressor is obligated to obey the law law has no option. Justice has but one function. The necessity of penalty is as great as the necessity of obligation. The law itself is under law; that is, it is under the necessity of its own nature; and therefore the only possible way whereby a transgressor can escape the penalty of the law, is for a substitute to endure it for him. The deep substrata and base of all God's ethical attributes are eternal law and impartial justice.

William Greenough Thayer Shedd

Man is the "ethical animal" ethical in potentiality even if, unfortunately, not in actuality. His capacity for ethical judgment like freedom, reason and the other unique characteristics of the human being is based upon his consciousness of himself.

Rollo May

Anyone whose attention and love are really directed towards the reality outside the world recognizes at the same time that he is bound, both in public and private life, by the single and permanent obligation to remedy, according to his responsibilities and to the extent of his power, all the privations of soul and body which are liable to destroy or damage the earthly life of any human being whatsoever.
This obligation cannot legitimately be held to be limited by the insufficiency of power or the nature of the responsibilities until everything possible has been done to explain the necessity of the limitation to those who will suffer by it; the explanation must be completely truthful and must be such as to make it possible for them to acknowledge the necessity.
No combination of circumstances ever cancels this obligation. If there are circumstances which seem to cancel it as regards a certain man or category of men, they impose it in fact all the more imperatively.
The thought of this obligation is present to all men, but in very different forms and in very varying degrees of clarity. Some men are more and some are less inclined to accept or to refuse it as their rule of conduct.

Simone Weil

We had all become used to the totalitarian system and accepted it as an unchangeable fact and thus helped to perpetuate it. In other words, we are all though naturally to differing extents responsible for the operation of the totalitarian machinery. None of us is just its victim. We are all also its co-creators.

Vaclav Havel

Broader and deeper we must write our annals, from an ethical reformation, from an influx of the ever new, ever sanative conscience, if we would trulier express our central and wide-related nature, instead of this old chronology of selfishness and pride to which we have too long lent our eyes. Already that day exists for us, shines in on us at unawares, but the path of science and of letters is not the way into nature. The idiot, the Indian, the child, and unschooled farmer's boy, stand nearer to the light by which nature is to be read, than the dissector or the antiquary.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
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