Racists Use This Fake Quote From Aristotle

Last year, I spent a lot of time writing in support of Liam Hogan, a historian who has opposed the fake Irish Slavery meme. Here’s an example of another piece of fakery used by the right-wing to justify their intolerant, half-baked nonsense, which I have reblogged from the excellent Sententiae Antiquae. Enjoy!

SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

“Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society”

The character of this quotation is alien to Aristotle and ancient Greek ideas including using “tolerance” in this way and “dying society” (see the quora discussion). I poked around a bit through Aristotle, changing some of the ideas (an ancient Greek might think of “sick” or “corrupt” society”) but there is nothing close to this.

While searching, I found the variation “Tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society” attributed to Dr. James Kennedy (an Evangelical preacher) and then Hutton Gibson (father of Mel Gibson and Holocaust Denier). Some of the mis-translations and fake translations can be found in quote books from the 19th century. This one does not appear in any books older than a decade or so and mostly in self-published racist texts whose titles and authors I will not print.

One…

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