Democratic Values Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Democratic Values. Here they are! All 100 of them:

When the rate of return on capital exceeds the rate of growth of output and income, as it did in the nineteenth century and seems quite likely to do again in the twenty-first, capitalism automatically generates arbitrary and unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritocratic values on which democratic societies are based.
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
The conservatives are fools: They whine about the decay of traditional values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. Apparently it never occurs to them that you can't make rapid, drastic changes in the technology and the economy of a society without causing rapid changes in all other aspects of the society as well, and that such rapid changes inevitably break down traditional values.
Theodore J. Kaczynski (Industrial Society and Its Future)
There is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard's vote.
David Foster Wallace (Consider the Lobster and Other Essays)
In a truly free society, individuals are granted responsibility for themselves. Freedom necessitates that we learn how to provide for ourselves, contributing value in whatever form, to generate personal income. We then decide how we wish to spend or save earned income; freedom is the reward for fulfilling personal responsibilities.
Candace Owens (Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation)
You must realize from your studies, Miss Feng, with the complexity of our MEG society, algorithms have become indispensable for analysis and decision making in our data-saturated environment. Digitization creates information beyond the processing capacity of Human intelligence, yet provides a stable mental environment powered by a set of logical rules. That is how we keep order in Toronto MEG.” “Excuse me, Mr. Zhang,” Ke Hui said, somewhat uncomfortably, “but the invisibility of algorithmic systems and the obscurity of their operations hint at a society where algorithms do not reflect the public interest. Issues involving ethics and values I mean, from my reading of MEG history, challenge the assumptions of the neutrality of algorithmic systems. Would this not undermine democratic governance through reliance on technocratic resolutions?
Brian Van Norman (Against the Machine: Evolution)
The importation and enslavement of millions of lack people, the destruction of the American Indian population, the internment of Japanese American, the use of napalm against civilians in Vietnam, all are harsh policies that originated in the authority of a democratic nation, and were responded to with the expected obedience.
Stanley Milgram (Obedience to Authority)
The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The methods may (at first) differ in brutality. But many a mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany: 'Traditional values are to be debunked' and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in one lucky generation which has learned how to do it.
C.S. Lewis (The Abolition of Man)
I am told by people all the time that they simply do not have time to read and listen to all the material they have purchased or subscribed to. But time is democratic and just. Everyone has the same amount. When I choose to read with my mid morning coffee break and you choose to blather about trivia with friends, when I choose to study for an hour sitting on my backyard deck at day's end but you choose to watch a TIVO'd American Idol episode, we reveal much. When someone says he does not have the time to apply himself to acquiring the know-how required to create sufficient value for his stated desires, he is a farmer surrounded by ripe fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and a herd of cattle on his own property who dies of starvation, unable to organize his time and discipline himself to eat.
Dan S. Kennedy
It is the fate of great achievements, born from a way of life that sets truth before security, to be gobbled up by you and excreted in the form of shit. For centuries great, brave, lonely men have been telling you what to do. Time and again you have corrupted, diminished and demolished their teachings; time and again you have been captivated by their weakest points, taken not the great truth, but some trifling error as your guiding principal. This, little man, is what you have done with Christianity, with the doctrine of sovereign people, with socialism, with everything you touch. Why, you ask, do you do this? I don't believe you really want an answer. When you hear the truth you'll cry bloody murder, or commit it. … You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman. You had the choice between Lenin's truly democratic constitution and Stalin's dictatorship. You chose Stalin's dictatorship. You had your choice between Freud's elucidation of the sexual core of your psychic disorders and his theory of cultural adaptation. You dropped the theory of sexuality and chose his theory of cultural adaptation, which left you hanging in mid-air. You had your choice between Jesus and his majestic simplicity and Paul with his celibacy for priests and life-long compulsory marriage for yourself. You chose the celibacy and compulsory marriage and forgot the simplicity of Jesus' mother, who bore her child for love and love alone. You had your choice between Marx's insight into the productivity of your living labor power, which alone creates the value of commodities and the idea of the state. You forgot the living energy of your labor and chose the idea of the state. In the French Revolution, you had your choice between the cruel Robespierre and the great Danton. You chose cruelty and sent greatness and goodness to the guillotine. In Germany you had your choice between Goring and Himmler on the one hand and Liebknecht, Landau, and Muhsam on the other. You made Himmler your police chief and murdered your great friends. You had your choice between Julius Streicher and Walter Rathenau. You murdered Rathenau. You had your choice between Lodge and Wilson. You murdered Wilson. You had your choice between the cruel Inquisition and Galileo's truth. You tortured and humiliated the great Galileo, from whose inventions you are still benefiting, and now, in the twentieth century, you have brought the methods of the Inquisition to a new flowering. … Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal. 'Why so tragic?' you ask. 'Do you feel responsible for all evil?' With remarks like that you condemn yourself. If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place. Your great friends wouldn't perish, struck down by your smallness.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
Both political parties have moved to the right during the neoliberal period. Today’s New Democrats are pretty much what used to be called “moderate Republicans.” The “political revolution” that Bernie Sanders called for, rightly, would not have greatly surprised Dwight Eisenhower. The fate of the minimum wage illustrates what has been happening. Through the periods of high and egalitarian growth in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the minimum wage—which sets a floor for other wages—tracked productivity. That ended with the onset of neoliberal doctrine. Since then, the minimum wage has stagnated (in real value). Had it continued as before, it would probably be close to $20 per hour. Today, it is considered a political revolution to raise it to $15.
Noam Chomsky
The principle of equality, which is at the core of democratic values, has very little meaning in a world in which global oligarchy is taking over.
bell hooks
In reality, freedom is aristocratic, not democratic. With sorrow we must recognize the fact that freedom is dear only to those men who think creatively. It is not very necessary to those who do not value thinking. In the so-called democracies, based on the principle of popular sovereignty, a considerable proportion of the people are those who have not yet become conscious of themselves as free beings, bearing within themselves the dignity of freedom. Education to freedom is something still ahead of us, and this will not be achieved in a hurry.
Nikolai A. Berdyaev
I once heard a Chicago-area pastor put it this way: we don't need more Americans bowing down to the Democrat donkey or the Republican elephant. We need more Americans bowing down to the Lion of Judah.
Todd Starnes (God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values)
Captured by the ideological animus, both socialist and liberal-democratic art abandoned the criterion of beauty - considered anachronistic and of dubious political value - and replaced it with the criterion of correctness.
Ryszard Legutko (Triumf człowieka pospolitego)
Respect and salute your democratic values and system; otherwise, you will obey and salute your enemies; it risks a defeat of your national dignity and solidarity.
Ehsan Sehgal
In Israel, we spent time working on several kibbutzim. It was unique experience and a very different type of culture than I was used to. I enjoyed picking grapefruits, netting fish on the "fish farm", and doing other agricultural work. Mostly, however, it was the structure of the community that impressed me. People there were living their democratic values. The kibbutz was owned by the people who lived there, the "bosses" were elected by the workers, and overall decisions for the community were made democratically. I recall being impressed by how young-looking and alive the older people there were. Democracy, it seemed, was good for one's health.
Bernie Sanders (Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In)
Socialism lost its way largely when it became decoupled from the processes of democracy. My vision of a socially just society is one that is deeply democratic, that allows people’s voices to be heard, where people actually govern. C.L.R James sometimes used the slogan “every cook can govern” to speak to the concept that there should be no hierarchies of power between those who lead and their constituencies. This idea is related to Antonio Gramsci’s argument that the goal of the revolutionary party is for every member to be an intellectual. That is, everyone has the capacity, has the ability to articulate a vision of reality and to fight for the realization of their values and goals in society. Gramsci is pointing toward the development of a strategy that is deeply democratic, one where we don’t have elitist, vanguardist notions of what society should look like, but have humility and the patience to listen to and learn from working class and poor people, who really are at the center of what any society is.
Manning Marable
The democratic age mourns the value of human beings.
Harold Bloom (The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages)
We should pick our battles carefully, while simultaneously attempting to empathize a bit with the so-called enemy. We should approach the news and media with a healthy dose of skepticism and avoid painting those who disagree with us with a broad brush. We should prioritize values of being honest, fostering transparency, and welcoming doubt over the values of being right, feeling good, and getting revenge. These “democratic” values are harder to maintain amidst the constant noise of a networked world. But we must accept the responsibility and nurture them regardless. The future stability of our political systems may depend on it. There
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
Evangelicals hadn’t betrayed their values. Donald Trump was the culmination of their half-century-long pursuit of a militant Christian masculinity. He was the reincarnation of John Wayne, sitting tall in the saddle, a man who wasn’t afraid to resort to violence to bring order, who protected those deemed worthy of protection, who wouldn’t let political correctness get in the way of saying what had to be said or the norms of democratic society keep him from doing what needed to be done. Unencumbered by traditional Christian virtue, he was a warrior in the tradition (if not the actual physical form) of Mel Gibson’s William Wallace. He was a hero for God-and-country Christians in the line of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Oliver North, one suited for Duck Dynasty Americans and American Christians. He was the latest and greatest high priest of the evangelical cult of masculinity.
Kristin Kobes Du Mez (Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation)
The philosophical assumptions, underlying values, social relations, customs, and overall outlooks on life differ significantly among civilizations. The revitalization of religion throughout much of the world is reinforcing these cultural differences. Cultures can change, and the nature of their impact on politics and economics can vary from one period to another. Yet the major differences in political and economic development among civilizations are clearly rooted in their different cultures. East Asian economic success has its source in East Asian culture, as do the difficulties East Asian societies have had in achieving stable democratic political systems. Islamic culture explains in large part the failure of democracy to emerge in much of the Muslim world.
Samuel P. Huntington (The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order)
Though the United States has made many mistakes in its eventful history, it has retained the ability to mobilize others because of its commitment to lead in the direction most want to go—toward liberty, justice, and peace. The issue before us now is whether America can continue to exhibit that brand of leadership under a president who doesn’t appear to attach much weight to either international cooperation or democratic values. The answer matters because, although nature abhors a vacuum, Fascism welcomes one.
Madeleine K. Albright (Fascism: A Warning)
Fascism talks ideology, but it is really just marketing—marketing for power. It is recognizable by its need to purge, by the strategies it uses to purge, and by its terror of truly democratic agendas. It is recognizable by its determination to convert all public services to private entrepreneurship, all nonprofit organizations to profit-making ones—so that the narrow but protective chasm between governance and business disappears. It changes citizens into taxpayers—so individuals become angry at even the notion of the public good. It changes neighbors into consumers—so the measure of our value as humans is not our humanity or our compassion or our generosity but what we own. It changes parenting into panicking—so that we vote against the interests of our own children; against their health care, their education, their safety from weapons. And in effecting these changes it produces the perfect capitalist, one who is willing to kill a human being for a product (a pair of sneakers, a jacket, a car) or kill generations for control of products (oil, drugs, fruit, gold).
Toni Morrison (The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations)
Republicans have succeeded with a social agenda that gets people to vote against their own interests while the Democrats are so elitist that they can't tap into the anger that's real.
Peter Applebome (Dixie Rising: How the South Is Shaping American Values, Politics, and Culture)
For agrarians, the correct response is to stand confidently on our fundamental premise, which is both democratic and ecological: the land is a gift of immeasurable value. If it is a gift, then it is a gift to all the living in all time. To withhold it from some is finally to destroy it for all. For a few powerful people to own or control it all, or decide its fate, is wrong.
Wendell Berry (The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry)
The Profit function: Individual profits cause collective growth and prosperity. It is necessary for individual people and businesses to profit in a Permaculture Economy where justice is maintained and fairly applied. Profits are earned when efficiency is mastered. With profits, individuals invest in (a) new and innovative means of production which will allow more profits, or (b) buying products and services from other individuals who are also seeking profit by providing value. Profits also incentivize individuals to be productive participants in society to begin with. If there will be no profit in an activity, business or industry, then individuals will decline participation in that activity, business or industry. Since profits are only possible when buyers are satisfied with the productivity of sellers, then it is also true that an individuals willingness to participate in an activity, business or industry is preceded by the buyers satisfaction which allows the seller to profit. But when buyers are dissatisfied and decline participation, it forces sellers to decline participation. Inversely, if profits are eradicated through the force of price-controls by the government, then sellers will decline participation which then causes buyers to decline participation. And when both sellers and buyers decline participation, then whole industries and economies collapse.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr. (Principles of a Permaculture Economy)
The point of democratic socialism is not to impose a general consensus regarding what matters, but to sustain a form of life that makes it possible for us to own the question of what is worth doing with our lives—what we value individually as well as collectively—as an irreducible question of our lives.
Martin Hägglund (This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom)
As to the 'Left' I'll say briefly why this was the finish for me. Here is American society, attacked under open skies in broad daylight by the most reactionary and vicious force in the contemporary world, a force which treats Afghans and Algerians and Egyptians far worse than it has yet been able to treat us. The vaunted CIA and FBI are asleep, at best. The working-class heroes move, without orders and at risk to their lives, to fill the moral and political vacuum. The moral idiots, meanwhile, like Falwell and Robertson and Rabbi Lapin, announce that this clerical aggression is a punishment for our secularism. And the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, hitherto considered allies on our 'national security' calculus, prove to be the most friendly to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Here was a time for the Left to demand a top-to-bottom house-cleaning of the state and of our covert alliances, a full inquiry into the origins of the defeat, and a resolute declaration in favor of a fight to the end for secular and humanist values: a fight which would make friends of the democratic and secular forces in the Muslim world. And instead, the near-majority of 'Left' intellectuals started sounding like Falwell, and bleating that the main problem was Bush's legitimacy. So I don't even muster a hollow laugh when this pathetic faction says that I, and not they, are in bed with the forces of reaction.
Christopher Hitchens (Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left)
Any ideology built around a notion of destiny—nationalism and socialism alike—runs the risk of calamity. The solution is a banal one: valuing and protecting rights and liberties, while ensuring that ordinary people are not only consulted through mass rallies but actually have democratic avenues to make choices and hold their leaders accountable. Without this bedrock, any postcapitalist society risks creating a new caste of oppressors.
Bhaskar Sunkara (The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality)
The people who call themselves conservatives say, 'We have to maintain family values by preventing women from having a choice as to whether they will have children, and then by not giving them any support when they have to take care of their children. That's how we preserve family values.' The internal contradictions are amazing.
Noam Chomsky (Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire (American Empire Project))
Never far removed from the progressive consciousness was a question that was never easily answered: of what value was it to punish offending Democrats, if one merely replaced them with infinitely more retrograde Republicans?
David Pietrusza (1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America)
In Calvin’s time, one might have had a hereditary occupation. And as recently as the 1970s, it was possible to compose a working life centered around the steady accumulation of experience, and be valued in the workplace for that experience; for what you have become. But, as the sociologist Richard Sennett has shown in his studies of contemporary work, it has become difficult to experience the repose of any such settled identity. The ideal of being experienced has given way to the ideal of being flexible. What is demanded is an all-purpose intelligence, the kind one is certified to have by admission to an elite university, not anything in particular that you might have learned along the way. You have to be ready to reinvent yourself at any time, like a good democratic Übermensch. And while in Calvin’s time the threat of damnation might have been dismissed by some as a mere superstition, with our winner-take-all economy the risk of damnation has acquired real teeth. There is a real chance that you may get stuck at the bottom.
Matthew B. Crawford (The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction)
Sometimes, when I look at my work at the newspaper and squint in just the right way, I can even see it as a microcosm of democracy itself. After all, every staff member participates in the creation of each issue. I solicit their ideas. I value the contributions of women and minorities. Of course, I wasn't democratically elected, but what newspaper chief ever was?
Jennifer Steil (The Woman Who Fell from the Sky)
We like to keep separate the evils of our national past from the sacredness of our ideals. That separation allows us to maintain a pristine idea of America despite all of the ugly things we have done. Americans can celebrate the founding fathers even when we hear John Adams declare to King George, “We will not be your negroes” or learn that Thomas Jefferson wasn’t so consistent in his defense of freedom. We keep treating America like we have a great blueprint and we’ve just strayed from it. But the fact is that we’ve built the country true. Black folk were never meant to be full-fledged participants in this society. The ideas of freedom and equality, of liberty and citizenship did not apply to us, precisely because we were black. Hell, the ability to vote for the majority of black people wasn’t guaranteed until 1965. The value gap limited explicitly the scope and range of democratic life in this country. So when folks claim that American democracy stands apart from white supremacy, they are either lying or they have simply stuck their head in the sand.
Eddie S. Glaude Jr. (Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul)
As neoliberalism wages war on public goods and the very idea of a public, including citizenship beyond membership, it dramatically thins public life without killing politics. Struggles remain over power, hegemonic values, resources, and future trajectories. This persistence of politics amid the destruction of public life and especially educated public life, combined with the marketization of the political sphere, is part of what makes contemporary politics peculiarly unappealing and toxic— full of ranting and posturing, emptied of intellectual seriousness, pandering to an uneducated and manipulable electorate and a celebrity-and-scandal-hungry corporate media. Neoliberalism generates a condition of politics absent democratic institutions that would support a democratic public and all that such a public represents at its best: informed passion, respectful deliberation, aspirational sovereignty, sharp containment of powers that would overrule or undermine it.
Wendy Brown (Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution (Near Future Series))
Every Republican's voted for it. Look at what they value and look at their budget and what they're proposing. Romney wants to let the - he said in the first 100 days he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules - unchain Wall Street. They're gonna put y'all back in chains.
Joe Biden
My conception of freedom. -- The value of a thing sometimes does not lie in that which one attains by it, but in what one pays for it -- what it costs us. I shall give an example. Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. Their effects are known well enough: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic -- every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization. These same institutions produce quite different effects while they are still being fought for; then they really promote freedom in a powerful way. On closer inspection it is war that produces these effects, the war for liberal institutions, which, as a war, permits illiberal instincts to continue. And war educates for freedom. For what is freedom? That one has the will to assume responsibility for oneself. That one maintains the distance which separates us. That one becomes more indifferent to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings for one's cause, not excluding oneself. Freedom means that the manly instincts which delight in war and victory dominate over other instincts, for example, over those of "pleasure." The human being who has become free -- and how much more the spirit who has become free -- spits on the contemptible type of well-being dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, females, Englishmen, and other democrats. The free man is a warrior. How is freedom measured in individuals and peoples? According to the resistance which must be overcome, according to the exertion required, to remain on top. The highest type of free men should be sought where the highest resistance is constantly overcome: five steps from tyranny, close to the threshold of the danger of servitude. This is true psychologically if by "tyrants" are meant inexorable and fearful instincts that provoke the maximum of authority and discipline against themselves; most beautiful type: Julius Caesar. This is true politically too; one need only go through history. The peoples who had some value, who attained some value, never attained it under liberal institutions: it was great danger that made something of them that merits respect. Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit, and forces us to be strong. First principle: one must need to be strong -- otherwise one will never become strong. Those large hothouses for the strong -- for the strongest kind of human being that has so far been known -- the aristocratic commonwealths of the type of Rome or Venice, understood freedom exactly in the sense in which I understand it: as something one has and does not have, something one wants, something one conquers
Friedrich Nietzsche
Excellent book. When I found out he was the narrator had to buy it. Did read the hard copy back in 2007. Missed his voice so much, intelligent, inspiring speeches. Fall in love with him at the 2004 Democratic convention. 〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓 텔 - KrTop "코리아탑" 〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓〓 His work in Chicago, ambitious political journey, how he met his wife. Values, American history, family and his understanding of the issues we are facing. He had the Audacity of Hope to do something about them, but his hands was tied at his back, legs knocked under him. One think I never understood; if we all are God's children and we all bleed red, why all this hate?
텔 - KrTop "코리아탑"Excellent book. When I found out he was the
He came to three conclusions which explained to him the success of the Social Democrats: They knew how to create a mass movement, without which any political party was useless; they had learned the art of propaganda among the masses; and, finally, they knew the value of using what he calls “spiritual and physical terror.
William L. Shirer (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich)
Historically one of the main defects of constitutional government has been the failure to insure the fair value of political liberty. The necessary corrective steps have not been taken, indeed, they never seem to have been seriously entertained. Disparities in the distribution of property and wealth that far exceed what is compatible with political equality have generally been tolerated by the legal system. Public resources have not been devoted to maintaining the institutions required for the fair value of political liberty. Essentially the fault lies in the fact that the democratic political process is at best regulated rivalry; it does not even in theory have the desirable properties that price theory ascribes to truly competitive markets. Moreover, the effects of injustices in the political system are much more grave and long lasting than market imperfections. Political power rapidly accumulates and becomes unequal; and making use of the coercive apparatus of the state and its law, those who gain the advantage can often assure themselves of a favored position. Thus inequities in the economic and social system may soon undermine whatever political equality might have existed under fortunate historical conditions. Universal suffrage is an insufficient counterpoise; for when parties and elections are financed not by public funds but by private contributions, the political forum is so constrained by the wishes of the dominant interests that the basic measures needed to establish just constitutional rule are seldom properly presented. These questions, however, belong to political sociology. 116 I mention them here as a way of emphasizing that our discussion is part of the theory of justice and must not be mistaken for a theory of the political system. We are in the way of describing an ideal arrangement, comparison with which defines a standard for judging actual institutions, and indicates what must be maintained to justify departures from it.
John Rawls (A Theory of Justice)
There is a desire for socialism on the other side of crisis, a society that does away not with the category of worker, but with the imposition workers suffer under the approach of variable capital. In other words, the mark of its conceptual anxiety is in its desire to democratize work and thus help to keep in place and ensure the coherence of Reformation and Enlightenment foundational values of productivity and progress. This scenario crowds out other post-revolutionary possibilities, i.e. idleness etc.
Frank B. Wilderson III
In accordance with the prevailing conceptions in the U.S., there is no infringement on democracy if a few corporations control the information system: in fact, that is the essence of democracy. In the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the leading figure of the public relations industry, Edward Bernays, explains that “the very essence of the democratic process” is “the freedom to persuade and suggest,” what he calls “the engineering of consent.” “A leader,” he continues, “frequently cannot wait for the people to arrive at even general understanding … Democratic leaders must play their part in … engineering … consent to socially constructive goals and values,” applying “scientific principles and tried practices to the task of getting people to support ideas and programs”; and although it remains unsaid, it is evident enough that those who control resources will be in a position to judge what is “socially constructive,” to engineer consent through the media, and to implement policy through the mechanisms of the state. If the freedom to persuade happens to be concentrated in a few hands, we must recognize that such is the nature of a free society.
Noam Chomsky (Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies)
What’s going on, I want to suggest, is that race and sex have become more than mechanisms to secure group loyalty for the Democratic left. In addition, they have become tactics of intimidation. The socialist left uses these mechanisms to force people to grovel and submit to its worldview. They want to overturn your moral code and replace it with their moral code. The economist John Maynard Keynes once called this “immoralism,” recognizing that it represented a kind of inversion of traditional moral values.
Dinesh D'Souza (United States of Socialism: Who's Behind It. Why It's Evil. How to Stop It.)
In the final analysis, what is it that we call popular, democratic power? Beyond the expressed will of the people, as it is supposedly formulated, there is no appeal; here we meet the absolute, the universal, the indivisible, and the immovable. There is nothing a priori, nothing anterior to democratic power; no ideas of truth, no notions of good or bad, can bind the Popular Will. This 'will' is free in the sense that it stands above all notions of value. It is egalitarian because it is reared on arithmetic equality..It is not open to any appeal, it listens to no demand for grace, no plea for compassion. Like the Sphinx, the Popular Will is immovable in its enigmatic silence.
Tage Lindbom (The Myth of Democracy)
The ideological fantasies of this movement [New Left of the 1960s] … were no more than a nonsensical expression of the whims of spoilt middle-class children, and while the extremists among them were virtually indistinguishable from Fascist thugs, the movement did without doubt express a profound crisis of faith in the values that had inspired democratic societies for many decades.… The New Left explosion of academic youth was an aggressive movement born of frustration, which easily created a vocabulary for itself out of Marxist slogans … : liberation, revolution, alienation, etc. Apart from this, its ideology really has little in common with Marxism. It consists of “revolution” without the working class; hatred of modern technology as such; …the cult of primitive societies … as the source of progress; hatred of education and specialized knowledge.
Leszek Kołakowski (Main Currents Of Marxism: The Founders, The Golden Age, The Breakdown)
[T]here is both an intrinsic and instrumental value to privacy. Intrinsically, privacy is precious to the extent that it is a component of a liberty. Part of citizenship in a free society is the expectation that one's personal affairs and physical person are inviolable so long as one remains within the law. A robust concept of freedom includes the freedom from constant and intrusive government surveillance of one's life. From this perspective, Fourth Amendment violations are objectionable for the simple fact that the government is doing something it has no licence to do–that is, invading the privacy of a law-abiding citizen by monitoring her daily activities and laying hands on her person without any evidence of wrongdoing. Privacy is also instrumental in nature. This aspect of the right highlights the pernicious effects, rather than the inherent illegitimacy, of intrusive, suspicionless surveillance. For example, encroachments on individual privacy undermine democratic institutions by chilling free speech. When citizens–especially those espousing unpopular viewpoints–are aware that the intimate details of their personal lives are pervasively monitored by government, or even that they could be singled out for discriminatory treatment by government officials as a result of their First Amendment expressive activities, they are less likely to freely express their dissident views.
John W. Whitehead (A Government Of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State)
Democratic politics is about persuasion, not self-expression. I’m here, I’m queer will never provoke more than a pat on the head or a roll of the eyes. Accept that you will never agree with people on everything—that’s to be expected in a democracy. One effect of engaging in social movements tied to identity is that you’ve been surrounded by the like-minded and like-faced and like-educated. Impose no purity tests on those you would convince. Not everything is a matter of principle—and even when something is, there are usually other, equally important principles that might have to be sacrificed to preserve this one. Moral values are not pieces in a puzzle where everything has been precut to fit.
Mark Lilla (The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics)
The process which, if not checked, will abolish Man goes on apace among Communists and Democrats no less than among Fascists. The methods may (at first) differ in brutality. But many a mild-eyed scientist in pince-nez, many a popular dramatist, many an amateur philosopher in our midst, means in the long run just the same as the Nazi rulers of Germany. Traditional values are to be ‘debunked’ and mankind to be cut out into some fresh shape at the will (which must, by hypothesis, be an arbitrary will) of some few lucky people in one lucky generation which has learned how to do it. The belief that we can invent ‘ideologies’ at pleasure, and the consequent treatment of mankind as mere ulh, specimens, preparations, begins to affect our very language. Once we killed bad men: now we liquidate unsocial elements. Virtue has become integration and diligence dynamism, and boys likely to be worthy of a commission are ‘potential officer material’. Most wonderful of all, the virtues of thrift and temperance, and even of ordinary intelligence, are sales-resistance.
C.S. Lewis (The Abolition of Man)
Opinions have no value, though the whole world is run on opinions. Opinions are limited. Your opinion, or my opinion, the opinions of the totalitarians, or the opinions of the church people and governments are all limited. Your judgments and opinions that give values are all limited. When you think about yourself from morning until night, as most people do, that is limited. When you say you are Swiss, or when you are proud to be British as though you are God’s chosen people, that is limited. So opinions are limited. When one sees that clearly, then one does not cling to opinions or the values that opinions have created, because your opinion against another opinion doesn’t bring about peace. That is what is happening in the world, one ideology against another ideology — communist, socialist, democrat, and so on. So please understand that if you are adhering to your opinion and I am sticking to mine, then we shall never meet. There must be freedom from opinion and values so that we are actually not holding back our opinions and using them as axes to beat each other, to kill each other. Opinions are limited and therefore they must inevitably bring about conflict. If you hold on to your limited conclusions, and another holds his limited conclusions, experiences, then there must be conflict, wars, destruction. If you see that very clearly, then opinions become very superficial, they have no meaning. Don’t have opinions, but be free to inquire, and in that inquiry act. The very inquiry is action; it is not that you inquire first and then act, but in the process of inquiry you are acting.
J. Krishnamurti (Where Can Peace Be Found?)
The contemporary West is the most individualistic era of all time. Its central values are in ethics, autonomy; in politics, individual rights; in culture, postmodernism; and in religion, ‘spirituality’. Its idol is the self, its icon the ‘selfie’, and its operating systems the free market and the post-ideological, managerial liberal democratic state. In place of national identities we have global cosmopolitanism. In place of communities we have flash-mobs. We are no longer pilgrims but tourists. We no longer know who we are or why.
Jonathan Sacks (Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence)
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, it seems that law-law is always better than war-war. This legal supremacism has now developed into an industry that threatens to usurp the democratic process itself. Instead of being governed by the rule of law, we increasingly have rule by lawyers. Instead of being the vehicle to convey a nation’s values, law has increasingly become a moral end in itself.
Melanie Phillips (Londonistan: Britain's Terror State from Within)
try a democratic environment. Ask your child’s opinions, make them feel as though they matter and their feelings are valued. The same time and energy spent on an argument later can be spent listening to their opinions in the first place. When you take your child’s feelings into consideration, when you ask their opinions, it makes them feel important even if they don’t always get their way.
Brian Tracy (How to Build Up Your Child Instead of Repairing Your Teenager)
Vladimir Putin pledges no allegiance to to the democratic articles of faith, but he does not explicitly renounce democracy. He disdains Western values while professing to identify with the West. He doesn’t care what the State Department puts in next year’s human rights report, because he has yet to pay a political price in his own country for the sins reported in prior years. He tells bald lies with a straight face, and when guilty of aggression, blames the victim. He has convinced many, apparently including the American president, that he is a master strategist, a man of strength and will. Confined to Russia, these facts would be sobering, but Putin, like Mussolini nine decades ago, is watched carefully in other regions by leaders who are tempted to follow in his footsteps. Some already are.
Madeleine K. Albright (Fascism: A Warning)
This job of international leadership is not the kind of assignment one ever finishes. Old dangers rarely go away completely, and new ones appear as regularly as dawn. Dealing with them effectively has never been a matter of just money and might. Countries and people must join forces, and that doesn’t happen naturally. Though the United States has made many mistakes in its eventful history, it has retained the ability to mobilize others because of its commitment to lead in the direction most want to go—toward liberty, justice, and peace. The issue before us now is whether America can continue to exhibit that brand of leadership under a president who doesn’t appear to attach much weight to either international cooperation or democratic values. The answer matters because, although nature abhors a vacuum, Fascism welcomes one.
Madeleine K. Albright (Fascism: A Warning)
Both the Democrats and the Republicans are peddling the exact same deception; and that bill of goods is that the Republicans represent the interests, values, and will of conservative Americans, and the Democrats represent the interests, values, and will of liberal Americans.
Joseph Befumo (The Republicrat Junta: How Two Corrupt Parties, in Collusion with Corporate Criminals, have Subverted Democracy, Deceived the People, and Hijacked Our Constitutional Government)
To combat socialism Bismarck put through between 1883 and 1889 a program for social security far beyond anything known in other countries. It included compulsory insurance for workers against old age, sickness, accident and incapacity, and though organized by the State it was financed by employers and employees. It cannot be said that it stopped the rise of the Social Democrats or the trade unions, but it did have a profound influence on the working class in that it gradually made them value security over political freedom and caused them to see in the State, however conservative, a benefactor and a protector. Hitler, as we shall see, took full advantage of this state of mind. In this, as in other matters, he learned much from Bismarck. “I studied Bismarck’s socialist legislation,” Hitler remarks in Mein Kampf (p. 155), “in its intention, struggle and success.
William L. Shirer (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany)
The system called capitalist democracy was not really democratic at all. That is why it was able to turn so quickly into the metanational system, in which democracy grew ever weaker and capitalism ever stronger. In which one percent of the population owned half of the wealth, and five percent of the population owned ninety-five percent of the wealth. History has shown which values were real in that system. And the sad thing is that the injustice and suffering caused by it were not at all necessary, in that the technical means have existed since the eighteenth century to provide the basics of life to all.
Kim Stanley Robinson (Blue Mars (Mars Trilogy, #3))
Wenn ich sagen soll, was mir neben dem Frieden wichtiger sei als alles andere, dann lautet meine Antwort ohne Wenn und Aber: Freiheit. Die Freiheit für viele, nicht nur für die wenigen. Freiheit des Gewissens und der Meinung. Auch Freiheit von Not und von Furcht.“ ("If I am to say what, besides peace, is more important to me than anything else, my unconditional answer is: Freedom. Freedom for the many, not merely for a few. Freedom of conscience and of opinion. And also freedom from poverty and fear.") Speech before an extraordinary convention of the Social Democratic Party in Bonn, Germany, June 14, 1987
Willy Brandt
After a few Republicans on the Houston city council supported the Democratic majority's proposal that stalled cars be towed immediately off the city's notoriously clotted freeways, local Republican officials promised retribution. 'We're not looking for council members who are going to go along and get along,' said Jared Woodfill, chairman of the Harris County Republican Party. 'We're looking for council members who are going to stand up for conservative values.' Surely, political ideology has teetered over some high cliff when towing can be described as a 'value.' What's next, a doctrine of potholes, the water pressure credo?
Bill Bishop (The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart)
Instead, the French Front National, the Dutch Party for Freedom, the Alliance for the Future of Austria and their like tend to argue that Western culture, as it has evolved in Europe, is characterised by democratic values, tolerance and gender equality, whereas Muslim culture, which evolved in the Middle East, is characterised by hierarchical politics, fanaticism and misogyny. Since the two cultures are so different, and since many Muslim immigrants are unwilling (and perhaps unable) to adopt Western values, they should not be allowed to enter, lest they foment internal conflicts and corrode European democracy and liberalism.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Gradually, however, the liberal story expanded its horizons, and at least in theory came to value the liberties and rights of all human beings without exception. As the circle of liberty expanded, the liberal story also came to recognize the importance of communist-style welfare programs. Liberty is not worth much unless it is coupled with some kind of social safety net. Social-democratic welfare states combined democracy and human rights with state-sponsored education and healthcare. Even the ultracapitalist United States has realized that the protection of liberty requires at least some government welfare services. Starving children have no liberties.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
The liberal story cherishes human liberty as its number one value. It argues that all authority ultimately stems from the free will of individual humans, as it is expressed in their feelings, desires and choices. In politics, liberalism believes that the voter knows best. It therefore upholds democratic elections. In economics, liberalism maintains that the customer is always right. It therefore hails free-market principles. In personal matters, liberalism encourages people to listen to themselves, be true to themselves, and follow their hearts – as long as they do not infringe on the liberties of others. This personal freedom is enshrined in human rights.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
The national curriculum for the Swedish preschool is twenty pages long and goes on at length about things like fostering respect for one another, human rights, and democratic values, as well as a lifelong desire to learn. The document's word choices are a pretty good clue to what Swedish society wants and expects from toddlers and preschoolers. The curriculum features the word "play" thirteen times, "language" twelve times, "nature" six times, and "math" five times. But there is not a single mention of "literacy" or "writing." Instead, two of the most frequently used words are "learning" (with forty-eight appearances) and "development" (forty-seven). The other Scandinavian countries have similar early childhood education traditions. In Finland, formal teaching of reading doesn't start until the child begins first grade, at age seven, and in the Finnish equivalent of kindergarten, which children enroll in the year they turn six, teachers will only teach reading if a child is showing an interest in it. Despite this lack of emphasis on early literacy, Finland is considered the most literate country in the world, with Norway coming in second, and Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden rounding out the top five, according to a 2016 study by Central Connecticut State University. John Miller, who conducted the study, noted that the five Nordic countries scored so well because "their monolithic culture values reading.
Linda Åkeson McGurk
The Democratic party in Louisiana just continued to move father and farther away from basic American values and farther away from the voters of Louisiana. And much farther away from me. So I just couldn’t take it anymore. And recently, there was some comments made in the Senate, the comments were that if anyone opposes what we frequently call Obamacare, if anyone opposes it, they do so only because the President is an African-American, and therefore, that position is racist. My mother, who’s 103 years old, called me on the telephone when she heard that. She said ‘Boy, I don’t want you to be involved in anything like that. I hope you disassociated yourself from that’ and I was on the verge of doing it anyway, and that was just the last straw,
Elbert Guillory
Universities today loudly proclaim their commitment to diversity. But in the meantime, democratization through public investment has been replaced by democratization through consumer credit, effectively transferring the costs of diversity back to the individual student and her family. The beauty of securitized credit is that it excludes no one a priori. By abstracting from class stratification in the present, it can accommodate all differences preemptively simply by pricing them at variable rates and deferring repayment to some barely imaginable point in the future. In principle, we all have access to a college education, no matter how much we or our parents earn. Yet, private credit does not merely obscure the effects of class; it also actively exacerbates inequality by forcing those without income or collateral to pay higher rates for the same service. When the long-term costs of credit begin to materialize and accumulate, students are once again confronted with the intractable resistances of class, race, and gender stratification. The divisions of family wealth reassert themselves with all their historical force.
Melinda Cooper (Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism (Near Future Series))
Another example is the modern political order. Ever since the French Revolution, people throughout the world have gradually come to see both equality and individual freedom as fundamental values. Yet the two values contradict each other. Equality can be ensured only by curtailing the freedoms of those who are better off. Guaranteeing that every individual will be free to do as he wishes inevitably short-changes equality. The entire political history of the world since 1789 can be seen as a series of attempts to reconcile this contradiction. Anyone who has read a novel by Charles Dickens knows that the liberal regimes of nineteenth-century Europe gave priority to individual freedom even if it meant throwing insolvent poor families in prison and giving orphans little choice but to join schools for pickpockets. Anyone who has read a novel by Alexander Solzhenitsyn knows how Communism’s egalitarian ideal produced brutal tyrannies that tried to control every aspect of daily life. Contemporary American politics also revolve around this contradiction. Democrats want a more equitable society, even if it means raising taxes to fund programmes to help the poor, elderly and infirm. But that infringes on the freedom of individuals to spend their money as they wish. Why should the government force me to buy health insurance if I prefer using the money to put my kids through college? Republicans, on the other hand, want to maximise individual freedom, even if it means that the income gap between rich and poor will grow wider and that many Americans will not be able to afford health care. Just as medieval culture did not manage to square chivalry with Christianity, so the modern world fails to square liberty with equality. But this is no defect. Such contradictions are an inseparable part of every human culture. In fact, they are culture’s engines, responsible for the creativity and dynamism of our species. Just
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Where the strongest natures are to be sought. The ruin and degeneration of the solitary species is much greater and more terrible: they have the instincts of the herd, and the tradition of values, against them; their weapons of defence, their instincts of self-preservation, are from the beginning insufficiently strong and reliable — fortune must be peculiarly favourable to them if they are to prosper (they prosper best in the lowest ranks and dregs of society; if ye are seeking personalities it is there that ye will find them with much greater certainty than in the middle classes!) When the dispute between ranks and classes, which aims at equality of rights, is almost settled, the fight will begin against the solitary person. (In a certain sense the latter can maintain and develop himself most easily in a democratic society: there where the coarser means of defence are no longer necessary, and a certain habit of order, honesty, justice, trust, is already a general condition.) The strongest must be most tightly bound, most strictly watched, laid in chains and supervised: this is the instinct of the herd. To them belongs a régime of self-mastery, of ascetic detachment, of 'duties' consisting in exhausting work, in which one can no longer call one's soul one's own.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Will to Power)
The coup that overthrew President Chavez of Venezuela in April 2002 was greeted with euphoria in Washington. The new president—a businessman—was instantly recognized and the hope expressed that stability and order would return to the country, thus creating the basis for solid future development. The New York Times editorialized in identical language. ... The coup was reversed three days later and Chavez then came back to power. The State Department soberly denied any prior knowledge about anything, saying it was all an internal matter. It was to be hoped that a peaceful, democratic, and constitutional solution to the difficulties would be arrived at, they said. The New York Times editorial followed suit, merely adding that perhaps it was not a good idea to embrace the overthrow of a democratically elected regime, however obnoxious, too readily if one of America's fundamental values was support for democracy.
David Harvey (The New Imperialism)
Unlike European empires, ours was supposed to entail a concert of equal, sovereign democratic American republics, with shared interests and values, led but not dominated by the United States—a conception of empire that remains Washington’s guiding vision. The same direction of influence is evident in any number of examples. The United States’s engagement with the developing world after World War II, for instance, is often viewed as an extension of its postwar policies in Europe and Japan, yet that view has it exactly backwards. Washington’s first attempts, in fact, to restructure another country’s economy took place in the developing world—in Mexico in the years after the American Civil War and in Cuba following the Spanish-American War. “We should do for Europe on a large scale,” remarked the U.S. ambassador to England in 1914, “essentially what we did for Cuba on a small scale and thereby usher in a new era of human history.
Greg Grandin (Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism (American Empire Project))
I begin this chapter with President Ronald Reagan’s Farewell Speech on January 11, 1989. President Reagan encouraged the rising generation to “let ’em know and nail ’em on it”—that is, to push back against teachers, professors, journalists, politicians, and others in the governing generation who manipulate and deceive them: An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn’t get these things from your family, you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed, you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-sixties. But now, we’re about to enter the nineties, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven’t reinstitutionalized it. We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs [protection]. So, we’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important—why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, 4 years ago on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who’d fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, “We will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.” Well, let’s help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson number one about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen, I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven’t been teaching you what it means to be an American, let ’em know and nail ’em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.1
Mark R. Levin (Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future)
As I finished my rice, I sketched out the plot of a pornographic adventure film called The Massage Room. Sirien, a young girl from northern Thailand, falls hopelessly in love with Bob, an American student who winds up in the massage parlor by accident, dragged there by his buddies after a fatefully boozy evening. Bob doesn't touch her, he's happy just to look at her with his lovely, pale-blue eyes and tell her about his hometown - in North Carolina, or somewhere like that. They see each other several more times, whenever Sirien isn't working, but, sadly, Bob must leave to finish his senior year at Yale. Ellipsis. Sirien waits expectantly while continuing to satisfy the needs of her numerous clients. Though pure at heart, she fervently jerks off and sucks paunchy, mustached Frenchmen (supporting role for Gerard Jugnot), corpulent, bald Germans (supporting role for some German actor). Finally, Bob returns and tries to free her from her hell - but the Chinese mafia doesn't see things in quite the same light. Bob persuades the American ambassador and the president of some humanitarian organization opposed to the exploitation of young girls to intervene (supporting role for Jane Fonda). What with the Chinese mafia (hint at the Triads) and the collusion of Thai generals (political angle, appeal to democratic values), there would be a lot of fight scenes and chase sequences through the streets of Bangkok. At the end of the day, Bob carries her off. But in the penultimate scene, Sirien gives, for the first time, an honest account of the extent of her sexual experience. All the cocks she has sucked as a humble massage parlor employee, she has sucked in the anticipation, in the hope of sucking Bob's cock, into which all the others were subsumed - well, I'd have to work on the dialogue. Cross fade between the two rivers (the Chao Phraya, the Delaware). Closing credits. For the European market, I already had line in mind, along the lines of "If you liked The Music Room, you'll love The Massage Room.
Michel Houellebecq (Platform)
The only reason anyone is "moderate" in matters of faith these days is that he has assimilated some of the fruits of the last two thousand years of human thought (democratic politics, scientific advancement on every front, concern for human rights, an end to cultural and geographic isolation, etc.). The doors leading out of scriptural literalism do not open from the inside (italicized). The moderation we see among nonfundamentalists is not some sign that faith itself has evolved; it is, rather, the product of the many hammer blows of modernity that have exposed certain tenets of faith to doubt. Not the least among these developments has been the emergence of our tendency to value evidence and to be convinced by a proposition to the degree that there is evidence for it.... Such concessions to modernity do not in the least suggest that faith is compatible with reason, or that our religious traditions are in principle open to new learning: it is just that the utility of ignoring (or "reinterpreting") certain articles of faith is now overwhelming.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
It is possible that the critics of cross-referencing worry that the practice of citing foreign decisions will lead American judges to decide cases not through legal analysis but through “nose-counting”—that is, tallying up the number of countries on each side.19 There is a further worry, not entirely unfounded, that foreign opinions are subject to misunderstanding, because American judges are unlikely to grasp the foreign contexts in which those decisions arise.20 Moreover, even if the decisions of foreign courts do not bind American judges, they can influence them—indeed, that is the very aim of the cross-referencing practice. Finally, those who see judges throughout the world as belonging to the same social caste—one sharing generally “leftish” political views, and perhaps including state court judges, law professors, and lawyers generally—may not believe that this influence is salutary. Wielded by those whom Americans have virtually no voice in choosing, this influence, it is feared, could easily get out of hand, undermining basic American democratic values.21
Stephen G. Breyer (The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities)
An economically weakened and isolationist America will call into question the Pax Americana, whereby the United States oversees international peace and security, and thus expose the world to the unpredictable whims and values of nondemocratic powers. These are not the solutions the world needs. Creating sustainable economic growth in the twenty-first century requires no less than aggressively retooling history’s greatest engine of growth, democratic capitalism itself. This requires a clear-eyed assessment of how ineffective the system is in its current state, politically as well as economically—and then implementing the repairs that will yield better outcomes. Too much is at stake for us to remain wedded to the status quo. The ominous rise of protectionism and nationalism throughout the world portend that the global economy and community are eroding already. The only way forward is to preserve the best of liberal democratic capitalism and to repair the worst. We cannot cling to past practices and old ideologies simply for their own sake. Doing nothing is no choice at all.
Dambisa Moyo (Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy Is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth-and How to Fix It)
This divide is characterized by the demonization and privatization of public services, including schools, the military, prisons, and even policing; by the growing use of prison as our primary resolution for social contradictions; by the degradation and even debasement of the public sphere and all those who would seek to democratically occupy it; by an almost complete abandonment of the welfare state; by a nearly religious reverence for marketized solutions to public problems; by the growth of a consumer culture that repeatedly emphasizes the satisfaction of the self over the needs of the community; by the corruption of democracy by money and by monied interests, what Henry Giroux refers to as “totalitarianism with elections”;88 by the mockery of a judicial process already tipped in favor of the powerful; by the militarization of the police; by the acceptance of massive global inequality; by the erasure of those unconnected to the Internet-driven modern economy; by the loss of faith in the very notion of community; and by the shrinking presence of the radical voices, values, and vision necessary to resist this dark neoliberal moment.89
Marc Lamont Hill (Nobody: Casualties of America's War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond)
My conception of freedom. — The value of a thing sometimes does not lie in that which one attains by it, but in what one pays for it — what it costs us. I shall give an example. Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. Their effects are known well enough: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic — every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization. These same institutions produce quite different effects while they are still being fought for; then they really promote freedom in a powerful way. On closer inspection it is war that produces these effects, the war for liberal institutions, which, as a war, permits illiberal instincts to continue. And war educates for freedom. For what is freedom? That one has the will to assume responsibility for oneself. That one maintains the distance which separates us. That one becomes more indifferent to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings for one's cause, not excluding oneself. Freedom means that the manly instincts which delight in war and victory dominate over other instincts, for example, over those of "pleasure." The human being who has become free — and how much more the spirit who has become free — spits on the contemptible type of well-being dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, females, Englishmen, and other democrats. The free man is a warrior. How is freedom measured in individuals and peoples? According to the resistance which must be overcome, according to the exertion required, to remain on top. The highest type of free men should be sought where the highest resistance is constantly overcome: five steps from tyranny, close to the threshold of the danger of servitude. This is true psychologically if by "tyrants" are meant inexorable and fearful instincts that provoke the maximum of authority and discipline against themselves; most beautiful type: Julius Caesar. This is true politically too; one need only go through history. The peoples who had some value, attained some value, never attained it under liberal institutions: it was great danger that made something of them that merits respect. Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit, and forces us to be strong. First principle: one must need to be strong — otherwise one will never become strong. Those large hothouses for the strong — for the strongest kind of human being that has so far been known — the aristocratic commonwealths of the type of Rome or Venice, understood freedom exactly in the sense in which I understand it: as something one has or does not have, something one wants, something one conquers.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Twilight of the Idols)
The (unratified) Preamble of the European Constitution begins by stating that it draws inspiration “from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, democracy, equality, freedom and the rule of law.”3 This may easily give one the impression that European civilization is defined by the values of human rights, democracy, equality, and freedom. Countless speeches and documents draw a direct line from ancient Athenian democracy to the present-day European Union, celebrating twenty-five hundred years of European freedom and democracy. This is reminiscent of the proverbial blind man who takes hold of an elephant’s tail and concludes that an elephant is a kind of brush. Yes, democratic ideas have been part of European culture for centuries, but they were never the whole. For all its glory and impact, Athenian democracy was a halfhearted experiment that survived for barely two hundred years in a small corner of the Balkans. If European civilization for the past twenty-five centuries has been defined by democracy and human rights, what are we to make of Sparta and Julius Caesar, of the Crusaders and the conquistadores, of the Inquisition and the slave trade, of Louis XIV and Napoleon, of Hitler and Stalin? Were they all intruders from some foreign civilization? In truth, European civilization is anything Europeans make of it, just as Christianity is anything Christians make of it, Islam is anything Muslims make of it, and Judaism is anything Jews make out of it. And they have made of it remarkably different things over the centuries. Human groups are defined more by the changes they undergo than by any continuity, but they nevertheless manage to create for themselves ancient identities thanks to their storytelling skills. No matter what revolutions they experience, they can usually weave old and new into a single yarn.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Paradoxically, many Western-oriented Islamic countries that are praised in the West for having “secularist” governments do not allow Western-style democratic practices; if they did in the sense of allowing people to really express their preferences, the result would be a much more Islamic government as far as the rule of the Sharī‘ah is concerned. This is because the vast majority of all Muslims, even in the most Westernized and modernized countries, would like to live according to the Sharī‘ah and to have their own freedom and democracy on the basis of their own understanding of these concepts and ideals rather than on how they are understood in the modern and postmodern West.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity)
Before embarking on this intellectual journey, I would like to highlight one crucial point. In much of this book I discuss the shortcomings of the liberal worldview and the democratic system. I do so not because I believe liberal democracy is uniquely problematic but rather because I think it is the most successful and most versatile political model humans have so far developed for dealing with the challenges of the modern world. While it might not be appropriate for every society in every stage of development, it has proven its worth in more societies and in more situations than any of its alternatives. So when we are examining the new challenges that lie ahead of us, it is necessary to understand the limitations of liberal democracy and to explore how we can adapt and improve its current institutions. Unfortunately, in the present political climate any critical thinking about liberalism and democracy might be hijacked by autocrats and various illiberal movements, whose sole interest is to discredit liberal democracy rather than to engage in an open discussion about the future of humanity. While they are more than happy to debate the problems of liberal democracy, they have almost no tolerance of any criticism directed at them. As an author, I was therefore required to make a difficult choice. Should I speak my mind openly and risk that my words might be taken out of context and used to justify burgeoning autocracies? Or should I censor myself? It is a mark of illiberal regimes that they make free speech more difficult even outside their borders. Due to the spread of such regimes, it is becoming increasingly dangerous to think critically about the future of our species. After some soul-searching, I chose free discussion over self-censorship. Without criticizing the liberal model, we cannot repair its faults or move beyond it. But please note that this book could have been written only when people are still relatively free to think what they like and to express themselves as they wish. If you value this book, you should also value the freedom of expression.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
What the most advanced researchers and theoreticians in all of science now comprehend is that the Newtonian concept of a universe driven by mass force is out of touch with reality, for it fails to account for both observable phenomena and theoretical conundrums that can be explained only by quantum physics: A quantum view explains the success of small efforts quite differently. Acting locally allows us to be inside the movement and flow of the system, participating in all those complex events occurring simultaneously. We are more likely to be sensitive to the dynamics of this system, and thus more effective. However, changes in small places also affect the global system, not through incrementalism, but because every small system participates in an unbroken wholeness. Activities in one part of the whole create effects that appear in distant places. Because of these unseen connections, there is potential value in working anywhere in the system. We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness. In what Wheatley calls “this exquisitely connected world,” the real engine of change is never “critical mass”; dramatic and systemic change always begins with “critical connections.”14 So by now the crux of our preliminary needs should be apparent. We must open our hearts to new beacons of Hope. We must expand our minds to new modes of thought. We must equip our hands with new methods of organizing. And we must build on all of the humanity-stretching movements of the past half century: the Montgomery Bus Boycott; the civil rights movement; the Free Speech movement; the anti–Vietnam War movement; the Asian American, Native American, and Chicano movements; the women’s movement; the gay and lesbian movement; the disability rights/pride movement; and the ecological and environmental justice movements. We must find ourselves amid the fifty million people who as activists or as supporters have engaged in the many-sided struggles to create the new democratic and life-affirming values that are needed to civilize U.S. society.
Grace Lee Boggs (The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century)
A great liberal betrayal is afoot. Unfortunately, many “fellow-travelers” of Islamism are on the liberal side of this debate. I call them “regressive leftists”; they are in fact reverse racists. They have a poverty of expectation for minority groups, believing them to be homogenous and inherently opposed to human rights values. They are culturally reductive in how they see “Eastern”—and in my case, Islamic—culture, and they are culturally deterministic in attempting to freeze their ideal of it in order to satisfy their orientalist fetish. While they rightly question every aspect of their “own” Western culture in the name of progress, they censure liberal Muslims who attempt to do so within Islam, and they choose to side instead with every regressive reactionary in the name of “cultural authenticity” and anticolonialism. They claim that their reason for refusing to criticize any policy, foreign or domestic—other than those of what they consider “their own” government—is that they are not responsible for other governments’ actions. However, they leap whenever any (not merely their own) liberal democratic government commits a policy error, while generally ignoring almost every fascist, theocratic, or Muslim-led dictatorial regime and group in the world. It is as if their brains cannot hold two thoughts at the same time. Besides, since when has such isolationism been a trait of liberal internationalists? It is a right-wing trait. They hold what they think of as “native” communities—and I use that word deliberately—to lesser standards than the ones they claim apply to all “their” people, who happen to be mainly white, and that’s why I call it reverse racism. In holding “native” communities to lesser—or more culturally “authentic”—standards, they automatically disempower those communities. They stifle their ambitions. They cut them out of the system entirely, because there’s no aspiration left. These communities end up in self-segregated “Muslim areas” where the only thing their members aspire to is being tin-pot community leaders, like ghetto chieftains. The “fellow-travelers” fetishize these “Muslim” ghettos in the name of “cultural authenticity” and identity politics, and the ghetto chieftains are often the leading errand boys for them. Identity politics and the pseudo-liberal search for cultural authenticity result in nothing but a downward spiral of competing medieval religious or cultural assertions, fights over who are the “real” Muslims, ever increasing misogyny, homophobia, sectarianism, and extremism. This is not liberal. Among the left, this is a remnant of the socialist approach that prioritizes group identity over individual autonomy. Among the right, it is ironically a throwback from the British colonial “divide and rule” approach. Classical liberalism focuses on individual autonomy. I refer here to liberalism as it is understood in the philosophical sense, not as it’s understood in the United States to refer to the Democratic Party—that’s a party-political usage. The great liberal betrayal of this generation is that in the name of liberalism, communal rights have been prioritized over individual autonomy within minority groups. And minorities within minorities really do suffer because of this betrayal. The people I really worry about when we have this conversation are feminist Muslims, gay Muslims, ex-Muslims—all the vulnerable and bullied individuals who are not just stigmatized but in many cases violently assaulted or killed merely for being against the norm.
Sam Harris (Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue)
A conscience that is forbidden to operate in the choice of goals for economic activity is not conscience in the sense in which any moralist, pagan or Christian, has every understood the term. And the family (which [Michael] Novak regards as vital to the spirit of democratic capitalism) is precisely the place where the noncapitalist values have to be learned, where one is not free to choose his company and where one is not free to pursue self-interest to the limit. Because capitalism pursues the opposite goals - freedom of each individual to choose and pursue his own ends to the limit of his power - the disintegration of marriage and family life is one of the obvious characteristics of advanced capitalist societies.
Lesslie Newbigin (Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture)
My short-term goals are to defend and even strengthen elements of state authority which, though illegitimate in fundamental ways, are critically necessary right now to impede the dedicated efforts to "roll back" the progress that has been achieved in extending democracy and human rights. State authority is now under severe attack in the more democratic societies, but not because it conflicts with the libertarian vision. Rather the opposite: because it offers (weak) protection to some aspects of that vision. Governments have a fatal flaw: unlike the private tyrannies, the institutions of state power and authority offer to the despised public an opportunity to play some role, however limited, in managing their own affairs. That defect is intolerable to the masters, who now feel, with some justification, that changes in the international economic and political order offer the prospects of creating a kind of "utopia for the masters," with dismal prospects for most of the rest. It should be unnecessary to spell out here what I mean. The effects are all too obvious even in the rich societies, from the corridors of power to the streets, countryside, and prisons. For reasons that merit attention but that lie beyond the scope of these remarks, the rollback campaign is currently spearheaded by dominant sectors of societies in which the values under attack have been realized in some of their most advanced forms, the English-speaking world; no small irony, but no contradiction either.
Noam Chomsky (Chomsky On Anarchism)
In a democratic society, presumably, the public business is carried on in conversation with the actual values of people who are the society. In a survey of North Carolinians in the 1970s, seventy-four percent agree with the statement: "Human rights come from God and not merely from laws." . . . North Carolinians may be more "traditional" than other Americans on these scores, although there is no reason to assume that. One suspects, rather, that there is among Americans a deep and widespread uneasiness about the denial of the obvious. The obvious is that, in some significant sense, this is, as the Supreme Court said in 1931, a Christian people. The popular intuition is that this fact ought, somehow, to make a difference. It is not an embarrassment to be denied or disguised. It is an inescapable part of what Bickel calls the "tradition of our society and of kindred societies that have gone before." Not only is it tradition in the sense of historic past; it is demonstrably the present source of moral vitalities by which we measure our virtues and hypocrisies. The notion that this is a secular society is relatively new. . . . In a democratic society, state and society must draw from the same moral well. In addition, because transcendence abhors a vacuum, the state that styles itself as secular will almost certainly succumb to secularism. Because government cannot help but make moral judgments of an ultimate nature, it must, if it has in principle excluded identifiable religion, make those judgments by "secular" reasoning that is given the force of religion. . . . More than that, the notion of the secular state can become the prelude to totalitarianism. That is, once religion is reduced to nothing more than privatized conscience, the public square has only two actors in it--the state and the individual. Religion as a mediating structure--a community that generates and transmits moral values--is no longer available as a countervailing force to the ambitions of the state. . . . No, the chief attack is upon the institutions that bear and promulgate belief in a transcendent reality by which the state can be called to judgment. Such institutions threaten the totalitarian proposition that everything is to be within the state, nothing is to be outside the state.
Richard John Neuhaus (The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America)
When the rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy (as it did through much of history until the nineteenth century and as is likely to be the case again in the twenty-first century), then it logically follows that inherited wealth grows faster than output and income. People with inherited wealth need save only a portion of their income from capital to see that capital grow more quickly than the economy as a whole. Under such conditions, it is almost inevitable that inherited wealth will dominate wealth amassed from a lifetime’s labor by a wide margin, and the concentration of capital will attain extremely high levels—levels potentially incompatible with the meritocratic values and principles of social justice fundamental to modern democratic societies.
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
(The term Islamist generally refers to people and parties who support a guiding role for Islam in politics and government. It covers a wide spectrum, from those who think Islamic values should inform public policy decisions to those who think all laws should be judged or even formulated by Islamic authorities to conform to Islamic law. Not all Islamists are alike. In some cases, Islamist leaders and organizations have been hostile to democracy, including some who have supported radical, extremist, and terrorist ideology and actions. But around the world, there are political parties with religious affiliations—Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Muslim—that respect the rules of democratic politics, and it is in America’s interest to encourage all religiously based political parties and leaders to embrace inclusive democracy and reject violence. Any suggestion that faithful Muslims or people of any faith cannot thrive in a democracy is insulting, dangerous, and wrong. They do it in our own country every day.)
Hillary Rodham Clinton (Hard Choices: A Memoir)
Having judged, condemned, abandoned his cultural forms, his language, his food habits, his sexual behavior, his way of sitting down, of resting, of laughing, of enjoying himself, the oppressed flings himself upon the imposed culture with the desperation of a drowning man. Developing his technical knowledge in contact with more and more perfected machines, entering into the dynamic circuit of industrial production, meeting men from remote regions in the framework of the concentration of capital, that is to say, on the job, discovering the assembly line, the team, production �time,� in other words yield per hour, the oppressed is shocked to find that he continues to be the object of racism and contempt. It is at this level that racism is treated as a question of persons. �There are a few hopeless racists, but you must admit that on the whole the population likes….� �With time all this will disappear.� �This is the country where there is the least amount of race prejudice.� �At the United Nations there is a commission to fight race prejudice.� Films on race prejudice, poems on race prejudice, messages on race prejudice. Spectacular and futile condemnations of race prejudice. In reality, a colonial country is a racist country. If in England, in Belgium, or in France, despite the democratic principles affirmed by these respective nations, there are still racists, it is these racists who, in their opposition to the country as a whole, are logically consistent. It is not possible to enslave men without logically making them inferior through and through. And racism is only the emotional, affective, sometimes intellectual explanation of this inferiorization. The racist in a culture with racism is therefore normal. He has achieved a perfect harmony of economic relations and ideology. The idea that one forms of man, to be sure, is never totally dependent on economic relations, in other words—and this must not be forgotten—on relations existing historically and geographically among men and groups. An ever greater number of members belonging to racist societies are taking a position. They are dedicating themselves to a world in which racism would be impossible. But everyone is not up to this kind of objectivity, this abstraction, this solemn commitment. One cannot with impunity require of a man that he be against �the prejudices of his group.� And, we repeat, every colonialist group is racist. �Acculturized� and deculturized at one and the same time, the oppressed continues to come up against racism. He finds this sequel illogical, what be has left behind him inexplicable, without motive, incorrect. His knowledge, the appropriation of precise and complicated techniques, sometimes his intellectual superiority as compared to a great number of racists, lead him to qualify the racist world as passion-charged. He perceives that the racist atmosphere impregnates all the elements of the social life. The sense of an overwhelming injustice is correspondingly very strong. Forgetting racism as a consequence, one concentrates on racism as cause. Campaigns of deintoxication are launched. Appeal is made to the sense of humanity, to love, to respect for the supreme values.
Frantz Fanon (Toward the African Revolution)
You find nothing like that among humans. Yes, human groups may have distinct social systems, but these are not genetically determined, and they seldom endure for more than a few centuries. Think of twentieth-century Germans, for example. In less than a hundred years the Germans organised themselves into six very different systems: the Hohenzollern Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the German Democratic Republic (aka communist East Germany), the Federal Republic of Germany (aka West Germany), and finally democratic reunited Germany. Of course the Germans kept their language and their love of beer and bratwurst. But is there some unique German essence that distinguishes them from all other nations, and that has remained unchanged from Wilhelm II to Angela Merkel? And if you do come up with something, was it also there 1,000 years ago, or 5,000 years ago? The (unratified) Preamble of the European Constitution begins by stating that it draws inspiration ‘from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which “have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, democracy, equality, freedom and the rule of law’.3 This may easily give one the impression that European civilisation is defined by the values of human rights, democracy, equality and freedom. Countless speeches and documents draw a direct line from ancient Athenian democracy to the present-day EU, celebrating 2,500 years of European freedom and democracy. This is reminiscent of the proverbial blind man who takes hold of an elephant’s tail and concludes that an elephant is a kind of brush. Yes, democratic ideas have been part of European culture for centuries, but they were never the whole. For all its glory and impact, Athenian democracy was a half-hearted experiment that survived for barely 200 years in a small corner of the Balkans. If European civilisation for the past twenty-five centuries has been defined by democracy and human rights, what are we to make of Sparta and Julius Caesar, of the Crusaders and the conquistadores, of the Inquisition and the slave trade, of Louis XIV and Napoleon, of Hitler and Stalin? Were they all intruders from some foreign civilisation?
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
David Brooks, “Our Founding Yuppie,” Weekly Standard, Oct. 23, 2000, 31. The word “meritocracy” is an argument-starter, and I have employed it sparingly in this book. It is often used loosely to denote a vision of social mobility based on merit and diligence, like Franklin’s. The word was coined by British social thinker Michael Young (later to become, somewhat ironically, Lord Young of Darlington) in his 1958 book The Rise of the Meritocracy (New York: Viking Press) as a dismissive term to satirize a society that misguidedly created a new elite class based on the “narrow band of values” of IQ and educational credentials. The Harvard philosopher John Rawls, in A Theory of Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971), 106, used it more broadly to mean a “social order [that] follows the principle of careers open to talents.” The best description of the idea is in Nicholas Lemann’s The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999), a history of educational aptitude tests and their effect on American society. In Franklin’s time, Enlightenment thinkers (such as Jefferson in his proposals for creating the University of Virginia) advocated replacing the hereditary aristocracy with a “natural aristocracy,” whose members would be plucked from the masses at an early age based on “virtues and talents” and groomed for leadership. Franklin’s idea was more expansive. He believed in encouraging and providing opportunities for all people to succeed as best they could based on their diligence, hard work, virtue, and talent. As we shall see, his proposals for what became the University of Pennsylvania (in contrast to Jefferson’s for the University of Virginia) were aimed not at filtering a new elite but at encouraging and enriching all “aspiring” young men. Franklin was propounding a more egalitarian and democratic approach than Jefferson by proposing a system that would, as Rawls (p. 107) would later prescribe, assure that “resources for education are not to be allotted solely or necessarily mainly according to their return as estimated in productive trained abilities, but also according to their worth in enriching the personal and social life of citizens.” (Translation: He cared not simply about making society as a whole more productive, but also about making each individual more enriched.)
Walter Isaacson (Benjamin Franklin: An American Life)
to be open and straightforward about their needs for attention in a social setting. It is equally rare for members of a group in American culture to honestly and openly express needs that might be in conflict with that individual’s needs. This value of not just honestly but also openly fully revealing the true feelings and needs present in the group is vital for it’s members to feel emotional safe. It is also vital to keeping the group energy up and for giving the feedback that allows it’s members to know themselves, where they stand in relation to others and for spiritual/psychological growth. Usually group members will simply not object to an individual’s request to take the floor—but then act out in a passive-aggressive manner, by making noise or jokes, or looking at their watches. Sometimes they will take the even more violent and insidious action of going brain-dead while pasting a jack-o’-lantern smile on their faces. Often when someone asks to read something or play a song in a social setting, the response is a polite, lifeless “That would be nice.” In this case, N.I.C.E. means “No Integrity or Congruence Expressed” or “Not Into Communicating Emotion.” So while the sharer is exposing his or her vulnerable creation, others are talking, whispering to each other, or sitting looking like they are waiting for the dental assistant to tell them to come on back. No wonder it’s so scary to ask for people’s attention. In “nice” cultures, you are probably not going to get a straight, open answer. People let themselves be oppressed by someone’s request—and then blame that someone for not being psychic enough to know that “Yes” meant “No.” When were we ever taught to negotiate our needs in relation to a group of people? In a classroom? Never! The teacher is expected to take all the responsibility for controlling who gets heard, about what, and for how long. There is no real opportunity to learn how to nonviolently negotiate for the floor. The only way I was able to pirate away a little of the group’s attention in the school I attended was through adolescent antics like making myself fart to get a few giggles, or asking the teacher questions like, “Why do they call them hemorrhoids and not asteroids?” or “If a number two pencil is so popular, why is it still number two,” or “What is another word for thesaurus?” Some educational psychologists say that western culture schools are designed to socialize children into what is really a caste system disguised as a democracy. And in once sense it is probably good preparation for the lack of true democratic dynamics in our culture’s daily living. I can remember several bosses in my past reminding me “This is not a democracy, this is a job.” I remember many experiences in social groups, church groups, and volunteer organizations in which the person with the loudest voice, most shaming language, or outstanding skills for guilting others, controlled the direction of the group. Other times the pain and chaos of the group discussion becomes so great that people start begging for a tyrant to take charge. Many times people become so frustrated, confused and anxious that they would prefer the order that oppression brings to the struggle that goes on in groups without “democracy skills.” I have much different experiences in groups I work with in Europe and in certain intentional communities such as the Lost Valley Educational Center in Eugene, Oregon, where the majority of people have learned “democracy skills.” I can not remember one job, school, church group, volunteer organization or town meeting in mainstream America where “democracy skills” were taught or practiced.
Kelly Bryson (Don't Be Nice, Be Real)
Free spirits, the ambitious, ex-socialists, drug users, and sexual eccentrics often find an attractive political philosophy in libertarianism, the idea that individual freedom should be the sole rule of ethics and government. Libertarianism offers its believers a clear conscience to do things society presently restrains, like make more money, have more sex, or take more drugs. It promises a consistent formula for ethics, a rigorous framework for policy analysis, a foundation in American history, and the application of capitalist efficiencies to the whole of society. But while it contains substantial grains of truth, as a whole it is a seductive mistake. . . . The most fundamental problem with libertarianism is very simple: freedom, though a good thing, is simply not the only good thing in life. . . . Libertarians try to get around this fact that freedom is not the only good thing by trying to reduce all other goods to it through the concept of choice, claiming that everything that is good is so because we choose to partake of it. Therefore freedom, by giving us choice, supposedly embraces all other goods. But this violates common sense by denying that anything is good by nature, independently of whether we choose it. . . . So even if the libertarian principle of “an it harm none, do as thou wilt,” is true, it does not license the behavior libertarians claim. Consider pornography: libertarians say it should be permitted because if someone doesn’t like it, he can choose not to view it. But what he can’t do is choose not to live in a culture that has been vulgarized by it. . . . There is no need to embrace outright libertarianism just because we want a healthy portion of freedom, and the alternative to libertarianism is not the USSR, it is America’s traditional liberties. . . . Paradoxically, people exercise their freedom not to be libertarians. The political corollary of this is that since no electorate will support libertarianism, a libertarian government could never be achieved democratically but would have to be imposed by some kind of authoritarian state, which rather puts the lie to libertarians’ claim that under any other philosophy, busybodies who claim to know what’s best for other people impose their values on the rest of us. . . . Libertarians are also naïve about the range and perversity of human desires they propose to unleash. They can imagine nothing more threatening than a bit of Sunday-afternoon sadomasochism, followed by some recreational drug use and work on Monday. They assume that if people are given freedom, they will gravitate towards essentially bourgeois lives, but this takes for granted things like the deferral of gratification that were pounded into them as children without their being free to refuse. They forget that for much of the population, preaching maximum freedom merely results in drunkenness, drugs, failure to hold a job, and pregnancy out of wedlock. Society is dependent upon inculcated self-restraint if it is not to slide into barbarism, and libertarians attack this self-restraint. Ironically, this often results in internal restraints being replaced by the external restraints of police and prison, resulting in less freedom, not more. This contempt for self-restraint is emblematic of a deeper problem: libertarianism has a lot to say about freedom but little about learning to handle it. Freedom without judgment is dangerous at best, useless at worst. Yet libertarianism is philosophically incapable of evolving a theory of how to use freedom well because of its root dogma that all free choices are equal, which it cannot abandon except at the cost of admitting that there are other goods than freedom. Conservatives should know better.
Robert Locke
Congress decided to put him on a committee to write a declaration explaining why the colonies were seeking independence. It was back in the days when Congress knew how to appoint really good committees: Franklin and Jefferson and John Adams were on it. They knew that leadership required not merely asserting values, but finding a balance when values conflict. We can see that in the deft editing of the famous sentence that opens the second paragraph of the Declaration. “We hold these truths to be sacred . . . ,” Jefferson had written. On the copy of his draft at the Library of Congress we can see the dark printer’s ink and backslashes of Franklin’s pen as he changes it to “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” His point was that our rights would come from rationality and the consent of the governed, not the dictates and dogma of any religion. Jefferson’s draft sentence went on to say that all men have certain inalienable rights. We can see Adams’s hand making an addition: “They are endowed by their Creator” with these inalienable rights. So just in the editing of one half of one sentence we can see how Franklin and his colleagues struck a unifying balance between the grace of divine providence and the role of democratic consent in the founding values of our nation.
Walter Isaacson (American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers & Heroes of a Hurricane)
was my first indication that the policies of Mamaw’s “party of the working man”—the Democrats—weren’t all they were cracked up to be. Political scientists have spent millions of words trying to explain how Appalachia and the South went from staunchly Democratic to staunchly Republican in less than a generation. Some blame race relations and the Democratic Party’s embrace of the civil rights movement. Others cite religious faith and the hold that social conservatism has on evangelicals in that region. A big part of the explanation lies in the fact that many in the white working class saw precisely what I did, working at Dillman’s. As far back as the 1970s, the white working class began to turn to Richard Nixon because of a perception that, as one man put it, government was “payin’ people who are on welfare today doin’ nothin’! They’re laughin’ at our society! And we’re all hardworkin’ people and we’re gettin’ laughed at for workin’ every day!”20 At around that time, our neighbor—one of Mamaw and Papaw’s oldest friends—registered the house next to ours for Section 8. Section 8 is a government program that offers low-income residents a voucher to rent housing. Mamaw’s friend had little luck renting his property, but when he qualified his house for the Section 8 voucher, he virtually assured that would change. Mamaw saw it as a betrayal, ensuring that “bad” people would move into the neighborhood and drive down property values. Despite our efforts to draw bright lines between the working and nonworking poor, Mamaw and I recognized that we shared a lot in common with those whom we thought gave our people a bad name. Those Section 8 recipients looked a lot like us. The matriarch of the first family to move in next door was born in Kentucky but moved north at a young age as her parents sought a better life. She’d gotten involved with a couple of men, each of whom had left her with a child but no support. She was nice, and so were her kids. But the drugs and the late-night fighting revealed troubles that too many hillbilly transplants knew too well. Confronted with such a realization of her own family’s struggle, Mamaw grew frustrated and angry. From that anger sprang Bonnie Vance the social policy expert: “She’s a lazy whore, but she wouldn’t be if she was forced to get a job”; “I hate those fuckers for giving these people the money to move into our neighborhood.” She’d rant against the people we’d see in the grocery store: “I can’t understand why people who’ve worked all their lives scrape by while these deadbeats buy liquor and cell phone coverage with our tax money.
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
Neoliberal economics, the logic of which is tending today to win out throughout the world thanks to international bodies like the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund and the governments to whom they, directly or indirectly, dictate their principles of ‘governance’,10 owes a certain number of its allegedly universal characteristics to the fact that it is immersed or embedded in a particular society, that is to say, rooted in a system of beliefs and values, an ethos and a moral view of the world, in short, an economic common sense, linked, as such, to the social and cognitive structures of a particular social order. It is from this particular economy that neoclassical economic theory borrows its fundamental assumptions, which it formalizes and rationalizes, thereby establishing them as the foundations of a universal model. That model rests on two postulates (which their advocates regard as proven propositions): the economy is a separate domain governed by natural and universal laws with which governments must not interfere by inappropriate intervention; the market is the optimum means for organizing production and trade efficiently and equitably in democratic societies. It is the universalization of a particular case, that of the United States of America, characterized fundamentally by the weakness of the state which, though already reduced to a bare minimum, has been further weakened by the ultra-liberal conservative revolution, giving rise as a consequence to various typical characteristics: a policy oriented towards withdrawal or abstention by the state in economic matters; the shifting into the private sector (or the contracting out) of ‘public services’ and the conversion of public goods such as health, housing, safety, education and culture – books, films, television and radio – into commercial goods and the users of those services into clients; a renunciation (linked to the reduction in the capacity to intervene in the economy) of the power to equalize opportunities and reduce inequality (which is tending to increase excessively) in the name of the old liberal ‘self-help’ tradition (a legacy of the Calvinist belief that God helps those who help themselves) and of the conservative glorification of individual responsibility (which leads, for example, to ascribing responsibility for unemployment or economic failure primarily to individuals, not to the social order, and encourages the delegation of functions of social assistance to lower levels of authority, such as the region or city); the withering away of the Hegelian–Durkheimian view of the state as a collective authority with a responsibility to act as the collective will and consciousness, and a duty to make decisions in keeping with the general interest and contribute to promoting greater solidarity. Moreover,
Pierre Bourdieu (The Social Structures of the Economy)
Equity financing, on the other hand, is unappealing to cooperators because it may mean relinquishing control to outside investors, which is a distinctly capitalist practice. Investors are not likely to buy non-voting shares; they will probably require representation on the board of directors because otherwise their money could potentially be expropriated. “For example, if the directors of the firm were workers, they might embezzle equity funds, refrain from paying dividends in order to raise wages, or dissipate resources on projects of dubious value.”105 In any case, the very idea of even partial outside ownership is contrary to the cooperative ethos. A general reason for traditional institutions’ reluctance to lend to cooperatives, and indeed for the rarity of cooperatives whether related to the difficulty of securing capital or not, is simply that a society’s history, culture, and ideologies might be hostile to the “co-op” idea. Needless to say, this is the case in most industrialized countries, especially the United States. The very notion of a workers’ cooperative might be viscerally unappealing and mysterious to bank officials, as it is to people of many walks of life. Stereotypes about inefficiency, unprofitability, inexperience, incompetence, and anti-capitalism might dispose officials to reject out of hand appeals for financial assistance from co-ops. Similarly, such cultural preconceptions may be an element in the widespread reluctance on the part of working people to try to start a cooperative. They simply have a “visceral aversion” to, and unfamiliarity with, the idea—which is also surely a function of the rarity of co-ops itself. Their rarity reinforces itself, in that it fosters a general ignorance of co-ops and the perception that they’re risky endeavors. Additionally, insofar as an anti-democratic passivity, a civic fragmentedness, a half-conscious sense of collective disempowerment, and a diffuse interpersonal alienation saturate society, this militates against initiating cooperative projects. It is simply taken for granted among many people that such things cannot be done. And they are assumed to require sophisticated entrepreneurial instincts. In most places, the cooperative idea is not even in the public consciousness; it has barely been heard of. Business propaganda has done its job well.106 But propaganda can be fought with propaganda. In fact, this is one of the most important things that activists can do, this elevation of cooperativism into the public consciousness. The more that people hear about it, know about it, learn of its successes and potentials, the more they’ll be open to it rather than instinctively thinking it’s “foreign,” “socialist,” “idealistic,” or “hippyish.” If successful cooperatives advertise their business form, that in itself performs a useful service for the movement. It cannot be overemphasized that the most important thing is to create a climate in which it is considered normal to try to form a co-op, in which that is seen as a perfectly legitimate and predictable option for a group of intelligent and capable unemployed workers. Lenders themselves will become less skeptical of the business form as it seeps into the culture’s consciousness.
Chris Wright (Worker Cooperatives and Revolution: History and Possibilities in the United States)
Businesses call this “profit.” Marx called it “surplus value.” For Marx, the crucial question is: Who gets this surplus value? Who is entitled to the profit that businesses accumulate? Marx insisted that this profit belongs wholly to the workers. They earned it, so they deserve to share it. In reality, however, the entrepreneur or the capitalist gets it. If he has investors, they too share it. Marx regarded this as the most scandalous form of exploitation. He insisted that workers spend only part of their day working to benefit themselves; the rest of the time they spend working to benefit the capitalists. Basically the capitalists are stealing from the workers. Yet Marx recognized that this was the essence of capitalism. Only a workers’ revolution, Marx believed, would end this unjust arrangement. Notice that Marx isn’t condemning the capitalist for taking “excessive” profits; he is condemning the capitalist for taking any profits. Marx, I want to emphasize, was not a progressive con man. He passionately believed that capitalists were greedy, corrupt exploiters. The reason he felt that way was that he was a complete ignoramus about business. He simply had no idea how businesses actually operate. Marx never ran a business. He never even balanced his checkbook. He was a lifelong leech. He had all his expenses paid for by his partner, Friedrich Engels, who inherited his father’s textile companies. Progressives like to portray Engels as a businessman but in fact he too didn’t actually operate the family business. He had people to do that for him. Freed from the need to work, Engels was a man of leisure and a part-time intellectual. Ironically Marx and Engels were both dependent on the very capitalism they scorned.
Dinesh D'Souza (Stealing America: What My Experience with Criminal Gangs Taught Me about Obama, Hillary, and the Democratic Party)
The Clintons’ last act before leaving the White House was to take stuff that didn’t belong to them. The Clintons took china, furniture, electronics, and art worth around $360,000. Hillary literally went through the rooms of the White House with an aide, pointing to things that she wanted taken down from shelves or out of cabinets or off the wall. By Clinton theft standards $360,000 is not a big sum, but it certainly underlines the couple’s insatiable greed—these people are not bound by conventional limits of propriety or decency. When the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee blew the whistle on this misappropriation, the Clintons first claimed that the stuff was given to them as gifts. Unfortunately for Hillary, gifts given to a president belong to the White House—they are not supposed to be spirited away by the first lady. The Clintons finally agreed to return $28,000 worth of gifts and reimburse the government $95,000, representing a fraction of the value of what they took. One valuable piece of art the Clintons attempted to steal was a Norman Rockwell painting showing the flame from Lady Liberty’s torch. Hillary had the painting taken from the Oval Office to the Clinton home in Chappaqua, but the Secret Service got wind of it and sent a car to Chappaqua to get it back. Hillary was outraged. Even here, though, the Clintons got the last laugh: they persuaded the Obama administration to let the Clinton Library have the painting, and there it hangs today. In Living History, Hillary put on a straight face and dismissed media reports about the topic. “The culture of investigation,” she wrote, “followed us out the door of the White House when clerical errors in the recording of gifts mushroomed into a full-blown flap, generating hundreds of news stories over several months.”17
Dinesh D'Souza (Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party)
This and Rothbard’s own life-long cultural conservatism notwithstanding, however, from its beginnings in the late 1960s and the founding of a libertarian party in 1971, the libertarian movement had great appeal to many of the counter-cultural left that had then grown up in the U.S. in opposition to the war in Vietnam. Did not the illegitimacy of the state and the non-aggression axiom imply that everyone was at liberty to choose his very own non-aggressive lifestyle, no matter what it was? Much of Rothbard’s later writings, with their increased emphasis on cultural matters, were designed to correct this development and to explain the error in the idea of a leftist multi-counter-cultural libertarianism, of libertarianism as a variant of libertinism. It was false—empirically as well as normatively—that libertarianism could or should be combined with egalitarian multiculturalism. Both were in fact sociologically incompatible, and libertarianism could and should be combined exclusively with traditional Western bourgeois culture; that is, the old-fashioned ideal of a family-based and hierarchically structured society of voluntarily acknowledged rank orders of social authority. Empirically, Rothbard did not tire to explain, the left-libertarians failed to recognize that the restoration of private-property rights and laissez-faire economics implied a sharp and drastic increase in social “discrimination.” Private property means the right to exclude. The modern social-democratic welfare state has increasingly stripped private-property owners of their right to exclude. In distinct contrast, a libertarian society where the right to exclude was fully restored to owners of private property would be profoundly unegalitarian. To be sure, private property also implies the owner’s right to include and to open and facilitate access to one’s property, and every private-property owner also faces an economic incentive of including (rather than excluding) so long as he expects this to increase the value of his property.
Anonymous
Our political system today does not engage the best minds in our country to help us get the answers and deploy the resources we need to move into the future. Bringing these people in—with their networks of influence, their knowledge, and their resources—is the key to creating the capacity for shared intelligence that we need to solve the problems we face, before it’s too late. Our goal must be to find a new way of unleashing our collective intelligence in the same way that markets have unleashed our collective productivity. “We the people” must reclaim and revitalize the ability we once had to play an integral role in saving our Constitution. The traditional progressive solution to problems that involve a lack of participation by citizens in civic and democratic processes is to redouble their emphasis on education. And education is, in fact, an extremely valuable strategy for solving many of society’s ills. In an age where information has more economic value than ever before, it is obvious that education should have a higher national priority. It is also clear that democracies are more likely to succeed when there is widespread access to high-quality education. Education alone, however, is necessary but insufficient. A well-educated citizenry is more likely to be a well-informed citizenry, but the two concepts are entirely different, one from the other. It is possible to be extremely well educated and, at the same time, ill informed or misinformed. In the 1930s and 1940s, many members of the Nazi Party in Germany were extremely well educated—but their knowledge of literature, music, mathematics, and philosophy simply empowered them to be more effective Nazis. No matter how educated they were, no matter how well they had cultivated their intellect, they were still trapped in a web of totalitarian propaganda that mobilized them for evil purposes. The Enlightenment, for all of its liberating qualities—especially its empowerment of individuals with the ability to use reason as a source of influence and power—has also had a dark side that thoughtful people worried about from its beginning. Abstract thought, when organized into clever, self-contained, logical formulations, can sometimes have its own quasi-hypnotic effect and so completely capture the human mind as to shut out the leavening influences of everyday experience. Time and again, passionate believers in tightly organized philosophies and ideologies have closed their minds to the cries of human suffering that they inflict on others who have not yet pledged their allegiance and surrendered their minds to the same ideology. The freedoms embodied in our First Amendment represented the hard-won wisdom of the eighteenth century: that individuals must be able to fully participate in challenging, questioning, and thereby breathing human values constantly into the prevailing ideologies of their time and sharing with others the wisdom of their own experience.
Al Gore (The Assault on Reason)
But Muslims now find themselves in a world shaped by western theories and western values. If we are to consider how Islamic communities conducted their affairs throughout the greater part of their history, it may be convenient to compare and contrast this way of life with the contemporary western model. Today the Muslims are urged to embrace democracy and are condemned for political corruption, while western scholars debate whether Islam can ever accommodate the democratic ideal. On the whole, they think not. Democracy, they believe, is a sign of political maturity and therefore of superiority. Western societies, since they are seen as democratic, exemplify this superiority. So there is one question that has to be pressed home: what, precisely, is meant by democracy? Let me put forward an imaginary Arab who knows nothing of western ways but would like to learn about them. He is aware that the literal meaning of the word democracy is "mob rule", but understands that this is not what westerners mean by it. He wonders how this meaning has, in practice, been modified and, since his questions are directed to an Englishman, he is not altogether surprised to be told that Britain is the exemplary democracy. He learns that the people—all except children, lunatics and peers of the realm—send their representatives to Parliament to speak for them. He is assured that these representatives never accept bribes to vote against their consciences or against the wishes of their constituents. He enquires further and is astonished to learn that the political parties employ what are known as Whips, who compel members to vote in accordance with the party line, even if this conflicts both with their consciences and with the views of the people who elected them. In this case it is not money but ambition for office that determines the way they vote. "But is this not corruption?" he asks naively. The Englishman is shocked. "But at least the party in power represents the vast majority of the electorate?" This time the Englishman is a little embarrassed. It is not quite like that. The governing party, which enjoys absolute power through its dominance in the House of Commons, represents only a minority of the electorate. "Are there no restraints on this power?" There used to be, he is told. In the past there was a balance between the Crown, the House of Lords and the Commons, but that was seen as an undemocratic system so it was gradually eroded. The "sovereignty" of the Lower House is now untrammelled (except, quite recently, by unelected officials in Brussels). "So this is what democracy means?" Our imaginary Arab is baffled. He investigates further and is told that, in the 1997 General Election, the British people spoke with one voice, loud and clear. A landslide victory gave the Leader of the Labour Party virtually dictatorial powers. Then he learns that the turn-out of electors was the lowest since the war. Even so, the Party received only forty-three per cent of the votes cast. He wonders if this can be the system which others wish to impose on his own country. He is aware that various freedoms, including freedom of the press, are essential components of a democratic society, but no one can tell him how these are to be guaranteed if the Ruler, supported by a supine—"disciplined"—House of Commons enjoys untrammelled authority. He knows a bit about rulers and the way in which they deal with dissent, and he suspects that human nature is much the same everywhere. Barriers to oppression soon fall when a political system eliminates all "checks and balances" and, however amiable the current Ruler may be, there is no certainty that his successors, inheriting all the tools of power, will be equally benign. He turns now to an American and learns, with some relief since he himself has experienced the oppression of absolutism, that the American system restrains the power of the President by that of the Congress and the Supreme Court; moreover, the electe
Anonymous