“He who profits by villainy, has perpetrated it” — Iain Pears
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In this quote, Iain Pears is making the point that those who benefit from wrongdoing are as culpable as those who directly carried out the harmful acts. The best interpretation is that Pears believes if someone gains advantage or profit from another’s villainous or unethical behavior, then they have essentially participated in or enabled that villainy, even if they did not personally commit the bad acts.
By accepting the fruits of corruption or injustice, one has implicitly condoned and become complicit in that corruption or injustice according to Pears’ view. The quote conveys that those who reap rewards or privileges from the misdeeds of others should not see themselves as separate or blameless for those misdeeds.