On my flight back from California, I sat across the aisle from a young man, obviously a Marine — lean, crew cut, tattoos of .223 M-16 rounds flanking a skull labelled “USMC” — and I was reminded of a famous Orwell quote:
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
Only I couldn’t remember the exact quote, so I couldn’t share it with my brother-in-law sitting next to me. When I looked it up, I discovered that Orwell may never have said it. The Wikiquote List of Misquotations explains:
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
Alternative: “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” [I've also seen it as "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."]
Notes: allegedly from Rough Men by George Orwell. There is no evidence in existence that Orwell ever wrote or uttered either of these versions of this idea. While these do bear some similarity to a comment made in an essay that Orwell wrote on Rudyard Kipling, the two statements above are considered to be illegitimate by Orwell scholars.
(Is it ironic that George Orwell would be quoted as saying something he never said? Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.)
A little more research found the quote from his essay on Kipling (from 1942):
Men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilised, are there to guard and feed them.
Also, I didn’t realize/remember that “George Orwell” was a pseudonym for Eric Blair.