I found Rome built of bricks. I left her clad in marble.
—Augustus, as quoted in Suetonius's The Twelve Caesars
He found Russia working with wooden ploughs and left it equipped with atomic piles.
—Isaac Deutscher, "Stalin: An Obiturary"
I have an evil plan
to save the world for every man,
and I think it's better than
the way it's being run
Oh, the groundwork's laid
No, don't be afraid
I'm sure that I can fix it
when I figure out the physics
— Five Iron Frenzy, "My Evil Plan to Save the World"
For we knew only too well:
Even the hatred of squalor
Makes the brow grow stern.
Even anger against injustice
Makes the voice grow harsh. Alas, we
Who wished to lay the foundations of kindness
Could not ourselves be kind.
But you, when at last it comes to pass
That man can help his fellow man,
Do no judge us
Bertolt Brecht: To Posterity
Justice Lord Hawkgirl: Remember when everyone liked us?
Justice Lord Green Lantern: Since when does that matter to you?
Justice Lord Hawkgirl: Since I started seeing the fear on everyone's face.
Justice Lord Green Lantern: You wanna talk about fear? When I was a kid, I went to bed every night scared that the whole world was gonna blow up. That's the way things were back then; folks just accepted it. They didn't think there could be a better way. But we found one.
— Justice League - A Better World, Part 1
"Ever since I've become Fuhrer, I've done nothing but improve this country, winning wars, and exponentially expanding our territory... I think of myself as one of God's guardian angels."
— King Bradley Pride, Fullmetal Alchemist
"May the future forgive me. May history judge my actions, great or small. In the final reckoning... when I have given them paradise, and the world is free... those poor dead will not seem so many. Now, let the sky fall."
— Magnetonote , New X-Men #150
"There is no shame in this. For a man who has done... fine works. We're building a better world. All of them... Better worlds."
Mal: I don't murder children.
The Operative: I do. If I have to.
Mal: Why? Do you even know why they sent you?
The Operative: It's not my place to ask. I believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin.
Mal: So me and mine gotta lay down and die... so you can live in your better world?
The Operative: I'm not going to live there. There's no place for me there... any more than there is for you. Malcolm... I'm a monster. What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.
Justice Lord Batman: Think about it - a world where there's no crimes. No victims. No pain.
Batman: And no choice! Who elected you, anyway?
Justice Lord Batman: Who elected you? The problem with democracy is, it doesn't keep you very safe.
Batman: It has other virtues. But you seem to have forgotten that.
Justice Lord Batman: I didn't forget! I just chose peace and security instead.
Batman: You grabbed power!
Justice Lord Batman: And with that power, we've made a world where no eight-year-old boy will ever lose his parents because of some punk with a gun!
* Dramatic Pause*
Batman: ... You win.
— Justice League — "A Better World (Part 2)"
(Later, as a man who refused to pay a restaurant bill because he didn't like the food is being carted off to jail by jackbooted police)
Batman: They'd love it here, don't you think?
Justice Lord Batman: Who?
Batman: Mom and Dad. They'd be so proud of you.
Justice Lord Batman: ... Just drive.
— Justice League — "A Better World (Part 2)"
The future doesn't belong to you or me. It belongs to those who come after us. Their hands will be clean of blood; they need not know any sin, if we pay that price for them. To think that a child, like Ashu, might never again know pain! Isn't that a future worth fighting for?
— Xan Hei, Guild Wars Beyond: Winds of Change
Nite Owl: You've killed millions!
Ozymandias: To save billions.
Jasmine: I offered paradise! You chose this!
Angel: Because I could. Because that's what you took away from us - choice.
Jasmine: And look where free will has gotten you.
Angel: Hey, I didn't say we were smart, I said it's our right.
I have seen them do this. I have seen them do far worse. And it is not the price we pay for peace and prosperity. It is too great a price for that.
— A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman
Man: How are things in Moscow?
Ninotchka: Very good. The last mass trials were a great success. There are going to be fewer but better Russians.
"The state has always been made a hell by man's wanting to make it his heaven."
"Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things."
— Russell Baker
"The attempt to make heaven on earth invariably produces hell."
— Karl Popper, philosopher, just after World War II
"Communism is based on ethical relativism and accepts no stable moral absolutes. Right and wrong are relative to the most expedient methods for dealing with class war. Communism exploits the dreadful philosophy that the end justifies the means. It enunciates movingly the theory of a classless society, but alas! its methods for achieving this noble end are all too often ignoble. Lying, violence, murder, and torture are considered to be justifiable means to achieve the millennial end. Is this an unfair indictment? Listen to the words of Lenin, the real tactician of Communist theory: "We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, lawbreaking, withholding and concealing truth." Modem history has known many tortuous nights and horror-filled days because his followers have taken this statement seriously."
"That is what happens with projects to build model societies in other people's countries...it was preordained in that original seemingly innocuous, even idealistic phrase: "a model for a new Middle East." The disintegration of Iraq has its roots in the ideology that demanded a tabula rasa on which to write its new story. And when no such pristine tableau presented itself, the supporters of that ideology proceeded to blast and surge and blast again in the hope of reaching that promised land."
— Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine