“The Usenet newsgroup alt.quotations says in its FAQ:
‘[I]t has been suggested (in Bartlett's) that it might be a twentieth-century paraphrase of:
When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
--Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents(1770)’
“Which makes a certain amount of sense.
"William Safire wrote on this once in his On Language column in the NYT Magazine; he got this as a response:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
You can quote me on that.
"Certainly _an_ Edmund Burke, if not necessarily _the_ Edmund Burke. :-)"I love stuff like this. Additionally, Charles sends a report of an interesting bumper sticker sighting:
[O]n the way across town [Oklahoma City] today I spotted my first Condi '08 bumper sticker, with the following quotation across the bottom: 'We Have A Dream.'"