All the old blogs
are gone now
or the people
random blatherings from other people
Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do.
For the man who thinks, there can be no honorable peace of mind
'If a man slaps his own face he will not feel insulted, whereas if someone else slaps him, he will be angry'
It would seem that the worse you fuck up in this job the more popular you get.
--President John F. Kennedy
"Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.
Your city and your lands have been subject to the tyranny of strangers, your palaces have fallen into ruins,
your gardens have sunk in desolation, and your forefathers and yourselves have groaned in bondage.
Your sons have been carried off to wars not of your seeking, your wealth has been stripped from by
unjust men and squandered in distant places.
It is our wish that you should prosper even as in the past, when your lands were fertile,
when your ancestors gave to the world literature, science, and art, and when Baghdad was one of the
wonders of the world."
The government of Iraq, and the future of your country, will soon belong to you. ... We will end a brutal regime ... so that Iraqis can live in security. We will respect your great religious traditions, whose principles of equality and compassion are essential to Iraq's future. We will help you build a peaceful and representative government that protects the rights of all citizens. And then our military forces will leave. Iraq will go forward as a unified, independent, and sovereign nation that has regained a respected place in the world. You are a good and gifted people -- the heirs of a great civilization that contributes to all humanity.
--President George W. Bush, Address to the People of Iraq, April 4, 2003.
"Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in nature. We are not talking about soapflakes or leisurewear here. Energy is truly fundamental to the world's economy. The Gulf War was a reflection of that reality."
"The real measure of an accurate view of reality is not being surprised."
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
-- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1952
Political parties serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.
However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
There is a great deal of evidence that almost all organizational structures tend to produce false images in the decision-maker, and that the larger and more authoritarian the organization, the better the chance that its top decision-makers will be operating in purely imaginary worlds.
What political leaders decide, intelligence services tend to seek to justify. Popular literature and films often depict the opposite--policymakers as the helpless tools of intelligence experts. In the real world, intelligence assessments more often follow than guide policy decisions.
--Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, 1995
I'm going to be judicious as to how to use the military. It needs to be in our vital interest, the mission needs to be clear, and the exit strategy obvious.
"I like the idea of people running for office. There's a positive effect when you run for office. Maybe some will run for office and say, vote for me, I look forward to blowing up America."
If the schools are doing their job, we should expect educators to point to the significant and indisputable
achievement in raising the intellectual level of the nation - measured perhaps by larger
per capita circulation of books and serious magazines, by definitely improved taste in movies
and radio programs, by the higher standards of political debate, by increased respect for freedom of speech
and of thought, by marked decline in such evidence of mental retardation as the incessant reading of comic
books by adults.
--A. E. Bestor, Education Wastelands, 1953
"Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very
accurate. From 30,000 feet, every single bomb always hits the ground."
--U.S. Air Force ammunition memo.
"We are not a young people with a blank record and a scant inheritance. We have won for ourselves, in times when other powerful nations were paralysed by barbarism or internal war, an exceptional, disproportionate share of the wealth and traffic of the world. We have got all we want in territory, but our claim to be left in undisputed enjoyment of vast and splendid possessions, largely acquired by war and largely maintained by force, is one which often seems less reasonable to others than to us."
--First Sea Lord Winston Churchill, January 1914 address to Parliament, later edited for public consumption in "The World Crisis"
Do we seriously want to change the institutions of Saudi Arabia? The brief answer is no; over the years we have sought to preserve these institutions, sometimes in preference to more democratic forces coursing throughout the region. King Fahd [of Saudi Arabia] has stated quite unequivocally that democratic institutions are not appropriate for this society. What is interesting is that we do not seem to disagree.
--James Schlesinger, Secretary of Defense 1973-1975, quoted by Alain Gresh, "The Legacy of Desert Storm: A European Perspective," Journal of Palestine Studies 26/4 (Summer 1997).
But out of the gobbledygook, comes a very clear thing: [unclear] you can't trust the government; you can't believe what they say; and you can't rely on their judgment; and the - the implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this, because it shows that people do things the President wants to do even though it's wrong, and the President can be wrong.
"Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear --- kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervour --- with the cry of grave national emergency. Always, there has been some terrible evil at home, or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real . . . "
--Douglas MacArthur A Soldier Speaks: Public Papers and Speeches of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur
ed. Vorin E. Whan, Jr. (New York, 1965), p. 333.
"I disclaim all patriotism incompatible with the principles of eternal justice."
We hear about constitutional rights, free speech and the free press. Every time I hear these words I say to myself, "That man is a Red, that man is a Communist." You never hear a real American talk like that.
--Frank Hague, mayor of Jersey City, 1938.
Tears sprang to her eyes, as they always did when the thought struck her that particular prerogative was back: the right of the sovereign to condemn, to put to the question, without due process and for reasons of state; that on that sore point all the Revolutions in Britain and America had been for nothing, That America had been for nothing: that dismayed her.
"In all my 24 years with the paper I never saw a foreign intervention that the Times did not support, never saw a fare increase or a rent increase or a utility rate increase that it did not endorse, never saw it take the side of labor in a strike or lockout, or advocate a raise for underpaid workers. And don't let me get started on universal health care and Social Security. So why do people think the Times is liberal?"
--John Hess, veteran reporter for the New York Times.
"See, in my line of work, you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
--George W. Bush, Greece, New York. May 24, 2005
"People don't want to go to war. ... After all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same way in any country."
--Hermann Goering, Nuremburg, April 18th, 1946
"The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something we are missing."
--Gamaal Abdel Nasser, 1957
This Constitution, with all its faults ... can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it,
when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.
--Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention, September 17, 1787
"Members of the vicious military juntas in Latin America took their ill-gotten gains into retirement along with
their amnesties against prosecution for murder and torture, but democracy in Nicaragua, after the Sandinista movement
overthrew the Somoza dictatorship, was something Washington refused to abide. Not only did it train and
supply the Contra rebels, but it showed contempt for international law by having the US navy lay mines outside
Nicaraguan ports and assist attacks on harbours, oil installations and naval bases. When Nicaragua brought
the US before the International Court of Justice, the US argued at first that the Court had no jurisdiction. When
that argument lost, it ungraciously walked out, announcing it would not be bound by any decision that did not suit
the interests of America. Then it withdrew its agreement under the Optional Clause, so that it could not be forced
before the Court again. This arrogant attitude did not seem to matter to Cold War allies at the time, but when it
resurfaced in 1997 at Ottawa (where America refused to sign the convention banning anti-personnel land mines), and
at Rome in 1998 (where the US voted against the creation of an International Criminal Court), they were sorely displeased.
The nation with the most to offer the human rights movement in the twenty-first century will, it appears, do so
only on the strict condition that other countries are the targets."
--Geoffrey Robertson, Crimes Against Humanity p 67, 1999
"Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table."
These principles of human nature, you'll say, are contradictory: but what is man but a heap of contradictions.
"What's the point of being the greatest, most powerful nation in the world and not having an imperial role?"
"The central political fact is that a dollar standard places the direction of the world monetary policy in the hands of a single
country, which thereby acquires great influence over the economic destiny of others. It is one thing to sacrifice sovereignty
in the interests of interdependence; it is quite another when the relationship is one way. The difference is that between the
EEC and a colonial empire. ... The fact is that acceptance of the dollar standard necessarily implies a degree of asymmetry
in power which, althought it actually existed in the early post-war years, had vanished by the time the world found itself
sliding to a relunctant dollar standard."
--John Williamson, The Failure of International Monetary Reform, 1971-74, p.37, 1977
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will."
Social conformity is the beginning and end of virtue.
A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government
--Edward Abbey, 1927-1989
My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball. But tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward! Upward not forward! And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!
If loyalty to party is a form of patriotism, I am no patriot. If there is any valuable difference between a monarchist and an American, it lies in the theory that the American can decide for himself what is patriotic and what isn't. I claim that difference. I am the only person in the sixty millions that is privileged to dictate my patriotism.
The whole purpose of party organizations at every political level is to sift out, sidetrack and eliminate men of independent political ambition, men whom the party bosses cannot trust.
--Walter Karp, Indispensable Enemies, p. 73
The sudden emergence of an extraordinary, ruthless, antagonistic flaunting of US power is hard to understand, all the more so since it fits neither with long-tested imperial policies developed during the cold war, nor the interests of the US economy. The policies that have recently prevailed in Washington seem to all outsiders so mad that it is difficult to understand what is really intended. But patently a public assertion of global supremacy by military force is what is in the minds of the people who are at present dominating, or at least half-dominating, the policy-making in Washington. Its purpose remains unclear.
We often ignore history. None of us escape it.
"We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well. We must summon such detachment and intellectual integrity to our task that this trial will commend itself to posterity as fulfilling humanity's aspirations to do justice."
--US Chief Counsel Justice Jackson, November, 1945. Nuremberg.
There is the further disclosure of a deliberate bid to impose a hierarchical form of world order, in other words, an imperial structure on the rest of the world, by the official approach taken in
NSS 2002 toward its one plausible geopolitical rival, China. In discussing American plans for Asia-Pacific region China is given some patronizing advice, sure to cause consternation in the policy institutes at work in Beijing and Shanghai. The language is worth quoting: "In pursuing advanced military capabilities that can threaten its neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region, China is following an outdated path that, in the end, will hamper its own pursuit of national greatness. In time, China will find that social and political freedom is the only source of that greatness." [NSS 2002, 27] Apparently oblivious to the inconsistency, a few paragraphs later NSS 2002 suggests the essential reliance of the US on its military superiority: "It is time to reaffirm the essential role of American military strength. We must build our defenses beyond challenge." [p.29] And further, "[T]he unparalleled strength of the United States armed forces, and their forward presence, have maintained the peace in some of the world's most strategically vital reigons." [p.29] To lecture China (and presumably others) about the outdatedness of military power while spending devoting more resources to its military budget than the next fifteen countries combined can only be understood as a message from the imperial capital to a subordinate part of the empire.
It is the most radical assault on the notion of one nation, indivisible, that has occurred in our lifetime. I'll be frank with you: I simply don't understand it - or the malice in which it is steeped. Many people are nostalgic for a golden age. These people seem to long for the Gilded Age. That I can grasp. They measure America only by their place on the material spectrum and they bask in the company of the new corporate aristocracy, as privileged a class as we have seen since the plantation owners of antebellum America and the court of Louis IV. What I can't explain is the rage of the counter-revolutionaries to dismantle every last brick of the social contract.
"The problems of the United States can be captiously summed up in two words: Russia abroad, labor at home."
--Charles E. Wilson, president of General Electric and War Production Board vice chairman. 1946.
The causes of the malady are not entirely clear but its recurrence is one of the uniformities of history: power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is peculiarly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God's favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations -- to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image.
--Former US Senator William Fulbright, 'The Arrogance of Power', 1966
Terrorism is not an enemy. It cannot be defeated. It's a tactic. It's about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks and expect we're going to win that war.
We are not going to win the war on terrorism. And it does whip up fear. Acts of terror have never brought down liberal democracies. Acts of parliament have closed a few.
--US Army General William E. Odom (ret.), 11/2002, Washington Journal
"Terrorists? That's what the big army calls the little army!"
Defining terrorism as warfare implies that terrorism is boundless violence. Warfare may seem to equate to extreme violence; however, warfare is not limitless and unreasoned violence. It has restrictions and limits. The military has the laws of land warfare, the Geneva Conventions, Hague Convention, et al. The military does not target civilian, religious, humanitarian, or diplomatic targets, both military and civilian, with impunity and does not accept the rules of warfare. Warfare, unlike terrorism, is not unbridled violence.
Terrorism is not the greatest threat to the U.S. military. A greater threat could be the increasing tendency of the military to believe that civilian authorities understand the problem less than the war fighters do. Applying the war fighter mentality to terrorism oversimplifies a complex concept.
--Hruska, an instructor in the terrorism Counteraction Branch, Department of Advanced MP Training, U.S. Army Military Police School, Fort McClellan, AL. Military Police, PB 19-88-3, 1988.
Violence has always been the favored recourse of the stupid: it is the one form of
stupidity to which it is almost impossible to come up with an intelligent response.
The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages, though it is apt to be also the most terrible and inhuman. The rude, fierce settler who drives the savage from the land lays all civilized mankind under a debt to him. American and Indian, Boer and Zulu, Cossack and Tartar, New Zealander and Maori -- in each case the victor, horrible though many of his deeds are, has laid deep the foundations for the greatness of a mighty people.
REPORTER: Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of Western Civilization?
MR. GANDHI: I think it would be a good idea.
One cannot in the nature of things expect a little tree that has been turned into a club to put forth leaves.
Terror is in the human heart. We must remove this terror from the heart. Destroying the human heart, both physically and psychologically, is what we should avoid. The root of terrorism should be identified so that it can be removed. The root of terrorism is misunderstanding, hatred and violence. This root cannot be located by the military. Bombs and missiles cannot reach it, let alone destroy it. Only with the practice of calming and looking deeply can our insight reveal and identify this root. Only with the practice of deep listening and compassion can it be transformed and removed.
--Thich Nhat Hanh, Shanghai 19 October, 2001
Terrorism is not a matter of altitude.
Affirms once again its recognition of the legitimacy of the struggle
of the peoples under colonial and alien domination to exercise their right to
self-determination and independence by
all the necessary means at their disposal.
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.
--Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, June 7, 1797. Signed by President John Adams.
I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth.
The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.
I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!
--John Adams, from a Letter to Thomas Jefferson
Among the most detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses. Here is an order, attributed to 'God' to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers and to debauch and rape the daughters. I would not dare so dishonor my Creator's name by (attaching) it to this filthy book (the Bible). It is the duty of every true Deist to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible. Accustom a people to believe that priests and clergy can forgive sins...and you will have sins in abundance. The Christian church has set up a religion of pomp and revenue in pretended imitation of a person (Jesus) who lived a life of poverty.
Denominated a Deist, the reality of which I have never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian.
What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy.
Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise....During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.
Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.
...Some books against Deism fell into my hands....It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quote to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations, in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.
--Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography
The Doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.
"If by the accumulation of irresistible evidence we are driven--may not one say permitted--to accept Evolution as God's method in creation, it is a mistaken policy to glory in what it cannot account for. The reason why men grudge to Evolution each of its fresh claims to show how things have been made is the groundless fear that if we discover how they are made we minimize their divinity. When things are known, that is to say, we conceive them as natural, on Man's level; when they are unknown, we call them divine--as if our ignorance of a thing were the stamp of its divinity. If God is only to be left to the gaps in our knowledge, where shall we be when these gaps are filled up? And if they are never to be filled up, is God only to be found in the dis-orders of the world? ... an immanent God, which is the God of Evolution, is infinitely grander than the occasional wonder-worker, who is the God of an old theology."
--Henry Drummond, Evangelical lecturer, The Lowell Lectures, Boston. 1893
"the Gaza Strip had no significant Biblical influence such as Joseph's tomb or Rachel's tomb and therefore is a piece of land that can be sacrificed for the cause of peace."
--Elliott Abrams, Director of NSC Near East and North African Affairs, to the Apostolic Congress, March 25th, 2004.
"A passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation facilitates the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, infuses into one the enmities of the other, and betrays the former into participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It also gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, who devote themselves to the favorite nation, facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country."
"Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests."
[re: the Bible says homosexuality is an abomination, Leviticus 18:22] "I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophmore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it OK to call the police? Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?"
--Aaron Sorkin/Jed Bartlett, The West Wing, Season 2
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
"The fraud of democracy, I contend, is more amusing than any other, more amusing even, and by miles, than the fraud of religion. Go into your praying-chamber and give sober thought to any of the more characteristic democratic inventions: say, Law Enforcement. Or to any of the typical democratic prophets: say, the late Archangel Bryan. If you don't come out paled and palsied by mirth then you will not laugh on the Last Day itself, when Presbyterians step out of the grave like chicks from the egg, and wings blossom from their scapulae, and they leap into interstellar space with roars of joy."
The bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people
The theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
It gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.
"When choosing between two evils, I always like to take the one I've never tried before."
--Mae West, "Klondike Annie"
Don't hate the Nader, hate the Game.
--Andrew Fife, oratory at Farragut's. Chicago, April 2004.
"The only way that Democracy can be made bearable is by developing and cherishing a class of men sufficiently honest and disinterested to challenge the prevailing quacks. No such class has ever appeared in strength in the United States. Thus the business of harassing quacks revolves upon the newspapers. When they fail in their duty, which is usually, we are at the quacks' mercy."
"In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry . . . every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions . . . and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society - the farmers, mechanics, and laborers, - have neither the time nor the means for securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government."
--President Andrew Jackson
"It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. ... Another effect of public instability is the unreasonable advantage it gives to the sagacious, the enterprising, and the moneyed few over the industrious and uniformed mass of the people. Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any way affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens. This is a state of things in which it may be said with some truth that laws are made for the FEW, not for the MANY."
"When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters."
"Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance - where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks - the case for the state's helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong."
"Nor can certain harmful effects of deforestation, or some methods of farming, or of the smoke and noise of factories be confined to the owner of the property in question or to those who are willing to submit to the damage for an agreed compensation. In such instances we must find some substitute for the regulation by the price mechanism."
"When the institutions or public works which are beneficial to the whole society, either cannot be maintained altogether, or are not maintained altogether by the contribution of such particular members of the society as are most immediately benefited by them, the deficiency must in most cases be made up by the general contribution of the whole society. The general revenue of the society, over and above defraying the expence of defending the society, and of supporting the dignity of the chief magistrate, must make up for the deficiency of many particular branches of revenue."
"The wants of the Union are to be supplied in one way or another ... as far as there may be any real difficulty in the exercise of the power of internal taxation, it will impose a disposition to greater care in the choice and arrangement of the means; and must naturally tend to make it a fixed point of policy in the national administration to go as far as may be practicable in making the luxury of the rich tributary to the public treasury"
--Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist 36
Such is the frailty of the human heart that very few men who have no property have any judgment of their own. They talk and vote as they are directed by some man of property who has attached their minds to his interest. ... If the multitude is possessed of the balance of real estate, the multitude will have the balance of power, and in that case the multitude will take care of the liberty, virtue, and interest of the multitude in all acts of government.
All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.
"The consumer is sometimes represented as the person whose desires govern industry. Actually, he is an
ignorant person who buys in the dark. He takes what he can get at the price he can afford. He is told
what he wants, and then he wants it. He rides in a packed subway because he has to, and he buys a
certain kind of soap because it has been thrust upon his soul. Where there is a monopoly the consumer
is, of course, helpless, and where there is competition he is almost entirely at the mercy of advertising."
- Do not change performance, but change public perception of business performance through education and information.
- If Changes in public perception are not possible, change the symbols used to describe business performance, thereby making it congruent with public perception. Note that no change in actual performance is called for.
- In case both (1) and (2) are ineffective, bring about changes in business performance, thereby closely matching it with society's expectations.
--S. Prakesh Sethi, Advocacy Advertising and Large Corporations, Heath Lexington. 1977.
"A knowledge of the Science of Number is of minor importance; skill in the Art of Reckoning is absolutely indispensible."
--C.F. Howard, The Art of Computation, San Francisco, 1879
"Much in the way of political theory ... depends on the assumptions one makes about the sources of political attitudes ... If one assumes
that political preferences are simply plugged into the system by leaders (business or other) in order to extract what they want from the system, then
the model of plebiscitory democracy is substantially equivalent to the model of totalitarian rule."
--Prof. Robert Dahl, 'Business and Politics: A Critical Appraisal of Political Science', in Social Science Research on Business: Product and Potential, Columbia University Press, New York, 1959, pp. 37-8
Popular election may work fairly well as long as those questions are not raised which cause the holders of wealth and industrial power to make full use of their opportunities. But if the rich people in any modern state thought it worth their while ... to subscribe a third of their income to a political fund, no Corrupt Practices Act yet invented would prevent them spending it. If they did so there is so much skill to be bought, and the art of using skill for the production of emotion and opinion has so far advanced, that the whole condition of political contests would be changed for the future.
A.L. Lowell, president of Harvard University, 1926. Public Opinion and Popular Government, based on lectures at John Hopkins in 1909.
The most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property....A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes actuated by different sentiments and views.
--James Madison, Federalist 10
"We are inevitably the mouthpiece for whatever administration is in power. If the president stands up and says something, we report what the president said. [Contrary arguments are put] in the eighth paragraph, where they're not on the front page, a lot of people don't read that far."
"The white race deems itself to be the dominant superior race in this country, and so it is in prestige and achievements and education and wealth and in power. So I doubt not it will continue to be for all time only if it remains true to its great heritage, but in view of the Constitution and in the eyes of the law, there is in this country no superior dominant ruling class of citizens, there is no caste here. Our Constitution is colorblind."
--Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlen, dissenting opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896.
In 1883 the Indian Religious Crimes Code was enforced in Reservation Courts as Board of Indian Affairs policy. This policy of Indian "zero tolerance" prohibited Native American ceremonial activity under penalty of imprisonment and withholding of rations for up to 10 days; medicine men "who shall resort to any artifice or device to keep the Indians of the Reservation from adopting and following civilized habits and pursuits,.... for the first offense shall be imprisoned for no less than ten days nor more than thirty days." (Josephy, Now That The Buffalo's Gone, p.85). It was not until 1978 under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act that First Amendment protection of freedom of religion was afforded to Native Americans, essentially two hundred years after the Bill of Rights.
Even though the Court admitted that the case involved use of "federal land in a manner that threatens the very existence of a Native American Religion," it chose to reverse the lower courts because such usage neither "coerce[s] conduct inconsistent with religious belief nor penalize[s] activity." However, free exercise addresses "any form of governmental action that frustrates or inhibits religious practice." The effect of the decision is to "refuse to acknowledge the constitutional injury the respondents will suffer," thereby leaving them with "absolutely no constitutional protection against perhaps the gravest threat to their religious practices." The decision in Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Assn. (1988) effectively stripped Native Americans of legal safeguards protecting worship at sacred sites because it prioritized federal property rights over the needs of a minority religion.
--Craig R. Smith, The Center for First Amendment Studies, California State University, Long Beach; Religious Freedom.
"We've seen the benefits of free trade and lived through the disasters of protectionism. Tonight I ask all our trading partners, developed and developing alike, to join us in a new round of trade negotiations to expand trade and competition and strengthen the global economy"
In recent months the administration has accelerated its provocation of trade warfare with the European Economic Community over steel; with Japan over autos, airline service and high-technology products; and with the Third World over sugar and textiles. Mr. Reagan has even extended quotas on imported clothespins, citing the national interest.
President Reagan has granted more import relief to U.S. industry than any of his predecessors in more than half a century.
--Treasurey Secretary James Baker, quoted by Lindley Clark, "Reaganomics Reassessed," Wall Street Journal, Sept. 24, 1987, p. 26.
Capitalism's biggest political enemies are not the firebrand trade unionists spewing vitriol against the system but the executives in pin-striped suits extolling the virtues of competitive markets with every breath while attempting to extinguish them with every action.
...globalization had smeared things out into a worldwide layer of "what a Pakistani bricklayer would consider prosperity."
--Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
When the world deviates from the principles, as it usually does, the simple lessons go astray. This is not a complaint against math. It is a complaint against indiscriminate application of the deductive method, sometimes called the Ricardian vice, to problems of human action.
In November 1956 we had a choice. The reason for going to war then was the need to destroy the fedayeen, who did not represent a danger to the existence of the state...
In June 1967 we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.
We did not do this for lack of an alternative. We could have gone on waiting. We could have sent the army home. Who knows if there would have been an attack against us? There is no proof of it. There are several arguments to the contrary.
"As usual, it's complete madness."
It was precisely one such wide-ranging anomaly that gave rise in the last century to what has been called "the worker question", sometimes described as "the proletariat question." This question and the problems connected with it gave rise to a just social reaction and caused the impetuous emergence of a great burst of solidarity between workers, first and foremost industrial workers. The call to solidarity and common action addressed to the workers-especially to those engaged in narrowly specialized, monotonous and depersonalized work in industrial plants, when the machine tends to dominate man - was important and eloquent from the point of view of social ethics. It was the reaction against the degradation of man as the subject of work, and against the unheard-of accompanying exploitation in the field of wages, working conditions and social security for the worker. This reaction united the working world in a community marked by great solidarity.
Following the lines laid down by the Encyclical Rerum Novarum and many later documents of the Church's Magisterium, it must be frankly recognized that the reaction against the system of injustice and harm that cried to heaven for vengeance and that weighed heavily upon workers in that period of rapid industrialization was justified from the point of view of social morality.
Democracy is fine so long as people think the right thoughts.
--Pope John Paul II, the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, 1995.
We pause like commas in the uproar
We have little interest in changing the system
Evidently we should all shut up
Just as standing still
Is mitigated by looking away
So the march of full stops
Littering this page and others
Oh it's a story something to charm them
In the interval between waking and rising
--Jacqueline Waters, Triangulated, 2001
"Shopped around for a party... Well, I looked at the Republicans. Decided talking to a conservative is like talking to your refrigerator. You know, the light goes on, the light goes off, it's not gonna do anything that isn't built into it. But I'm not gonna talk to a conservative any more than I talk to my damn refrigerator.
Working for the Democratic party, now, that's kind of like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
So I created my own party: it's called the Sloth and Indolence Party. I'm running as an anarchist candidate in the best sense of that word. I've studied the presidency carefully. I have seen that our best presidents were the do-nothing presidents: Millard Fillmore, Warren G. Harding. When you have a president who does things we are all in serious trouble. If he does anything at all: if he gets up at night to go to the bathroom, somehow, mystically, trouble will ensue."
I believe in only one thing: liberty, but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.
The enemy isn't conservatism. The enemy isn't liberalism. The enemy is bullshit.
"My political opinions lean more and more to anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs).... There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting factories and power stations."
When a task cannot be partitioned because of sequential constraints, the application of more effort has no effect on the schedule. The bearing of a child takes nine months, no matter how many women are assigned.
--Frederick Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering
If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you're a one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind.
--Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.
Police are clubbing a man at one of those public assemblies deemed unfit for the public. The man protests, "But I'm an anti-communist!" To which the officer replies, "We don't care what kind of communist you are!"
Anarchism [from the Greek, contrary to authority], is the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government - harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilised being.
--Petr Kropotkin, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition. 1905
"Definition is always finite, but I keep straining for the faraway; I search beyond the barricades (of words, of senses, of the world) for infinity, where all, all the lines meet."
-Vladimir Nabokov, The Gift
"America is a glory of a country, and a glorious idea for a country, and we would be saved now by the love of it if the idea of the love of it hadn't been strip-mined and left ugly."
Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read
history, is man's original virtue. It is through
disobedience and rebellion that progress has been made.
The meaning of words had no longer the same relation to things, but was changed by them as they thought proper. Reckless daring was held to be loyal courage; prudent delay was the excuse of a coward; moderation was the disguise of unmanly weakness; to know everything was to do nothing. Frantic energy was the true quality of a man. A conspirator who wanted to be safe was a recreant in disguise. The lover of violence was always trusted, and his opponent suspect.
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
SMASHING NOT LESSEN HULK'S WILLINGNESS TO BE VULNERABLE TO JOY.
The major problem -- one of the major problems, for there are several -- one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them. To summarize: it is a well known fact, that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.
--Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy the Radio Scripts
When the crop ripened, he came quickly carrying a sickle and harvested it. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!
The moving finger writes, and having writ
Moves on: nor all your piety and wit
Will lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all your tears flush one word of it.