Humanity is the characteristic of being humane.
- An inadvertent step may crush the snail
That crawls at evening in the public path.
But he that has humanity, forewarned,
Will turn aside and let the reptile live.
- William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book VI.
- The impulse of power is to turn every variable into a constant, and give to commands the inexorableness and relentlessness of laws of nature. Hence absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep. The taint inherent in absolute power is not its inhumanity but its anti-humanity.
- Eric Hoffer, in The Ordeal of Change (1963), Ch. 15 : The Unnaturalness Of Human Nature