Can you identify this badly mangled quote?

The quote is something to this effect:

“We would do well to remember that we are not as virtuous and our enemies are not as evil as we would like to believe.”

I’m wanting to believe this is a Winston Churchill quote but I wasn’t able to find it in the Churchill quotes pages I checked. It’s also true that Churchill is one of the people with the most inaccurately attributed quotes.

Anyone got any good guesses about this?

This is the one I thought of when reading the OP

There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.
Edward Wallis Hoch, Marion (Kansas) Record

from here

Thanks for the thought but that’s not it.

A search on Google Books is giving me a somewhat similar quote that is attributed to Freud in a book called A History of Knowledge. There’s only a snippet view available, but it says “Let us hope that they are wrong, said Freud, and that we Germans are not as bad as they think we are. But, he added–this being his point–we are not as good as we would like them to think we are, either.”

A quick search did not turn up any other source for this quote, but the way it’s presented in The History of Knowledge suggests that it may be a paraphrase or translation and not an exact quote.


I wish.

Maybe it’s just something I dreamed up one day while out of my head on Yoo-Hoo.

Many thanks for the efforts.

I don’t think you made it up. I didn’t respond before because I don’t really have the answer. BUT - just a week or so ago I was working a puzzle (of the character-substitution variety, where they usually use a quote as the plaintext.) The quote in this particular puzzle what almost certainly what you were saying, and since they always give the attribution at the end of the puzzle I’m pretty sure it would have been a real quote.

Anyway, I haven’t been able to track it down on a search yet, either, but as best I can remember it, it was:

No country has ever been as good as they imagine themselves, nor as bad as they imagine their enemies.

The puzzle program in question was the “Enigma” android app, if that helps any.

Here’s one quote that fits:

Bertrand Russell, Justice in War-Time (1916)

Fantastic, many sincere thanks. I’ve had variations of this quote rattling around my grey matter for decades now.

From what I’ve been able to find, the author was paraphrasing a 1915 text called Thoughts for the Time on War and Death. The exact quote doesn’t show up in it, but it’s a fair summary of some of what Freud is saying in there.